I can’t remember when I first heard of Victoria Falls.
Maybe it was a tv show or on the radio…I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is that I was a child and as soon as I learned that there was a mighty waterfall somewhere in Africa, I resolved that I must see it!
For the longest time I held on to the idea of this waterfall, this natural wonder of the world. I knew that if it was being called a natural wonder, it MUST be amazing.
So when I became a little more acquainted with its exact location, its proximity to South Africa, I decided that a trip to Vic Falls would have to be at the tail end of a trip to South Africa.
If you don’t know, Victoria Falls sits on the boundary between the African countries Zambia and Zimbabwe. The same way you can view Niagara Falls from both the US and Canada, you can view Vic Falls from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. On the Zambian side, the falls are fed by the mighty Zambezi River. At any given moment you may see crocodiles or a group of hippos rising from the depths of the water. And in the distance, right on the edge, is the mist rising from Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders in the indigenous language, Tonga).
But there’s another part of Victoria Falls that drew me in. A few years ago I learned about Devil’s Pool. Accessible only during the low season (mid-August to mid-January), Devil’s Pool sits right at the edge of Victoria Falls. The water in the Zambezi drops to a point where a natural wall is visible and acts as a barrier for those brave enough to swim to the edge (or walk along the edge, in the case of one of my guides). This excursion is available only from the banks of the Zambezi river on the edge of the property of the Royal Livingstone Hotel, populated by zebras, giraffes, and other gorgeous visitors. Fear inducing for some. But with FEAR IS STUPID as one of my life mottos, I was excited and ready for the adventure!
A quick boat ride took my group of adventurers across the rapid current of the river to Livingstone Island. A quick walk across the tiny island took us right to the edge of the chasm between Zambia and Zimbabwe where the water from Vic Falls crashes to the gorge below. Once there, our guide gave detailed instructions and led us to the point where the wading and swimming began. The water is deep in some places and full of boulders in others and the current was strong enough to offer a bit of a challenge if you’re not a confident swimmer. We made our way to a cluster of boulders, climbed over, and saw the edge of the falls only a few feet away. Then, one by one, we slid into the water and took instruction from our guides, one sitting on the edge and the other taking pictures while STANDING on the edge! These guys were professionals, indeed! At one point I was held over the edge by my legs so that I could capture video of the water tumbling below and the double rainbow it created. Truly, a magnificent moment!
It’s one thing to dream about something for a long time. But to find myself in the moment that I had been dreaming of for so long was completely surreal. I literally had to remind myself that I was having this experience. Not watching a video, not viewing someone else’s pictures, but actually having the experience. Once we finished our adrenaline inducing excursion we made our way back over the boulders and swam back to where we’d made first contact with the water, all the while feeling fish nibble here and there at our feet. Included in this package was a delicious breakfast at a covered dining area not too far from the falls, so the fish weren’t the only ones being fed! A five-star and one of a kind experience, indeed! And one that I will not soon forget!
For more info about Devil’s Pool or to book your excursion visit: http://www.victoriafalls-guide.net/devils-pool.html!