About Canopy Tours®
Here is a bit about Our History, What to Expect and some Frequently Asked Questions!
History of the Canopy Tour®
Canopy tours originated in the lush rainforests of Costa Rica where adventurous biologists, desperate to study the diversity of animal life that habituates the upper canopy level of forests, devised a system of cables and platforms that would allow them to explore this previously inaccessible ecosystem.
It wasn’t long before this developed into a breathtaking eco-tourism activity
that not only allowed people to enter and experience the upper realm of a rainforest, but raised awareness of the plight and beauty of the world’s endangered indigenous forests.
Construction of Canopy Tours® South Africa has been done in accordance with strict civil engineering standards.
Each system has been designed and built by a Canopy Tours® engineer, starting with the canopy tour in the cloud forests of Costa Rica.
This led to the search for South Africa’s largest trees and the opening in 2001 of the internationally acclaimed Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour® on the Garden Route near Storms River.
There are now seven official Canopy Tours ® across South Africa. The latest to be created was the Cape Canopy Tour in Elgin, which Lonely Planet guide declared to be second on their list of the ‘hottest new activities around the world’.
Environmental impact studies are undertaken prior to construction to ensure that the canopy tours do not harm the surrounding forest ecology in any way.
Strict environmental management plans have been adhered to and the construction of South Africa’s Canopy Tours® has been carried out with the approval of the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism.
At Canopy Tours® South Africa we are proud to work closely with the communities within which we operate.
Each Canopy Tour® site is located in rural areas where we have helped to uplift local communities by training locals to become guides; thereby providing a vital source of income and employment.
What to Expect
The Canopy Tour starts with a safety briefing at the canopy office. Here your guides will first demonstrate how to slide on the cables and the safety procedures to be followed on the tour, before kitting you up with full body harness, pulley, climbing equipment and safety helmet.
Your group will then be transported in an open vehicle to the start of the canopy tour.
From the moment you launch off the first platform, a new world unfolds as you slide on a steel cable across to the next viewpoint. Once you arrive at the platform we encourage you to stop for a while and enjoy the view while your guide points out interesting features or facts about the surrounding ecology.
All groups are escorted by a lead guide and safety guide at all times.
Your safety is paramount and we have strict procedures in place to ensure that you are constantly connected to either the cable or the platform. Each tour lasts between 2 – 4 hours, depending which particular Canopy Tour it is and how many people there are in your group. Upon returning to the office you will enjoy a well-deserved meal and refreshments.
PS. There is some amazing stuff to see, don’t forget to bring your camera!
Frequently Asked Questions
We welcome any questions you might have before you book a Canopy Tour and will happily address any of your concerns. Here are the answers to some of the common questions that we receive.
Q. Is it scary?
Many people are nervous about the prospect of their first Canopy Tour® and some are just plain scared of heights. For those who don’t think they can do it on their own, we offer a tandem tour which allows you to take in the whole experience while safely attached to a guide who controls your speed and ensures your safety. Canopy Tours are certainly not a high adrenaline activity like bungy jumping and we find that most people, even those who are slightly nervous at the start, quickly adapt to the concept and have no problem at all on the slides.
Q. Who should go on a Canopy Tour?
Canopy Tours are ideal for the nature lovers, individual thrill seeker, family getaways, group or student excursions and corporate team building events.
Q. How many people in a group?
Maximum of 9 people per group. Bookings for 10 or more people will simply be split into smaller groups that follow one behind the other along the canopy tour. Larger group bookings of up to 150 people per day for corporate and team building events are available on request.
Q. When is it open?
In general Canopy Tours depart between 8am and 3pm, but these hours are often extended upon demand at summertime. Tours can depart every 30 minutes and are conducted in most weather conditions. Please book in advance to secure your place!
Q. How long does it take?
Each tour lasts between 2 – 4 hours, depending which particular Canopy Tour it is and how many people there are in your group. Have a look at the About page on the website to understand exactly what happens on a canopy tour.
Q. What do we need to wear or bring?
You should wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe footwear. Open sandals are not suitable as they will simply fall off. Shorts or long pants are fine but mini-skirts are not. Running shoes, takkies, and veldskoene are perfect and strap-on sandals will do. Don’t forget to bring your camera as there are many excellent photo opportunities along the way. And if it looks rainy we recommend you bring a raincoat and/or change of dry clothing.
Q. How safe is it?
All the Canopy Tours® have been designed and built by a qualified civil engineer. Each group is escorted by two guides with a lead guide and safety guide monitoring your progress at all times. Your safety is paramount and we have strict procedures in place to ensure that you are constantly connected to either the cable or the platform. We use full body harnesses and all our pulleys, carabineers and other equipment carry standard safety certification ratings. All that’s left for you to worry about is having a good time!
Q. How old or fit do I need to be?
Our brochures say that anyone between 7 and 70 is welcome on the canopy tour. However the current youngest and oldest client records stand with a 4 year old and an 85 year old! The Canopy Tour® is not very physically demanding and as long as you are able to walk out of the forest over uneven ground we will probably be able to provide you with the Canopy Tour® experience. Those who do not have the ability to regulate their speed on the slides will be able to go in tandem along each cable with one of our trained guides. If you have a medical condition or disability please enquire with our office staff before booking a tour.
Q. What if I’m scared of heights?
It is quite normal to be afraid of heights. Many of our clients arrive at the canopy tour a little nervous and are often quite anxious on the first slide. The experience may even be a bit scary. But for most of you by the end of the tour these fears will have disappeared and been replaced with an immensely rewarding sense of achievement. You can even take home your own Canopy Tour completion certificate if you need to prove it to your friends!
Q. What if I weigh 150kgs?
Then your nervous guide will probably suggest you take a short stroll around the forest instead. Our recommended weight limit is in fact 120kg.