Posts tagged with “Grabouw Zipline”


Friday, 29 April, 2022

Cape Canopy Tours, Grabouw

Earlyish on a Saturday morning I found myself, along with my wife and two friends, in a team of 8 people getting prepped for the Grabouw Zipline experience.

Now listen properly

Herded together in the briefing room, lead guide Luwayne did an entertaining presentation on how not to plunge to your death during the zipline exercise.  Keeping the safety ropes hooked in was key to this outcome.  Splendid idea.  And I don’t really do heights, and falling in any event sounded like bad form.

Although I would rate the bit of being hooked in as the only part you really need to pay attention to, we were also told to look out for non-rude hand signs from our guide to indicate when we should start breaking in anticipation of the landing at the end of a slide. 

Ok, got that.  Staying alive, staying alive, ah, ah, ah, ah……

Getting hooked up
Understanding the gear

Hard hats on, harnesses, safety ropes, properly prepped, and we were ready to go.   I can report that the hard hat works.  As I entered the back of the Land Cruiser bakkie, my head hit the roof with a bang.  No injuries to report. 

Up, up….

The trip up the mountain with the Land Cruiser proved to be a fun 4×4 ride.  The route goes up on a two-spoor track.  Some serious inclines and rough terrain called for low range at some places.   Cement strips were laid out at some places to enhance smooth efficient forward motion. 

At the drop-off point I realised that my backpack with our water stash has remained forgotten at the base station.  Ah well, hydrating is overrated in any event.

The upper level station

A 500m walk on a hiking trail took us to the first of the 11 ziplines. 

First landing

At the landing

Safety is impressive.  Apart from your harness hooked to the zipline, you have two safety ropes also attached to rope.  You can’t fall, even if you try.  Not that I would.  Just saying.  

Gimmy, our safety guy, and Luwayne, the lead guy, made turns on who goes down first to the lower end of the zipline to receive the incoming.  The order in which we would slide was decided at the base camp already.  Reason for that being that you get a numbered hat, which would be used to send the correct video to the person bearing that number.  So there was no hum and ha’ing.  The process of getting hooked in and setting off goes quickly.  It’s a good thing.  There is no time then to really reconsider.

And away

And the next thing you have the buzz in your ears and the wind in your hair.  Bakgat!

Wind in you hair

Even knowing that falling is a negligible possibility, I had a sense of trepidation letting go and starting my first slide (uhm… and the next ten slides as well). 

I don’t jump out of or from serviceable airplanes / bridges.  But this is great!  The nice thing with the series of ziplines here is that you get 11 chances to get the hang of it.  (Pun not quite intended, but it’s a good line, I thought.)

On one of the slides the ‘rule’ was to do it with a ‘look ma, no hands’ style.  That was for purposes of the video.  One feels a bit out of control doing it like that, and I have to admit experiencing some heightened trepidation exhilaration doing this.   However, this made me realise that I need not really hold on – it’s even safer than I thought!


Once you land on the lower end, one of the safety ropes immediately gets attached to a cable that prevents you from tumbling off the deck.  In spite thereof, I found myself leaning back at awkward angles, away from the luring depths, to rather get my back against the rocks behind me. 

Making movies

At some predetermined spots, our guides would advise us that this is the proverbial ‘good photo spot’ where they will take short videos of each of the participants.  This included the no-hands slide and also acting stupid over a hanging bridge. 

Bridging the gap

These clips then get inserted into a video that is emailed to participants, giving you a very nice bragging instrument to tell your mom in the old age home what you did this summer. 

What it entails

The second slide is the point of no return.  If you think this is not for you, that is the spot to turn around, since you can still walk back from there.  But past that you need to stick to the end.

The eleven slides end with three long slides.  Something like 230m, 280m with the last on 330 meters.  There is a suspension bridge to over a ravine, waterfalls, and just pure nature.   

At no point did our guides indicate to us to slow down in anticipation of the landing.  To the contrary, they made suggestions on how to NOT slow down progress.  Sometimes one gets it wrong and end up short of the landing.  That requires the guide to hitch himself onto the cable and travel to the stuck rider, hook him in, and pulling them both up.  Pure elbow grease at work.   It makes for spectacular viewing, although the participants find it less interesting than the spectators.   

According to Garmin we reached up to 55.9km/h on the slides. 

The end is high

Once done with the eleven slides, there is a kilometre steepish uphill trail taking you back to where the Cruiser is waiting to take you back to base station. 

It took us just three hours, but if you have a wind blowing that slows people down, it can cause multiple recoveries of people stuck on the cable, so it could take longer. A really nice time was had by all.