Zip lining

Talk about sanitising the way we describe an activity!

The activity in question is hitching yourself to a pulley that slides down a long cable or wire stretched from tree to tree. Launching yourself from a height, gravity pulls you down and gives you an exciting and often scenic ride over tree-tops and countryside.  The ride can last from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes in general.


We always called this a flying fox and I remember going on them in school and scout camps in New Zealand and I have been on them in a couple of other parts of the world too and as far I can recall they were named this way.

Now I find them dubbed zip lining or zip wires and that they are being marketed worldwide. Zip line sounds like a plastic bag with its own zip like fastener you use for freezing food.  All very practical and hygienic but nothing like the mystery of the flying fox.  Which are, you ask?


A large bat with a wide wingspan that can soar across the skies. Much more appropriate if you ask me. But then bats are pretty ugly and not everyone’s cup of tea so you can see why those in marketing decided this outdoor activity needed a new name.

There is a South African term for the same thing – foefie slide – that sounds fun but it seems it may also be out of fashion nowadays.