When I was in Harare in April 2000, I took a day to go to Victoria Falls (victoria-falls-and-the-zambesi-river). When I saw the bungee jump off the bridge across the Zambesi Gorge below the falls, I had to do it. This is arguably the best bungee jump in the world, with a 111 metre plummet (nearly 400 feet) towards the Zambezi. The short video below is taken from an old VHS tape of my two jumps. That’s me after the 15 second intro.
When I was ready and shuffled to the edge of the platform and looked down 125 metres to the white water of the Zambesi River I suddenly had very serious second thoughts. This was really not a good idea. But it was a bit late for second thoughts and off I went. There may have been a slight helping hand at my back.
As I got closer to the river, the bungee cord stretched and slowed me down until I stopped about 10 metres above the water. And then I started going up again. What happened next was completely unexpected and a huge surprise. I went back up almost to the bridge and once there was about 70 metres of heavy bungee cord hanging from my ankles it turned me until I was standing up almost vertically with me feet below me, and nothing but 110 metres of air beneath my feet. Then down I went again.
The deal was that I got two bungee jumps for my money. And since I was flying back to Harare later in the afternoon, when I was hauled back up to the bridge, I told them I would do my second jump immediately. They were very surprised, said I was the first person who had come back the same day for the second jump (not sure that could be true).
And on the second jump, there was no fear and I knew what to expect. I launched myself out from the platform like Superman and really enjoyed every second of it.
I recently came across the story of a 22 year old Australian woman who did the bungy jump at Victoria Falls a couple of years ago and the cord snapped. Apparently a lot of people jumped before her that day. I realized my strategy in 2000 of watching someone else do it first, then doing it twice, was not as foolproof as I had thought at the time.
After 22 year old Australian Erin Langworthy jumped from the platform, the cord snapped. She fell about 40 metres into the rapids of the crocodile infested Zanbesi river. She spent about 40 mins in the water struggling to survive with a broken collarbone, her ankles tied together and trailing 30 metres of thick bungee cord which kept getting tangled in the rocks and at one point trapped her underwater until she dived down and freed it. She spent a week in hospital recovering from massive bruising and the broken collarbone.