This canopy tour involves traversing from one platform to another along a steel cable suspended up to 35m above the forest floor. The scenery and birdlife are spectacular and professional guidesprovide interesting facts about the forest ecology during the tour.
The tour begins with a detailed safety briefing followed by a ‘kitting up’ session where full-body harness, pulleys, and climbing equipment is put on and safety-checked. A short scenic drive to the top of the Karkloof valley and it is time to monkey around!
The Karkloof Canopy Tour consists of twelve platforms and ten zipline slides, the longest of which is 200m! A tour lasts approximately 1.5 – 2 hours, is suitable for most people between the ages of 5 and 80+ (the record holder is 94!) and includes a tasty meal of a toasted sandwich and side salads served once your group is safely back on ground. 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.
Construction of the Karkloof Canopy Tour has been done in accordance with strict civil engineering standards. The system was designed and constructed by Tree Top Tours, creators of the internationally acclaimed Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour on the Garden Route. A full environmental impact study was undertaken to ensure that the forest ecology would not be harmed in any way. The subsequent environmental management plan was submitted to and then approved by, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism before construction began.
Safety is paramount and the Karkloof Canopy Tour® uses state of the art climbing and safety equipment. Concept to completion has seen eight months of ducking vines, climbing large trees and carrying heavy cables through the forest. The fun has now begun…
From the start on the launch platform, a new world unfolds as one gently glides on a steel cable to the first platform. All groups are escorted through the forest canopy by a lead guide and a follow guide to ensure your safety as you slide from tree to tree. The platforms are built high up in the forest canopy and all offer different views of the surrounding forest, a magnificent 20m waterfall, clear sparkling forest stream and across the expansive Karkloof valley far below.
Spend a couple of minutes relaxing on the platforms while your guides enthusiastically explain the ecology of the forest – pointing out different trees and the magnificent giant ferns way below. The bird life is incredible. This includes the opportunity of spotting Emerald Cuckoos, Knysna Loeries,a wide variety of raptors, and if you are lucky, the elusive Narina Trogon or endangered Cape Parrot. The forest is also home to a variety of mammals, but it is the loud calls and fearsome tree swinging of the Samago monkeys that you will remember best.
Frequently Asked Questions
We welcome any questions you might have before you book a Canopy Tour and will happily address any of your concerns. Here are the answers to some of the common questions that we receive.
Is it scary?
Many people are nervous about the prospect of their first Canopy Tour® and some are just plain scared of heights. For those who don’t think they can do it on their own, we offer a tandem tour which allows you to take in the whole experience while safely attached to a guide who controls your speed and ensures your safety. Canopy Tours are certainly not a high adrenaline activity like bungy jumping and we find that most people, even those who are slightly nervous at the start, quickly adapt to the concept and have no problem at all on the slides.
Who should go on a Canopy Tour?
Canopy Tours are ideal for the nature lovers, individual thrill seeker, family getaways, group or student excursions and corporate team building events.
How many people in a group?
Maximum of 9 people per group. Bookings for 10 or more people will simply be split into smaller groups that follow one behind the other along the canopy tour. Larger group bookings of up to 150 people per day for corporate and team building events are available on request.
When is it open?
In general Canopy Tours depart between 8am and 3pm, but these hours are often extended upon demand at summertime. Tours can depart every 30 minutes and are conducted in most weather conditions. Please book in advance to secure your place!
How long does it take?
Each tour lasts between 2 – 4 hours, depending which particular Canopy Tour it is and how many people there are in your group. Have a look at the About page on the website to understand exactly what happens on a canopy tour.
What do we need to wear or bring?
You should wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe footwear. Open sandals are not suitable as they will simply fall off. Shorts or long pants are fine but mini-skirts are not. Running shoes, takkies, and veldskoene are perfect and strap-on sandals will do. Don’t forget to bring your camera as there are many excellent photo opportunities along the way. And if it looks rainy we recommend you bring a raincoat and/or change of dry clothing.
How safe is it?
All the Canopy Tours® have been designed and built by a qualified civil engineer. Each group is escorted by two guides with a lead guide and safety guide monitoring your progress at all times. Your safety is paramount and we have strict procedures in place to ensure that you are constantly connected to either the cable or the platform. We use full body harnesses and all our pulleys, carabineers and other equipment carry standard safety certification ratings. All that’s left for you to worry about is having a good time!
How old or fit do I need to be?
Our brochures say that anyone between 7 and 70 is welcome on the canopy tour. However the current youngest and oldest client records stand with a 4 year old and an 85 year old! The Canopy Tour® is not very physically demanding and as long as you are able to walk out of the forest over uneven ground we will probably be able to provide you with the Canopy Tour® experience. Those who do not have the ability to regulate their speed on the slides will be able to go in tandem along each cable with one of our trained guides. If you have a medical condition or disability please enquire with our office staff before booking a tour.
What if I’m scared of heights?
It is quite normal to be afraid of heights. Many of our clients arrive at the canopy tour a little nervous and are often quite anxious on the first slide. The experience may even be a bit scary. But for most of you by the end of the tour these fears will have disappeared and been replaced with an immensely rewarding sense of achievement. You can even take home your own Canopy Tour completion certificate if you need to prove it to your friends!
What if I weigh 150kgs?
Then your nervous guide will probably suggest you take a short stroll around the forest instead. Our recommended weight limit is in fact 120kg.