The concept of the ‘canopy tour’ is a relatively new product in the tourism industry, with the first canopy tour operation opening around 5 years ago in South America. Since then there have been several other operations launched in various parts of the world, including quite a number across South Africa. Wikipedia describes a canopy tour as “an established route through a wooded and often mountainous landscape making primary use of zip-lines and aerial bridges between platforms built in trees”.
In our case, the Vic Falls Canopy Tour is a series of 9 zip-lines, or ‘slides’, which zigzags across the Batoka Gorge in amongst the thick vegetation which grows on the edges of this spectacular natural canyon. The tour is operated from the Wild Horizons Lookout, and takes place within the cove that is formed by the first bend in the river below the Falls – directly beneath the Victoria Falls Hotel. Apart from the 9 cable slides, (or ‘foofy’ slides), the route also comprises a series of boarded walkways and rope bridges, all of which have safety lines to which guests are fastened at all times. The course from start to finish will take around 60 – 90 minutes, depending on the size of the group.
Of-course one of the factors that makes this activity so popular is the breathtaking views of the Batoka Gorge, the Zambezi River and it’s turbulent rapids, and the Victoria Falls Bridge! This is not to mention the awe-inspiring flora and fauna which thrives in the canopy of the Batoka Gorge! It is also a treat for bird watchers, as they are likely to spot Trumpeter Hornbill, Schalow’sTuraco and Peregrine Falcon – and if you are extremely lucky, the rare Taita Falcon.
The slides vary in speed and length, but are all relatively low-speed and are more than suitable for those who don’t consider themselves as adrenalin junkies. The activity is perfect for families with young kids who are looking for that little bit of excitement, but might be too young to take part in the more adrenalin-demanding activities such as the gorge swing or bungeejump. (The same goes for the parents, who on the contrary might be “a little too old” for the bigger adrenalin-demanders!). It is the perfect ‘in-between’ activity, which there is not much choice for when it comes to the plethora of Victoria Falls activities on offer by the many various tour operators. The tour is also suitable for those who don’t like heights as for the most part the slides traverse through trees and thick vegetation.
The canopy tour is growing in popularity when it comes to adventure tourism around the world because of its mild, safe and family-friendly nature. The Vic Falls Canopy Tour is undoubtedly one of the world’s most spectacular courses and is an industry leader when it comes to safety and equipment, as well the training of their staff and guides. The Vic Falls Canopy Tour is a highly recommended activity, which has repeatedly been described as excellent value for money.
The Vic Falls Canopy Tour sells for USD$50 per person, and can be booked by contacting the Wild Horizons reservations team through their website, www.wildhorizons.co.za – or through the main booking office located at 310 Parkway Drive, Victoria Falls.