Tree Top Canopy Tours
TREE TOP CANOPY TOURS
Tree top canopy tours differ from all other zip swings, foefie slides and flying foxes in their emphasis. Sure - you slide along cables at height but that's where the similarity ends. Tree top canopy slides were originally designed to allow biologists access to mysterious forest canopies in order to study the hard-to-get at plants and beasties that live high up in the trees. (Did you see Sean Connery in Medicine Man?). But, anyhow - biologists realised that sliding through the trees was fun, and the idea caught on. There's evidently one tour in Costa Rica somewhere and something similar somewhere in West Africa, but it was in South Africa that the idea really took off.
The first tree top canopy tour to be developed in South Africa is in the lovely Tsitsikamma Forest near Stormsriver in the Eastern Cape. Combining a goodly shot of adrenaline with awesome scenery, this tour consists of 10 platforms and 10 slides, the longest of which is 100m.
The second tree top canopy tour to be built in South Africa is in the Karkloof Forest, near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. Consisting of eight slides, the longest of which is 170m, this one can be quite fast. However, like the Tsitsikamma one, the emphasis is on the forest plants, ecology and birds. As well as zooming through the canopy, on this one you also get to fly above the canopy for a while. Definitely a tad more adrenaline-intensive.
The Karkloof Tree Top Canopy Tour has the added advantage of a waterfall and a stream.
The third tour at Magaliesberg, near Magaliesburg, in the North West Province, near Johannesburg isn't really a tree-top tour. The platforms are against spectacular cliffs, which offer breathtaking views of the Ysterhout Kloof. In this case, you're mostly above the trees instead of within them, but you do get a fabulous look at the scenery, plants and perhaps some animals.
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