Last week we asked some brave, (and some not-so-brave) souls to volunteer their services in the name of marketing to throw themselves off our infamous Gorge Swing platform, so that we could film their reactions and compile an acitivty feature video showcasing the swing, how it works, and the screams!
It was rather hilarious watching the fear on some of the first-time jumpers’ faces as they mounted the platform for the first time and start processing the sheer enormity of the
simple, yet terrifying task ahead of them – to jump!
The Gorge Swing is a giant, pendulum-type swing that launches the rider into a 90m wide swing across the chasm of the gorge – AFTER a 70m freefall! It is 110% pure adrenalin, and only for those with nerves of steel! Two of the jumpers could not keep sure footing once on the platform and ended up crawling right back off in disbelief and horror. After some coaxing and encouragement from the spectators though, they were able to pluck up the courage to try again and succeed.
After the swing, the feeling of conquering such an un-natural act simply has to be experienced to be believed. Check out the video below for the results of the shoot. You can book a Wild Horizons Gorge Swing by contacting us through our website here.
On Friday 15th August, Wilderness Safaris staff members attended a team building session at The Wild Horizons Lookout Cafe. The afternoon proved to be high entertaining, whilst at the same time further enhancing the bond of this dynamic team.
The first challenge required an elected team member to embark on a Zip Line across the gorge, with his task being to “bomb” an inflatable canoe on the river below with a water filled balloon. This was highly entertaining as in most cases, the inaccuracies were something to behold! Those brave enough then had the opportunity to earn their team an extra 5 bonus points if they endured a 70m free fall on the Gorge Swing (only 3 brave souls!).
The next activity that followed entailed team members hoisting a harnessed teammate up a tree using ropes and pulleys, in order for them to find and retrieve a hidden toy Guinea Fowl.
After the Guinea Fowl retrieval, the three teams then moved to the new Lookout car park, for a game of “sausage soccer”. This entailed each team lining up in a relay fashion, and then using a sausage tree fruit, tied around their waist, to hit a soccer ball across the playing field to their next waiting teammate. No touching of the sausage fruit was allowed, and many, many laughs were had!
After the sausage soccer, came the tent-erecting race – whereby each team had to work together to quickly and efficiently set up a safari tent, complete with a bed and bedding on the interior. After a suspicious amount of skulduggerous pole-snatching and rope-pinching, the ‘orange’ team emerged victorious in this round! (Their attention to detail clinched it for them in the end, as their bed was made complete with hospital corners, and a flower on the pillow!).
After the tents, the teams then found respite in the shade of the Lookout platform, and undertook a fun quiz which covered all essential aspects of Zimbabwean life, including the colours of the Zimbabwean Flag, and of course some essential wildlife facts!
Finally, a Zimbabwean culinary tasting competition saw the end of the day’s activities – team members had to consume an array of traditional Zimbabwean delicacies such as Mopani worms, dried vegetables, a whole chilli, and of course, a coca-cola!
Once the results were tallied, and the quiz sheets had been marked, it was seen that 2 teams, the orange and the green, needed to compete in a tiebreaker. This came in the form of performing a verse of the Zimbabwean National Anthem – some bringing music to the ears of those who listened, and others, well – they got ½ points for smiling ‘n miming!
All had a wonderful afternoon, and the Wilderness team is now undoubtedly stronger than ever before, for having been through a Wild Horizons team build!
You can find out more about Wild Horizons’ team building packages by emailing email@example.com
Wild Horizons is a multi-faceted tour company that provides a large array of activities, operates out of multiple locations, has a huge fleet of vehicles, 2 luxury bush camps, employs over 400 people and operates at full tilt, 24/7. So you can imagine, that as a new employee arriving on day one of the job, the introduction is both hugely exciting and somewhat overwhelming. For my first blog post, I thought I would recount what my first couple of weeks in the Wild Horizons marketing department has been like!
One of the things that struck me first and foremost was the friendliness of absolutely everyone. From the gate-guards to the mechanics, to the camp managers and the directors – I was instantly made to feel welcome. I started off with a tour of the main HQ in the industrial sites of Victoria Falls, the size of which blew me away. Four large wings of offices surrounding a big courtyard with lush green buffalo lawn and teeming flower beds around the sides. A large workshop at the back and ample room to park the large fleet of vehicles and luxury transfer busses. My tour of the HQ was accompanied by mass introductions to all the staff in every department – around 100 people in total would be my guess. I admitted to myself that it would be pointless to stress too much about everyone’s names as I would never remember them first time round. No doubt I would pick them up one by one as I deal with each department in due course.
One of my first tasks is to join the marketing team in coming up with a marketing campaign for one of Wild Horizons’ many products – the Vic Falls CanopyTour – the newest of 4 products which Wild Horizons offers from its jump site – “The Lookout”.
The Lookout (#wildhorizonslookout) is a thatched deck structure, which is perched right on the lip of the Batoka Gorge, just downstream of the Vic Falls Bridge on the Zimbabwean side. It has a spectacular view of the bridge and sits overlooking the first ‘bend’ in the zig-zagging gorge which occurs below the Victoria Falls. There is even a tame wild goat called Dixon who hangs out there like all the time!
The other 3 products which operate from The Lookout are the ‘Flying Fox’ – a foofie slide which extends across the width of the entire gorge; the ‘Gorge Swing’, which is a death-defying free-fall off a platform into the gorge attached to a rope, which then ‘swings’ you as you reach the bottom; and the ‘zip-line’ – which is a dual-cabled foofie slide that makes a rather steep downward parabola, but without quite putting you into freefall. Finally, the Vic Falls Canopy Tour is a series of 9 shorter, low-speed cable-slides that crisscross the inside of the first bend of the gorge (below the Victoria Falls Hotel) where the vegetation is thick and very jungle like – with vines and steep drops galore. It offers a very mild adrenaline rush and is the perfect ‘in-between’ activity for those who can’t quite bring themselves to do the more intense adrenalin activities such as the gorge swing, whitewater rafting or the bungee jump.
So off I go with a group of paying clients on the Vic Falls Canopy Tour. We harness up and set off on a path down the side of the gorge, and it’s not far before we get to slide no.1. The guide hooks our safety lines up to a safety rope that runs along the entirety of the course – all the walkways, bridges and even on the actual foofie slides where is a second steel safety cable which we are attached to whilst sliding. My first impression is that the safety is being taken very seriously.
We step up onto a box/platform that overlooks a cliff and the guide hooks our main & safety lines to the respective cables, and upon hearing a whistle through the trees from another guide indicating that he is ready to receive us – we step off the platform and start whizzing down the slide. Now we have been given thick leather gloves for our hands, and we have been instructed to hold our harness line which connects us to the cable with our left hand, and then loosely hold the cable with our other hand, BEHIND the pulley. This allows for us to squeeze the cable with our hand to slow ourselves down when we start reaching the end of the slide. It took a few go’s to get the timing right, but before long I was timing my hand-braking perfectly and was landing gracefully on the box as is required for the guide to dismount you from the pulley and hook you back up to the ground safety line.
This carried on for 8 more slides of varying lengths and speeds, and I looked forward to each slide more than the last – the views were just spectacular and the ambience of being in the Batoka Gorge canopy, with the view of the bridge right in front of you, and the Zambezi roaring beneath you – was just incredible. A really great product indeed, and it even had really nice boarded walkways and rope bridges for the more difficult parts. So far, I’m thinking I love my job!