Tarzan and Jane Style, Ziplining in the Drakensberg
We took to the treetops and ziplined through the Blue Grotto Forest in the Drakensberg
It was a misty, drizzly morning in the mountains. We were not hiking into their heights though. We had a date to meet a different Drakensberg playground that morning. We were going ziplining in the Blue Grotto Forest with Drakensberg Canopy Tours.
The treetop course is made up of 12 ziplines (or foefie slides) and platforms, set in an indigenous forest of the Central Drakensberg with Cathkin Peak peering down at it from the background. It’s a magnificent environment in every sense. The canopy tour shows off Africa’s first elevated rock face walkway and cable slides over the forest, some up to 60 metres high off the forest floor.
Graham and I played “Tarzan and Jane” for about 2 hours when we flew through that forest, from platform to platform, wind and fat smile on our faces. Our guides were Vusi and Promise who took our safety and fun very seriously. They showed us the ropes (or should I say “cables”) and soon we were zipping through the eerily beautiful tree setting while Jabulane took photos and videos too. We glided over rivers and between boulders, through the treelines and passed sheer cliffs. That feeling of reeling quickly through the air, the whining sound of the pulley as a backtrack while holding on tight was just awesome. It was freeing.
The slides varied in length with the longest being an exciting 180 metres long and nicknamed “The Black Ferrari” by the guides. Other slides had inventive names too like “The Granny Slide” and “The Rabbit Hole” (referencing Alice in Wonderland). Each lived up to its name in character.
Safety really does come first to the canopy tour team. Our harnesses and ziplines were reinforced 3 times with safety lines and connections. We flew with confidence without a care in the world, safely secured and comfy. Vusi and Promise delivered us from one side of each zipline to the other seamlessly.
We learnt about the surrounding trees from Promise and spotted birdlife like sunbirds and Egyptian geese who shared their treed territories with us. We heard the tweeting chitter chatter of many other winged species too. We made sure we let our guides know of all the creatures we spotted to contribute to a species list they’re compiling and to enter the Canopy Tours “I Spy Something Wild Competition” while doing so too. Walking out of the forest after our 12 zipline adventures were done, we spotted a majestic African Harrier Hawk (we think) in a tree as well as footprints on the path- little antelope spoor, possibly duiker as well as cat prints which we thought could be caracal perhaps? It was just too wonderful being part of the forest life that way.
My video showing what it felt like to fly in a forest:
Thanks to my Dad for snapping some of the photos of us from the beginning bit of our adventure too.
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Canopy Tour’s ‘I Spy Something Wild” Competition:
During the month of October Canopy Tours ® South Africa in association with the Endangered Wildlife Trust is running its first annual ‘I Spy Something Wild’ competition. All adventurous zipliners are encouraged to keep their eyes wide while flying through the trees at all the South African canopy tours sites and to point out any “wild thing” they spot to their guides. This will help create a species database in each of the seven Canopy Tours biomes, cataloguing birds, mammals, reptiles, arthropods and amphibians. Eachrecorded sighting entitles that person to an entry into the competition.
The lucky winner will be drawn and announced in November and wins a luxurious 3 night stay for two at the exclusive Madikwe Safari Lodge.
Share on social media using #ispysomethingwild for a bonus entry too and follow along with what’s been seen out there.
Thank you to Canopy Tour SA for the invitation to experience this Drakensberg ziplining adventure.