By: Natasha Archary
If you’ve been following my Innovative Dating series, you may be questioning my sanity by now. It’s cool. My family and friends have all but called me crazy and my partner has probably thought about a reason to quit me on more than one occasion too. Thing is, he’s slowly coming around and is quite the adventure seeker himself now. A huge contrast to the guy who refused to get into the shark tank with me.
Read More: Innovative date idea: Rock climb
Our next adrenaline charged date had us heading to the Orlando Towers on a crisp Saturday morning for a SCAD freefall. A landmark in Soweto, the towers are now an adrenaline junkie’s playground with an adventure activity centre set up for thrill-seekers to take advantage of. At the impressive height of 100 metres above ground, the towers are colourfully painted and attract thousands of tourists and locals looking for a quick rush.
The list of activities on offer includes a 100-metre bungee, which is quite possibly the biggest draw card for many. This is not why we’re here though. We’re booked for the highest SCAD freefall in the world. A safer option, to ease us both into the bungee which is set to be our next date.
After a quick sign in at the front desk, we are kitted with helmets. I swear I’ve been in more gear this past year than I can keep track off. I’m convinced it does nothing for my dressed down look, in jeans and a T, but adrenaline junkies don’t care much about setting fashion trends. No, we’re after one thing. The surge of adrenline that charges through your veins after a 40-metre drop.
We climb up the vertical ladder on the side of the tower to enter the inside of one of the towers. You’re not allowed to take any valuables with you. There are lockers to secure your stuff while you take on the challenge. Entering the tower was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s gigantic. There’s a ramp that takes us to the centre, on which a raised platform, the air mattress and the cage rests. It’s a dizzying sight.
Our guides fit us into harnesses and don’t give away too much. My guy thinks it’s funny by giving our instructor the go ahead.
“Ladies first.” He grins sheepishly.
Does he not know me by now? Not one to back down from a challenge, I laugh almost too enthusiastically and we get into the cage that is to hoist us up. Safety is always a priority with these activities and, as with the zipline, we’re immediately hooked onto the cage by a harness that fastens onto our belts. Now for the fun part.
Ascending in this steel cage. The air mattress follows closely behind and it’s the initial fear factor when the cage starts its ascent that gets you. (Ah, hello vertigo my old friend.) At 70 metres above ground, the cage comes to a stop. There’s no backing out now.
I’m being fastened to another cable, this one dropping down from the top of the cage. The platform we’re on has an opening in the centre of the cage floor. This is where I’m currently dangling. With my full weight resting on the harness I’m strapped into.
Mzwalo, our guide, reassures me that he’s just double checking my harness. Before I have time to tell him I’ll count him down and then and only then should he release me, I’m already freefalling.
The screams were involuntary. I have never fallen in slow motion (or fallen from a height that extreme for that matter) but that’s what it felt like. My freefall took forever. Where was this air mattress that was supposed to be there to cushion my fall? Like a movie scene that is dramatically slowed down, I was still falling. Screaming. Falling. Finally landing with a thud against the mattress netting.
I’m lowered onto the ground. The cage and mattress are always 30 metres apart. I can see my partner looking down to see if I’m okay. I signal with a thumbs up. Cue my hysterical laughter. That was more fun than I thought it was going to be. After what seems like an eternity I’m finally on the platform again.
I get off the air mattress and allow my body to embrace the sensations from the fall. Shaking from head to toe, my heart pumping uncontrollably against my rib cage, my breathing quickening and the surge of adrenaline that takes over is insane. This is why I love these dates. It’s a high like no other. The only feeling that comes close is a climax after mindblowing sex.
Rocking me to my core, I live for this rush. I hear my partners’ scream and look up to see him plummeting in the same slow mo’ pace I experienced a few seconds ago. He hits the mattress and is descending onto the platform.
“Whoo hoo! That was insane!”
It was indeed. It’s an exhilarating, short ride that will have you wanting more. I’m definitely doing this again. And if the huge grin on his face is anything to go by, I think he will be on board too.
The entire experience is roughly about 30 minutes, from sign in, to the ride up to the 70-metre mark and the actual fall. If you ask me, it’s over way too soon. Dress comfortably when you book this adventure. I promise I do go out to dinners and movies and do regular run-of-the-mill things too but it’s these adrenaline charged activities that I love most.
Book your SCAD freefall at the Soweto Towers in Orlando now: SCAD Freefall – Orlando Towers