On our very last day in the Drakensberg I pulled an epic surprise out of the bag for the whole family… and it was well worth it! Throughout our trip to the area we had kept seeing pamphlets and billboards advertising the Drakensberg Canopy Tour and my son especially kept requesting that we go ziplining in the Drakensberg.
As a family we’ve done the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour, myself and my son have done a zipline in Cape Town and I went on a press trip to the Elgin Canopy Tour a few years back (easily the scariest zipline in the world!)
We love this adrenalin-pumping, family-friendly adventure so a visit to the Drakensberg Canopy Tour was definitely on my agenda for the holiday… it just so happened that it worked out best to take place on the very last day of our trip.
And so I kept quiet. I piled everyone into the car and set the GPS to navigate us towards Central Drakensberg from our accommodation at Antbear. Only when we were about 50 metres from the gate did I crack… and I even managed to get their reactions on video!
As you can imagine Ben was beyond excited. Abi was a bit apprehensive!
On arrival we were quickly kitted out with our safety gear – super flattering hair nets and helmets included – followed by a safety talk, before piling into the back of the 4×4 that would take us to the starting point near the top of the mountain.
Nothing bonds a group quite like a bumpy 4×4 ride where you almost bounce into each other’s lap around every bend…
The views in this part of the Drakensberg are spectacular and we were lucky enough to visit on a crisp winter’s day where the blue sky peeked through the towering canopy of trees.
After descending into the forest via a series of steps, we arrived at the first platform where our guides “showed us the ropes” and demonstrated exactly what we needed to do on the line and how they connected us in 3 different ways on each line. Safety first!!
The first line was a short “beginner” one where we all got used to the zipline protocol… and clearly I wasn’t listening too well about the stopping mechanism as I went hurtling down the line and crashed into the instructor on the other side! Oops!!!
After this first zipline, the most apprehensive amongst us was now the most excited!!! Her face lit up with anticipation and she was eager to go first (well, at least before her brother!)
At only 8 years old she was a complete zipline queen. Leaping off the platforms into the abyss without a care in the world, zipping her way through the forest like Tarzan’s Jane! She LOVED it so much and it was so sweet to see her find the rush of doing something she loved. On our previous ziplining experience she was too young to go on her own and had to be tethered to an instructor so this time she was thrilled to be able to go alone.
If I’m honest my heart was a bit confused as to what to do… freak out over the fact that my youngest was sending herself over the edge hundreds of metres above the ground, or burst with pride at seeing her confidence grow before my eyes!
This family outing in the Drakensberg was meant for the whole family – and while we did all have the best time – it was Abi who enjoyed it the most. I think the thrill of realising she can accomplish anything she sets her heart on and that she can do something on her own that her older brother, mom and dad can do was so empowering for her and she just shone the whole day! This smile says it all!!!
Ben too loved his Drakensberg ziplining experience although sadly he wasn’t feeling his best on the day which was a bit of a bummer for me esp considering he was the main motivation!!! Shame – you can tell he wasn’t feeling great in this pic!
But he did enjoyed it – just in a more quiet and reserved manner than usual!
At least there were a few smiles along the way!
The Drakensberg Canopy Tour zipline experience was such a fun outing for our whole family and we all had a great time. It’s awesome as a bonding experience as a family and I’m so thrilled that we now have kids who are of an age where they can enjoy awesome experience with us. I can’t wait to do even more fun things with them across the country and around the world!
The Drakensberg Canopy Tour was a lovely way to see this part of the ‘Berg.
While waiting on each platform we were able to soak up the amazing views of the mountains and the fresh forest smells and sights. Each “zip” across the forested ravine below was a unique experience of trying to take in the views, while also enjoying the thrill of the ride!
The cable slides here are up to 60m above the forest floor and the variety of slides was great, with long rides, short rides, slow rides and fast rides. Something to suit everyone and every age! There was a suspension bridge and an elevated rock face walkway plus plenty of time to fully immerse yourself in the incredible natural environment. Our guides were both really lovely and very focused on our safety as well as our enjoyment of the experience.
Finally, after completing the course of 12 slides, we sadly reached the end and began our ascent back to reality. This was by far the toughest part of the day – a 1km climb out of the ravine via hundreds of steps! At this point the newest adrenalin junkie in our family hit her low, BUT she kept on climbing! A KitKat treat pulled from our guide’s rucksack definitely helped!
After the 20min climb (still in our body harnesses!) we plonked ourselves down to catch our breath and wait for the 4×4 to ferry us down the mountain… savouring the view one more time!
Back at the Canopy Tour office we off loaded our equipment and ordered our inclusive lunch and drink (both so very welcome!) while waiting to relive our Canopy Tour experience by watching the video captured by one of the guides.
What to take when ziplining in the Drakensberg
Comfortable walking shoes
What to NOT take when ziplining in the Drakensberg
There is no need to take waterproof clothing for wet weather, water bottles, lunch or video camera as Canopy Tours provides all these.