Elephants, Ostriches and a Headfirst Jump
Greetings from Cape Town! I’m just rounding off my first month down here in South Africa. It’s been a wild time. Classes only started last week, so we seized the opportunity to go out and explore the beautiful surrounding areas of the city on the Garden Route. Traveling six hours east, we made it out to Jeffrey’s Bay, one of the best surf spots in the world, where we got thrashed by gorgeous waves.
On the road we stayed at various “backpackers,” which are essentially hostels, but so much better. Instead of just providing beds to sleep in, each one has their own kitchen staff that whips up delicious home-cooked meals. We had freshly baked bread every night along with ostrich skewers and other traditional dishes.
Traveling back, we delved deep into Cango Caves, squeezing through tunnels that were only a few feet wide. We followed the caves with a more relaxing afternoon of visiting (and riding) elephants and ostriches.
The following morning was our day of reckoning, where we would tackle the highest bungy bridge in the world. After a few ritualistic ceremonies in the car, we walked out onto the bridge, which was by far the scariest part. Almost 800 feet above the river, we rattled a metal grate for what felt like hours before stepping out onto the platform on the center of the bridge. Once there, the mood quickly changed. Huge speakers blasted house music, and the bridge suddenly transformed into a nightclub — even drinks were being served. The staff had a little too much fun toying with the jumpers, yelling things like “WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!” just as the jumpers were leaping off the platform — headfirst, mind you.
The jump itself was a total blur. One second your friends are shouting and dancing, and the next you’re plummeting headfirst toward the river below you with only the sound of rushing wind on your ears; a must-have experience for anyone traveling this way.
After another relaxing night with delicious bread at our final backpackers, we headed back to the city for classes to begin. Cape Town is a fantastic city, but when the next chance comes for me to go back out on the Garden Route, I’ll be there.