Almost one month ago (on February 7th), James and I took a leap of faith. That is: a leap of faith OFF THE VICTORIA FALLS BRIDGE that spans between Zambia and Zimbabwe! Yep… we actually voluntarily threw ourselves off a bridge, plummeting down almost 420 feet towards the Zambezi river, just to get snapped back up moments before hitting the water! YIKES… thinking of this experience again makes my stomach knot up, and I really can’t believe we actually did it!! But it was a thrilling experience, that’s for sure!
AND— we didn’t just jump off the bridge ONCE, but TWICE!!
Here’s how it all went down: James and I each purchased the “Big Air Experience” which included all three activities available at the Victoria Falls Bridge: zip line across the river, bungee jump off the bridge, and a tandem bridge swing (together). Yep, that’s right: we didn’t do just one activity, we had to do all three! Friends of ours advised to do the bridge swing last, as they thought that was the scariest one of them all! So we planned to do each of the activities in the order of least scariest to most: zip line, bungee jump, and bridge swing.
We geared up and the workers checked us to make sure we were secure and all safety harnesses, buckles, and backup lines were attached. First we experienced the zip line, which James and I did separately. Hooked up to the rope, HIGH UP IN THE AIR, we each whizzzzzzed across the river, from the land on the Zambia side over to the bridge on the Zimbabwe side. This was a thrilling ride with a beautiful view, but it was nothing too frightening for either of us… but it definitely was a nice little “warm up.”
Next was the bungee jump. OH. MY. GOODNESS! I still have a hard time talking or thinking about this experience because it was SO TERRIFYING (yet exciting and thrilling, of course)!! It’s hard not to verbally gasp out loud when I emotionally flash back to that moment, standing on the platform looking DOWN down down down to the river HUNDREDS OF FEET BELOW… AND THEN STEPPING OFF THE PLATFORM to plunge my whole body towards a possible death below!! Well… OK, maybe not death. Of course, accidents DO happen, but the crew took many precautions when they hooked us up so that our jump would go as planned, and I honestly didn’t feel very worried about my safety. I DID, however, worry about how terrifying the actual jump itself would be!
James went first for the bungee jump, had one heck of a fun time (AND terrifying time as well: he said he was freaking out every time he bounced up and got worried about getting tangled in the bungee cord), and then he was actually on a platform below me when I did my jump… so James actually got to watch me jump from above him, fall past him, and then down below towards the river!!
When I stood at the edge of the platform and looked down, panic TOTALLY set in. I had spent the past half hour totally chill about the upcoming jump, because I had pictured the bridge being far higher than what it really looked like in person.
“This will be totally easier than I thought,” I had told James as we prepared for our bungee jump.
But THEN, as I looked over the edge to the river below, over 400 FEET down, I thought to myself, “Seriously!?? I’m seriously going to do this!??” I just can’t simply describe that feeling of looking down from the height of an approximately 35 story building, watching the river zoom by below, and know that you are going to have to mentally push yourself to then physically hurl your body off the platform and free-fall down down down down downnnnn!
But before I had more than a few seconds to contemplate how or if I could do it, the men counted down, “5… 4… 3… 2… 1… bungee!” and I JUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Man… that was a LONG fall. My heart fluttered, my head rushed, and the wind whooshed through my hair and body as I saw the river come closer and closer! And before I knew it, the cord came to an end, bungeed back, and my body snapped back up in the air… again… and again… and again. The initial fall was exciting and exhilarating, but the following bounces were a bit more worrisome (for both James and I), as we both were concerned with getting tangled up in the bungee cord (watch James’ bungee video and watch after the first bounce at 4:30—he turns completely right-side up before falling down again!!). To make matters worse for me, for some reason I was spinning A LOT more than people normally do, and by bounce number three I was really starting to get nauseous. All I could see was the river below going around and around and around… and the trees and rocks in my surroundings going around and around and around. I closed my eyes and tried to meditate it all away, and it worked! Fortunately, it only took a few minutes for a crewman to swing down and meet me halfway up (as they were pulling my cord up), and he turned me right-side up for the rest of the trip up, up, up!
BUT… we weren’t done yet! Next, we planned to do the tandem “bridge swing.” Now, even though the word “swing” makes this experience sound simple and non-threatening, let it be known that you still have to step off the same platform and COMPLETELY FREE-FALL the same long distance down that we had for the bungee! However, this event was a bit more complicated, as James and I had to “choreograph” our steps AND would each have to physically hold onto a metal bar on either side of each other and were told, “No matter what you do, don’t let go!” Yikes. As soon as they told us that, all I kept thinking was, “What if the force is so great that I can’t hang on!?”
But fortunately, that was a non-issue.
James and I stepped off the platform and once again PLUMMETED 400-some feet down towards the water, just to stop short and swing, swing, swing! Once again, there was the worry of getting caught up in the cords, but fortunately we made it through the experience just fine. And as we slowly were pulled back up to the top of the bridge, I was SO RELIEVED that it was over! And that we did it!!
The funny thing about all of this, is we really never originally planned on bungee jumping… we wanted to actually skydive at some point in our RTW trip, but never got the chance to… so this was the substitute. And let me tell you: compared to the time I skydived a few years ago, bungee jumping was WAYYYY MORE TERRIFYING then skydiving was!!
And at the end of all of this, James said exactly what I was feeling: It was a “once in a lifetime” experience: We did it once, survived, and are glad we did it… but WE ARE NEVER DOING IT AGAIN!!!
Have you ever bungee jumped? Would you do it again? Share your experience below in the comments section!
To see photos from our bridge-jumping experiences, click here.
Or… just watch below!!
BreAnn first appears at 1:50
BreAnn bungee jump at 3:45
James and BreAnn bridge swing at 8:15
James first appears at 1:40
James bungee jump at 3:50
James and BreAnn bridge swing at 8:10