Bungee jumping in Africa

When I was younger I was, as most people are, a lot more hyperactive. I was constantly excited by something, looking for an adventure. My first big adventure was my gap year. I had been saying for ages before that, in a nonchalent ‘yeh-I’m-crazy-and-wacky-what-of-it’ type of way that I wanted to do all these extreme sports. White water rafting, sky diving, bungee jumping, anything, you name it, I’d rave with enthusiasm about how ‘cool’ that sounded and I’d definitely do it given half a chance.

So I’m on my gap year. It’s the last month or so and we decide to do a bit of travelling before heading home. We were in Namibia and had already been to South Africa for our previous break so decided to head north this time, up to Zambia. I couldn’t wait, Victoria Falls, it was going to be amazing. Amazing! I was so excited! Always excited! Yeh! Woo! (I must have actually been quite insufferable.)

We got there and we had about six days, I think, to spend in Livingstone. We started looking around for exciting things to do. We went to music performances, ate Zambian food and marvelled at their money, which consisted entirely of notes, and tons of them! Getting a fiver out of the cash machine gave you a handful! There was even a note which was equivalent to 0.2 of a penny! I think I still have one somewhere.

Then we noticed a few leaflets for extreme sports type of things on the Zambezi River and around the Victoria Falls bridge. And then it was time for me to do some of the things I’d been going on about, when they didn’t seem like a possibility. We white water rafted the Zambezi one day, which wasn’t too scary as it’s not really turbulent the whole way, a lot of the time you spend just paddling along the still waters singing aloud and looking at the crocodiles lounging around on the rocks, eyeing you up.

Then came the big one. We went to the Victoria Falls bridge to sight-see… and there were people jumping off it! That’s right, there was a bungee jump off the bridge. It claimed to be the highest from a bridge in the world! And Lucy reminded me that I’d always said I wanted to do one… hadn’t I? Yes indeed, I had, yes, that’s right. Well let’s go and do it then, I can’t wait.

Before I knew it I’d paid my £40ish and been stood in a queue on the bridge. And then there I was, toddling onto this little platform and getting my ankles tied together. And I thought, damn me and my big mouth. So now they’re tied together and I’m shuffling to the edge of the platform and I’m looking down and I can see the Zambezi underneath me with teeny tiny little people white water rafting, in boats that I knew were quite big, so their smallness from up here just confirmed how high up I was.

I got ready for the pep talk, you know, you think they’re gonna give you the low down, let you psyche yourself up then say, jump when you’re ready. But no! As I got to the edge and looked out, I heard a voice behind me say “Hold your arms out straight when you jump. Ok! THREE! TWO! ONE!” And I just had to go….

I remember thinking, “I’ve just paid £40 to die.” If I could have stopped time and gently stepped back onto the platform, I would have.

But I couldn’t! And I was just hurtling down and down, turning upside down, arms out, screaming in terror. About half way down, the scream caught in my throat and my mouth stayed open, silently, in horror. I got to the bottom and bounced up and down wildly, my heart beating frantically when suddenly someone appeared on a rope thingy, grabbed me and we were both hauled back up.

I remember later in the day, reliving the experience and having the fear all over again! Every so often, though, I think, well that was over eight years ago, I’d probably be fine to do one again. The fear has been forgotten now, surely? I’ve not tested my theory but I certainly think carefully before saying I really want to do something! Although I have also skydived a few times so I didn’t learn my lesson that well!

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] Bungee jumping, like a loony, over the Zambezi River during a stay in Livingston. […]

    Reply

  2. […] think I must have talked about wanting to take up running in the way that I once raved on about wanting to do a bungee jump. The idea of being a calm and composed Baywatch-esque runner appealed to me because it was so the […]

    Reply

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