Written by: Simon OChen
Staring past my toes dangling over the edge of the platform, the Zambezi River flowed 111 meters below me.
“Are you ready?” the crew asked me. When is anyone ever ready to jump off a completely stable bridge?
They counted down from five before calling out, “Bungee!”
Whether I actually jumped or they threw me off is still in debate. I swan-dived over as though I had been jumping off hundred-meter high bridges all my life, the sense of free-falling quickly taking over as gravity sucked me down towards the river at rapid speed.
It was a week ago when I met Kent Davis of Shearwater Adventures who said I should do the three air combo. “You’ll do the zip-line, bungee jump and the gorge swing,” he said as we overlooked the Victoria Falls Bridge, the jumping platform and one of the most picturesque spots to bungee anywhere in the world.
“I dunno,” I had said.
“What kind of adventure traveller are you?” he jived me.
Then someone said, “Alright.” I looked around and realised too late that it was me.
The morning had started with a zip-line, the easiest of the three air combo (you can do just one of the three offered). What’s great about it (besides flying 240 meters over the Zambezi Gorge on nothing but a line of rope as white-water rafters battle the rapids below) is that this is the only place in the world where you can zip-line from one country – Zambia – to another –Zimbabwe.
As I climbed back to the bridge I tried to sneak past the bungee platform. “Are you jumping?” the crew asked. I sighed and reluctantly said, “Yes.”
With cameras in my face I was asked how I felt. “I’m about to throw myself off a bridge. How do you think I feel?” I managed to grin but inside my stomach was swirling and jumping in itself, as though to argue with me that I shouldn’t be doing this (especially as last night’s pub crawl was still being fought off by my liver).
But now, as I dangled upside down, I was grinning, the rush of adrenaline making me wide-eyed to the world.
Then came the Gorge Swing. Unlike the bungee jump, the rope is hooked to your chest with a safety line attached as backup. Then, again, you’re asked to stand on the edge of the platform with your toes over the edge. “You have to jump forward,” said one of the crew, impersonating a kangaroo hop.
“Are you ready?” I was asked, an immediate ‘No’ popping into my brain. Before I could translate it down to my mouth the countdown had reached one and I was in the air.
I was provided with a 70 meter free fall before swinging up 80 meters to dangle mid-air over the river. The gorge swing provides a higher rush and more sense of free falling. After catching my breath I looked up to the bridge above me. I couldn’t believe I had just jumped off it – twice – on a Sunday morning.
Would I do it again?
Well that depends on the previous night’s pub-crawl.