With winter well and truly behind us, the Overstrand is gearing up for the summer season, enticing both locals and visitors to venture into the great outdoors and experience the many nature and adventure activities on offer in our region during this Heritage Day long weekend and the school holidays. 

Whether it’s hiking in the fabulous Fernkloof Reserve or enjoying the many events presented during the annual Hermanus Flower Festival (see programme on P 16), or the Funky Fynbos Festival in the Gansbaai region (see What’s On on pages 14 & 15), there is no excuse for remaining cooped up inside or complaining of boredom!

For adrenaline junkies, SA Forest Adventures offers a range of adventure activities that present a whole new way of experiencing the natural attractions of the Overstrand. How about a tree-top zipline tour that extends from the mountain, over a small waterfall between the poplar trees and canyon? You will glide from platform to platform high above the ground (8 m – 50 m) over the tree canopy, with only bird sounds echoing in the forest. This will certainly give you a view of our Hemel-en-Aarde valley that you’ve never seen before! 

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, how about SA Forest Adventures’ Quad Bike Trail? You can opt for a route that takes you through the world-renowned vineyards of Hamilton Russell and Southern Right wineries, up the mountain and through the fynbos kingdom into Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Other options include a wine tasting quad trail and a stargazing trip that will bring you closer to the brilliant display of a starry African night sky. 

Another popular activity is Paintball and up to six games a day are hosted at SA Forest Adventures’ field near Camphill, which also has braai facilities that can be pre-booked. Not to mention sandboarding, a thrilling recreational activity that takes place on a large +-230 metre-high sand dune and is guaranteed to be an experience you will remember for years to come! Visit www.saforestadventures.co.za for more information.

If horse riding is your passion, how about enjoying a horse trail along the coast? Pearly Beach Horse Trails offers unforgettable horseback adventures that will take you through dune forests and across the pristine white sandy beaches of one of the most exquisite stretches of coastline. Or meander through rural farmland, and into the mountains, discovering the unique indigenous fynbos whilst taking in the splendid scenery.

You’ll enjoy the individual and knowledgeable attention of your personal trail guide, Sarah Coronaios, who will share with you her passion for horses and the Overberg. Southern Right Whales are plentiful in season and the lure of a dip in the cool blue Atlantic beckons on hot trail-riding days. Pearly Beach Horse Trails are suitable for young and old, from novice to experienced riders. All trails are inclusive of a professional photographic package that includes a drone video so that you can take home your special memories. For more details, visit www.pbhorsetrails.co.za.

A visit to the Panthera Africa near Stanford is nothing less than inspiring. The main purpose of this big cat sanctuary is to be an educational platform where founders Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine S. Nyquist create awareness about conditions big cats face in captivity, and how animal welfare and enrichment play a vital role in giving them the best captive life possible. They are a blueprint of how an ethical non-profit sanctuary can become self-sufficient.

Pre-bookings can be made to visit this 40 ha paradise, where the knowledgeable and passionate staff will educate you on interesting facts about the different species (lions, cheetahs, leopards, caracals and Bengal tigers) and enlighten you about their unique personalities and their heartfelt rescue stories. You can either book for an educational visit or an enrichment visit – find all the details at www.pantheraafrica.com.

Dyer Island Cruises offers Whale-watching and Eco Tours from their headquarters in Kleinbaai – an experience that many have described as “life-changing”. With the whale-watching season in full swing, why not book a safe and comfortable cruise into the heart of the Marine Big Five? At this time of year you have a good chance of seeing whales, dolphins, cape fur seals, African penguins and great white sharks, potentially in a single trip, in the company of experienced marine tour guides. 

You’ll be taken to Dyer Island, which is located 8 km from shore and is an access-controlled Important Bird Area (IBA) for the conservation of its many resident bird species, including African penguins. From there you’ll cruise to Geyser Rock, home to a 60 000 strong Cape fur seal colony, and into the channel of water between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock known as the world-famous ‘Shark Alley’ and, finally, to all the whale hot-spots in the bay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Visit www.whalewatchsa.com for all the information.

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