Standing on the edge of a 216m bridge and looking down might be quite enough thrill for people who don’t suffer from Acrophobia. However, adrenaline seekers have found a far better pastime by jumping off the bridge backed by the security provided with either a leg or a full-bodied harness. This adrenaline-pumping sport is known as bungee jumping and it’s practiced in several continents of the world, Africa inclusive.
South Africa has been bungee jumping for decades now and has some really cool spots for the activity. Thus, extreme sports lovers from different parts of the world book their holidays to SA just to indulge in some moments of exhilaration by plummeting down from a great height head first. As a country, SA has earned a global reputation for having one of the highest commercial bungee jumping spots in the world, the Bloukrans Bridge with its height of 216m.
What is Bungee Jumping?
Bungee or bungy jumping is among the world’s most adventurous activities that involve a headfirst jump from very high and daring heights with a harness tied to the angle or the full body. Launching pads for the bungee jumps are usually erected on tall structures like bridges across deep ravines, cranes, skyscraper buildings, or on some natural geographic feature like a cliff. Apart from the aforementioned, aircraft with the ability to hang or hover above the ground like helicopters or hot-air-balloon can also be leveraged as a base for bungee jumping.
Before civilization, Africans were engaging in a form of bungee jumping but it was exclusively a ritual through which boys attain manhood in their native tribes. However, for modern-day bungee jumping, the thrill is all in the free-falling and then, the rebound. When you jump, the bungee cord stretches and as the cord recoils, you fly upwards again, and continue oscillating up and down; the jump only ends when you have dissipated all the kinetic energy. Bungee jumps are not for the faint-hearted or people with acrophobia, in fact, it is counted among the most exhilarating sports of all time.
Some Of The Best Spots For Bungee Jumping in South Africa
The unique requirements of bungee jumping (in terms of location) and its inherent danger is the reason why South Africa does not have many commercial bungee jump spots. However, the few ones that the country can boast of comes with stellar quality that makes up for the lack in quantity. In fact, one of the world’s most challenging bungee jumping sites is located in SA and it is known as The Bloukrans Bungee Jump along Garden Route which allows jumpers to leap from a great height of 216 m! There are still other good sites for bungee jumps in the country, albeit less challenging. So, natives and tourists who are on the lookout for an extreme adrenaline rush can schedule a visit to any of these sites listed below.
Bloukrans Bridge/ Storms River
- Location (City): Garden Route’s Tsitsikamma area
- Address: The Bloukrans Bridge on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape.
- Year It Opened: 1990
- Owner: Face Adrenalin
- Height: 216 meters
- Fees: R400 to R750 per person
The border linking the Western Cape and Eastern Cape in the Tsitsikamma region of South Africa’s Garden Route along the N2 Highway is where the country’s highest Bungee Jumping spot is sited. This adrenaline-pumping sport happens at The Bloukrans Bridge which put SA on the world map as one of the countries with the highest bungee spots. Needless to say, it is also recognized as the first, as well as the highest bridge for bungee in the black continent of Africa. Throwing yourself headfirst off the Bloukrans Bridge towards the Storms River means jumping from a height of 216m which is the equivalent of 709 ft.
Though bungee jumping started at the Bloukrans Bridge in 1990, the company, Face Adrenalin took over the management of the spot seven years later in 1997 and has been managing it to date, completely accident-free. The company hires only qualified professionals as instructors who keep clients safe and secure with the use of a full-body harness. They may crack a joke from time to time to keep you in a good mood but have never let clients down. They keep to an age restriction of 14 years at Bloukrans and a weight restriction of 35kg. The same company also operates on Gouritz River Bridge (which is much lower) close to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape offering scenic and unforgettable bungee jumps. Clients who may not wish to go for a jump can still get some thrill on the bridge by going on a walk to the top through a secure walkway. There, they can relax and observe the countdown for the subsequent jumps. Other sporting activities that one can indulge in at the bungee spot include skydiving, horse riding, abseiling, shark cage-diving, and many more.
Bloukrans Bridge is accessible by road through the highway and there is no specified timing for jumping at the spot, thus, extreme sports lovers can enjoy the jumps all year round. However, the summer months between November to March are considered to be the best for jumping sports.
The site has also become a major tourist attraction center for people all over the world and a good number of convenient accommodations have sprung up in the area to take care of their needs. Top on the list of options for accommodations is the community-based Tsitsikamma Forest Village which was established to give support to the neighboring communities. The major food available in the area is seafood, however, there are still other options to choose from.
The cost of a bungee jump on Bloukrans Bridge varies and depending on the operator you patronized as there are others apart from Face Adrenaline. However, it can go from R400 to R750 per person.
Bungee Mogale, Krugersdorp
- Location (City): Off the Kings Kloof Bridge
- Address: Krugersdorp / Mogale City
- Year It Opened: 2005
- Owner: Living on the Edge Adventures
- Height: 50 meters
- Fees: On request
Test your bungee jumping prowess with a 50m of sheer adrenaline rush off the Kings Kloof link Bridge located in Krugersdorp Mogale City. Bungee jumpers are sure to catch the whiff of fresh foliage with this nerve-tingling experience toward the undergrowth. This bungee spot has been active in challenging the limit of the human mind since its inception in 2005 under the management of Living on the Edge Adventures. In addition to bungee jumping, the company offers its clientele various paraphernalia that comes with a bungee package like caps, branded t-shirts, and footage of a client’s jump can be made available on request. Living on the Edge Adventures is a reputable company in the field and has put in place, proper safety, and risk management measures. Even the cords they use in jumping were tested by an independent French testing lab – the LEM of the APAVE LYONNAISE at 500 jumps; this is a huge guarantee of safety for the cords.
Yes, it is true that Bungee jumping helps people in overcoming their acrophobia but we must note that there are acceptable limits on bodyweight for clients who wish to jump. For the Krugersdorp bungee jumping site, the max weight acceptable is 100kg and the minimum is pegged at 40kg, however, the company does not allow any tandem jumps. The facility remains open even during the weekends – Saturdays, Sundays, including public holidays. Weekend jumping doesn’t require any booking and can be accessed from 11:00 – 17:00 for individuals but a group of more than 10 people will be expected to go for bookings. There are three available jumps for adrenaline seekers at Bungee Mogale – Forward Dive, Backward Dives, and Waist Jumps.
The cost for Bungee jumping at Bungee Mogale, Krugersdorp varies, depending on the activity or number of jumps a client wishes to take.
- Bungee at R400.00 for a jump
- Bungee Second Jump at R300.00 p/p
- Bridge Swing at R250.00 p/p
- 320m Foofy Slide at R150.00 p/p
- Burma Bridge at R200.00 p/p
- Bungee plus Swing at R600.00 p/p
- Bungee plus 320m Foofy-Slide at R500.00 p/p
- Bungee plus Swing plus 320m Foofyslide at R600.00 p/p
- Bungee plus Swing plus 320m Foofyslide plus Burma Bridge at R800 p/p
- Burma plus Swing plus 320m Foofyslide at R500.00
- Abseil R250.00 p/p Minimum 10 pax – Client is expected to book for this activity
- Paintball at R200.00 p/p – The client is expected to book
Apart from Bungee jumping, clients of Bunge Magale can indulge in other activities such as a Burma Bridge, a Bridge Swing, a 320m Foofy-Slide, including a combination of several other packages. Bungee jumpers at the jumping site can avail themselves of accommodation facilities provided by nearby hotels. Restaurants are also available with deliciously prepared dishes for your delectation, however, you should respect one of the rules of the extreme sports that says, never eat before jumping.
Orlando Towers, Soweto
- Location: (City): Soweto
- Address: Orlando Towers in Soweto
- Year It Opened: 2008
- Owner: Skyriders
- Height: 100m
- Fees: R550
Presently, Orlando Towers in Soweto are regarded as distinctive landmarks, thanks to their brightly colored murals depicting the image of the town. Decades back, the towers served as a site of what was known as, the Coal Orlando Power Station. It was designed in 1935 to aid in offsetting the power needs of the people from the major city station in Joburg. Following its completion in 1955, the power station serviced the booming city. The availability of water and railway lines were the main reason the location was selected – while the water functioned as a coolant, the railway lines supplied coal. To supplement the cooling, the Orlando Towers were constructed in 1951, measuring 33-stories in height. In 1998 after the station had served for 56 years, it was shut down and in 2008, they converted them into the entertainment spot we know today.
After Skyriders took over and launched some sporting activities at the towers which include bungee jumping, the former power station came to be regarded as the only bungee between cooling towers in the whole world. Skyriders are certified as highly-trained and experienced professionals who adhere to global safety standards. All their activities have passed through tests by Level 3 licensed rope access technicians. Besides, there is an external safety auditor that ensures standards are highly maintained consistently.
Bungee jumping is the major event at the vertical adventure center and is the first place where extreme sports lovers got to jump between cooling towers in a 100m jump that sets the adrenalin rushing. To bungee jump at the towers, clients first get to the top of the towers by a giant lift and you can also take in the landscape of Joburg spread out below while at it. Now, you get to the walkway constructed between the double towers where the instructors are on hand to give a brief lecture. Following this, you go on to take the 100m plunge between the beautifully decorated towers and nothing gets the adrenaline pumping more than a jump off the Orlando Towers. The power station may not be in function anymore, but the activities at the spot still manage to get enough electricity sizzling in the air!
Apart from bungee jumping, Skyriders offers other activities like abseiling, zip-lining, base jumping, rock climbing, the ABYSS, swinging, pendulum swinging, rappelling down, Suspended Catch Air Device ((SCAD freefalling), and rap jumping, bungee jumping fee at the towers is R550 and clients from 18 and below need parental consent before they can be allowed to jump.
Booking arrangement is not compulsory for individuals but groups of six and above are required to book in advance. A shisha nyama restaurant known as Chaf Pozi host Djs at the base of the towers and specialize in open-flame cooked meat, however, other options abound in the vicinity.
Gouritz Bridge, Gouritz
- Location (City): the Gouritz River Bridge
- Address: Above the Gouritz river
- Year It Opened: NA
- Owner: Wildthing Adventures
- Height: 65m
- Fees: NA
For over 18 years, tour operators like Wildthing Adventures have been offering bungee jumping activities for adrenaline seekers at the Gouritz River Bridge which has attracted tourists from more than 70 countries worldwide. Jumping at this bridge takes people down a 65m height and before taking the leap, the bungee jumper first takes in a view of the twirling, chilly waters of the Gouritz River. Ample time will be allowed for the person to take a deep breath and then, off the edge you dive. The ensuing moments will be quite exhilarating with the jumper crying, laughing, or screaming before he will be snapped up by the bungee cord. Wildthing also offers other adrenaline-pumping activities like white water rafting, mountain biking, and canoeing.
Apart from Wildthing Adventures, other tour operators also offer bungee jumping at the Gouritz River Bridge and the most popular are those that offer add-on packages with their bungee jump like shark cage diving. However, the authorities recently stopped all bungee jumping activities at the bridge for safety reasons but companies like Face Adrenalin will still be operating the bridge swinging option. According to a director from Face Adrenalin, while they have not recorded any bungee jumping accidents to date, the recent death of Lundi Tafeni – one of their colleagues who lost his life in a boating accident during the heavy rains in November made the company take stock. This led them to discover the extremely rusty state of some parts of the Gouritz River Bridge.
Qualities Of The Best Bungee Jumping Locations
- The best Bungee jumping location comes complete with highly trained and competent staff who are professionals in bungee jumping sports.
- The staff must adhere to the globally accepted safety standards.
- Apart from the regular staff, the bungee jumping station must also employ the services of an external safety auditor charged with the responsibility of ensuring standards are consistently maintained.
- Appropriate safety and risk management measures must be put in place at any bungee jumping station.
- All the activities at a standard bungee jumping station have to pass through tests before they can be certified safe.
- The ropes used in jumping must also be tested by licensed rope access technicians.
- A leg or ankle harness is approved for attaching the bungee rope to the jumper for safety reasons.
- There may not be a maximum age requirement so long as a jumper is fit and healthy; however, all standard bungee jumping stations must obey the approved minimum age requirement of 12 to 14 years.
- For weight, the maximum is 110kg while the minimum is 35kg depending on the height.
- The height to be jumped from may include, towers, tall houses, bridges, cliffs, hovering aircraft, hot-air balloons, and more