Bungee jumping began in 1979 in England by some teenagers who tried it by jumping off a suspension bridge in Bristol. They were immediately arrested but it started a new extreme sport. It came to South Africa in 1990 when a group called Face Adrenalin introduced the sport at the Bloukrans River Bridge. The company then began formally offering bungee jumping in 1997 and has been in operations since then and doing extremely well.

Today, Bloukrans River Bridge is the 3rd most commercially successful bungee jump in the world. It is a jump from the height of 216 meters and is pretty scary. In fact, the rope used for bungee jumping has been known to snap. This year a 22-year old Australian student whose rope snapped causing her to fall head first into a gushing river in Zambia has been invited back to Zambia for another try. The problem with this location in Zambia is that the river below is crocodile-infested.  The South African experience is not as dangerous because the water below is safe but is riskier because of the height of the jump.

Bungee jumping, according to Xtreme Sport experts has had fewer accidents than most extreme sports. They liken to risk factor with driving 100 miles/hour and that less than 100 people have died since 1979.

Orlando Tower Jump

Aside from Bloukrans River Bridge, there are other locations in South Africa where one can go bungee jumping. The Orlando Tower is one such location and is unique in that the jump takes place between 2 towers. Even the trip up is an extreme experience because the lift will only take you part of the way. About 3 meters from the top, you will have to get off and walk up a floating stairwell. This is stairs suspended in air! Once you get to the top, you barely have time to get scared because the panoramic view is so incredible.

The tremors will hit you soon after because there’s barely any space to stand. You are at the edge of one cooling tower and you will have to step onto a sky bridge. This is a bridge connecting the two towers.  The jump is about 100 meters down.

Bridge Swinging in Northern Cape

Bridge swinging is jumping off a bridge and swinging back and forth beneath the bridge and held on by a rope. It’s not as popular as bungee jumping but it does attract a bit of attention because of its thrill factor.

In the Northern Cape, bridge swinging is done in Vaal River. The adrenaline rush you get is mostly from the jump off the bridge although swinging like a pendulum underneath a bridge has its own sense of quirky fun.

There used to be bridge swinging offered in Gouritz River Bridge which is close to Mossel Bay but this operation closed down in 2009 after the bridge was declared unsafe to be used for this extreme sport.