Zip-lining a gorge in South Africa

Zip-lining has always been on my travel bucket list, so when the opportunity to do one of the highest and longest zip-lines in South Africa came my way I wasn’t about to say no.

See, I have a little rule with myself, I never say no to an adventure. The only issue with this is that these adventures often take me well out of my comfort zones, like this zip-lining trip did.

If you want a trill with none of the danger then you should really give ziplining a try. I had a blast Zip-lining in Hottentots holland in South Africa...

I have a terrible fear of heights and I’m not ashamed to admit it. When I agreed to the zip-lining tour I didn’t fully comprehend just how high or how long the lines would be. But once I said yes, how could I back out without looking like a total coward? Plus, I knew if I backed out I would regret it for the rest of my life.

Gearing up

So, before I could give myself a chance to change my mind I signed the indemnity form, got myself all harnessed up and hopped onto the 4×4 that took us to the first platform. I’m sure that I might have looked incredibly eager to get there, but my motives were completely different.

As we travelled on the 4×4 to the first platform, the early morning air bit at our fingers and cheeks even though we were bundled up in the jackets provided by the zip-lining tour company. Each of us was a little nervous and unsure about what to expect.

The stunning Gorge ahead of us

While waiting on the platform for my turn to go soaring through the air, I got a chance to really take in my surroundings. It was a cloudy day and while the clouds hid the horizon the gorge before us stood out in stark detail, almost as if daring us to brave the long steel zip-lines strung up like the foundations of some massive spider web still to be built. It was both breathtakingly spectacular and frightening at the same time.

I stood at the back of the queue and watched as those ahead of me were hooked in and sent off the platform, becoming little colourful dots in the distance, and that’s when my fear started to kick in.

By the time it was my turn I was so nervous that it took a few deep breaths and some encouragement from the guide before I finally stepped off the platform. But once I was sliding on the zip-line, essentially flying through the air, the thrill of it hit me and the fear dissipated. It was a surreal type of roller-coaster with the best views ever. After the 3rd zip-line I was completely over my fear and thoroughly enjoying the experience.

The gorge opened up to us as we ventured deeper and deeper into the Nature Reserve. Getting to see the natural wonders around us; the stark rocky cliffs and lush vegetation, the smell of the fresh air and fragrant bushes around us and the sounds of the birds around us and stream below us, did something to fulfill me as only the mountains can.

While I still have a fear of heights I definitely don’t have a fear of zip-lines anymore and this was an adventure I’d do again any day.

There are so many ways to explore a mountain range, like hiking or paragliding over it, but getting to explore the mountains in such a unique way was well worth the trip.

The Zip lining tour is situated in Hottentots Holland, but if you are looking for a mountain adventure closer to Cape Town you could try or hiking up and around Table Mountain or even exploring Cape Town’s cave systems in the mountains themselves. If heights doesn’t bother you, you could also experience a bird’s eye view of Cape Town by paragliding over the city.

If, like me this is just a bit too far out of your comfort zone you can still enjoy incredible views of Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain by taking the cable car up to the top. If this is on your to-do list then I would advise you go early in the day and make a whole day out of it. There are plenty of easy hikes to do on the mountain as well as a couple of cafeterias and a souvenir shop. Personally I love watching the sunset from on top of the mountain.

Tip: the cable car to the top of Table Mountain doesn’t run on windy or very cloudy days so check their website before driving all the way there.

Zip-lining info:

We booked with the Cape Canopy Tour company, just outside of Grabouw. It cost R695 (in 2016) and if you have a Wild Card you can get a small discount on that.

The tour was very professionally handled with guides to help you into the harness, show you how to use the gear and take you on the tour itself through the Reserve. There was also a safety briefing, a 4×4 ride to the first platform and back to the base and they provided a light lunch afterwards.

Over all it was a very good experience, but if you have a food allergy the light lunch may not be for you, so take some lunch just in case.

The Western Cape is full of little spots that are just perfect for weekend getaways and You can easily turn this zip lining trip into a weekend getaway too, and take the chance to explore more of the Western Cape.

If you are planning to turn this into a weekend getaway/ road trip then try to save some money by making sure you have everything you need before you leave the house so you don’t have to buy too much once you get there.

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any South African adventures that you loved doing?

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