Knysna Ziplines, the Garden Route’s longest and highest zipline is ready for those scouting for an exhilarating expedition, and will open to visitors on September 18.
The ziplines were given a thumbs up to proceed with construction in 2017, but were disrupted by the 2017 Knysna fires. Work restarted in late 2018 and was completed just before the Covid-19 lockdown in late March.
The zipline is located at the Kranshoek gorge, with scenic views of the ocean, fynbos and indigenous forests.
“The zipline product aims to boost tourism and socioeconomic benefits to the local and regional area, in keeping with South African National Parks’ vision of ‘a sustainable national parks system, connecting society’,” Garden Route National Park GM Vuyiswa Thabethe said during the project launch on September 15.
The zipline kicks off with experienced adventure guides, who are highly trained in safety procedures, sourced from other South African (SA) Forest Adventures sites. These guides will train and mentor new staff hired from the neighbouring Kranshoek, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay areas, with about 15 jobs to be created altogether for local community members.
Material and products used in the project were sourced locally in South Africa, apart from the specially imported recycled plastic material used for the lines and specialised zipline equipment.
Plastic cables greatly reduce noise pollution, an important aspect of operating within the tranquil environment of a national park.
SA Forest Adventures MD Clinton Lerm noted that the zipline is 2.2 km long and will start operating with four lines, before increasing to six lines by the end of the year.
“We are very excited to add environment-friendly adventure products which will attract more visitors to our park and complement the existing popular hiking and mountain bike trails,” said Knysna Park manager Megan Taplin.
The zipline product is expected to double the number of local and international visitors to Knysna.
In the last three financial years, 99 456 visitors were recorded in the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park.
An operational environmental assessment was completed prior to the start of the project and construction activities monitored by environmental consultants.
An environmental-impact assessment process was not triggered by the project and its location. Indigenous plants removed as a result of the construction of the platforms were replanted elsewhere in the park or used for rehabilitation.