I’m dangling in mid-air – ten metres above ground and from a single cable between bluegum trees. I’ve fallen off the DNA Bridge.
The paralysing shock’s turned my brain and body to mush. But course instructor, Sifiso’s soothing voice tells me he’s coming to the rescue. Like Superman, he scoops me up to safety with a single arm.
On all four aerial courses at Acrobranch, Stellenbosch, instructors constantly tell you to ‘hook up’ to the carabiners on the safety cable. Important, though an irritating distraction.
Adults and kids alike here are challenged to reach new heights-and overcome fears of the same – as courses progressively increase in difficulty.
Taking on the most advanced Red course, as I did, also meant dealing with The Rings: stepping into small metal rings to progress while holding ropes to keep your body from splitting apart! Up here even grown men have involuntarily begun urinating in fear, leaving the course unfinished.
Negotiating the Log Bridge with more rope and less log and getting your legs in a wobbly twist on the Rope Walk is no walk in the park, either. Par for the course is bruised and aching bodies afterwards.
Taking a breather on a treetop platform I’m enviously watching and listening to the children’s thrills and spills on the easier Green and Blue courses.
Under sixes haves a cute yellow course. Their most loved activities: the 12-metre long zipline – where parents sometimes become an extra ground harness – and the four-wheeled aerial scooter on two cables.
My eventual reward is the Red Zipline, followed by an even better 130 metre long Big Zip experience, which descends and extends across the park. Eyes open, I’m almost enjoying it.
Back on terra firma Sifiso’s rated me an eight out of ten. “You’re calm and confident up there.” Who would have thought it?