A Healthy Dose of Fear: Zip Lining in South Africa

Have you ever looked at an activity and thought, “Wow, that sounds incredibly dangerous and ill-advised? Let’s do that.”

99 times out of 100 I cartoon style sprint away from anything that sounds like that because I’m a pretty big fan of being alive. But when we took a trip to South Africa several years ago I remembered to bring sneakers, my passport, and a camera but forgot to bring common sense and a healthy dose of fear.


The Rains, Worms, and Celebrities of Africa

We did a lot of incredible things in Africa – attended the World Cup, went on safari, toured Johannesburg, and stayed with the coolest family in the Southern hemisphere.

We also did a lot of weird stuff in Africa – like ate a worm meant to improve fertility, hung out with John Travolta (kind of, he was in the same stadium), and convinced ourselves that vuvuzelas sound nice.

I don’t know what category “zip lining down the longest fastest zip line in the world” falls under but we did it, I loved it, and if my kids ever ask if they can do it they will be grounded until they are 35 because this is one parenting moment I’ll be happy to helicopter.

Durban South Africa World Cup
If you haven’t heard a vuvuzela don’t Google it unless you want your ears to bleed. But if you go South Africa, buy one immediately. I understand that is contradictory advice. It’s fine.

Crazy, Stupid, Dangerous

I don’t know about you, but when I think about a zip line I imagine lightly sailing over a forest forging lasting friendships with friendly birds. I can’t stress to you enough how much THIS zip line was not THAT zip line.

We took a Jeep up a mountain to a wooden platform and climbed 14,000,000 stairs up to the top. Then because we didn’t have enough oxygen in our brains, we signed a paper that said “You’ll probably survive this, but we can’t be sure. The world’s a crazy place and this is a stupid dangerous thing to do. So we’re good right?” 

Then we learned that we would need goggles to protect our eyes from the 90mph speeds we were going to be hitting while careening down a mountain cradled in what was basically a hot dog bun with a shark fin attached to a bungee cord…


The Longest, Fastest Zip Line in the World

Our friend Kellie went down first and I vaguely remember hearing the guide at the top saying “Sweet… she made it down alive… first one today.”

Newly engaged, Glen and I opted to take the zip line ride tandem because we were adorable and didn’t want to leave each others’ sides thought we might as well die together.

You think I am smiling in that photo? No. I’m just trying to show as many teeth as possible to help local authorities identify my body later.

The guide eventually pushed us off the ledge (I think that’s how it worked, I probably blacked out) and we started to fly. Seriously, it was like flying. I should have been terrified the whole way down because there was only a small piece of plastic between my feet keeping us balanced, but I was just exhilarated.


Stepping WAY Out of the Comfort Zone

As a largely wingless species, human beings aren’t supposed to get to have this feeling of soaring over long distances without an engine or small bag of pretzels.

But we did, and didn’t even sort of die.

Zip lining in South Africa

Looking back on the photos do I think “that seems like a completely reasonable thing to do if you have respect for your personal safety”? No.

But do I encourage you to think about it if you are visiting South Africa? You bet your bottom dollar!

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary but it’s also inspiring. It creates memories, it makes you view the world through a new lens, and it challenges you to be the bravest version of yourself.

That bravery is going to take you all kinds of places in your life and career. So get on out there, do something a little scary!

(But seriously, don’t tell my kids I said this was okay to do. I’m still drawing the line there.)



Read More About Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone:

Don’t Wear Orange to Spin Class (And Other Lessons Learned from Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone)

Networking Tips for Introverts: Overcoming the 5 Major Objections

How to Be Creative in 2 Easy Steps


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23 Comments

  1. You’re nuts! But a great story and, as always, written beautifully. ๐Ÿ™‚ Something I would be absolutely terrified to do but glad I did it later….assuming I survived.

    1. Thank you! South Africa is AMAZING! Enjoy your trip and, hyperbole aside, this really was an incredible zip line and I’m sure very safe. Give it a whirl!

    1. Totally worth it and makes me feel like I can comfortably sit on my couch the rest of my life. Been there, done that, questioned my sanity, bought the t-shirt.

    1. Thanks Kimberly! Psyched to have you on board! And yes, please do something ridiculous in New Zealand. What do the kids say nowadays? YOLO?

    1. It really was amazing! The view was incredible and it was such a rush of adrenaline. Although I would very much like to try a slower through the woods one too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Love this!…especially the fun humor you brought to the post, I give you so much credit because I never would have been able to do this I would have been too terrified!!!

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