Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort is 170km from Cape Town on the N7, situated just after the top of the pass with the same name. The Cederberg Mountains shimmer in blues and greys in the distance and the road we arrived on continues its twists and turns for another eight kilometres to the farming town of Citrusdal, appearing as a hazy mini land at the foot of the valley.
We arrived just after nine in the morning on a perfect Cape West Coast winters day. Impossibly blue skies contradicted the chill in the air, and the bright sun lights up rocks and trees in copper tones.
Sitting on the deck overlooking the Olifant’s River Valley we dived in to welcome bowls of creamy butternut soup, warm spicy breadsticks, and steaming hot coffee. Bellies full and bodies warmed we were ready for our adventure. Zip lining !
Safety trumps fashion as we gear up and listen to the briefing of the do’s and don’ts when zip lining. I don’t think the full body harnesses suits many people, but I do feel reassured that it won’t come off under any circumstances. The lovely Shammy Shamrock manages to own the look, styling in her bright colours, clips and safety gear.
Before I have time to wonder if I am nervous, I am on the first platform being clipped in and looking over the dam to my landing point some 90 meters away. Natasha, our guide is calm and reassuring and with a big smile, she sends me on my way.
“I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky” sings R.Kelly in my head and I forget about the lines, the harness and the helmet and embrace the freedom. For a moment it is just me, traveling in the air looking up at the endless blue and down at the rocky ground, burnt trees and vivid greens of the new growth.
Yes, I am flying and it’s awesome.
This is a perfect experience for first timers or anyone who is keen to try but is a little apprehensive about the thought of zip- lining.
Some zip-line adventures involve platforms that are extremely high up and bolted to rock faces or trees and the views looking down are knee trembling sheer drops into a wild abyss. Totally awesome if you have zip-lined before or are hooked on adrenalin rush adventures, but nerve wracking if you have even the smallest fear of heights and do not know what to expect once you take off.
The platforms here are a manageable four to six meters above the ground making the leap of faith into fresh air an easy one.
They also have a braking method that I particularly enjoyed as I am not any good at the traditional method of braking which involves using your gloved hand to push down on the line behind your head.
This method has you positioned with both hands in front of you, slightly above your head, holding onto two handles that are attached to a metal runner clipped onto the line. It gives you full control of your speed as it’s as simple as “push up to go pull down to stop” After the first slide, for the first time ever, I was a zip- lining pro and it felt good.
Waiting my turn to do the second slide I got distracted by the incredible abandoned building next to the platform . Wandering through the remains of this home with no roof and crumbling walls, the windows reveal magnificent views and I pause to think about who might have lived here, what is their story and why did they leave such a beautiful place. Hopefully I will find out next time.
On the 16th January 2016 a wild fire raged out of control and for two days the staff and every available hand fought the flames that approached from all sides. The burnt vegetation is still visible no more than twenty meters from the hotel buildings. Staff members tell me that the expertise of Jan Horn, the GM of Piekenierskloof, and an ex Firefighter for the City Of Cape Town, is what saved the resort.
The existing zip-lines that crossed the valley were all burned down or damaged and we were there to celebrate the re- opening of the first three of the seven new slides.
The Shadow Minister of Tourism toasts the success of another WestCoast adventure attraction.
Piekenierskloof took this opportunity to make this adventure even better than before and the new slides are longer, traversing down the valley rather than across it, making them even more exciting.
The remaining four lines will be open to the public around the end of August 2016 and promise to provide thrills to all who dare to #ZipLineKloof. I can’t wait.
The cost for zip-lining is extremely affordable at ZAR150 per person for three slides or ZAR250 per person for all seven slides.
Other activities worth looking at are target shooting, MTB routes, hikes and walks.
For the less active give your taste buds some excitement with pure West Coast flavours that involve chocolate and other tasty treats paired with local wines and / or Carmien Teas. This is Rooibos and citrus country where you get the very best, very fresh.
For after action relaxation the Piekenierskloof Wellness Centre can soothe and pamper you, or you can refresh in the heated indoor pool or swim outdoors where the views are truly magnificent.
Piekenierskloof is part of the WestCoastWay Berg Route. This route offers a variety of tastes, culture, adventure and nature and is a comprehensive way to discover and explore the area.
How to book and all the details.
For zip-line bookings in the pre-scheduled time slots (and with at least a day’s notice to ensure availability) contact Natasha on 022 9213574. Guests must arrive at least 30 minutes prior to complete an indemnity form at Reception and bookings are weather permitting.
For more information on Piekenierskloof and the West Coast Way Berg Route, as well as the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit www.westcoastway.co.zaor call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.
Facilities available at Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort
- Accommodation • Child Friendly • Bar • Restaurant (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner) • Outdoor Pool • Indoor Heated Pool • Wheelchair Accessibility (Chalets 9 & 16, Hotel Room 217) • 4 Star Tourism Grading • Trip Advisor • Conference Facilities • Wedding and Function Venue • Tuck Shop • Un-Guided Nature Walks • Online Booking Facilities