It was a cold, bright and sunny day in South Africa’s beautiful Eastern Cape. We headed to Bloukandry in continuation of our Pre-Indaba 2018 Fam Tour. We had just finished quad biking and now headed for the third highest bungee in the world! I was pumped!!
Situated within the magnificent towers of the Bloukandry Bridge, this facility was a one-time Guinness World Record holder for the World’s Highest Bungee. But two countries (Macau Tower, China and Contra Dam, Switzerland) overtook it few years later leaving Bloukandry as Africa’s highest, with a whooping 216metres. When I saw Bloukandry Bridge, I was flabbergasted, dumbstuck and astounded. The sight of the bridge itself is super-duper-mega overwhelming. Yet despite its intimidating size, Bloukandry still plays host to an average of 100 jumps per day, aside the bridge walkway tour, which is a major achievement for acrophobic people.
So here is how it all goes down. On arrival at the premises you proceed to the Face Adrenaline Admin office (owners of the Bungee Facility) where you register and sign a long Indemnity form which could be simply summarized thus: I do not hold Face Adrenaline responsible for any injuries I might sustain. In other words, you are doing this at your own risk and you’re on your own – so help you God. But hey, there’s nothing to be afraid of. There has been no fatality record whatsoever. Then you go ahead to pay your 1,000 Rands which is roughly equivalent to $78 USD.
Next step is to get kitted up with the gears and you’re all set to proceed to the bridge. If you can make it through the caged-in walkway under the bridge, which is probably the hardest part, then your chances of doing the main jump is over 85%. Interestingly, not everyone who walks the bridge needs to jump. You can as well choose to only do the bridge walk tour, but you would have to still pay as much as 800 rands ($63 USD).
Having said that, the facility guys then take turns to help you get kitted up. They weigh you and your ‘kg’ is written on your wrists, then you join a group until the group is full enough. Actually, the distance from the office to the platform under the bridge is about 400 metres and you have to go in groups. You see, a lot of human personnel and equipment is involved in this extreme sport, so adequate care is taken to ensure that every jump is treated specially, so nothing must go wrong. If you do not come in a group, you might need to wait for other people to join you; and when you’re up to about 10 in number you will then proceed.
While waiting for your group to fill up, the facility has a bar and café with a beautiful view of the bridge, so you can go in there to take in the view and prepare your mind for what lies ahead. For those not going at all for the jump, they can proceed to the restaurant to watch a live feed of the jump. There are cameras and high tech audio-visual equipment providing live feed from the bridge.
Now it’s time to go for the jump. Your heart starts beating faster. The whole thing is now becoming real. You don’t want to turn back. The 1000 Rand you paid is non-refundable. You are excited yet fearful. You want to make history yet you don’t want to die. An oxymoron of sorts! But thankfully, Face Adrenaline has been running for the past 28 years without any incident or accident of any kind.
Finally, you make it past the caged-in walkway to the main platform. House music begins to boom from powerful surround-stereo speakers. There are cameras everywhere with an over-head television for a live feed of each jump. The mood is set. The atmosphere is charged. Then the friendly Face Adrenalin team rallies everyone together before the jump begins. They joke with you, help you with your gear setup and take nice pictures of you while jamming to the energetic house music.
Now they start calling you one by one. The first person goes. He dives. We all clap and hail him. The atmosphere is charged up with the increasing volume of the powerful music. It’s a perfect adrenaline setup with amazing views. As it gradually gets to your turn, reality dawns on you as your life flashes before your eyes. The lady before you gets to the edge and turns back. She looked down and saw the depth beneath and her heart failed her. We urged her on but she refused. Wow!
Now it’s your turn. You hand over your phones, smile to the camera and two guys grab your shoulders and you begin the gentle leap to the edge of the platform. You start getting terrified but you’re encouraged to be focused. Do not look down. Look straight ahead. Smile. This was going to be fun. Then the time comes. The countdown begins. The men scream 3-2-1-Bungee!!!!
Like a bird you take the plunge… You set sail… With eyes closed and arms stretched, you scream your lungs out, gliding with reckless abandon as the wind rushes into your face. Like a vision, your body glides in the air. Like a dream as your downward spiral becomes bliss. Then you let go… And you enjoy the ride… Almost like an out-of-body experience… Then suddenly the rope catches you and jolts you back to life. Flings you left… right… up… and down… Then it all gradually becomes quiet.
Your eyes open gently and gradually to the surrounding stream and landscape – and the stunning view comes to you in full circle. What manner of beauty is this! You feel like taking an upside down selfie. Then you suddenly remember that your life is hanging in the balance.
As you take in the beauty of creation, you hear a gentle voice coming down to fetch you. Then reality dawns. What if something happens as we go back up? *Laughs* You hold on tightly to your ‘saviour’ him as he engages you in small talk while pulling you back up. He wants to be sure that all is well with you upstairs. Indeed all was well, and up till now, all is still well.
The Bloukandry Jump is a lifetime experience to be proud of. And indeed anyone can do it. Regardless of age. The oldest person to jump was a 96-year old man and it was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. To be sure, the only thing that can stop you is you. If you think you can, you can.
Remember to pick up your ‘Jump Certificate’ as well as your ‘Jump video’. It’s a memory to cherish for the rest of one’s life. I’m glad I took the plunge. So would you.