Newly launched environmental-friendly Knysna Ziplines to boost Garden Route tourism
Knysna Ziplines opens to visitors on Friday, September 18, 2020, which could potentially help boost Garden Route tourism.
The ziplines were given the green light in 2017, but work was put on hold due to the Knysna fires that year. Work restarted in late 2018 and was completed just before the national lockdown in March.
The new attraction is set to be Garden Route’s longest and highest zipline. Located at the Kranshoek gorge, travellers can immerse themselves with scenic views of the ocean, fynbos and indigenous forests.
General Manager of the Garden Route National Park, Vuyiswa Thabethe, said the attraction aims to boost tourism and has socio-economic benefits to the local and regional area in keeping with SANParks’ vision of “a sustainable national parks system, connecting society”.
Thabethe said: "The zipline kicks off with experienced adventure guides, who are highly trained in safety procedures, sourced from other 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."
The managing director of SA Forest Adventures Clinton Lerm said the zipline is 2.2km in length and will start operating with four lines and increased to six by the end of the year.
Park Manager for Knysna Megan Taplin said that they were excited to add environmental friendly adventure products, which will complement the existing popular hiking and mountain bike trails.’ 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 GRNP.
An operational environmental assessment was completed before the start of the project and construction activities monitored by environmental consultants. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) 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.