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111 meter BUNGI jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa, 5th of September 1997

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During the first two/three weeks of my holiday in Africa the peoply of the group I was travelling with were talking about the upcoming Bungi jump. Who was planning to go for it and who wasn't. I think most of us wanted to do it but were still hesitating. Well, we had still two weeks to go before we really had to make the big decision. Every time somebody asked me if I was going to jump I said: "I am sure if I don't do it, I will be sorry for the rest of my life. This is 'the' place to do it." This is like a political answer, but for me the answer was clear, was it ?

Days went by and on the 5th of September 1997 we arrived at Victoria Falls. The first thing we had to do is to make the big decision. Yes or No. Well, some of the group signed in for the Bungi jump, some of us didn't. It was about 11 o'clock in the morning when we signed in and the jump was planned for about three o'clock in the afternoon. A couple of long hours were in front of us. After lunch ( we were not very hungry ) we started the half hour walk towards the Victoria Falls bridge. The Victoria Falls bridge lies in "no mans land" between the Zimbabwean and Zambian border posts. During this walk, my blood sugar level was rising. What the hell I am going to do. I am going to jump from a bridge which is 111 meters above the river !! I must be mad. After arrival we had to sign in again, the point of no return (of your money). Everybody was weighted and got a number which indicated the order of jumps. After that we had to wait at the bridge four our turn.

Prior to jumping, everybody was briefed individually. This briefing included:

  1. how the harness system works,
  2. the final jump procedures to be followed on the platform,
  3. what to expect during the jump and
  4. the recovery procedure.

After this briefing I was harnessed up for the Bungi jump. First they wrapped some towels around my legs. Then the bungi cord was connected to my legs and for safety also to the harness around my waist, in case the cord slips of my legs....

 Bungi harness

During this procedure the 'guys' are making jokes about the jump like: "Do not touch the bungi cord when you are falling, you will get scary disseases !! The bungi cord is made out of used condoms !!" For the rest, the 'guys' were very seriously about their task. After the bungi cord was connected I was allowed to move to the platform, which is attached against the bridge behind the rail of the bridge. At this time there was noting between me and the big depth. They say, this is the most difficult part of the Bungi jump. What about the next step?

Smile to the camera !!

Smile to the camera !!

Normally I would have been scared like hell ( I am afraid of heights) but at that moment I was not thinking about anything. From than the procedure would be very 'simple'. The 'guys' were going to shout " 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, B U N G I    !!!! " ............ and than I have to jump !

5..4..3..2..1.....B U N G I !!!!           Aaaaarrghhhhhhh..........

A lot of people ask me "how does it feel when you are falling down". It is hard to explain. I think you have to experience it for yourself to know how it realy feels. After the jump from the bridge the cord is stretched out to almost three times the original length. Because the elastic is stretched relatively smoothly you don't experience any sudden or stressful forces. After the first stretch you are launched back up towards the bridge. Then you fall down again, go up, fall down, go up, fall down, go up, fall down till you are just hanging around enjoying the quitness knowing you are still alive.

How high can those crocodiles jump ??

Then you have to wait till the recovery operator is lowered down to take you back up to the bridge. While you are waiting upside down you feel the blood 'rising' to your head and it seems like the cord is slipping of your legs very slowly. Finally the recovery operator reaches you and attaches a line to your mountaineering harness. Then you are pulled up till you are in an upright sitting position. Like a fish pulled from the water you are hoisted back up onto the catwalk just below the bridge. Then you are escorted to the top of the bridge which is about a ten minutes walk. Those ten minutes you are in a kind of trance, still enjoying the Bungi jump...

When signing in for the Bungi jump you are confronted with the following medical conditions you are not allowed to jump:

People declaring medical conditions which may be adversely affected by the jump are not permitted to jump. The medical conditions include, but are not limited to:

2.High Blood Pressure
3.Heart conditions
4.Neurological disorders
6.Acute or chronic knee or back disorders.

Well, I can tell you the following:

  1. Condition 2 you will suffer at the moment you signed in for the Bungi jump and you are standing on the bridge looking to other maniacs jumping from the bridge and waiting for your turn.
  2. Condition 3 you will suffer in the first fraction of the second you jump from the bridge.
  3. Condition 6 you will get at the instant moment the cord is stretching trying to save your life
  4. Conditions 4 and 5 you will be simulating while hanging under the bridge connected to the cord.
  5. Condition 1, small chance you will get into that condition during your Bungi jump, especially when you are a male.
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