We had just finished a wonderful fourteen day hunting safari in northern Zimbabwe and had allowed a couple of extra days at the end to visit Victoria Falls and the nearby town of the same name – just being tourist.
Victoria Falls is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world; it’s over a mile wide and 300 feet high – truly majestic, especially during the season of high water flow. It’s listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world – and when you see it, you immediately understand why.
We stayed at the classic Victoria Falls Hotel. This lovely building went up in 1904 and is a designated world heritage site – pretty neat place to visit. That evening, dinner was an outside buffet and I recall having had the opportunity to taste fried grasshoppers and beetles – not exactly what a country boy from Missouri would be thinking about for dinner.
The next day we did some souvenir shopping, and in one of the shops there was a poster advertising bungee jumping off the bridge over the Zambezi River. Our son Russell, 23 years old at the time, immediately lit up with the prospect of such a grand adventure. He insisted that the entire family join him, and especially me; but got no takers.
He bought his ticket and signed a release, then we had to walk across the bridge to the Zambia side to sign another release – after all, the bridge is anchored to the ground in both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Then, we walked back to the middle of the bridge for the jump.
There was quite a long line, all young folks, of course. When Russell’s turn came, they carefully secured the bungee cord to his legs; he turned and smiled at us, then off he went. I cannot explain what it felt like when he jumped off the platform and looked four hundred and twenty feet down into the Zambezi River; nor can I explain how comforting it must have felt when the bungee cord worked according to plan. After the bouncing settled down, the crew pulled their Customer back up to the bridge and untied him.
Russell and I share a lot of personality characteristics and have enjoyed many adventures together, but I drew the line on this one, definitely not – like father, like son.