| 5 min read
At the end of Spring, we were invited by Wallonie Belgique Tourisme to discover ‘Wallonie – Terre d’Eau’, a touristic program that underlines the natural beauty of the southern part of the country characterized by an abundance of lakes, rivers, brooks… And rain. The central theme ('Wallonie au bord de l'Eau') was pretty obvious after day one, when we got soaked visiting the Eau d’Heure Lakes not too far from Charleroi. Despite the bad weather, we still enjoyed the setting and had loads of fun imitating Tarzan in an adjacent rope park.
Lacs de l’eau d’heure
Although there are lots of fun things to do in Brussels in Summer, the coast and other lake-side places definitely have their appeal. Especially on hot days it can be nice to cool down by the water.
One of those places are the Lacs de L’eau d’Heure, situated south of Charleroi. It’s actually a collection of five lakes (Plate Taille, Feronval, l’Eau d’Heure, Ry Jaure and Falamprise), which together create a very nice a natural setting for a relaxed weekend with your partner, family or friends. There is a wide variety of activities to entertain these different audiences. Have fun in the water with your friends while peddling, swimming, canoeing… Enjoy a long walk around the lake with your partner. Or make it a family excursion with kid-friendly activities, like spending time at the beach if they’re still small, or climbing through the canopy at Natura Parc if they’re old enough.
As the Belgian climate had already unleashed a torrent of water upon us, we skipped the water activities and went with an adventurous alternative instead. Natura Parc is a rope park, with different tracks of varying difficulty all the way up to the canopy. The easiest tracks are relatively low to the ground, whereas the most challenging ones are as high as the tree crests.
After our instructor helped us into our security belts and explained some safety rules, we kicked off with the first and easiest trail, which was a consecution of ziplines, nets, ropes, horizontal ladders, and a small wooden tunnel. Given that we were attached with a safety line, there was no real danger. Nevertheless, the adrenaline still rushed through our veins as we walked over a rope spun between two trees and looked down to realize we had climbed much higher than we thought.
As soon as we got used to the height, we were challenged by the next course that took things to another level – literally. Also the physical challenge became harder with every course. Our canopy adventure culminated with the last course where we whizzed through the forest on a long series of ziplines. One even went over the lake.
Although the canopy adventure ends here for most people, there’s still a little bonus for the bravest amongst you. If you’ve always wanted to jump from a tree, this is the opportunity to do so without breaking your neck.
When the instructor asked for volunteers, I said yes, but instantly regretted my decision. A giant ladder led up to a platform in one of the highest trees of the forest. Climbing up, I lost my breath as I neared that platform and looked down. Even though it seemed high already from ground-level, it was even more impressive when seen from above. The instructor asked me to stand on the edge of the platform, but I felt more like holding onto the tree for dear life. In the meantime, another group had gathered around us to see what was happening. Great, extra pressure. Gathering all my courage, I took a deep breath and jumped off the platform. The sensation was so overwhelming it is hard to put in words. It was so scary to fall into the void, and even though the actual experience only took a few seconds, it felt like forever before I felt the reassuring grip of my harness. On a side note, I didn’t know I was able to produce such high-pitched shrieks.
Where to stay
We stayed in the Best Western Golden Lakes Hotel which is located next to the lake. The rooms are super bright thanks to the large windows looking out over the lake and the surrounding nature. And they have the most comfy beds ever enjoyed by mankind. I’ve rarely slept so well.
- More information about the rope course on the Natura Parc Website
- In July, August and other school breaks, the park is open every day from 10:00 to 19:00. During the rest of the year, it’s open on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00.
- Prices for the rope course vary between 20 and 36 EUR per person.
- The Eau d’Heure Lakes are situated about 100km from Brussels. To get there, it is best to hire a car, as public transportation is very limited.
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