If you are looking for an exhilarating adventure “Tarzan and Jane style“, look no further than the Karkloof Canopy Tours outside Howick in the KZN Midlands. This is the perfect place to satisfy your adrenaline craving by swinging between tree tops together with the local Samango monkeys.

A kilometre long foefie-slide, divided in to eight separate slides of varying lengths, is what awaits you nestled in the foothills of the beautiful indigenous forests of Karkloof. The slides take you from wooden platforms hidden in the tree tops, past a sheer cliff face and a cascading waterfall. Sometimes you can be as high up as 35m above the forest floor, so this is definitely not for the faint hearted or those terrified of heights. But it is as safe as anything, because your guides will ensure that you are in good hands at all times.

According to the Karkloof Canopy Tours website, canopy tours originated in the lush rainforests of Costa Rica – where adventurous biologists, desperate to study the diversity of animal life that habituates the upper canopy level of forests, devised a system of cables and platforms that would allow them to explore this previously inaccessible ecosystem. It wasn’t long before this developed into a breathtaking eco-tourism activity that not only allowed people to enter and experience the upper realm of a rainforest, but raised awareness to the plight and beauty of the world’s endangered indigenous forests.

To ensure that the forest ecology would not be harmed in any way a full environmental impact study was undertaken before construction started in Karkloof. Built by a civil engineer and completed in 2003, this thrilling adventure activity is becoming more and more popular. In fact, it’s sometimes hard to get a booking over holidays and weekends – so make sure you book your tour well in advance. Departing every half hour in most weather conditions, tours costs R395pp and there’s a group restrictions of eight people in order to ensure maximum enjoyment.

Starting with a briefing session at the Karkloof Canopy Tour base camp, you’ll be shown the do’s and don’ts of foefie-sliding through the canopies, and kitted out with a body harness, pulleys, a helmet and ABS brakes. Your guide will explain that ABS stands for “African Braking System” – and you’ll soon realise that this is a pair of special sliding gloves which will help you control your own speed.

Ready to rock’n’roll you’ll be taken to the top of the gorge in a game vehicle, and after a short walk through the forest you’ll be standing at the launch platform in high anticipation. A new world unfolds as you gently slide on a steel cable to the first platform – a short and slow ride which will give you a chance to practise your braking skills… Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple really. All you have to do is pull the cable gently downwards! Your hand with your special ABS glove rests on the cable at all times anyway, so there is no need to panic.

There are eight slides altogether, and once you get going you’ll find yourself wishing that it will never end. But unfortunately it will eventually end, which is when you’ll hike back to base camp and enjoy a delicious lunch while chatting about the experience you have just shared.

The general rule is that anyone between 7 and 70 can go, but sometimes exceptions can be made. When I visited I was told that they once had a 93-year-old thoroughly enjoying herself, and a two-and-a-half-year old screaming for more. So don’t hesitate people – make your bookings now and get ready for an experience of a lifetime swinging between tree tops on the longest foefie-slide in Africa!

For more info tel 033 330 3415 or e-mail info@karkloofcanopytour.co.za

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