Blackwater Tubing on Storms River
The word “tsitsikamma” comes from the ancient San people and means “place of abundant waters”. Exploring these waters is the perfect way to immerse yourself within the unspoilt beauty of this exquisite area. It was a sweltering day when the SA-Venues.com team decided to brave the deep Storms River waters and, apart from the obvious excitement, we were glad to be spending time in the cool waters too.
We were greeted by our tour guides – Nico, Richard and Tait – who were full of fun and made the group of about 20 feel very comfortable and well-prepared. We were briefed for about 15 minutes at the Tube ‘n Axe Lodge before being given our gear (wetsuits, helmets and lifejackets) and loaded onto two trucks. The tour starts straight away with a drive through the town and then the breath-taking Tsitsikamma forest to reach the water, with a commentary by the guides on the various types of trees as well as a brief history of the area.
On arrival, each person is given their tube and guided down a steep path down into the valley. The path is well defined and there are ropes on which to hold to steady yourself. Although it requires some concentration, this path is manageable. However, those with knee or back problems may find it challenging and shoes are definitely recommended for this section of the tour.
After a short climb down, we reached the water, stained dark-brown by the leaves that fall into it but safe to drink. Thus began our blackwater tubing adventure.
The water level was rather low in places, which meant a little walking between tubing stretches. In other places, though, it can reach up to eight metres deep. The guides tumbled each of us out of our tubes for a surprise dip in the cool water. Although playful, they were always alert to our safety.
There were about four different spots that provided ideal “diving boards” on the cliff faces surrounding us. The guides demonstrated how to perform different jumps and then watched carefully as some of us had a go. This added some adrenalin to a fun, relaxing experience, and I was outdone by a 10-year old who had far more guts than I could muster.
The guides treated us to chocolates along the way for that added boost. They also pointed out a Fish Eagle, ever alert to the fauna and flora around us.
Once our trip was complete (about four hours after we began), we were taken back to Tube ‘n Axe for a generous lunch of roast chicken, vegetables and roosterbrood. Vegetarian options were available. We were able to purchase a DVD with the photos of our tour for only R40 afterwards, which is a fabulous way to remember the fun we had on our watery adventure.