Couple Travel · South African Travel · Travel Writing

Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour: Unlike Anything Else

Salt, Sand and Yellow Woods?

The uniqueness of the Tsitsikamma Rainforest in the Eastern Cape will surely take your breath away but not merely due to the sheer beauty of it. But by something else, something a little bit more thrilling.

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There is an amazing view in every direction you look

Think of a place filled with luscious greenery and sweet birdsong. Now in that green-hued reverie think of flying 30m above that greenery among massive Outeniqua Yellowwood trees, winding and whizzing passed them as if you are a Knysna Loeire, doesn’t seem real, does it? But impossibilities are made a reality when you are a part of the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour.

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The Big Tree – Tsitsikamma

Not many people know about this little gem hidden in the beautiful Tsitsikamma Rainforest, the rainforest where you can be looking at huge ferns on the forest floor the one minute and the waves breaking on the coastline the next. The Tsitsikamma Rainforest is unique in itself and this Canopy Tour is the cherry on top.

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The stunning coastline along the Tsitsikamma Rainforest

I myself didn’t know about it until a recent road trip down to Cape Town whereby Darren’s curiosity got the better of him and he suggested we’d go. Which I am all the more glad for as for the ones who don’t know about it are sure missing out on something spectacular!

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer beauty of your forest surroundings, your eyes want to look everywhere – at everything, an absolute delight for the senses.

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Tsitsikamma – where two ecosystems collide

“Don’t worry, be happy”, Tarquin, our guide, said while strapping me up with my body harness and pulleys. He clearly saw straight through my mask of smiles and calmness that I was trying so hard to pull off. Something that Darren didn’t have to try hard to do – he was like a kid on Christmas, not one ounce of fear in his body.

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Being hoisted up 30 or so meters above the forest floor is quite a daunting task at first especially for someone (like me) who has maybe let’s say just a “tiny” fear of heights. But after that first platform, my irrational fear and apprehension were left far behind and replaced with awe and wonder.

Not only are the scary thoughts put to bed by the absolute adrenaline rush you get but also by the calming and often funny guides who go along with you for the ride.

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Feeling like a monkey swinging from tree to tree at the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour

Tarquin eagerly tells us (an intimate party of 6) all about the breath-taking vegetation and interesting creatures surrounding us. He goes on to say that the massive Outeniqua Yellowwood Trees are hundreds of years old but on a more sobering note, they wouldn’t be here if this area hadn’t been made into a protected rainforest.

According to World Wildlife Fund, about 48 football fields of trees are lost every single minute. That’s 69 120 every single day – undeniably, mind-blowingly tragic. And so it was such a pleasure or more relief to find out that this area would never have an axe in its midst.

After that we were told something a bit more positive, 52% of every ticket sold for the tour is contributed to the Forest Regeneration Project and the creation of jobs in the surrounding areas. Forking out R595 for a few hours doesn’t seem all that expensive now, does it?

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Zipping from platform to platform surrounded by massive Outeniqua Trees – Courtesy of Liz McGrath

A walk through the Tsitsikamma Rainforest is sure to be an enthralling experience in itself but it undoubtedly doesn’t compare to the delightful, freeing feeling that the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour gives you.

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