Wild Jump: the adventure continues
How wild an adventurer are you? Try skydiving, tackling a 4x4 challenge and walking through Kruger. That's what two SANParks employees did on the Wild Jump. By Gabrielle Venter
For 40 seconds we plunged to the ground at a speed of 200km/h as we descended to 5 000 feet. Those precious seconds felt like hours but what an unforgettable moment. The feeling of letting go, although foreign to me, was exhilarating. My amazing instructor Fred had to remind me to stretch out my arms and fly! At 5 000 feet Fred activated the parachute and we slowed down to a scenic 20km/h. As he readjusted the ’chute I was able to take in all of God’s wonderful creation. In the distance I saw the Crocodile River slither through the land like a snake along the border of the breathtaking Kruger National Park, I watched cars zoom by on the N4 and I felt a pure sense of oneness with our beautiful land. Never in my life have I felt so alive as I did whilst floating down to earth.
Next on the agenda for Fred was teaching me how to land. That was another first for me, being taught in the sky. His instructions were spot on and as we neared the grassy landing strip, I lifted my legs and next thing he said was “stand up”, so I did and we were safely on solid ground. Karen came running up to me and asked me immediately how I felt, but at that moment no words can describe how you feel.
As my heart rate returned to normal and my body relaxed the next group went up to skydive. Watching them made me want to jump again just to feel that adrenalin rush. Although skydiving is very exciting it is also a very personal experience and I took away much more than I ever thought I would from my jump. Skydiving experts Atlas Angel say “Skydivers know why birds sing and angels soar” and that is so true.
Following our extreme adventure we were whisked away to start our safari in the Kruger National Park. First stop, Pretoriuskop Rest Camp. On arrival we were welcomed by SANParks employees Promise Silinda and Lunga Mamize, who took us for a short game drive and then on to a bush braai. If you have never experienced something like this, it is a must. SANParks had organised a full dinner on a rocky outcrop near Pretoriuskop for us to enjoy a meal in the wild. Xolela kept looking over his shoulder just to make sure no wild animals were stalking him even though our rangers were on the lookout for danger.
Early the next day we packed and began our drive on the Madlabantu trail. This activity is for all those 4x4 addicts out there who want a wild experience in the calming natural surrounds only a national park can provide. Luckily for us, our driver was a 4x4 expert and he made our drive educational as well as interesting.
The last stopover for our adventure was Skukuza, Kruger National Park’s largest camp. After all the adventure we had experienced we were exhausted, so most guests spent the day swimming in one of the two pools at Skukuza or taking a leisurely walk on the deck overlooking the Sabie River. That evening we gathered in the boma where we were treated to another mouthwatering dinner and a visit by a thick-tailed bush baby. After that it was lights out for everyone.
On our last day we left the camp at 5:30 to start our bush walk and en route to the drop-off point we spotted two large female lions on the road – a little too close to our walk for some guests. Our guides advised us on how to walk and what to do in case of an emergency as we silently entered unknown territory. Walking through the bush is somewhat intimidating because you do not know what you might stumble upon. At one point our guides told us each to find a secluded spot, sit down and listen as nature played her melody and play she did. After an hour of walking we stopped on a large rock for a snack and the chance to recount what we had experienced. The guides regaled us with stories of previous walks they had been on. We continued our walk back to the open safari vehicle and slowly I anticipated returning to the concrete jungle I live in.
Specialist guide Trust Ndlovu with Xolela Magazi and Gabrielle Venter.
Our departure was only looked forward to for the sleep I expected to have in the next two days. Dusty, dirty and downright tired I left my Wild Jump adventure behind. A must for extreme adventurers who love nature, Wild Jump is a unique opportunity to get your heart racing and relax at the same time.
Prices range from R6 350 per person to R11 650 per person – with four options to choose from, which include either the tandem skydiving or the bush drives and walks. This exclusive event also offers you either a round of golf or a bush-walk or a bush-drive while you're visiting Skukuza Rest Camp. Every person who enters this event will receive a personalised All Parks Cluster Wild Card. Request your registration form from firstname.lastname@example.org