Who wants to walk through the woods when you can walk above the woods? The Kirstenbosch Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway in Cape Town allows you to do just that. Posed high above the trees, a walk across this beautiful platform offers a unique vantage point over the forest trees below. You can pretend you are a bird or a monkey, taking in the lush forest from such great heights.
Stretching 427 feet in length over the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in South Africa, the canopy stands as tall as 39 feet above the ground in some places, and only touches the ground at two points.
Along the walkway there are a number of observation areas where the bridge spans wider so that visitors can enjoy the unmatched surrounding views. The walkway changes in elevation along the way, offering a variety of views. You will find yourself above the trees, as well as amongst the trees with beautiful foliage on all sides.
Informally referred to as ‘The Boomslang’, which translates to tree snake, this low-impact sculptural raised walkway is truly one of a kind. The walkway starts at the forest floor and then ascends upward, granting views of the forest from every angle possible.
As the walkway bursts up and away from the forest floor, visitors can take in the panoramic views of surrounding mountains, as well as the garden and Cape Flats below.
Kirstenbosch is the world’s first botanic garden included as a Natural World Heritage Site. The 89-acre (36 hectare) garden was established in 1913 and is located within another nature reserve spanning 1305 acres (528 hectares).
The walkway was built in celebration of the centenary of Kirstenbosch’s 100th anniversary in 2013. Plans for the walkway began in 2012, and actual construction spanned between 2013 and 2014. The canopy walkway was officially opened to the public on May 17, 2014.
The bridge is made from tubular steel, with welded ribs and a light mesh. The bridge is heavily secured by steel rods, bolts and concrete foundation pads.
Despite the walkways stability, utmost care was taken to leave tree roots unharmed. The structure was built off-site and transported in 6 m lengths in order to reduce disruption of surrounding trees and wildlife.
There is no charge to access the Kirstenbosch Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway, so the next time you are in South Africa make sure to check out this uniquely beautiful (and free!) experience.
Photo Credits: sanbi.org