Devil's Pool, Victoria Falls - Swimming on the Edge:
Devil's Pool is a natural rock pool on the edge of the Victoria Falls
, located along the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia
. During the dry season, Devil's Pool is shallow enough that people can safely swim right to the edge before the waterfall drops more than 300 feet (100m). You don't get swept down by the force of the falls because of a natural rock wall just below the surface. This is as close as you can get to the thunderous roar and permanent rainbows that adorn this magnificent Natural World Wonder. A guide will tell you exactly where to jump, make sure you bring your camera! Once everyone in the group has jumped safely and you are sitting on the rock wall, the guide will hold your ankles and you can lie and hang your arms over the edge. It is truly fantastic to look down on rainbows, hear the roar of the waterfall as it thunders past you, and look far, far down into the frothy, spray below.
Getting To Devil's Pool - A Leap of Faith:
Devil's Pool is adjacent to Livingstone Island on the Zambian side of the Zambezi river. This is where David Livingstone first set eyes on the Victoria Falls remarking "scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight
". To get to Livingstone Island you take a motor boat from the landing at the Royal Livingstone Hotel
. On the island you scramble a fair way over rocks and swim through the river. The guide will show you exactly where to swim to avoid the strong currents and rocks. You do have to be a decent swimmer to feel comfortable. The water is lovely and warm though, and feels great. Once you get close to the right spot you have to make a leap of faith
, jump in from a rock, and trust you will not get swept over the side. To get a good idea of what it's like, check out this video
How Do I Sign Up To Swim in Devil's Pool?:
The Devil's Pool experience is popular and is only possible when conditions are right, usually September - end of January. Tongabezi
owns Livingstone Island and operates 5 tours a day, with a maximum of 12 people per tour. You can e-mail them directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a tour through recommended operators in Zambia and Zimbabwe, they include: Safari Par Excellence
, Wild Horizons
, and Shear Water Adventure
A typical tour, including the boat ride, breakfast, and a swim in Devil's Pool, costs USD $60 (for lunch it's $120). To spend more time in the Pool, hire a guide from Tongabezi
to take you. Do go with an official guide, it is quite easy to misstep or swim into a fast current and possibly go over the edge of the falls.
When to Go to Devil's Pool:
The Devil's Pool experience is only possible when the water levels are low enough. The dry season usually lasts from September to December in this part of the world. The local operators will know when it's safe to go, so e-mail them (see above), or have your travel agent check into it for you. During the dry-season the Victoria Falls
are actually more spectacular to look at from the Zimbabwean side so you may be based there, but crossing the border is easily arranged. If you're in the area earlier in the year, check out Angel's Armchair instead (see below).
Is it Dangerous to Swim in Devil's Pool?:
Jumping into Devil's Pool is an adventurous thing to do and you need to be a decent swimmer. If you're careful it's safe enough and there have been no casualties. There is a safety line to hold onto when you're swimming to get to Devils' Pool in case the current is too much for you. I had to make a grab for it because I got too cocky and misjudged the strength of the current. Victoria Falls
is home to bungee jumping, gorge-swinging, white-water rafting and every extreme sport you can imagine, this is not a "hold-your-hand" environment.
If all this sounds too crazy, check out the milder alternative -- Angel's Armchair
. It's also a natural rock pool, easier to get to and open from May to October.
Videos of Devil's Pool:
You really have to see the Devil's Pool to believe it. It's one of the best things I have ever done, unfortunately I lost my video footage but others have put their videos online. It's a good idea to watch some videos to know whether it is something you think you would like to do. You can always visit Livingstone island and stand on the side to watch others swim if you change your mind at the last minute.
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