The province known best for the annual migration of shopping centre herds from the South African interior towards their warm beaches and coastal shopping centres actually has a lot more to offer than salty swims and sea sand in uncomfortable places. If you’re planning a trip to Kwazulu Natal, or even if you live there, it’s near impossible to escape the awe inspiring beauty of the KZN landscape. Sadly however, most often we set up fort in our convenient timeshare cluster and we don’t budge.
Roughly 10 to 20 minutes outside of Howick you will find the Karkloof Nature Reserve. The best way to explore this 2800ha of forest is via the zip-line! The Karkloof canopy tour takes you on a 1km glide from up to 35m above the forest.
Broken up into 8 sections, each with a platform in between, the line and platforms adhere to strict engineering standards and have been designed and constructed by a civil engineer. Each group, consisting of up to 8 people, are given a full safety briefing, full body harnesses, helmets and gloves, whilst also being accompanied by a lead and a follow guide in order to ensure safety and to teach you about the ecology of the area.
The course of the route zigzags down the valley while you take photo’s and enjoy the wildlife and scenery. This incredible forest is home to many indigenous species of birds, trees and even the Karkloof Blue Butterfly. The ones are most likely to encounter are; Samango Monkeys, Emerald Cuckoos, Knysna Loeries, Cape Parrots and the Narina Trogon Bird. Other species which are known to inhabit the area are Black Eagles, the African Crowned Eagle and the Martial Eagle, though these birds tend to be a little more crowd shy.
The Karkloof Nature Reserve covers a very diverse area which is home to the Horse Shoe Falls, Rockwood Falls 1 and 2, Godwini Falls and Joan’s Falls. Comprising of 60% mistbelt forest, 40% mistbelt grassland and mountain ranges from 1000m to 1767m above sea level, the area was converted to a nature reserve in 1983 by Timothy Hancock in order to protect the threatened area.
The concept of the zip-line originates from the rainforests of Costa Rica during the 1970’s, where biologists were desperate to explore previously inaccessible parts of their country. Thankfully zip-lining has become worldwide pastime, and having made its way to South Africa you can also you can inject a bit of adventure into your Kwazulu Natal holiday!
Good to know:
The cost of the tour is R495 per person regardless of age, this fee includes refreshments, equipment, guides and a lunch at the end of the tour once you have touched down.
Children from the age of 7 up can enjoy the tour along with the whole family.
The time of the canopy tour takes roughly 2 hours from start to finish.
Howick is only about 100km from Durban, on the way to Harrismith.
Book ahead, whilst the Karkloof Canopy Tour is open every day with groups leaving hourly from 9am until 2pm, you don’t want to be disappointed by fully booked tours and big ques.
*Prices are valid as at 11 April 2014