At a number of South African bungee jumping locations, you can take a plunge into some beautiful scenery… if you can keep your eyes open long enough to see it! Bungee jumping is when a person attaches a special cord to his or her ankles before throwing themselves into thin air (often off the edge of a bridge. Before they hit the ground, a stretchy bungee cord bounces them back upwards.
Bungee jumping began as a way for boys to enter manhood through this tribal ritual. Instead of bungee cords, they attached vines (tied to two bamboo towers) to their ankles. The divers were dared to jump as high as possible, stopping as close to the ground as they can to prove their bravery and manhood. Thankfully, bungee jumping equipment has become a lot more specialized and safe.
South Africa can boast the highest of worldwide bungee jumping locations. The highest commercial bungee jump, the Bloukrans Bungee Jump, is located along the scenic Garden Route. This jump will send you plummeting 216m towards the bottom of a river gorge. Instead of an ankle harness, a full body harness is necessary for this extremely high bungee jump. The jump is surprisingly comfortable (albeit frightening) as the full body harness is used in conjunction with a technique known as ‘pendulum bungee technology’.
Although South Africa has the highest bungee jump, this is not country’s only available option. South Africa’s first commercial bungee jump can be found 35km form Mossel Bay, along the N2 highway on the Gouritz bridge. This 65m jump is a little less intimidating than the Bloukrans 216m and is ideal for first-timers or beginners.
Tandem jumps from this bridge are also possible, allowing the Lily-livered to jump off feet first rather than head first. Another more fun, less fright kind of bungee jumping is a bridge swing. For a bridge swing, a safety harness is attached to your waist with another rope attached to a second bridge about 20m to 30m away. As the jumper jumps off, the rope is quickly pulled taught and the person will swing forward over the ground. Not quite as scary as bungee jumping, but jumping off a bridge nevertheless!
South African Bungee Jumping locations
- The Bloukrans Bridge Bungee Jump: this is the highest bungee jump in the world, situated at the Tsitsikamma Forest Village Market along the beautiful Garden Route. The bridge can been seen form the N2 highways about 40km east of Plettenberg Bay.
- Bungee Mogale: In Krugersdorp you can experience 50 metres of pure thrills and adrenaline rush. You can challenge both the limits of gravity and of your own courage with off the Kings Kloof Bridge situated in Krugersdorp Mogale City.
- Power Swing across Soweto: the Soweto cooling towers are an iconic image of this former township just outside of Johannesburg. Now you can swing across them and free fall into the town that is fast becoming a popular South African tourist destination.
- Big Swing – Conquer your fear: In Graskop, daring divers are attached to a safety harness and swung across the landscape. This beautiful setting is 1493 metres above sea level, with adrenalin levels matching those of the high altitude.
Although you may feel intimidated at the thought of throwing yourself off a bridge or swinging into an abyss, the bungee jumping locations around the country pride themselves on extreme safety measures and top quality equipment. If you feel nervous, remember all those who have done it before you and once you have signed up, there is no backing out! On the count of “1, 2, 3 BUNGEEEE!” you can launch yourself into an adrenalin-filled adventure like no other; and in the beautiful South African surroundings you will get yourself some good bungee jump pictures, even if you were too afraid to open your eyes and enjoy the scenery for yourself.
Bridge swinging and tandem jumps are also an option; allowing you to still boast that you jumped off a bridge!