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Get your dose of adrenaline on the Garden Route

Knysna Zipline proving a big attraction for adventure junkies

The Knysna Zipline is the climax of thrill-seeking and scenic wonder on the Garden Route
FLYING HIGH: The Knysna Zipline is the climax of thrill-seeking and scenic wonder on the Garden Route
Image: supplied

I figure that life has enough scary bits that come at you uninvited without purposely looking for more, like bungee jumping or riding on roller coasters.

And it’s not because I am old, I am just a complete ninny, scaredy-cat, and happy to stay this way.

When the Knysna Zipline in Kranshoek (between Knysna and Plett) opened in September 2020, media and local celebrities were invited to experience the thrill.

Before I knew it I was kitted out with the requisite safety harness, the whole paraphernalia, gloves and all.

There wasn’t really time to bail.

One of our local mayors was behind me in the queue and it would have been embarrassing to upset the apple cart, so it happened that I zipped off the cliff before I even had a chance to chicken out.

Hurtling over a scenic gorge wasn’t too bad because I felt I was going so fast that the trip would soon end.

It didn’t because you are meant to put your legs forward and not brake by holding onto the main lines with those industrial gloves.

I braked too soon and then in absolute horror started sliding backwards so that eventually I was dangling over the gorge utterly helpless.

It was one of those truly faith-building exercises.

I had enough time to thank God and say sorry for anything I could think of.

Then a guide had to slide down the cable and pull me all the way to the landing platform, one hand at a time.

It was very hard work for him and he didn’t seem to appreciate me telling him that in that moment I had never loved anyone as much as him.

Even more humiliating was that national television stations were filming the experience — and caught me hanging there like an idiot.

Never again, but fortunately there are a lot of braver souls than I am.

The Knysna Zipline is doing really, really well, supported by locals right across the Garden Route, and tourists. In fact, when the weather is good business pumps.

The Kranshoek picnic site has always been a popular viewing, hiking and picnic site because of its sheer beauty offering a vista of the gorge, the forest and the sea views — and now it’s fast becoming known as a world-class zipline destination.

This area is also rich in indigenous forest, fynbos and a wide diversity of plants — including the splendid king protea.

It’s also home to bush pig, baboon, buck, otter and even an elusive leopard while offering rich birding treats — and it is also a best vantage point to see southern right whales and dolphin in season.

From my perspective all these things can be enjoyed from terra firma, but of course if you are brave enough to open your eyes at high-speed, the views from the zipline are sublime.

The Knysna Ziplines is a partnership between SANParks/Garden Route National Parks and the well-established private SA Forest Adventures Company which already has ziplines in Mossel Bay, Cape Town, Hermanus and Caledon — and other adventures like river-rafting.

Though the zipline is technically situated in Bitou (Plett) it has been sold as ‘the fastest way to go from one municipality to the other,” as it traverses the gorge from the Plettenberg Bay side to the Knysna side and back.

There are now six cables, 3.4km of fun, the last two being the crescendo as you hurtle over the ocean.

It takes about two hours to do them all, but be warned a level of fitness is required for the whole trip because some walking is required between platforms if you do all six.

Clinton Lerm, managing director of SA Forest Adventures, says the Knynsa Zipline is his flagship operation.

Every measure has been taken to respect nature and leave a minimal footprint.

Even the cables of this latest zipline have been made from a plastic material which dramatically reduces the sound.

The Knysna Zipline is wildly popular, filling up for Easter, and is good for the Garden Route.

Lerm tells me a lot of older people are doing the zipline and I say good for them!

Book online at www.saforestadventures.co.za

 

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