A dip on the edge of the abyss
The Victoria Falls are a true spectacle in themselves, but the most intrepid travellers don’t have to settle for photographs from afar: they can dive into the “Devil’s Pool”.
The falls are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At 1,708 metres wide, it’s almost twice the size of the Niagara Falls and its height varies between 80 and 108 metres. Christened in 1855 after Queen Victoria by the explorer David Livingstone, locals know it as Mosi-oa-Tunya, (the smoke that thunders) because of the enormous cloud of steam forms above it.
In one of the waterfalls on Livingstone Island there is a small natural swimming pool formed by a barrier of rocks. If it weren’t for the precipice behind it, it could be a relaxing lagoon where you could escape the heat. However, the currents and the deafening sound of the falling water will bring you back to reality.
The authorised swimming season is from the end of August to January (the dry season) because the river level is lower. Out of season, swimmers would be plunging into oblivion because of the strong currents. If that’s not enough to discourage the most daring of you, the only thing left to do is to put on your swimming trunks and dive in…it’s no exaggeration to say that swimming in the Devil’s Pool is very dangerous. There are authorised guides at all times, but this is an adventure for experienced swimmers only, because in order to reach the swimming pool you have to zigzag through a short stretch in order to avoid the river’s currents. If you decide to try it out, be sensible and avoid unauthorised guides. Once you get to the edge of the pool you’ll be able to enjoy an experience that few gain access to: A panoramic view of the falls, not only from above but also from within its waters. Take out your waterproof camera, forget the looming abyss behind you and smile. Now you have an unforgettable photo!
The Victoria Falls are among the widest in the world, and 550 million litres of water fall every minute.
There are five excursions a day to Livingstone Island, from where you can get to the Devil’s Pool. Groups of up to 16 people are accepted. Excursions can be booked from practically any hotel in Zambia. We recommend some very special accommodation: The Royal Livingstone, located on the edge of the Zambezi River. This is a luxury hotel that, according to its guests, will make you feel like you’re in “Out of Africa”. It’s the perfect accommodation option, both because of its closeness to the falls and also because of its charming rooms, which are linkened to exotic cottages.