A zip-line adventure: How to scare your team into bonding

I am a wimp. Ever since I left the playground swings, I have made sure to keep my feet firmly on the ground. A fear of heights and  bad balance combined with motion sickness, have excluded me from any activity which can be termed risky or for adrenaline junkies. I don’t do amusement park rides, I don’t do dangling from mountaineering ropes, and I can guarantee you will never have me swaying from a bungee cord.

Willie and his colleagues are different though. Every now and then they get bored sitting behind their desks, or negotiating in meetings, or in the forests staring up at tall trees. Then they find something “outdoors-y” they can do together as a group for some “team building”. Something that will blow away any office tensions. Something “fun” that often requires a safety lecture and signing an indemnity form. Something which will bond them as a group – a group of survivors!

Their latest fun outing was to the Tsitsikamma Falls Adventure. I’ll let the introduction from the website explain it . . .

Situated 8km from the Storms River Bridge on the N2, Tsitsikamma Falls Adventure Park offers spectacular Zipline adventure slides across the Kruis River. The eight slides, of which the longest is 211m, zigzag along cables across the river gorge, as high as 50m above the water in some places. Each section presents its own surprises, adventure, wonders and beautiful views over indigenous Tsitsikamma fauna and flora. Users can control the speed of their descent, allowing them to stop midcable to take in some of the awesome views over the waterfalls. The guides provide interesting commentary about the area as patrons traverse the gorge and waterfalls.

We operate in all weather conditions, 365 days a year. This is a dry activity and rain suites will be provided when necessary. Children 3 years and older can partake in this action packed adventure thrill. We do allow children and the timid to slide in tandem with parents or with a guide.

from: Tsitsikamma Falls Adventure

Getting a harness fitted and receiving the first safety lecture. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

A guide demonstrating the equipment and how to use it, including another safety lecture. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

Remember to click the carriage on properly before taking a step off the platform! ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

And away they go . . .

You can stop above the waterfall and enjoy the view before continuing. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

The zip-line down the gorge is not the longest (at 156 metres) but certainly the fastest. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com


Some of the group catching their breath on a platform before continuing with the next section. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

“The Puffader” – the longest at 211 metres – is as the name suggests, a long, slow run. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com


To give you an idea of what it looks and sounds like in action, watch the short video below.

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Categories: Lifestyle/Travel, Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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21 Comments on “A zip-line adventure: How to scare your team into bonding”

  1. October 22, 2012 at 11:17 am #


    We actually did this a couple of years ago, Lisa!

    It was on our list of things to do in the Southern Cape – heaven knows how it ended up on that list, actually – I must have been in a particularly reckless mood at the time… I was nodding all through your first para, as I’m exactly the same.

    I cannot tell you how poep-scared I was, when I actually stood on that first platform. Talk about wobbling knees, thumping heart, roaring sound in the ears, slight dizziness, ice-cold fingers shivering up and down the spine. …

    That Puffadder line feels like it goes on for aaaages! And throughout, the guide kept ordering us not to brake too much, as we might get stuck halfway, and would then have to turn around in mid-air, hand-over-handing ourselves backwards to the next platform… so that didn’t help the anxiety levels at all. When someone actually did get stuck on the second or third zip, he had to do exactly that, so we saw how hard it is.

    But the adrenaline rush was quite something. Just reading your blogpost has brought it all back. In retrospect, I am really glad that I found the courage to do it, because it was unforgettable!

    So – has Willie’s team now bonded? 😉

    • October 23, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      You’re braver than I am! I don’t know whether I would have gone through with it.

      • October 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

        Luckily, I don’t work with this bunch of lunatics who actually think it’s fun! 🙂

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      Yeah . . . Loved your comment, but now that I’ve read your description I’ll definitely NOT be going on this adventure! 🙂 Was just wondering if you went on this zip-line or the other one (more of a tree-to-tree thing in the indigenous forest)?

      • October 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

        We actually did both, Lisa and Laura.

        In 2008, during a holiday in Knysna, we did the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours (which I wrote about here and in my book).

        In 2009, when Richard’s sister Tanya joined us for a week-long holiday on the Garden Route, we did the Tsitsikamma Falls zipline back-and-forth across the river gorge (thanks to Richard, I have some video-clips – with sound-effects – as proof of our craziness!).

        At the time, I was planning a follow-up book about fun things to do on the Garden Route, but I never got around to writing it, so it’s not even on my blog. Very sad about that. 😦

        The freakiest part for me – well, apart from being suspended a loooong way above the ground, which was scary enough – was the fear that the branches might snag you as you ‘zip’ past. Shudder… thank heavens, that didn’t happen, ‘cos you instinctively tuck your limbs in close!

      • October 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

        You did both?! Then you definitely aren’t as much of a wimp as I am! 🙂

      • October 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

        LOL! It was definitely outside my comfort zone, Lisa.

  2. Estie
    October 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Sounds like an adventure! I have a fear of heights but would like to do the tree-top route. Ask the adventurer in your house if that is not scary?

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      Hi Estie!

      Spoke to Willie. He says that both the zip-line adventures are “fun”. This one is in a more open area, and down a river. The sections are longer and faster. The other one is the tree-to-tree one in the indigenous forest. It has shorter sections, and you brake differently (with your gloved hands) which could be trickier. I asked him which one is higher, and he said that perhaps the tree-top one is further off the ground, but maybe it just feels like that because you’re in the forest canopy. Being in forestry, he really like the tree top one.

      Reggie (from the blog Grains of Sand) wrote a post about the tree-top one which you can read here: http://namibsands.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/tsitsikamma-canopy-tours/ You can click on her photos to enlarge them.

  3. October 23, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    Oh, Lisa, I am SOOOOOO with you on this. I don’t do amusement parks or any of the other high-risk activities you’ve outlined. These photos look terrifying to me. I am a wimp, as well. We wimps need to stick together.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      Yes, wimps unite! 🙂 I’m so glad that I do not work with a bunch of people that think this is “fun”.

  4. October 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Oh my goodness. When I plan something a team building exercise at work it usually involves food. It usually doesn’t come with a safety lecture. 🙂 Ha.
    Looks like everyone had a great time!

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Ha ha! Feel the same way. When did “team building” get to be so dangerous?!

  5. October 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    My co-workers wanted to go white water rafting as a team building exercise. I was thankful the weather turned bad before that became a reality. I actually wouldn’t mind zip lining though!

    • October 25, 2012 at 6:43 am #

      I think I’d be more comfortable with the idea of white water rafting, than being suspended way above the ground. Why does “team building” always have to entail something potentially dangerous?!

  6. Madoqua
    October 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Oh I have to do this – it sounds so awesome! I am game to try some things, but like Lisa, you won’t find me doing bungee jumping or going on crazy rides that churn up ones insides and leave them all displaced! But this sounds awesome!

    We used to call these things fooffy-slides when we made our own as kids. (Now they were ‘interesting’ and fortunately never very high off the ground!). Did anyone else make fooffy-slides?

    • October 25, 2012 at 6:51 am #

      I’m sure they got the idea of zip-lining from kids’ foofy-slides (haven’t heard that word in a long time! 🙂 ). With Australians being so “outdoors-y” and adventurous, I’m sure they’ve got some zip-lines in Australia you could try out.

  7. October 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Hi Lisa, Kathryn, who got Freshly Pressed today asked me if I knew you…also being from South Africa of course. Glad i stumbled across your spot though! I am, a whimpy adrenaline junkie…I have not done the tsitsikamma zipline, but i did do the one in magaliesburg, and it was a huge amount of fun. I get so scared, that I have to force myself, but whohaa!!
    I have been thinking of doing a tandem skydive in Magaliesburg…just need to find another sucker to do it with me! Shared courage…:)

    • October 25, 2012 at 7:10 am #

      Hi Gerda! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. 🙂 Kathy was one of the first bloggers I came across on WordPress. It’s always nice to meet a fellow South Africa blogger. You’re obviously way braver than I am. If you do do that skydive, I expect to see photos and a blog post!

  8. November 5, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Thrilling ……………. 🙂

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