The Bloukrans Bridge in the province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa is not only the highest bridge in Africa but also home to the world’s highest commercial natural bungee jump. At a knee-trembling 216 meters, this bungee jump will strike fear into the heart of the most adrenaline-seeking individual. That is, provided they are even brave enough to make their way along the 272-meter skywalk that has to be negotiated before a jump can take place.
Walking the Plank…. To the Plank
In order to arrive at the site where the jumps happen, adrenaline junkies are asked to make their way along the underside of the bridge in a manmade cage that funnels them onto the platform. Separating you and a fall of a couple of hundred meters is what looks like nothing more than ordinary mesh that eerily clinks with every step you take on it, and looking down at this point is enough to make you turn back or freeze. The operators who run this bungee jump, Face Adrenalin, have had to rescue numerous petrified customers from the skywalk over the years and return them to the parking lot, where they are consoled by family members at a rather rustic establishment called the Cliffhanger Pub. The signs on the wall won’t make the recent trauma any easier as they enthusiastically remind patrons that ‘fear is temporary and regret is permanent.’
Set under Bloukrans Bridge on the N2 highway, in the Eastern Cape, this bungee spot is a magnet for thrill-seekers keen to nosedive more than 700ft down into the crevasse below. An unforgettable experience worth trying at least once.🤸♂️@faceadrenalin 🎥#meetsouthafricaLATER
— South African Tourism (@southafricauk) January 25, 2021
But for those brave enough to negotiate the somewhat rickety skywalk, the fun is just about to begin. Once you arrive on the platform under the bridge, which helps carry a small part of the mighty N2 highway that runs the entire length of the Indian Ocean in South Africa, you will be greeted by two things: friendly smiles and a howling breeze. The valley you jump down into is renowned for channeling the wind off the ocean. This can be quite disconcerting, but the wonderful staff operating the jump do a lot to put your mind at ease. They are incredibly friendly and exceptionally professional. In fact, the operating company boasts a 100% safety record since the jump was first established in 1990. When you consider how extreme bungee jumping is, as extremesportsx.com spells out here, it only really sinks in how truly impressive their record is.
Although, when you’re swaying from side to side on top of the highest bridge on the continent, this comforting endorsement does very little to calm the nerves, especially when you are called forward to jump.
The Time is Now
The inspiring beauty of the Tsitsikamma National Park below all but disappears in your mind as your mouth goes dry. The rumble of vehicles passing overhead makes you long to be safely in a car, speeding away from the life-threatening danger you have somehow convinced yourself to take part in. A few last-minute safety checks take place as the staff tighten up a rope here and pull on a cord there before you are told to shuffle forward to the end of the platform. Everyone doing this final waddle looks like a penguin and you can’t help but wonder how much the indignity of you walking like this will be the last memory of you given that everyone is recording the spectacle.
— SANRAL (@SANRAL_za) September 10, 2019
In the blink of an eye, your arms are outstretched by the staff and the countdown from three begins. The moment they shout bungee, you have to jump.
At first, it feels like you’re about to die and a wave of self-pity comes over you. You’re convinced you have swallowed your tongue and left your stomach behind on the Bloukrans Bridge. When you finally open your eyes, you will see the pristine beauty of the Storms River getting closer and closer. At this point you have accepted your fate until you feel an almighty yank that spectacularly prompts you to suddenly feel more alive than you ever have, as the rope reaches its end. This is when the screaming starts. It is a guttural roar that can only be brought on by overcoming such extraordinary fear. Your triumphant echoes reverberate around the valley and before you know it, yet another smiling staff member has arrived beside you after abseiling down to pull you back up.
A Global Attraction
There are no two ways about it, this extreme sport in the Tsitsikamma National Park will change your life for the better, just ask the host of celebrities that have made the trek to South Africa to do it. Indeed, the likes of Prince Harry and Kelly Slater have been the bridge’s most famous jumpers, while local celebrities like Bobby Skinstad and Fanie de Villers have also taken the plunge. Although calling de Villiers a local celebrity is perhaps not doing his fame justice given that he is a household name in India.
Just how adventurous are you? Would you bunjy jump off Bloukrans Bridge? It has been recognised as the ‘highest bungee from a bridge’ in the world.
— Getaway Magazine (@GetawayMagazine) November 1, 2018
The South African fast bowler was part of the famous South African team to tour India in the country’s first game back from international isolation in 1991, earning him hero status in the country given how cricket-mad the population is. Indeed, asiabet.org uses its extensive knowledge of the betting industry to gauge how popular the sport is there. Perhaps they sum it up best when they explain that cricket is huge all around the world, but it is surely most loved in India. Incredibly, when India played Pakistan in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the official global viewing figures were over 300 million. This undoubtedly shows the passion and interest in Indian cricket and how famous de Villiers is there. Although it’s unclear whether he was more nervous on that historic tour thirty years ago or on the bungee platform from which he had to jump.
Make no mistake, this jump will rival anyone’s greatest achievements in life and will be something you remembered until your last day.