World’s Tallest Zip-line, Free Abseiling and the Milky Way

Remember when I said that this would be an adrenaline filled week? Well, it was 100% that and SO much more! Even though the show we’re filming is primarily about wildlife, there is also a travel aspect to it and that’s why doing exciting activities like these is just as important as seeing animals in their natural habitat.

This week’s location was a unique jungle-like environment surrounding Africa’s 2nd tallest waterfall. They had JUST built the world’s HIGHEST ZIP-LINE overlooking the falls, and guess who was the first person to try it out???

That’s right.

As my guide Bernie (who is awesome by the way)  strapped me into my harness, only an hour after we’d arrived, he casually asked: ‘Are you ready?

Let’s see: Am I ready to be the first person ever to try out a 600m high, 400m long zip-line looking down over a 762m waterfall? How about NO??

Alas, I did not have a choice, so off I went. And it was BEAUTIFUL.

The moment I took off, I felt like Superman off duty. Not only was I flying, but I was so mesmerised by the view that I forgot about the high likelihood of peeing my pants only a few seconds ago! On one side you see the cascading waterfalls, right beneath your feet, and on the other side – majestic forests and hills, the farthest of which are Mozambique. An enchanting experience. So great, in fact, that I did it twice!

The walk back from the zip-line is quite the experience too. Long and thin bridges, from which you look out and see THIS:

Bernie: ‘Kristina, have you ever tried free abseiling? It’s like rock climbing except it’s in the air. How about we attach you to the bridge and you can lower yourself down to reach the source of the falls?’

Me: ‘Sure, sounds fun.

It was only later that I found out that I was the FIRST EVER person to try that too!! Thanks for the heads up, guys.

It was an awesome (and surprisingly fun) experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Bernie even said I was a natural. #coolface #score. And yes, I thank the universe every day for not being scared of heights:

When we did reach the source of the waterfall, I found that it was pretty much as magnificent as the waterfall itself. We spent a few hours exploring and even did some fishing! Luckily, we caught a trout, but unluckily for me, I had to kiss it before releasing it back into the water. Slimiest kiss ever. And I’ve had my share of bad ones, trust me.

Then there was the obstacle course………..

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Let’s just say that it was not my favourite. Even as a kid I disliked obstacle courses, so now it’s safe to say I hate them. And it’s not that I’m bad at them – years of dance has thankfully ensured good body coordination and enough flexibility and balance to perform well on most of the challenges. I just never saw the fun in it. But anyway, enough moaning. Time to tell you about the Pamper Pole, which was the highlight of it all:

The Pamper Pole got its name from all the people that need pampers to go on it. I thought I would be one of them. It’s a 12m high pole with about a 10cm diameter. And yes, it wobbles. You need to climb up it like a monkey and then…. wait for it. STAND UP NOT USING YOUR HANDS! And keep in mind the diameter of this thing is about the size of your fist.

Climbing up was easy. It’s when you’re up there, not knowing how to manoeuvre your body to avoid falling whilst not using your hands… that’s when it becomes tricky. I spent ages stuck on top, trying to figure out the best way to fall 12m down because there is no way I’d be able to stand up on that tiiiiny surface area not using my hands. But somehow….. magically... miraculously… with the help of the Pamper Pole GodsI did!!

Photo 16-08-2017, 15 03 34 (1)

So well, in fact, the guide said he’s never seen anyone do it with so much balance. At that point I felt rather chuffed with myself so I took the challenge a stage further and jumped to grab hold of a trapeze bar, which I swung on until they lowered me down. Yes yes, wrong career path I know. #circusfreak.

What followed was a bunch of swinging bridges , tiny wobbly stairs in the air, ziplines and some other activities that would have been an “are you kidding” moment to 20-years-ago-Kristina. I can see why they call it a “confidence course” though. It really does get you out of the “I can’t do this” mindset. 

After an afternoon of half of my face having a determined ‘lady of steel’ look for the cameras and the other half practically being in tears, I finally got a challenge I loved: A photography mission!!! I was to take 12 beautiful scenery and wildlife shots at a national park whilst doing a walking safari in order to then make a calendar. Woohoooo!

It was an area so scenic, I could spend days there. But I only had 6 hours, so here are some of the shots I managed to take. They all need editing still:

And if that weren’t enough natural beauty for the week, what REALLY blew me away was the starry sky. We were on a high elevation (around 1800m) with no pollution of any kind, so every night we’d get a display to make any planetarium weep with jealousy:

Photo 19-08-2017, 07 36 22

Next Week: An adorable 6 week old rhino, gorgeous lodges and more unique experiences with Africa’s incredible wildlife!


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