re-sized Verzasca dam wall

Would You Ever Bungee Jump?

Somebody described it as ‘the ultimate leap of faith’… and it is an apt description. Extreme in the extreme, unnatural without doubt, crazy is in there somewhere, mad too – but an adrenaline thrill? … YES!!!

It is interesting how many articles I read which says – this IS the highest bungee jump. Just yesterday in the Jack Osbourne research, they claimed that the dam wall which features in the James Bond movie ‘Goldeneye’ was the highest bungee jump in the world – but I have it on good authority (Guinness Bood of Records) that Bloukrans Bridge just east of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa IS the highest jump in the world at 216m (710ft).

Bloukrans Bridge

So what is the truth behind all these claims?

The Verzaska dam wall, the James Bond one, near Locarno, Switzerland claims to be 220m (720ft).

There is an even higher jump though, but it is a commercial one – the Macau Tower in Macau, S.A.R. China, is 233m (760ft).This jump, however, does not qualify as the world’s highest bungee as it is not strictly speaking pure bungee, but instead what is referred to as a ‘Decelerator-Descent’ jump. The bridge at Bloukrans and the Verzasca Dam jumps are pure freefall swinging bungee from a single cord, while the Macau Tower jump has a secondary cable which controls descent and trajectory, thereby failing to take the place in the record books.

Thanks to wownnames for this video.

Guinness only records jumps from fixed objects to guarantee the accuracy of the measurement. John Kockleman however recorded a 2,200-foot (670 m) bungee jump from a hot air balloon in California in 1989. In 1991 Andrew Salisbury jumped from 9,000 feet (2,700 m) from a helicopter over Cancun for a television program and with Reebok sponsorship. The full stretch was recorded at 3,157 feet (962 m). He landed safely under parachute.

One commercial jump higher than all others is at the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado. The height of the platform is 321 metres (1,053 ft). However, this jump is rarely available, and only as part of the Royal Gorge Go Fast Games—first in 2005, then again in 2007.

So, that’s that one sorted out. Officially it does appear that the Swiss jump is the highest and I suppose it is only a matter of time before the Guinness Book of Records updates this entry… Thank you to Wikepedia for the clarification.

So, would you travel to the ends of the world to do the ultimate bungee jump?

Then don’t forget Victoria Falls. Although no longer the highest, at 111m…

Victoria Falls' Second Gorge (with bridge) and Third Gorge (right). The peninsular cliffs are in Zambia, the outer cliffs in Zimbabwe.

second gorge with bridge and third gorge on right

… it is still the most spectacular. The setting – plunging head first into the Batoka Gorge, must rate as one of Africa’s most iconic adventures. My vote for the best setting is still Victoria Falls.

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