Backpacking the Garden Route: Have you got what it takes to go kloofing?

P1000065The Garden Route has a lot of extreme activities to offer, and the most talked about one is without a doubt the Bloukrans Bungy. But just outside of Plettenberg Bay in an area called Nature’s Valley, you can find a unique experience that will provide you with just as much (if not more) excitement as hurling yourself off a bridge. AfriCanyon has created an experience that enables you to see the breathtaking beauty of Nature’s Valley from a whole different perspective, in the form of kloofing. Kloofing:(v) A South African term for traveling down a “kloof”(canyon) by means of scrambling, floating, swimming, walking and abseiling. Aka CANYONEERING P1000051 Filled with excitement on a brisk winter’s morning we made our way to the AfriCanyon basecamp. The guides handed us our wetsuits, helmets and abseiling gear and also gave us a quick safety briefing. We were then transported to the starting point of our epic kloofing adventure. To kick off the trip our first task was to abseil down a fairly high cliff to the canyon river below. There is no need to worry if you’ve never abseiled before, the guides give very clear instructions on how to do it and safety is of utmost importance to them. You will be surprised at how quickly you’ll get the hang of it.P1000091 Once you’ve made your way down, the guides show you how to take the first plunge into the crisp cool water of the canyon. The deeper you swim down the canyon the more you feel like you have entered another world. Towering trees and ferns were on either sides of the canyon and as we swam I felt like I was in the Jurassic Park movie.IMG_8230 At various points we had to jump off cliffs to get to the pools below. The jumps varied in height, ranging from very low to fairly extreme. If you are not such a keen rock jumper then you can always take an alternative route down…but come on, where’s the fun in that? IMG_8178IMG_8203 IMG_8217 Some parts of the route the canyon gets so deep that you can only see a tiny slither of sunlight shining through the cracks above you. The whole journey is magical and unbelievably beautiful. The highlight for me was definitely to abseil down one of the waterfalls into a dark, almost cave-like pool below. Adding to the great enjoyment of the kloofing experience are the unbelievably friendly and funny guides. They are extremely knowledgeable about the fauna and flora surrounding the canyons and clearly have a passion for their jobs.P1000083 Unfortunately we only had the time for the shorter trip but there is an option for a longer trip that also includes a couple of ziplines, I will definitely try that the next time that I’m in Nature’s valley. This was an experience like I’ve never had before and I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates the beauty of the outdoors and has the need for some exhilaration. So Take the Gap, Feel the Rush IMG_8267

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