As I hesitate on the edge of a sheer drop, Marc says with a grin, “My 70-year-old mother was one of the first to try it. She had a go before we’d even finished the platforms properly. The youngest has been our son when he was four years old. He loved it!” This family sharing was much more about shaming than naming, I realize. If a cute kid and a game granny could do it, then surely you can do it too was Marc’s premise.
Set in the spectacular Letaba River gorge, the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour would soon have us gliding above the tree tops, over gushing waterfalls and plunging into rocky ravines. All around us are views which could commandeer a dozen superlatives without any capturing the grandeur of the ancient mountains, the forest, the cliffs, the deep kloofs and the lazy brown Letaba far below. The most hardened adventurer would have broken into verse on seeing all this loveliness.
After the first moments of terror, whizzing through thin air, I make it to the platform. It feels so good to have something solid under my feet again… well, not really, because the platfroms are perched as much as 50 metres above the river. I start to relax and just enjoy the experience instead of constantly trying to engage the ‘hand brake’. I look back at the dramatic rock face and onto the tumbling waterfall below. I can make out wild plums, plane trees and even some yellowwoods in the forest. The waterberry blooms and orchids are attracting sunbirds and Red-winged Starlings to the top of the canopy while the denser vegetation hides booming Samango monkeys.
This is an environment which would normally require a high level of fitness and a whole day’s climbing, yet here we are zipping through it without strain or pain, in the expert hands of the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour team. They love giving visitors the adventure of a lifetime and I have discovered that Woooohooo sounds the same in every language. Looking at all the photos of myself soaring down from Cliffhanger Platform, I can see I’m saying it too.