Canopy tours were first developed in Costa Rica, as a means for research biologists to work in a forest canopy. This concept was then adapted to accommodate tourists and has become extremely popular. There are now a number of canopy tour operators in Costa Rico and the concept is gaining worldwide recognition and momentum as an eco friendly tourism venture, with minimal impact to the environment.
The concept of a canopy tour is exactly that. It allows one to move around meters off the ground, in a forest canopy.
Each section of the trail varies in length, from 70 m to 230 m, linking a total of ten platforms, making this the longest cable trail in Africa (1.2 km). The trail has been designed and built to South African civil engineering standards. All the equipment has been designed specifically for this activity and tried and tested worldwide. All the groups are escorted by qualified guides.
Up to eight participants can be accommodated per trip, on scheduled departures. Larger groups can be accommodated over several trips. There is also a special team building package on the offer.
This adventure activity is suitable for families and people of all ages. However, children under ten years might need to be assisted.
Balloon flight tours take place at sunrise, while the air is still cool and stable and before the earth heats up. In windy, rainy or otherwise marginal conditions, the pilot will postpone or cancel the tour, safety being the prime consideration. Most times, flying conditions are good and the cancellation rate is low.
Balloon flights are offered all year round in this area. The balloon launch site is on the front lawn of the office of Sabie River Adventures, about 11 km from Hazyview, on the Sabie Road. Participants can make their own way to the launch site. A map and detailed directions will be provided to them. Arrangements for pick up and drop off at the hotel can also be made.
The participants will learn a lot about elephants and also get to touch, feel, feed, walk trunk-in-hand and even ride these magnificent animals.
The Elephant Sanctuary hosts a unique and fully guided educational program that sets itself apart from anything else that South Africa has on offer in terms of elephant interaction and touching elephants. Guest numbers are limited to ensure personal attention and maximum elephant interaction for each guest, making this a truly memorable and enriching experience.
Visitors can learn more about elephant habits, behaviour, different personalities and anatomy through up-close and personal interaction. You get an opportunity to touch, feed and even walk trunk-in-hand with these magnificent animals.
The Elephant Sanctuary’s elephant walk is unique because you don’t just walk with or alongside the animals – you actually walk trunk-in-hand with them. Now imagine walking hand-in-hand with a child or loved one, then remind yourself that in this case the other hand is a trunk!
The main focus of The Elephant Sanctuary is to educate people about all aspects of elephants and elephant husbandry. If we discuss the elephant’s ear, for example, you will get the opportunity to actually touch one and to get a closer look at the smoothness of the skin on the back of the ear compared to the rough skin on the outside.
We also offer a short elephant-back ride – a privilege historically reserved for kings.
The Elephant Sanctuary’s elephant back riding program is conducted in a controlled environment to make it a safe yet exciting experience. Elephant rides are done bare back to enhance your contact with the animal and lasts ten to fifteen minutes. Our experience show that a 10 to 15 minute elephant back ride is long enough to fully experience the unique motion and feeling you get when riding on the back of an elephant.
The safety of our guests is of paramount importance. We want our guests to have an educational experience where they learn first-hand through touch, sight, smell and simply being close to the elephants. The program teaches our guests a broader and better understanding of elephants and their conservation, along with the animals’ dynamics and anatomy. We also share with guests our knowledge on the history and future of elephants in Africa.
In the village, the guide will explain the different facets of the Shangaan way of life, including their history and customs, initiation ceremonies, the practice of polygamy, the outfit and weapons of the masocho (warriors), the construction of homes, their ornate beadwork clothing and how they prepare their food.
The participants are encouraged to touch, feel and take part in what is happening in the village. The guide will explain the necessary etiquette to be followed in order to ensure that the privacy of the family being visited is not disturbed.
After saying good bye, the participants will visit the mystical kraal of the Sangoma (traditional healer). The Sangoma will explain the different mutis (medicines) and may throw his bones on request. He is a registered member of the Traditional Healers' Association, so the advice he gives is serious!
Special tours for groups may be arranged, where people from surrounding villages come to showcase the traditional Shangaan dancing.
The route leads up to a village, to the home of a Shangaan headman, his wives and children.
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve - The fresh mountain scenery and panoramic views over the Klein Drakensberg escarpment are quite spectacular and give the area its name of 'Panorama Route'. Viewpoints are named for the spectacle they offer, and God's Window and Wonder View hint at the magnitude of the scenery. The 'Pinnacle' is a single quartzite column rising out of the deep wooded canyon and the ‘Three Rondavels' (also called 'Three Sisters’) are three huge spirals of dolomite rock rising out of the far wall of the Blyde River canyon. Their domed heads are iced in green and their sides are stained with fiery orange lichen. From the 'Three Rondavels' you can see the extensive Swadini Dam in the far distance, which marks the end of the reserve.
At the meeting point of the Blyde River (river of joy) and the Treur River (river of sorrow) water erosion has created one of the most phenomenal geological phenomenon in South Africa. The ‘Bourke’s Luck Potholes’ have taken thousands of years to form strange cylindrical sculptures carved by swirling water. The smooth red and yellow rocks contrast with the dark pools.
The geology and climate of this high rainfall plateau results in masses of waterfalls, beautiful to look at and many of which you can visit. Others are hidden deep within some of the largest man-made forestry plantations in the world, with row upon row of pine and eucalyptus trees.
The rich and varied plant life is influenced by extreme climate, a range of altitudes and various soil conditions. This variety of plant life supports an equally rich and varied fauna. klipspringer and dassies find food and shelter in rocky areas. The grassland supports grey rhebuck and the rare oribi as well as rodents, reptiles, seed-eating birds and plenty of insects. Kudu prefer the cover of wooded bushveld and bushbuck and bushpig move amongst the luxuriant growth on the riverbanks.
All five of South Africa's primates can be see in the The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. The somango monkey, nocturnal greater and lesser bushbabies, chacma baboons and vervet monkeys are all present. Hippopotamus and crocodile live in and around the rivers and wetlands of Swadini Dam, as do waterbirds and otters. Almost every type of habitat that attracts birds is found in the The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and all three South African species of Loerie can be found in the reserve.
To view a detailed Map indicating landmarks and location of attractions in and around the Blyde River Canyon, see: Blyde River Canyon Map.