I wouldn’t do it again just right now, but give me half an hour! Angel Parvu, first-time Orlando Towers bungee jumper
‘Bungeeeee!' you could hear the shouts all over the township, drowned out only slightly by the energetic Soweto Marimba Youth League Orchestra. Jubilant participants (mostly members of the media) who had just flung their bodies into empty space between the Orlando Cooling Towers, cheered in a boisterous celebration as they congratulated each other on being part of a select group of adventure-seekers.
Being the first to bungee off the Towers is definitely a feather in the cap, and there's no doubt this attraction is going to be the talk of the town. The Orlando Towers project was launched in July 2008 with the Power Swing, and this has certainly helped put Soweto on the map in terms of its adventure-destination status. The launch, on 22nd October of the bungee jump has further added to the mix of activities, and is now known as the only site in the world where you can bungee between 2 cooling towers.
Bob Woods, Director and Founder of Orlando Towers is thrilled with the new offering. He says, ‘Right now we've got two swings, one external and one internal, we also offer abseiling and rap jumping and with the completion of the bridge between the two cooling towers we've got the bungee jump on top of that! It's irresistable.'
The Orlando Towers were officially in operation from 1964 to 1989. It was in 2008 (after much negotiation and leg-work) that the towers were converted into an activity centre. The brightly coloured towers have been a landmark in the township for years, and so it's especially encouraging to know that these iconic structures will now attract visitors from far and wide.
Certainly, Soweto has so much to offer the visitor - with it's world-class museums, historical attractions, struggle sites, fun restaurants and shebeens and now the fantastic option of adventure activities at the Orlando Towers - it's a win-win combination for the open-minded traveller.
The great thing to note is that a skills upliftment programme has been underway to include local residents in the project.
The jumpers and swingers at the launch event gave the Orlando Towers a big thumbs up, and there's no doubt that visitors to South Africa in the coming months are going to be doing just the same.