Take the plunge at uShaka

By Bongeka Gumede

Durban - If aching muscles are the price I have to pay for the fun of a day at uShaka Marine’s Wet and Wild, then I really don’t mind the pain I feel right now.

WHOOPEE: Child on the water slide. Pictures: GCINA NDWALANENEED FOR SPEED: The Kamikaze water slide.CRUISING: Take the slow boat, and enjoy a relaxing ride along the Duzi River.

The sun was blazing hot this week and I could not wait to have some splashing good fun. On my way there, I made up my mind to try out three daring slides – the Mamba, the Kamikaze, more commonly referred to as the Plunge, and the Drop Zone, which is Africa’s highest slide.

I glanced at the Plunge and the Drop Zone slides from the bottom and saw the terrifying speed at which people came down from them.

It took less than five seconds to slide down – this was extremely fast considering the height of the slides. The Drop Zone looked particularly fierce. It stood tall and proud in-between the already high Torpedo and Plunge.

Seeing how intimidating the Drop Zone looked from a distance, I suddenly understood why even my 15-year-old brother had been hesitant to try it on his previous visit to uShaka.

“I have tried most of the slides, but not the Drop Zone, it’s so high, I bet you won’t try it,” he sniggered.

I was eager to try it to prove to my younger brother, and myself, that I was not half the wimp that he thought I was.

Next to the three magnificent slides was a five-lane racer, known as the Zoom Zoom. The pace on the Zoom Zoom seemed slower and safer, so I decided that it would be a better place to start.

I grabbed an inflated tube and made my way to the top. The sound of rushing water blended in with the screams and the laughter of people slipping through the slides. What added to the fun was having four other people going down the lanes alongside me.

After the Zoom Zoom, I felt I could accomplish anything, even the Drop Zone. The man guarding the Drop Zone looked serious, however, and brought me back down to earth with a stern warning that I needed to cross my arms over my chest and keep my legs straight when I went down the slide.

While waiting for my turn, I spotted some people who did not follow the guard’s instruction. They freely waved their hands in the air while going down the slides. I decided not to take any chances. When it was my time to go, I hugged my chest, where my heart was beating very fast, and I lay down on my back.

I felt the water and heard the screams, but saw nothing, as I skimmed down Africa’s longest slide. My eyes were shut tight until I felt my body drop into the pool of water at the bottom of the slide.

It had happened so fast and for about five minutes I stood on the side of the slide to take it all in. Before I knew it I was back at the top, ready to do it again.

I wrapped up my day by cruising inside the Duzi River, which was more relaxed than the previous slides.

I awoke the next day feeling like someone had been hammering my body, but it won’t be too long before I go back for some more painful pleasure at Wet and Wild. - Saturday Star