Bloukrans bungy: lifeblood of a community

Bloukrans bungy: world's highest commercial bungy bridge

Maybe you’ve only recently heard about Responsible Tourism – it’s a concept that’s caught on especially quickly since the Responsible Tourism in Cities conference at last year’s Indaba – but Face Adrenalin, which was established in 1990 (and has been offering bungy jumping at the Bloukrans Bridge since 1997), was founded on the principles of Responsible Tourism.

“Bloukrans is situated in the Tsitsikamma area, on the border between the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces and about 150 kilometres from the nearest economic centre,” said Face Adrenalin’s Devan Tuohey.

“It’s a neglected area which doesn’t have much of an economy, and we realised from the start that the only way we’d be able to develop a sustainable business there was by building relationships with members of the local community – and so, as part of our agreement with our landlords, SANRAL, we decided to pay a significant percentage of our turnover to the local community trust.

“But we also knew that our greatest security would come from providing as many secure jobs as possible – and we’ve grown to the point where 60 people from neighbouring communities – Coldstream, Thornham, Storms River, Covie, and The Crags – now work in the young, fun and exciting environment at the Bridge.”

Mr. Tuohey said that Face Adrenalin has paid more than fourteen million rand to the Trust since 1998, “and our contribution’s on a sliding scale, so it grows every year.”

The Bloukrans operation is unique, he said, because it’s the only bungy in world that uses a national road bridge as its base. “So a national asset becomes an important source of upliftment for its local communities.”

He said, too, that Face Adrenalin is working with the authorities to develop standards for safe bungy jumping in South Africa.

“We do all our batch destruct testing at Mvelaphanda Resources’ equipment testing facility in Mossel Bay – which certifies our equipment. But we’ve also developed our code of operating procedures based on the Australia and New Zealand Code of Practice For Bungy Jumping, and we’re currently talking to the SABS (South African Bureau of Standards) about adopting this protocol for bungy jumping in South Africa as a whole,” he said.

Since Responsible Tourism is defined as ‘developing better places to live in, and better places to visit,’ Face Adrenalin is clearly leading the way in Adventure Tourism in South Africa.