Foefie sliding essentially involves a means of elevated motion by gravity whilst attached via a harness and pulley to a steel cable. Whilst studying the ecology of the Costa Rican rainforests scientists enlisted the help of engineers to access and move around in the forest canopy – and thus zip-lining came into being. Over the years zip-lining was refined and evolved into a popular eco-tourism adventure activity. For the first time tourists were introduced to the wonders and intricacies of rainforest canopy life and through these experiences gained a deeper insight into the parlous state of indigenous forests.
Canopy Tours® South Africa introduced foefie sliding as a commercial venture to Africa in 2001. After scouring the country for suitably large indigenous trees, the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour® was established in the Tsitsikamma Forest near the village of Storms River on the beautiful Garden Route.
The majestic Outeniqua Yellowwoods (Podocarpus Falcatus), prized by loggers in years gone by, provided the essential framework around which engineers could design the many platforms and cables required for the canopy tour. After satisfying strict environmental impact study and safety requirements, the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour® was given the green light by the relevant government agencies. Subsequently sites have been developed across the region, the latest opening in Swaziland in 2010.
Stormsriver Adventures, based in Storms River Village, operates the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour®, a fantastic eco-wilderness adventure in the forest canopy. The tour circuit consists of 10 platforms in mostly ancient (700 years +) Yellowwood trees just a short drive from the village. Adrenalin seekers traverse 10 foefie slides (zip-lines) between these platforms some 30 meters above the forest floor. Safety is paramount and a lead and follow guide accompany all groups on the tour. Besides getting closely acquainted with the forest and its ecology, visitors enjoy the opportunity of seeing a variety of amazing bird species, including the Knysna Loerie and Narina Trogon. After an exhilarating 2-3 hours participants return to the village base for some refreshments and a viewing of their tour experience on video.
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Stormsriver Adventures run various other operations including the Woodcutters Journey. This fascinating tour down the old Storms River Pass is a much more leisurely and sedate experience than the Canopy Tour®, but is nevertheless both interesting and educational.
Learn about the havoc wreaked on this Afromontane forest in earlier centuries and get the lowdown on the local fauna and flora. These 21/2 to 3 hour trips include either refreshments in the form of tea or a light lunch amongst the trees at a picnic spot.
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Stormsriver Adventures also offer guided hikes, team building exercises and school programmes. A strong ethos of environmental responsibility, fair trade and community upliftment is central to all their operations.
For a fascinating insight into one of the last remnants of our once great coastal forests, Bamboo guests should definitely head for the tiny village of Storms River.