There are very few people who can drive over Bloukrans Bridge, let alone stand on its edge, and not feel a quickening of their pulse and the start of that thrilling, adrenalin-fueled sense of panic. Bloukrans Bridge, on the Garden Route, is the border of the Western and Easter Cape and is, more notably, the highest commercial bridge bungy in the world. At 216m, it’s guaranteed to give you chills. So, do you dare? Read on to find out…(and watch the video below for a taste of what it’s like to plunge off this grandfather of all bungy jumps.)
Once you’ve decided to jump, you’ll start the day full of confidence, but as the moment of truth inches closer, you’ll more than likely start to question the wisdom of this particular choice. That’s normal, it’s a long way down and it’s only a bungy chord. Once you arrive at the bridge, or drive over it, if you’re coming from the Plettenberg Bay side, your adrenaline will start to trickle into your bloodstream – you’re about to jump off a bridge, after all. Maybe you’ll decide to chicken out when you see that crescent-shaped stretch of highway towering over the valley below. Maybe you won’t. Let’s say you decide to battle on even though your sense of self-preservation is starting to raise its head and sniff the air for signs of danger.
Once you’re weighed and checked in, your tension should ease slightly as the bungy staff do their best to engage and relax jumpers while fitting their harnesses before the bridge walk. There’s some discussion about the bridge walk being worse than the jump itself as you walk out onto the centre platform over a grated walkway, with a view of the enormous gorge below, but we’re of the opinion that flinging yourself off a 216m bridge is infinitely more difficult than a short walk. But you’ll still feel a tingle as you follow your guide from solid ground to metal walkway. And look at those views!
The vibe on the bridge is amazing, with upbeat music and smiling jumpers, which is so much easier to enjoy after you’ve had your turn to jump! Before the jump, your adrenaline will be thundering through your veins; you can feel the wind on every inch of skin and time seems to be moving much faster than usual. And then, it’s your turn, your number that they’re calling out and a grinning face is chatting away (as if you’ll remember anything they say afterwards) and hooking you up to the bungy chord, as your handlers check and double-check the multiple connections. Bloukrans Bungy takes safety very seriously and their precautions should make you feel 100% safe. They really should, but there’s a little voice in your mind that is starting to get a little rattled.
Before you know it, you’ve been assisted to the edge of the world with the instruction: “Don’t look down.” You look down. Your stomach drops to your feet, and then continues to fall. There’s nothing else left in your bloodstream but adrenaline as your survival instinct reasons, pleads and, finally screams:”You are not meant to jump off a bridge, this is not a rational action. Please reconsider. Please!” And you do reconsider, at the exact same time as the countdown begins: “3, 2, 1…”.
Too late now…”Bungy!” and you’re parallel to the ground as you swan dive off the highest bungy in the world. Don’t close your eyes. You hang parallel for a split second before you start to fall and then you’re plunging, faster and faster. Surely you’re headed for the ground. Surely the bungy won’t hold you. The green world flies past in high colour and, suddenly, the ground is receding as you bounce back up towards the bridge. It worked. You’ve done it! And, then, you’re falling again – back towards the gorge floor, back to certain death. When the bungy snaps for the second time, you’ll start to trust it. The world turns into a golden haze, you notice the ocean behind you and the trees – so clear and beautiful. And there’s the silence: absolute. You’re suspended below a bridge in the middle of the Garden Route in South Africa and there’s not a sound to be heard. It’s perfect. Terrifyingly beautiful and utterly unique.