Freewheeling tours set forest buzzing

John Harvey

THEY may increasingly be seen traversing parking lots at shopping malls, but one would not have expected the contraption known as the Segway to have become one of the hottest properties in Tsitsikamma tourism this holiday season.

While the region is renowned for its bungee-jumping and hiking, the sight of tour groups taking in the breathtaking forests and bird life aboard the futuristic two- wheelers almost seems like something out of the Return of the Jedi, Ewoks notwithstanding.

Tsitsikamma Segway Tours has been operational for a year, but this is the first summer season that the business has targeted visitors to the Garden Route on such a large scale.

“Segway is a relatively new thing in tourism,” owner Andre Kruger said.

“Up until now we have only had seven machines, but the closure of a similar business in Grabouw allowed us to procure those machines.

“We now have 17 machines, allowing us to take much larger groups. And the Tsitsikamma is a brilliant part of the world to see on a Segway.”

Groups go through a 20- minute training programme before they are taken through the Tsitsikamma forest on the “easy and fun to ride” Segways.

“While the whole idea is fun, the tours are also very educational, especially for the kids … There is so much to learn about in the forest,” Kruger said.

“Best of all is, these machines are very eco-friendly. They are dead quiet, and will not disturb the animals in the brush.”

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