Adventure Travel in the Western Cape: Ziplining on a Cape Canopy Tour [Video]

Located just over an hour from Cape Town is The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its magnificent fynbos and worthy of a visit all on its own. But if you want to up the stakes and turn it into an adrenaline-inducing experience, the Cape Canopy Tour is for you:
Close up of woman ziplining on a Cape Canopy Tour

*I was a guest of Cape Country Routes / Cape Canopy Tour but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Art of Ziplining

When I was your age, we referred to ziplines as “foefie slides”. They were usually quite dodgy homemade contraptions that some kids built in their backyards. Using them involved upper body strength (there were no harnesses so you had to hold on with your hands) and they resulted in many emergency room visits. Though the name is more boring, the activity of ziplining seems to have become a lot more fun (and safer too). 

The Cape Canopy Tour is essentially a series of platforms, connected by 11 ziplines (each a whole lot longer than the foefie slides that went across our childhood backyards) 
and a scenic suspension bridge zigzagging across a gorge. Not only does it subscribe to the safety standards of the Canopy Tours name but this one is located in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve.

It also forms part of the Cape Country Routes, a curated collection of quality accommodation and activity options in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

Ziplining on a Cape Canopy Tour

The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve

The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve is known for its biodiversity and in particular, the diverse species of fynbos (South African shrubbery) that grow here. It is part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Part of your fee goes towards CapeNature, an institution responsible for the preservation of the area. 

I have to say, there’s definitely something about throwing yourself off a cliff and not dying that really leaves you with a profound appreciation for the plant and animal life that exists here (as well as your own life too, obviously). 

My Zipling Experience: 

A video documenting my own adventure on a Cape Canopy Tour can be found here:

Getting there:

Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve is just over an hour outside of Cape Town. 

If you are relying on public transport, the best way to get here would be in a rental car. Alternatively, ask the Cape Canopy Tour personnel about a tour that includes transfers from Cape Town when making your booking.

How physically fit do you need to be to do the Cape Canopy Tour?

Well, not too fit. The one-kilometre hike at the end was the most strenuous part of the experience. It was mostly uphill but very scenic and pressure-free; everyone moved at their own pace.  

While you do have to navigate some sometimes narrow platforms/rock faces during the canopy tour, you are tethered to that rock face with a safety cable the entire time.

How old do you need to be to do the Cape Canopy Tour?

Kids as young as five can participate but I believe they have to go in tandem with an adult. 

What to wear for ziplining

  • Comfortable walking shoes that won't fall off your feet 
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses  - Bring your least favourite pair just in case.
  • Layers - The Cape is known for its microclimates and you never know what to expect from the weather, even 15 minutes away. Always be prepared for both hot and cold weather just in case.

Other tips for making the most of your canopy tour:

  • Wear sunglasses - They probably won't fall off and the experience is so much more fun when you can see that cliff face rushing towards you instead of squinting into the sun.
  • Bring a backpack - You can wear this on the outside of your harness and it's very helpful for carrying valuables, water, and sunscreen. You can also keep your phone in this if you want to take some pictures along the way ...or make a four-minute video about your experience and any acts of relieving yourself in nature that you may have. 
  • Alternatively, the staff at the Cape Canopy Tour also have a video package if you just want to enjoy the experience and let someone else be your Instagram husband.
  • If you want super glamourous videos or photos (like the one in the picture above) of your face in closeup as you scream with terror while soaring between two cliffs, strap a Go Pro, "Faux Pro" or action camera on your wrist.
  • Bring water. (You can keep it in your backpack.) But maybe don't drink too much before you go. 
Ticket prices and booking information can be found on the Cape Canopy Tour website. You can also find out about other experiences on the Cape Country Routes' website. 

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