How important can 10kgs be to your life?
Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
138Trip End May 01, 2013
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The walk to the sixteen vantage points around the Falls was spectacular - but bloody hot! Lots of schoolchildren! Screeching! However, all this considered, it could not detract from just how breath-taking the Falls are - it is difficult to describe, but when you are there you get a sense of the sheer power that that beauty holds...
We walked down to the bridge and saw a couple of crazy bungee jumpers - 107m of free-falling terror just to get us in the mood for our imminent swinging of the gorge
Whilst we were silently reflecting on this (and wondering what the hell we had signed up to!) we looked across the gorge and spotted some of our group jumping into the Devil's Pool on the Zambian side where the Falls flows most fiercely! Amazing! After a pit-stop at the Falls cafe to gulp down a coke so cold it gave us brain freeze we returned to Shoestrings (our camp) and, each with her own poison, drank a couple for 'Dutch courage' before our paired up tandem gorge swings. Scheduled to be picked up at 2pm, the late arrival of our transfer at ten past only added to our anxiety and tension. Shitting ourselves, we drove to the gorge for a safety briefing. After signing our disclaimer (the point of no return) our guide informed Vikki and I that we exceeded the maximum weight limit for the tandem swing and should consider changing partners with one of the 'lighter' girls - exactly what we needed to be told to reassure us at this stage! Being only slightly over the limit (at least 10kgs) we agreed to take the risk (our prerogative - the guide had already absolved himself of all blame) and got into our harnesses for the jump. We opted to go first knowing that, mentally, it would be harder to watch others jump before us and feel the pressure of their success!
As we approached the platform cantilevering out over the gorge, the guide said 'I think you two really want to die together...!'. We chose to ignore his jibes - looked at each other (not down), inched towards the very edge of the platform, counted to three and stepped off (left foot forward)..............
................................ into an immediate stomach wrenching 70 metre plummet, freefalling with legs flailing, any potentially louder screams silenced by the speed that gravity pulls two fat birds towards the earth, and the pure shock of throwing yourself off a rock face.Thankfully the rope eventually tightened and we began to swing out across the gorge, reaching a swing distance of 95 metres horizontally.
Like a screeching / jubilant pendant we had survived, Paula was grateful a) to be alive, b) to still be wearing her bandana, c) to realise she had managed to sit on Vikki's knee as they'd tumbled to the rocks below, and d) that there were no crocodiles. Vikki was grateful a) that we had the courage to throw ourselves off, b) that the rope hadn't snapped and c) that we did it together. We both congratulated each other repeatedly, Paula saying she couldn't have done it without Vikki!!!
After we had all successfully completed our gorge swings a South African couple who were standing by after their tandem 'Zip Line' informed us that a gorge swing in SA had failed recently (the jumper didn't die but was badly injured), so we considered ourselves very lucky. Looking out over the gorge with a cold beer we relived the jump from our camcorder footage, amazing us over again, verifying that we had actually done it and banishing a disbelief born from how surreal it felt - we laughed the nervous laugh of someone on the 'edge' and allowed the post adrenalin lethargy to start seeping in. We suggested they might like to revise the weight limits...
Back at camp we showered and joined half the others on the minibus pre-booked by Alun to take us to The Boma (The Eating Place), famous for is game meats. Paula eager to try a selection of local delicacies ordered guinea fowl for starters..Ooops, Vikki's favourite bird at the minute, and one which she had had painted on her cheek by a man in the restaurant. We were dressed in African robes, Paula had a giraffe painted on her face, given Djembe drums to play during a group session after dinner and treated to African dancing and singing whilst eating ostrich skewers, eland, and warthog steaks....Vikki had a lurvely salad with a piece of old leathery fish!
After dinner we were all feeling pretty whacked and really dehydrated after the adrenalin fuelled day so we hit the sack as soon as we arrived back at Shoestrings - great day!!!