Just like your first successful knotting a tie, or driving a car with manual transmission, bungee jumping is one of those things that some people feel they must do in life. It is not easy because unlike driving a car and tying a tie you only have one chance to get bungee jumping right but once you do you’ll want to do it again. Adrift Adventure Company runs the only bungee tower in East Africa and it is right over the Nile in Jinja.
Although, one of the safest sports, bungee jumping is not for the faint hearted. First, you have to be weighed to see if you are of at least the required weight: 35kgs. The minimum age is 13 years. You cannot be pregnant, must be free of heart conditions, pressure and other health concerns. Next you have to sign an indemnity form which removes liability from the company in case something goes wrong. That very thought freaks out some would-be jumpers.
Next, the steps to the jump are quite challenging and that is where the fear sets in as you climb the 44m high tower and look down. Once there, people often ‘chicken out’ and give up returning to “base” safely on the ground where they watch others take the plunge. But somehow, it is all in the mind. If you stay confident, you can make it.
Adrift says they have never had any accident in their 10 years of operation. According to Adrift, the tower was built to support four times the weight of the jumpers or 260 kgs. Adrift’s disclaimer is that, “Bungee jumping is very safe if done properly. We consider the most dangerous part of bungee jumping from the Nile High Tower is driving to Jinja. Jumpers are much more likely to get injured on the road travel from or back to Kampala.”
Besides white water rafting at their Jinja location, Adrift has promoted bungee jumping since they started operations in Uganda in 2003. Cam McLeay, the proprietor, says people have taken to the sport cautiously. “If you surround yourself with fear, you cannot make the jump. You need loads of confidence and never look down prior to jumping. Looking down kind of demotivates you seeing that you are 44 metres to your fall”.
How does it work? To make sure you are secure, two people tie your legs with latex cords and have a rope holding you firmly as you “fly” in the air. You are advised to look far off and not down, or better still close your eyes before the crucial jump. After counting one, two, three, you are then asked to jump off the 44m high platform. Once in the air, you can choose which direction to go as they “fly” you about with the rope taking you up and down. You don’t control your fall or flying as the guys with the ropes decide how many times to swing you about and whether you will touch the water (what they call “tea-bag”).
It is always after the jumping that you really feel it is doable after all. And even though it costs $115 a jump you might be tempted to do it again! Try it out this year and you will have achieved a very big feat.
To get to the bungee location, you can book through their Kampala offices in Kololo or take a taxi to Jinja. Adrift is located next to Jinja Nile Resort Hotel which is only three kms away from the first round about after Owen falls dam. You branch off from a place called Amber Court.
You can book a bungee jumping tour with many tour operators in Uganda. Some tour operators also sell fully inclusive Uganda safaris that feature bungee jumping in Jinja either at the start or at the end of the trip.