I was standing on a cliff side, overlooking a valley whose unfathomable depths were broken only by a single bridge suspended across it. That bridge is the Bloukrans Bridge, located along the Garden Route in Storm’s River, South Africa, and home to the world’s highest single span arch bridge and highest bungee jump – a 216m free fall drop.
In addition to the bungee jump, Face Adrenalin (the company in charge of the whole shebang) also offers a “Flying Fox”, a 200m cable slide that propels you through the air like a trapeze artist to the underside of the bridge, where you can then, if you choose, hurl yourself off the bridge for an additional thrill (bungee, not death). They also offer a Bridge walk as an alternative to actually jumping; while remaining safely on solid ground, you can enjoy a ‘live bungee’ show. An informative guide will give you incredible facts about the bridge itself, as well as directing your view towards a spectacular view of the mountains and ocean.
So, there I was. Instead of paying money for what I believed would be a spectacular demise (death by bungee), I’d have much rather been nice and cozy on the Bridge walk. Well, that’s a complete lie; I’d rather have been safe in the car. Unfortunately, my friend Donna is a crazed fiend (I believe the politically correct term is adrenaline junkie) and she’d already convinced the third member of our little group, a brave Canadian named Andrea, that should we not jump, we would return to our home countries in a state of disgrace, our shame written all over our faces. Despite the horror of being labeled a complete wuss, I was not convinced. I am horribly afraid of heights, and the thought of setting one toe on the bridge was more than I could bear.
Yet, somehow, I was shamed into flinging myself off the side attached only to a long rubber band, plunging towards a certain death, for the bargain deal of R620 (about $74US). Even whilst signing a release form, paying for and receiving a receipt for my jump, I’d been loudly protesting. Unfortunately, I was already strapped into a yellow full-body harness, and couldn’t quite remember how it had happened.
We were herded onto the specially designed catwalk which hung below the bridge, leading to a concrete platform where loud dance music pulsed and would-be jumpers huddled in small bunches. To properly document the event, staff members were hopping around taking photos which could be purchased after jumping, if your bungee didn’t snap and send you hurtling to the river below.
Deadly pale and quivering, I was led to the edge of the bridge and secured to the bright yellow bungee cord. Two men, one on either side, hopped me to the edge. My breakfast was doing the conga in my stomach. Firmly placing their hands on my back, so I would know they were there to push me off if I hesitated, the two staff members led me in the chant that would be the last thing I ever heard … 1 … 2….3… BUNGEE!Bungee Jumping south africa bloukrans Bridge katie bradford Garden Route in Storm’s River highest bungee jump