12 August 2017. As today is World Elephant Day, I’m reminiscing about the day I did the World’s Highest Bungee Jump in South Africa for the elephants. Here’s a look back at my jump and what I wrote about the experience from 2009
Well – I DID IT!!! And I have the T-shirt, photos and video clip to prove it… watch it on video :
Those of you that have followed my most recent fund raising activities will know, that in celebration of the big 4-0 this year, I wanted to do something momentous and memorable to mark the occasion.
Our holiday back home to South Africa in August / September this year, provided an opportunity that I wasn’t necessarily actively looking for! SA is host to the highest single span arch bridge in the world, and I thought to myself – hey ho – there we go – I’ll tie an elastic band around my ankles and throw myself off the highest commercially operated bungee jump that the world has to offer! Confirmed by Guinness World Records, the Bloukrans Bridge is an incredible 216m (that’s a whopping 708ft) above the spectacular Storms River on the Garden Route.
The day of 3rd September 2009 arrived and apparently I was a ‘right old bag’ (quote from The Husband)…so we set off to deliver on the promises that I had made….
Arriving at the bridge and actually seeing the feat that lay ahead was mind boggling…none of the photos nor the hours of YouTube research had paid it justice. Strapped into a harness, we made the journey under the belly of the bridge (let me tell you now…..walking on and in nothing but a steel mesh caged walkway was not the beginning I had hoped for!).
Our arrival at the Jump Point was greeted by a superb team of Face Adrenalin staff who set about pumping up the adrenalin with music. With guarantees that nothing would go wrong, I was strapped in, hobbled to the edge and with a Three, Two, One, Bungee, I took a deep breath and threw myself into the unknown. I can’t repeat my first thought, as one is not permitted to use such language in the public arena…WHAT HAD I DONE?….But after the first two seconds it became a bizarrely exciting experience…
Please bear in mind that ‘The Experience’ meant a free fall of 6-8 seconds at a speed of 140km per hour. EEK. Suddenly the fear dissipated, and I genuinely felt as though I was flying like a bird…with the wind whistling through my hair. I expected to be jolted back to reality when the bungee cord reached its end (hopefully before I touched terra firma), however, it was more of a pendulum action instead of a catapult into outer space. Relief.
Dangling above the gorge for what felt like a life time, waiting for my rescuer, gave time to reflect on the accomplishment. WOW. I had just done it. I’d set a goal, you had helped me, and it was all in aid of a just cause. I know that the Ellies are grateful. They told me so when we visited a similar elephant orphanage in SA (who were very aware of the David Sheldrick Trust). We were given the opportunity to walk amongst the elephants, feed the babies and share space with these fabulous animals.
It is heart-breaking that 1 elephant every 15 minutes is poached for its ivory. At this rate – there will be none left roaming in the wild by 2025. All for what? Keratin and human greed – you might as well bite your own nails….
Thanks to the wonderful support of friends, family and colleagues I was able to raise over £1000 towards doing something for these amazing animals. (£1067.75).
*Please note: since this post in 2009, this bridge is no longer the world’s highest bungee jump. But I will claim it, as it WAS at the time!!!