Adrenalin is a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands when we are under stress or scared. Jumping off a gorge will cause you to secrete adrenalin. Being a mother watching your daughters jump off the gorge into the churning waters of the Zambezi below will cause the mother to secrete adrenalin.
Victoria Falls is known as the Adrenalin Capital for all its adventure-related sports activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping, gorge-swinging, zip-lining and many more. After much debate around the dinner table, my daughters and their partners agreed on their chosen adrenaline fix for the holiday and we made arrangements with Wild Horizons for the gorge swing and the zip-line.
We were taken to the lookout where everyone received instructions on safety precautions and procedures; the jumpers were then harnessed and marked with a black felt-tip on their hand to indicate their chosen madness. Much like being tagged for a medical operation, you need to check that you get the jump you are expecting. Then there is a bit of a walk through the bush to the platform. Mike was going to photograph the event, even though we selected to buy the video and photos from the Wild Horizons photographers (highly recommended). We agreed on another lookout from which Mike could get a good view. Being unreasonably scared of heights, I managed to tuck myself behind some bushes and felt better sitting down, but watching Mike standing so close to the edge made me feel woozy and so I was continuously yelling at him to watch his footing.
I peered through some foliage and saw my baby Sarah preparing to jump. She had selected the Gorge Swing which means that you jump off (forwards or backwards or you can handstand and get flipped over), you drop down into the gorge and dangle just above the water of the Zambezi River as you swing to and fro until you get hoisted back up again. Sarah elected to go backwards. Surprisingly and thankfully enough she was not naked as she had heard you get it for free if you are – but that is a very bad rumour and there is no truth in it at all. I saw her tip back and flip upside down as gravity sucked her into the depths of the gorge – my heart stopped, I threw my body flat on the ground and buried my face in the sand and screamed, “Is she alive?”… And then I cried.
She spread herself out in the shape of a star and swung with ecstatic delight taking in the joy and thrill of the experience. I was exhausted.
Then came the zip-line and Liz went first. I saw my little first-born dangling in the harness and my face grimaced with fear. The speed with which the zip lets go and then whips you along the gorge and up into the tree-line is faster than any famous cricket fast bowler can hurl the ball. Liz’s screams echoed in the gorge as she sped past in a blur and they faded into the distance as she flew above the trees. As she was hoisted back up to the platform I saw her gorgeous smile come past and realized that she had really enjoyed the experience. I was even more exhausted.
Afterwards there were a lot of “whoop, whooping”, high-fives and air punching by the jumpers. My knees finally stopped shaking at around sunset.
By Marian Myers