Vienna Hotels Articles

July 16, 2010

Midlands Meander Diaries: Karkloof Canopy Tours In Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

They call this an eco-experience. But a Karkloof Canopy Tour on the Midlands Meander in KwaZulu Natal is more than that. This is adventure. This is adrenalin. This is like your first time on a red or a black ski slope. You’re thinking, “This is too fast. This is too dangerous. I’m gonna die”.

So what’s the skinny? Using state of the art climbing and safety equipment, they suspend you on a pulley attached to a steel cable 30 metres above the Karkloof indigenous forest floor. And then it’s “Goodnight Vienna”.

What and where is the Karkloof Forest? The Karkloof Forest is in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. It is pristine. And when you see the size of the trees, you’ll know. They’re old. It is also home to the Karkloof Blue butterfly, which inhabits a few hundred square metres of the forest. And it’s found nowhere else in the world.

And Karkloof Canopy Tours? Well they’re the psychopaths that make a living out of jumping your adrenalin level to the point where it’s practically squirting out your ears.

Sure it’s a big rush. But don’t think these guys aren’t serious about safety. The kit is “state of the art”. The whole thing’s been designed with the strictest civil engineering standards in mind. You begin with a safety briefing. Your harness and gear are checked and double-checked by the lead guide. And then you’re off!

“Off” means you’ve managed to screw up your courage, closed your eyes, muttered a prayer, and leapt off the first of seven platforms – high up in the trees. Catch your breath, calm your heart rate. You’ve got eight slides, the longest of which is 170 metres long as you whiz and zigzag, down the pristine indigenous Karkloof forest valley.

By the way, did I mention that they call this an “eco-experience”? You did notice the 20-metre waterfall you zoomed over, the river you screamed your way across, the beauty of the forest, the extremely rare bird-life, the Samago monkeys? You did notice these things, didn’t you?

No?

Then you’d better go back and do it again tomorrow!

Karkloof Canopy Tours is a member of the Midlands Meander Association which regulates and markets the Midlands Meander – the largest “arts and crafts ramble” in South Africa. It’s not only “arts and crafts”, as you’ve probably gathered. It’s jam-packed with a variety of accommodation establishments and things to see and do. The symbol of Midlands Meander in KwaZulu Natal is the Karkloof Blue butterfly. Bear it in mind, the next time you’re travelling to South Africa.

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