Tag Archives: bridge

Following the Cliff Path of the Hermanus Biodiversity Walk (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 09 MAY 2018

Hermanus is probably the best place for land based whale watching in the Western Cape (which is why we find ourselves visiting at least once a year), and its beautifully maintained Cliff Path makes this relaxing activity all that more better.

Although originally constructed by the Hermanus Botanical Society, these days the path is cared for by the volunteer Cliff Path Management Group (CPMG), who have done a fantastic job in improving, making accessible, and enhancing the walkway such that it remains one of the more popular Hermanus tourist attractions.

Wedged between the Kleinriviersberg mountain range in the north and the broad expanse of Walker Bay to the south, the official walkway meanders for almost eleven kilometres along Hermanus’ rugged and beautiful coastline, stretching from the New Harbour in the west and snaking all the way through to the estuary at the mouth of the Klein River in the east.

In addition to being great for whale watching, the path is super interesting for nature lovers as well, winding through a diversity of vegetation types (complemented by some informative signage along the Biodiversity Walk stretch). It takes you past a number of fascinating points of interest, including both the historic Old and New harbours, as well as the village market square. Follow it for long enough and near the wooden footbridge at the mouth of the Mossel River, you’ll even find signs depicting the graves of two southern right whales that beached at that point!

Beyond the river mouth, the path continues around the Langbaai bathing beach, on to the Kammabaai and Voëlklip beaches and right up to the magnificent main Grotto beach – which itself sweeps for nineteen kilometers around Walker Bay to De Kelders and Gansbaai!

Last year August saw us in town for a spot of whale watching (and of course lunch), and naturally we took the time to stroll a small section of this brilliant walkway on the day. It will still be a few years until we can walk the whole thing in one go (the girls moan far too much at the prospect of walking any real sort of distance at the moment), but once everyone is ready (i.e. a little more grown up) it is definitely something I’m going to make us do!

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Anyway, Hermanus always makes for a good day trip, and seeing as whale season is soon upon us once again, I guess we’ll be back in the area sooner than later…

Related Link: Hermanus Cliff Path | Hermanus

Things to See in South Africa: The Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikamma Travel Attractions 30 MAY 2016

Opened in 1983 following a construction period that lasted three years, the Bloukrans Bridge is an arch bridge on the national N2 highway near Nature’s Valley, at the border between the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape in the Tsitsikamma area of South Africa’s Garden Route.

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Built through a partnership of Murray & Roberts and Concor, and designed by Liebenberg & Stander, the Bloukrans Bridge was constructed by the free suspended cantilever system. That is, every fourth segment – each averaging 5.25 metres in length – is tied back by the BBR suspension cables. At the time of construction, the Bloukrans Bridge was the largest concrete arch bridge in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. The arch alone, has a mass of nearly 12,000 tonnes!

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Standing at a height of 216m above the Bloukrans River, the bridge has a central span of 272m, with a length of 451m in total. This road bridge cost aroud R11 million to construct, and also happens to be the site of the world’s highest commercial bungee jumping operation, becoming the first African bridge for bungee jumping in 1990.

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Bloukrans Bridge Bungy, operated by Face Adrenalin since 1997 (when the bridge officially opened for bungy jumping), is the current bungee site operator – just in case you want to go and have a closer look at this engineering marvel!

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Related Link: Wikipedia | Highest Bridges

Things to See in France: Millau Viaduct Travel Attractions 22 JUL 2015

If you suffer from a fear of heights, then perhaps the best thing would be to not travel to the tallest bridge in the world (and 12th highest), France’s Millau Viaduct. (If you are however not afraid of heights, then you should definitely make the trip!)

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The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France.

Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast’s summit at 343.0 metres above the base of the structure. It is the 12th highest bridge deck in the world, being 270 metres between the road deck and the ground below.

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The Millau Viaduct is part of the A75-A71 autoroute axis from Paris to Béziers and Montpellier. The cost of construction was approximately €400 million. It was formally inaugurated on 14 December 2004, and opened to traffic on 16 December.

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The bridge has been consistently ranked as one of the great engineering achievements of all time. The bridge received the 2006 International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Outstanding Structure Award.

What’s particularly interesting here is the funding model. The bridge’s construction cost up to €394 million, with a toll plaza 6 km (3.7 mi) north of the viaduct costing an additional €20 million. The builders, Eiffage, financed the construction in return for a concession to collect the tolls for 75 years, until 2080. However, (and this is the part I like) if the concession yields high revenues, the French government can assume control of the bridge as early as 2044.

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The project required about 127,000 cubic metres of concrete, 19,000 tonnes of steel for the reinforced concrete and 5,000 tonnes of pre-stressed steel for the cables and shrouds. The builder claims that the lifetime of the bridge will be at least 120 years – giving you plenty of time to pop along and see it if you haven’t yet gotten around to it! ;)

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Related Link: Millau Viaduct | Wikipedia

Things to See in South Africa: Kirstenbosch Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway (Boomslang) Travel Attractions 27 MAY 2015

Kirstenbosch is a famous botanical garden, founded in 1913 to preserve the country’s unique indigenous flora, nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. The garden is one of nine National Botanical Gardens covering five of South Africa’s six different biomes.

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The garden, established in 1913 by Henry Harold Pearson on land bequeathed by Cecil John Rhodes, includes a large conservatory (The Botanical Society Conservatory) exhibiting plants from a number of different regions, including savanna, fynbos, karoo and others. Outdoors, the focus is on plants native to the Cape region, highlighted by the spectacular collections of proteas. From the gardens several trails lead off along and up the mountain slopes and these are much used by walkers and mountaineers. One of the trails, up a ravine called Skeleton Gorge, is an easy and popular route to the summit of Table Mountain.

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Built in 2013-14 to celebrate the centenary of Kirstenbosch in 2013, the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. Inspired by a snake skeleton, and informally called ‘The Boomslang’ (meaning tree snake), it is a low-maintenance, low-impact sculptural raised walkway.

The Walkway takes the visitor from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, giving spectacular panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, Garden and Cape Flats.

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The Boomslang is 130 m long, narrow and slender, with a few wider view-point areas, and lightly snakes its way through the canopy, in a discreet, almost invisible way. The walkway is crescent-shaped and takes advantage of the sloping ground; it touches the forest floor in two places, and raises visitors to 12 m above ground. It is more than just a traditional boardwalk – like a snake, it winds and dips.

The Arboretum (over which it winds) is situated between the Protea Garden, Cycad Amphitheatre, the Dell, Mathews Rockery and the Concert Lawn.

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The project cost R5 million ZAR to complete and was constructed via collaboration between Mark Thomas Architects and Engineers Henry Fagan & Partners consulting engineers.

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Related Links: Wikipedia | SANBI | Tree Canopy Walkway