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Ziplines exhilarating addition to Knysna’s adventures

One of the newest adventure additions to Knysna’s ‘adventure collection’ is Knysna Ziplines in the Harkerville Forest between Knysna and neighbouring Plettenberg Bay along the southern coast of the Garden Route. We were there during the pandemic… Upon arrival at reception at the Harkerville Forest Lodge all Covid-19 protocols were observed: temperature screening, full contact details taken for easy tracing (in case), sanitizing upon entry of the building, and sanitized touchscreens for online indemnity (incl. picture taken without mask 😉).  Once registration is done, you drive through the pristine indigenous forest for about 10min., pay your park fees to enter the National Park and then all of a sudden the scenery opens and the Indian Ocean is there! 

The Kranshoek picnic area (remember to bring some nibbles for afterwards!) is where the nerves start kicking in: the people zipping from one side of the gorge to the other appear to be tiny, the ziplines long and high!  The highly qualified adventure guides – 2 per group of max. 12 people – make sure your harness sits snugly around your hips and shoulders.  Not the most flattering sight, but hey, everybody looks similarly silly with hairnets, combat-style helmets (don’t forget to bring your GoPro!) and oversized leather gloves which are to be used as brakes, as we get told.  The instructions are fun and easy to follow, and the guides have a natural flair of making us feel at ease. 

The first zip is the scariest…  Yes, it is a bit scary, especially as you ‘go over the cliff’.  But the views!  The views make up for it, and are most spectacular!  The gorge, with the hidden river at its bottom, is covered in indigenous, and – at this time of the year – flowering forest on the one side, and bursting proteas, erica’s and grasses on the other side.  The waterfall on the one side, and the pebble beach on the southern side complement this scene of immensely ‘gorgeous’ natural beauty. 

There she goes!

The second slide is easier, and the excitement takes over from nervous anxiety.  It feels like flying, soaring high above the gorge.  The next slides are a pure adrenalin rush, leaving me exhilarated and on a ‘fresh air high’!  I can’t wait for the extension – I want more of this, I will be back!

Some practical info:

  • Knysna Ziplines is situated within the Garden Route National Park at Kranshoek, halfway between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay;
  • The whole experience – from check-in at the Harkerville Forest Lodge, driving to the actual site and getting out of our harnesses – is about 2-2.5hours;
  • There are toilets as well as picnic facilities at the site, and it looked like braai facilities were being built as we were there;
  • A beautiful hike through the indigenous forest takes those not wanting to join the Knysna Zipline from the waterfall down to the pebble beach – or you can make this into a full day out.  Your ticket into the National Park also allows you entrance into nearby Garden of Eden and Diepwalle Forest on the other side of Knysna;
  • Although the guides wore flipflops, we would recommend wearing shorts/jeans and comfortable walking shoes.  Fetching them from the bottom of the gorge will be near impossible 😊.