The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour ecotourism ziplining adventure is an experience you will never forget.
Unquestionably, South Africa has a remarkable ability to show off her natural beauty in any setting. You can be sitting in the lap of luxury or on your camping chair. You can be driving through the country or hiking along the trails. But what if we told you there was a different way to experience South Africa’s majesty? What if we told you of an exquisitely thrilling way to experience a part of South Africa’s forests? The Tsitsikamma Treetop Canopy Tour is an ecotourism ziplining experience you will never forget.
You know you are in Tsitsikamma when the national highway is lined with forests. Tsitsikamma is one of our most loved places in South Africa for many reasons. The extraordinary beauty of the landscape takes you back to a simpler time where you can explore the area through its natural grace. You have less screen time and more tree time, less social media stress and more real-life moments. But above all, we became engaged while in a tree-lined river on the Striptease Hike – our fondest memories are intrinsically linked to Tsitsikamma and her beauty.
So when Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour invited us to experience an adventure with them, we said yes with no second thought… well, at least Jordan did. In all honesty, when Jordan told me about the forest canopy tour, I was less than enthusiastic. In fact, I was terrified. Heights and I are not the best of friends. Jordan had done the tour with her family years ago and was desperate to experience it again. She was forever showing me the various specials on their website or what they had mentioned in a tweet. It was put off and put off, but when we were offered this adventure, I couldn’t say no to my ecstatic wife who said ‘it was a sign we need to do this’.
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour information
About the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour
A particularly cool fact is that this tour is the first of its kind in South Africa and Africa. Since the Tsitsikamma branch opened, several locations around South Africa have opened so google ‘canopy tours near me’ and find your closest one. Or better yet, make a trip to Tsitsikamma! The OG tour that has numerous awards behind their name.
The Tsitsikamma branch also offers an outdoor prayer room to its Muslim clients should you need one. This is another groundbreaking achievement because this is the first prayer room offered by an eco-adventure company.
Treetop zipline adventure
The tour takes place in the tree canopy, where you zipline on steel cables from platform to platform. The platforms and cables are suspended as high as 30 m off the ground, with the longest zipline being a whopping 91 m.
Canopy tour cost and duration
Firstly, booking is essential so look for available slots on their website. There are slots available every 30 minutes from 8 am – 3:30 pm for up to 8 people in a group. Secondly, the tour length is between 2 – 3 hours. Thirdly, a light lunch and refreshment at the onsite restaurant are included in the treetop canopy tour cost. For costing and to book your slot, follow the link here.
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour safety
Two guides accompany every group, with one guide leading the group and the second guide going after everyone. Naturally, they ensure the safety of the group. They attach, detach, reattach your cables on every platform – you are never disconnected from the platform or zipline cabling. You are also never alone on a platform without a guide.
The platforms and cabling around the trees are attached in ways that have the least impact. There are wooden blocks separating the cables from the tree trunk – to keep the cables from cutting into the tree trunks and damaging the tree. We truly believe, the forest canopy tour is a phenomenal example of ecotourism in South Africa.
Canopy tour education
We really loved the educational aspect that the guides bring to the tour. They speak of the forest life: the beautiful trees and the different birds and animals. There are giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees that are up to 700 years. If you have any questions, the guides are happy to share their knowledge.
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour social media
What is the difference between a zipline and canopy tour?
Simply put: ziplining is an activity and canopy tours are an experience.
When you zipline, you go from the starting point to the finishing point. It’s a fun adrenaline activity. Where canopy tours are different is that the tours are more than an activity. Yes, you are ziplining but canopy tours last hours and provide you with an opportunity to learn about ziplining and the environment that you are in, in this case, the forest. The guides are interactive and are open to questions. You leave the canopy tour having ziplined and learned something about yourself, the people you’re with, and the place you’re in.
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour adventure experience
Arriving, check-in, safety briefing
The date and time for our tour were set. We drove from Jeffreys Bay to Tsitsikamma (about an hours drive). The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour reception is in Storms River Village. In the active and welcoming village, you will find the canopy tour, Segway tours, blackwater tubing, and a selection of restaurants and accommodations.
As we turned down the road to the village, my heart was racing. We checked in and were told that our safety briefing would start in 10 minutes. This only made my pulse quicken. We waited on a bench in the sun watching people gear up and prepare for their tours. There were locals and foreigners interacting, sharing their hopes and fears for the upcoming experience. The two of us were booked into the 10 am time slot. Inside the briefing room, we met a great couple from the Netherlands who were also a part of the group.
We digitally checked in via tablets: adding our helmet numbers, opting whether we wanted videos and photos taken of us, and choosing our lunch for our return. After our safety video briefing, we went for bathroom breaks and geared up. You have a harness, multitude of ropes and carabiners, a helmet, and two gloves. We hopped into the tour truck and set off for the forest. Jordan was probably up and off the truck before the driver had lifted the handbrake. More gingerly, I stepped off the truck and followed the group down to the platforms.
The canopy tour experience
There was a large group ahead of us and the last few members were still on the first platform. A young child was too nervous to go alone so one of the guides took him tandem. However, by the third zipline, he was ziplining alone and loving it! Sharing in his initial apprehension, I was wondering if there was still time to get out of this… There wasn’t – I had committed and would see it through. Deeply hoping I wouldn’t be injured or die. The Dutch couple were up first, followed by a grinning Jordan who sailed through the air as if she did this every day. Then. It was my turn.
My thoughts were flying through my head as quickly as the others had reached the second platform and my turn had come: I was safely harnessed in. No one before me died. Just don’t look down. I stepped off the platform and glided to the second one. I made it. And like the young child ahead of us, by the third platform, I was ziplining with no hands and loving it! There is an emergency exit zipline after the second or third platform. Thereafter, you’re in it to the end! I can happily say that I didn’t take the exit.
Each platform takes you to different heights above the ground and each zipline has its own character. There are short and ‘slow’ ziplines, and fast and long ones, and long and slow ones. Jordan ziplined ‘hands-free’ whenever the guides said we could. Unbelievably and unexpectedly, I went ‘hands-free’ too! Wild, I know (we have the photos to prove it!). We were told of the giant old Outeniqua Yellowwood trees and forest life. Once I had caught my breath and relaxed into it, a wash of gratitude came over me. I was genuinely living.
Sometimes days seep into each other and look the same, and ‘living’ becomes more of a noun than a verb. When you have a full-time job, as we do, this can happen too often. But this treetop tour has you living in every sense of the verb. I am alive. You are alive. The guides and fellow group people are alive. The trees are alive. The wildlife is alive. This is why these micro-adventures are so important to us, and possibly to you. They bring bursts of life into a routine. A reason why we work full-time but still find time to travel part-time.
Don’t overthink; just do. If you’re not fond of heights and have been putting off this experience, all I can say is that I hear you, but you need to do this. It was breath-taking in every sense, and it will be one of the greatest memories you create. It’s a great place to conquer fear.
The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour team is dynamic, understanding, informative, and help you create unparalleled ageless memories. Whether you’re travelling solo, with your partner, with friends, or your family this adventure is ideal. You may be in your element like Jordan, or you may be out of your comfort zone like me – it’s somehow exactly what everyone needs in a perfect way. Thank you to the incredible team for a great adventure.
We are so grateful to have shared this experience with you. Thank you, dear voyager, for your time and support. Have you done a canopy tour before? Are you thinking of doing it now? We would love to know your thoughts and feelings so share in the comments below, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also have a Pinterest page. If you decide to take up this adventure, let the canopy tour know you read it about here.