|Midlands Meander Diaries: Karkloof
Canopy Tours In Kwazulu Natal, South Africa by Brian Kemp
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.
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
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?
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.