Living dangerously in Livingstone, Zambia & the Devil’s Pool

The Devil's Pool at Vic Falls

The Devil’s Pool at Vic Falls

Livingstone is Zambia’s adrenaline capital, home to the world’s largest waterfall, Mosi-oa Tunya, otherwise known by its English name, Victoria Falls. Mosi-oa Tunya means “the smoke that thunders” and it is the thunderous volumes of water that make adrenaline sports here so exhilarating. Every activity offers you a different view of the waterfall. On the last day of our safari in Zambia (post coming), we decided to tempt fate once more. By the end of the day, we had whitewater rafted the Zambezi’s Grade V rapids, plunged 111m on the world’s 2nd highest bungee jump, and sat just 8 ft away from Vic Falls’ 300-foot cascade.

Whitewater Rafting the Zambezi

If this were a river in the US, there would be no way that any commercial operator would be able to afford the liability insurance. So sign away your life and prepare to be washed, rinsed and spun in what has been for me, the best whitewater rafting of my life. Far from being a shoddy operation, this was the most professional excursion I had ever been on. Every safety precaution was taken with safety rafts bringing up the front and rear, kayakers flanking the rafts and a helicopter following overhead. We paddled through some of the rapids, but I remember most of them being so intense that we would just drop inside and hold on for the ride. When we were lucky, our raft ended up upright with about half of its crew remaining…let’s just say I never knew what a strong swimmer I was until I found myself being flushed into the Devil’s Toilet Bowl. You’ll hit the biggest rapids on half-day trip, whereas you’ll find more flat water paddling on the full day. Everything about this adventure is dramatic from its put-in at the foot of Vic Falls to the 30-minute hike out of the gorge (in torrential rains, if you’re lucky).

Check out the towels they wrapped around my ankles and called safety restraints.

Check out the towels they wrapped around my ankles and called safety restraints.

The world’s second highest bungee jump…

…puts you on a bridge at the top of Vic Falls and catches you in a raft 111 meters below. There’s a pretty steady crew of people jumping, so you’ll have plenty of time to let your nerves take hold, as the bridge seems to tremble beneath you. You’re branded with a number and when it’s your turn to jump, they wrap your ankles up in towels and you’re given the choice to jump face first or backwards. I chose the latter, which says that I’m the kind of person who’d rather not know how/or if I will die.

You’re telling me those crazies out there on the waterfall are going to be us in 30 minutes?!

Living on the edge at the Devil’s Pool

But to know Mosi-oa Tunya deeply and intimately, you must look her baldly in the face at  Victoria Fall’s infamous Devil’s Pool. During the dry season (September – December) the waterfall slows to a relative trickle, revealing a swimming hole just 8 ft from the edge of the falls. There’s even a jetted jacuzzi and fish spa, should you choose to linger! You can enter the pool gingerly as I did, or announce your arrival with a cannon ball. And while they no longer allow photos of the practice (due to international criticism), they will hold your feet as you lie on your belly to peer over the edge of the falls.

You just hand over your camera at the pools and their photographers will document your experience from every photogenic angle possible!

You just hand over your camera at the pools and their photographers will document your experience from every photogenic angle possible!

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