From high heels to high hills – the lady-bird adventurers who are taking on the world

Canopy Tour Group. Picture: Supplied.

Canopy Tour Group. Picture: Supplied.

Published Mar 28, 2023


By Niki Moore

During working hours they wear high heels, lipstick and linen suits … but in their leisure time they don hiking boots, wetsuits and safety harnesses.

They don’t care if their hair gets wet, or their mascara is smudged, or their acrylic nails take a beating.

During the week they rule the boardroom, on weekends they tame the wilderness. Zip-lining, sky-diving, rock-climbing, white-water rafting, abseiling, bungee-jumping: it’s a case of “have the gear, take the plunge”.

A new LinkedIn group, From High Heels to High Hills, provides a networking platform for these women to make it easier to find like-minded friends and colleagues and leverage special offers and excursions.

“Women, especially black women, are feeling more empowered,” says psychologist Sharon Munyaka. “We no longer feel that we need to ask permission. If we want to do something, we go ahead and do it. I went bungee-jumping on my honeymoon – and my in- laws have still not got over that!”

“Whenever I can, I go into nature, and I take other women with me,” says businesswoman Thobeka Dlamini. “They see me with my backpack and they say ‘How can you do that?’ They are fascinated by my lifestyle, and they want to try it.”

Journalist Cebo Bhengu is another adrenalin junkie. “I love new spaces, new experiences, new conversations,” she says. “I love exploring, hiking, being in beautiful settings, swimming under waterfalls, the beach and the ocean. I take my son with me, to expose him to as much as possible in life.”

All three women recommend that anyone who wishes to experience adventure activities should start with something relatively entry-level.

Canopy Tours twosome. Picture: Supplied.

“Don’t buy expensive gear, or go for something like crocodile diving on your first try,” says Sharon. “Start from something like hiking or zip-lining. It’s safe, it’s not dangerous, it’s a good way to start, you are in good hands.”

Canopy Tours SA, a zip-lining company with seven sites around South Africa, has come on board as the group’s first partner, and will be offering specials and incentives.

“We have seen a huge increase in women coming on their own, with friends, in groups, or with their children, to put on a harness and go ziplining,” says Mark Brown of Canopy Tours SA. “We love seeing their enthusiasm and joy. It really is the closest thing to flying like a bird.”

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