I survived 111m of Big African Air

When you hear that someone bungee jumped 111m off the Victoria falls in Livingstone, you probably think that s/he is crazy, stressed or was attempting murder. Well, those thoughts hold some truth to them. It takes bravery, courage, craziness and all those fancy adjectives to throw oneself 111meters off the victoria bridge towards the mighty Zambezi River.  If you do not know where the Victoria Falls or Zambezi River are located, you probably didn’t pay enough attention in your Geography classes. Those falls are locally known as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” which means ‘Smoke that thunders’. The Zambians and Zimbabweans know best about the ‘small fights’ that they have always had for years over these falls. That’s a story for another day.

My story is a little bit different; I did it out of curiosity and the desire for crazy adventure that requires adrenaline rush. Above all, I did for the love of exploring this beautiful continent AFRICA. My Journey to Zambia in August 2015 started as one to attend a continental dialogue on climate smart Agriculture. It focused so much on encouraging climate smart agriculture as away of mitigating the effects of a changing climate and a rapid population growth. After a fruitful event that came up with resolutions ahead of the bigger COP in Paris this Dec, I headed for Intercity (An equivalent of a bus park in Uganda). I was boarding a bus destined for Livingstone, Zambia’s tourist town and the home to the mighty Victoria Falls.  Livingstone is about 7 hours from Lusaka by bus. It’s a calm, clean and a very organised town. Prior to my trip to Livingston, I had spoken to a couple of Zambian friends at a popular hangout “O’Hagan’s” and told them, with lots of enthusiasm, about my adventurous plan to livingstone. Their response was more hilarious than I had imagined.

Friend: Maureen, Let me tell you a story of one of our chiefs in Livingstone who attempted to do the ‘swing’ jump
(Very close to the bungee) in an attempt to encourage tourists to participate in the various activities at the bridge. Little did he know that he would make headlines in the dailies as a result of that swing. Me: That’s a good thing for a leader, to make news headlines for all the right reasons. Especially encouraging tourism.
Friend: Right reasons? She exclaimed. Well, all didn’t go well with our chief, because everything was let loose from both the front and back. When he was brought back from the jump, he had both flies and journalists interested in him. Me: You are kidding. Right? Friend: Ask any Zambian. She said confidently. When you mention Bungee jump, they will tell you that they do not want to end up like their chief. Others will say they can only do it if it’s between life and death. Or when they have adult pampers to shield them.

And true to her word, I had small talk with a couple of Zambians on the bus ride to Livingstone and my plan and later on story was received with shock, then laughter, then the chief’s story narration. The truth is that I was so scared to attempt the jump, and the moment I reached the bridge and saw a couple of white tourists bungee jump, I swore to God that I would be a fool if I dared that. As I observed more and more people jump (White people), I began rethinking; I said, I could not come all the way to Livingstone to jump and simply leave because of fear, which I could overcome. After all, none of those that I had watched had yet died or fallen in the river from the time I started observing.

I decided to register and make the payment (Quite pricey) and take on the challenge. I had no idea that it would be so easy for me to confess my sins and at the same time reflect on my entire life in a couple of seconds. As I went off the bridge, I thought to myself, what if the rope snaps and I drop into that water? What if one of the ropes was not fastened enough? what if I developed a heart attack? What if, what it, what if………. I thought of my family and friends and promised to be a better person if I was given a second chance. For your information, screaming is part of the package as you go down; it’s inevitable if you are a normal being. I had not regrets after the
jump and was glad I did it. That’s the video…be the judge(s)

After the jump, I crossed the boarder into Zimbabwe  like  a ninja to view the Victoria falls from that side. No words can describe that world wonder. You just need to go there yourself. (Yes,  you who is reading this). Go see the beauty of Zim beyond what the media feeds you on. I must admit that after that jump, a lot has changed about
me.  My perception towards life, risk taking and the idea of giving people a benefit of doubt. The fact that I could trust that bungee crew with my life on a rope, I can surely give a person that I know a benefit of doubt. I would like to take on another challenge of climbing the 3 East African mountains of Rwenzori, Kenya and Kilimanjaro. I however have to look for $750 to climb only the Rwenzori which happens to be in my own country and its foots my childhood home. I hope I can raise that $750 amidst the dollar ‘scarcity’. Otherwise if anyone knows of UWA weavers for Nationals, please do alert me.

FYI, while in Livingstone, I stayed at Chanters Lodge. I recommend it to anyone looking for decent and affordable accommodation while in Livingstone.

  • Holy smokes! No, I don't wanna do that on second thought!

  • You should start with the 45m one in Jinja. it will encourage you to go for a bigger challenge (111m). It’s fun and refreshing.

  • Whoa!!! I want to do this so much.

  • This is scary. I remember when I did mine. I had to first take three shots of whiskey before I could get the courage. But it’s worth the thrill!