The Garden Route

Winter 2008

Even though I arrived in Cape Town at the beginning of February 2008, classes did not start until late-February 2008.

After meeting our neighbours Bridget, Renata, and Mari on those power outage nights, me and Laurtiz joined them on 300km road trip along the south-western underbelly of the country affectionately called the Garden Route.

The 5 of us crammed into a rental Nissan sedan and set off on the road. Our main goal was to get to Bloukrans Bridge to jump one of the world’s highest commercial bungie jumps. At 216 metres, or 709 feet, above the Bloukrans River, even to this day, I don’t know what compelled me to go along and jump from this absurd height.

We stopped at scenic stretches of white sand beaches.

Sea snails using themselves as sails to float along the sand towards the water, or sometimes away.

As we stopped at hostels for the evenings, games of pool and experimenting with longer exposures on the camera were the norm.

Laurtiz and I planned to go paragliding off one of the cliffs in Wilderness, but sadly, the winds did not cooperate by the time we were geared up and ready to go. We did get to catch a glimpse of a man who was able to set off on his glider before hand though.

We spent the evenings in hostels playing card games and possibly drinking a little too much South African ciders and beers.

Finally, the day arrived for us to jump off the 216 metre bridge. At this point, I still hadn’t really thought too hard about what this meant - I was just along for the ride. I remember paying for the jump, then walking along a catwalk to the middle of the bridge to get ready to gear up for the jump.

I was the first to jump. I remember stepping up and getting all tied up.

I remember one of the guys joking that they will push you off if they count down from 3 and you don’t jump at zero. I remember hopping over to the edge.

I remember looking out but not down. I remember the countdown starting. Three. Two. One. I remember telling myself not to scream on the way down. Zero.

I remember jumping.

And then, I remember a primal, involuntary scream emanating deep from within the core of my being as a couple seconds passed in free fall.

It was all over within 6 or 7 seconds, but that sensation of free falling slowed the passage of time where every second felt like minutes. The pull of the bungy as you got to the bottom was smoother than I expected. As you hung dangling, one of the guys came down and retrieved you back up.

I’ve never had adrenaline pumping through my body as much as I did from this jump. My legs and body would not stop shaking for hours after the jump. In hindsight, I don’t think I would ever do this again. I think the only reason I was able to do this was because I didn’t really think about it that much all the way to the point where I jumped. I gave myself selective amnesia about what this was and what it meant.

After the big jump, our final stop on the road trip was in Jeffreys Bay, a surf town. I had one of the best cheesecakes and calamari I’ve ever had in my life in this town.

We did a little surfing, hung out, then turned around and drove our tired bodies on a long trek all the way back to Cape Town.