Victoria Falls Bungee Jump

Mark Zanzig/

Just about a month ago we were in Zimbabwe and gazed at the bridge connecting Zimbabwe with Zambia, sitting 111 meters (364 ft) high above the Zambesi River.

We had visited the Victoria Falls lookout before, and we had seen a close-up of the amazing steel construction. The guide explained to us that Cecil John Rhodes was the responsible for planning the train line, which was part of a bigger project connecting Cape Town to Northern Africa. (He could not complete this project due to the high cost.) Anyway, Rhodes wanted the train to stop on the bridge and let the passengers see and feel the mist of the Victoria Falls. At this time also the fabulous Victoria Falls Hotel was built, where we were now waiting in the heat of an African summer day for our bus to take us back to our hotel in Botswana.

Of course, I took a couple of shots, vertical and horizontal, and I was hoping for someone doing a Bungee Jump right then. Of course, noone wanted to jump, so I shrugged and went back to the shadow of an old tree in the beautiful garden of the hotel. I knew that I would never do a jump there; in fact, I wouldn’t do a jump anywhere in the world. Who knows whether these cords would actually be able to carry my weight? Sure, they are designed to do that, but then again, things can always go wrong – even more so deep in Africa where security procedures might not be as harsh as Europe.

And then, today, I read the incredible story of Erin Langworthy, a 22-year-old Australian tourist who did a jump from exactly that bridge, and the cord snapped while she jumped. She dropped the remaining 20 meters (66 ft) into the Zambesi river – and its crocodiles. “It went black straight away,” she told a news team, “I felt like I had been slapped all over.” And not only that: The cord was still tied around her ankles, and it had entangled with rocks in the river. So she had to swim down to yank the cord out of the rocks. But being a tough young lady, she finally made it to the river shore, where she waited for help.

Despite the height of her fall, she had rather few injuries, several bruises and cuts, and she says that “it’s definitely a miracle that I survived”.

Bridge over the Zambesi River, seen from the Victoria Falls Park
Mark Zanzig/

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