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The Orlando cooling towers in Soweto

Soweto, the Adrenaline-Seekers’ Capital of South Africa

I was in a speeding car with three other people, careening toward the Orlando Towers — a decommissioned-power-station-turned-entertainment/adventure-center — in Soweto. “I wonder if they’re going to make us bungee?” someone asked. “There’s no way I’m doing that,” said Meruschka, as she wove in and out of traffic in our Volkswagen rental. “Me neither,” said Jenna. “I don’t want to do it,” said Paul. I sat in the back seat, trying not to feel carsick, only half paying attention to the conversation. “I’ll do it,” I said, not really thinking I’d have to. The Orlando cooling towers in May 2014. I didn’t have time to take proper photos during my most recent visit. (Read about the history of the Orlando Power Station.) View from the top of the Orlando Towers in September 2015, when I took photos with a group of bloggers during the Soweto Wine Festival. (We didn’t jump that day.) The narrow walkway in the middle is the part that you bungee from. Looking down from the top of the tower, also shot in September 2015. Meruschka had invited me and two other friends to participate in an Amazing-Race-type treasure hunt around Joburg called KnowJozi, sponsored by Bidvest Car Rental. There were […]

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How (Not) to Jump Off a Stadium

The Commonwealth Games, an Olympics-like sporting competition involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, are headed to Durban in 2022. The 2022 host city won’t be officially announced until September 2015, but it turns out that Durban is the only bidder. (Edmonton, Canada, initially submitted a bid but later withdrew it.) So…yay! It’s not 100% confirmed but the Commonwealth Games are most likely coming to Africa for the first time ever. (Incidentally, the Olympics have also never been held on African soil. WTF? This needs to change.) Last weekend I was invited to Durban, along with a few other journalists/bloggers/instagrammers, to do fun things in the city and create some hype for the Commonwealth Games bid. Mainly we hung around Moses Mabhida Stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup and one of the most beautiful stadiums in South Africa. Looking up at the roof of Moses Mabhida Stadium. See that narrow walkway going across, near the top of the frame? Store that away for later. Our morning started with breakfast on the Durban Beachfront, which is one of my favorite places to hang out in Durban. I drank a smoothie and watched the cyclists roll past, soaking in the sun. Durban beachfront Instagram. […]

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I Jumped Off a Bridge. Here’s the Video.

I’ve already mentioned my birthday bungee jump a couple of times (see posts here and here), but it’s taken me more than a month to edit the video footage from the GoPro camera I wore during the jump. I’m finally ready to tell the story. I jumped from the Bloukrans River Bridge, on the border of South Africa’s Eastern Cape and the Western Cape provinces. Bloukrans is a bit more than an hour’s drive from Knysna, where I stayed during the Knysna Oyster Festival. The bridge is 216 meters (709 feet) high. I can’t believe I jumped from that seemingly tiny space at the top of the arch.  The Bloukrans River bungee jump is run by Face Adrenelin and is the highest commercial bungee jump in the world. There are higher places in the world to bungee-jump (see list here) but apparently the other places aren’t commercial, whatever that means. At any rate, I don’t see myself doing any non-commercial bungees so I’m pretty sure this is the highest bridge I’ll ever jump off of. I didn’t have much time to psychologically prepare for the jump, which was a good thing. I mentioned off-hand that I might like to do it and somehow, a little more than 12 hours […]

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Things I Was Wrong About: Oysters, and the Highest Bungee Jump in the World

I’m in Knysna this week, as a guest of the Knysna Oyster Festival. When I originally got this invitation a few months ago, I accepted because I’d heard Knysna is lovely and I knew it would be a great place to spend my birthday. I didn’t plan to eat many oysters though. I used to think I didn’t like oysters, but it turns out I was wrong about that. My first oyster of the week, from Quay Four Restaurant in Knysna. I learned that I actually love oysters once they’ve been doused with lemon juice and Tabasco. (Photo: Theresa Lozier) I also used to think that I would never go bungee-jumping in a million years. I was wrong about that too. These images are from a GoPro camera — courtesy of my new Instagram buddy @scrumpyjackson — that was strapped to my head during the jump. There is video footage too, which I cannot wait to share but it will take me a while to get it edited and ready for prime-time. I’ll do a full-on post about the jump in a few weeks. I went bungee jumping on my 40th birthday, which was yesterday. In fact I leapt from the highest bungee jump […]

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