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CCanopy Tours in South Africa are one of the most amazing ways to see nature from a different perspective. Here you are up in the sky looking into the heart of the forest – it's very different and thrilling. 

A canopy tour involves sliding from one high-level forest platform to another along steel cables suspended up to 30m above the forest floor. The idea originally came from biologists who used similar systems to access forest canopies in order to study the hard-to-get-at plants that live high up in the trees. 

The first canopy tour to be developed in South Africa is the one still operating in the Tsitsikamma Forest near Storms River on the Garden Route. The tour consists of 10 platforms and 10 slides, the longest of which is 100m, built high up in the giant Outeniqua Yellowwoods. 

The second canopy tour to be built in South Africa was in the Karkloof Forest, near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. This consists of 10 slides; the longest one is 200m and can be quite fast. Like the first canopy tour, the emphasis is firmly on the forest plants, ecology and birds. The loud calls and tree swimming of the Samango monkeys are a highlight. 

The canopy tour in the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve near Johannesburg has 10 slides and 11 platforms. This one isn't really a tree top tour, but a canopy height tour with platforms set against spectacular cliffs offering amazing views of the Ysterhout Kloof. Here one is mostly above the trees, instead of within them, so the view is the key element as opposed to an up-close experience with forest life. On your way to the drop-off zone, look out for impala, blue wildebeest, zebra and duiker. 

Two more additions include the Drakensberg and Magoebaskloof canopy tours. The Drakensberg Canopy Tour in Central Drakensberg includes the Dragon Mountain's spectacular scenery and Africa's first elevated rock-face walkway. The Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour is also interesting in that it has slides and viewpoints over three giant waterfalls among ancient cliffs and a stunning indigenous forest. The Letaba River gorge is home to a wide range of plants, animal and birdlife. Be sure to look out for the Giant Kingfisher which regularly swoops over the river below. 

The most recently developed is the Cape Canopy Tour, located in Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, takes you to previously inaccessible and pristine part of this World Heritage Site. It has 12 elevated platforms and a suspension bridge over a double waterfall with slides of up to 320m. 

Did You Know?

TTravel tips & planning info 

Who to contact 

See the related links below for the contact details of the various canopy tours. 

How to get here  

Canopy tour destinations are best reached by car, although in some cases tour buses do visit these sites. Once at your canopy tour destination, you will be taken to the drop zone by the company. 

Best time to visit  

A canopy tour takes between 3 and 5 hours. 

Things to do 

Many of the canopy tour sites are in wilderness areas where swimming, mountain biking, kloofing, hiking and walking are all possibilities. 

What to pack  

You should wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe footwear such as running shoes or strap-on sandals. Please be sure to take warm clothes since the weather in the Cape can be unpredictable – especially up in the mountains. Don’t forget your camera as there are plenty of photo opportunities along the way.  

What to eat  

A light lunch can be included in any of the Canopy Tour adventures.  

Related links 

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