Victoria Falls bungee jump: 3-2-1…ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Hurtling towards the Zambezi River the world is a blur of adrenaline and chaos. And then it’s over. The bungee cord pings back and you bounce up and down like a pogo stick.
This isn’t just any bungee. Victoria Falls bungee jump is located in the no man’s land between Zimbabwe and Zambia. You have to show your passport just to reach the platform. Oh, and there was that one time when the cord snapped, and a woman was left swimming with crocodiles in the Zambezi.
It’s become arguably the world’s most iconic jump, a test of nerve in the most sublime surroundings. The falls rumble and clouds of spray fill the air. 3-2-1…wait, wait, wait, can I really do this?
The local Kololo tribe call it Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means “The Smoke That Thunders.” It would be hard to imagine something so majestic without a legend attached to its name. The River God Nyami Nyami, a creature with the head of a fish and the body of a snake, created the falls in a fit of rage.
Victoria Falls bungee jump is just one activity in a town that markets itself as Africa’s adrenaline capital. Others include superb white-water rafting, canoeing with hippos and walking with rhinos.
Read more with this complete guide to Victoria Falls, including when to go, how to get there and what to do.
Victoria Falls Bungee Height
The jump itself is 111 metres. That’s a long way off the world’s highest bridge jump – 216 metres at Bloukrans in South Africa. Still, look down from the platform and it feels like there’s a thousand metres above the Zambezi River.
Victoria Falls Bungee Jump: How It Works
Choosing from the different bungee activities
There’s also the Victoria Falls bungee swing. Which is just as fun but not quite as scary.
With a bungee jump the cord is attached to your feet. You dive outwards and travel head first towards the river. Some people are unafraid and actually dive, as if this was a casual jump from the side of a swimming pool.
Most people end up being pushed and start descending feet first. Regardless of the starting point the cord whips you around and it’s head first towards the Zambezi.
For a bungee swing you’re harnessed in a kind of seat and step off the platform feet first. Then you fall feet first. It’s easier to jump when looking out rather than down. It’s certainly less scary. Rather than pogo up and down you swing back and forth.
This is a good option if you want adrenaline and the iconicity of jumping in no man’s land, yet feel sick at the thought of a bungee jump. Also consider a tandem bungee swing. This is hilarious, jumping off and swinging above the Zambezi with a friend.
To get people spending even more money they also offer a Bridge Slide. This is a pretty tepid zipline and it’s really not worth the USD 45 price tag. Even more overpriced is the Bridge Tour, USD 65 for a guide to narrate something about the bridge that can be read on Wikipedia.
Booking a jump
Thrill seekers on a Victoria Falls bungee jump have a number of options.
1) Book a trip online and collect a voucher from the Shearwater Town Office. This voucher includes a complimentary bus ride from Shearwater Café. This may not be necessary as many hotels offer a free transfer service to the falls anyway.
2) Every hotel and hostel in Victoria Falls or Livingstone can book the jump. They make a small commission on this. If you are planning many adventure activities it’s worth booking them all at the same time. This way you can ask for a discount and the hotel or hostel may happily take a few dollars off their commission.
3) It’s easy to turn up at the bridge and book a jump. The staff will take you to a cafe overlooking the jump to complete a payment by card or cash. They do discourage this because many people intending to jump chicken out when they see what’s involved. Watching a frightened jumper dropping off the edge can be off putting.
How much is the Victoria Falls bungee jump?
As of 2019 the bungee jump costs USD 160. The Victoria Falls bungee swing is USD 160 for a solo jump and USD 240 for tandem (so USD 120 each).
They do a special deal – and this is where they get you – of USD 210 for the bungee jump, bungee swing, and zip line.
Getting to no man’s land
Before jumping you must leave the country. Take your passport and make your way to the border. Ask for a bridge pass rather than getting stamped out of Zambia or Zimbabwe. Sometimes a passport isn’t necessary but when traveling in no man’s land it’s always advisable to carry ID.
The best visa strategy for most visitors to Zambia or Zimbabwe is the KAZA Univisa. This single visa is valid for 30 days and allows multiple entries in Zimbabwe and Zambia, as well as day trips to Botswana. It costs the same as an individual single entry Zambia or Zimbabwe visa.
With a KAZA Univisa you can do the bungee jump then continue onto the other side of the border (either Zambia or Zimbabwe) and visit the falls from the other side.
Getting ready for the jump
Participants are first weighed so the cord can be adjusted accordingly. The crew then ties a harness to your ankles.
After a quick briefing and safety checks you move to the edge of the ledge. It’s here that you are advised to focus on the horizon. Don’t look down, or else you might chicken out.
Participants are advised to raise their arms at shoulder length to keep the cord from twisting around their neck during the jump. They are advised to jump out, not down. But really, when the countdown begins it’s impossible to choose how to jump.
Once ready there’s a quick 3-2-1 BUNGEE. It’s over in a flash. You’re off the edge, screaming as you plunge down the colossal 111-meter drop.
Before jumping the crew practically hold you on the edge. If there’s any brief hesitation then they will probably push you. Only an intense cry of WAITTTTTT!!!!! is likely to stop the jump. Even then the crew are experts at talking you back into it and there’s no refund. Who pays USD 160 to stand on a platform and not jump?
Many people jump because somebody else did it and they have FOMO. If that’s you then ask the crew to push you. It’s more like 3-2-AHHHHHHHH. They don’t even wait.
To put the speed in perspective Usain Bolt takes 9.6 seconds to cover 100m. The bungee jump over Victoria Falls is 111m high and takes just 4 seconds. That is even faster than the fastest animal of them all, the cheetah.
While the descent doesn’t last long there’s a good minute of bouncing up and down as the crew members are lowered down to retrieve you. This is the fun part. It isn’t scary because by then you know that the cord can hold your weight. After the adrenaline comes the elation, and you walk in the clouds for the rest of the day.
Will You Do a Victoria Falls Bungee Jump?
Bungee jumping in Victoria Falls is not for the feint of heart. Rather than book online it’s probably best to visit the bridge and check it out first.
Watching jumpers is a premier tourist attraction in Victoria Falls. Even if you don’t plan to actually jump it’s worth spending 30 minutes watching people fall towards the Zambezi.
After jumping the feeling of certain death is soon replaced with that of weightlessness. And it is quite a story – that time you did a 111 metre bungee jump over a crocodile infested river in African no man’s land… 🙂