“You can’t fall if you don’t climb, but there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground.”
That’s how the saying goes, anyway. But there is certainly a moment, during your Afriabseil adventure, when solid ground looks pretty good and you may wish that you’d spent your whole life living on the ground! It’s around the time that you’ve finished your rock climb out to the tip of the fingers and are about to step off the edge into the abseiling abyss…
But let’s take you back a few steps, before you think we’re making it sound more daunting than it actually is. Now, we’re adventurous and have enjoyed many of Plettenberg Bay’s adrenaline activities, but there’s always that moment, when you go: “How good of an idea is this, really?” When we were invited by Kaarin of Afriabseil to try their new climbing and abseiling experience, we were thrilled and also a little intimidated, having never rock climbed before. In my mind, I had that vision of the perfect specimen, clinging singled-handed, to the edge of a towering cliff, surrounded by blue sky. But, Kaarin assured us, this rock-climbing experience is designed for everyone. It’s called Via Ferrata and means “always connected”. That sounds much better and the Via Ferrata system lives up to its name and you are. Always connected.
Afriabseil is located in the naturally beautiful Crags region of Plettenberg Bay. A region that includes wine farms, canyoning, birding, Fynbos, forest and some of the best hikes in Plettenberg Bay. You get the idea: nature and wildlife abounds; the perfect place to climb to the middle of a canyon across a rock formation called “The Fingers” and abseil to the forest floor!
Arriving at Afriabseil, we were impressed with the relaxed efficiency of the staff as they set about settling nervous tension with a thorough briefing and calm good humour. We were kitted up in harnesses and helmets, and off through the indigenous forest to the edge of the canyon, where our rock climbing adventure would begin. To be honest, you can’t see how deep the canyon is until you’re well into the rock climbing segment of the experience, and. by then, you’re reasonably comfortable that you’re a rock climbing legend who can scale tall mountains! You may be wondering how we went from inexperienced climbers to legends? It’s Via Ferrata, the system of being continuously connected, and its amazing! By simply remaining connected to the guide line at all times, you can enjoy the thrill of rock climbing, in a controlled setting. Who would have known that we would love it quite this much? The exhileration of climbing along a rock ledge, surrounded by the sounds of the forest and fresh Plett air – it’s a golden feeling.
The last stretch is a little intimidating as you make your way to the pinnacle of the “Fingers”, but, once there, stop and take it all in – you’re on top of the world! Our guide even took a few minutes to sing “Build me up, Buttercup!” to calm frayed nerves and prepare us for the abseil down to the canyon floor. With the sounds of off-key singing echoing off the canyon walls, we were ready for our abseil. And from here, it just got better and better.
Thoroughly briefed and prepared, we began our descent, always attached and always in communication and, suddenly, you’re hanging 50m above the ground! The forest recedes, sounds intensify and you’re on your way! Take your time, take in the views – this is the culmination of all of that climbing! And, all too soon, your feet are on solid ground and you’re back in the forest. But we’ll never forget being perched above the trees in that beautiful sunshine, singing…
Don’t believe us – watch the video below for a taste of this amazing Plettenberg Bay adventure!