The Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls should be the new idiom for the saying “Between a rock and a hard place” because that, in a very literal and figurative sense, is what it is. However, the idiom refers to a dilemma, and although swimming in the Devil’s Pool and sitting on its rocky ledge is enough to test the courage of the most fearless person, the decision to embrace this experience is an easy one.
It is simultaneously a terrifying and awe-inspiring thing to do, and it definitely makes its way to the top of the list of the most exciting and mind-blowing things I have ever done.
It is an encounter with the raw force of nature that awakens in you a sense of bold adventure. Getting up close and personal with the beautiful, yet ferociously mighty falls was one of the many highlights of an unforgettable stay at Tongabezi Lodge in Zambia, in whose garden lies the vast Zambezi River and its magnificent creation, the Victoria Falls.
Cradled on the very edge of this world-renowned wonder is the Devil’s Pool. To get there is a 10-minute boat trip from the mainland to Livingstone Island, followed by a short guided swim against the current to an outcrop of rock that forms the backbone of this precarious-looking pool. Incredibly, the formation of the rock creates a calm and tranquil rock-pool amidst a torrent of fast-flowing rapids. There is no man-made barrier to protect you from the cascading precipice, just rocks perfectly placed by nature herself to create what must be the best infinity pool in the world, with a view through thundering smoke and rainbows, all the way to the edge of Zimbabwe.
Upon arrival at Livingstone Island and, after a quick and necessary change into our swimming gear (and an essential inspection of the aptly named “loo with a view”), we were whisked off to the edge of the river, right in the heart of the smoke that thunders. Entranced by the beautiful mist-like smoke, we tentatively followed our guide to the rocky edge. On his expert instruction and supervision we made our merry way into the warm and welcoming water of the Zambezi River, enjoying the songs of birds and sounds of the wild yet gentle water. Our guide professionally ensured that the brief swim (at times against the strength of the current) and small rock scramble to the pool was effected safely and efficiently.
Once at the pool, we swam anxiously towards our guide, who directed us to where we could safely sit. There is a convenient ledge of rock that seems to have been put there for the very act of lounging casually in the warm jacuzzi-like water, until a further surprise alerted us to the fact that we were not alone in the water and that, every so often, little fish would keenly nibble at our feet. In most advanced modern societies, this is considered a luxury and such beauty regimes are heralded in the best spas all over the world. Still, in the Devil’s Pool it’s nature’s luxury, and no spa on earth can boast experience and setting quite like it. Certainly, no one could ever replicate the experience that Tongabezi can offer at the precipice of a natural wonder of the world, in the Devil’s own pool.
After our death-defying swim and incredible “bucket list” experience we were ravenous and, to our delight, were treated to a Benedict breakfast on Livingstone Island. A perfect ending to one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life – and of course, because I HAD to, I did my yoga dancer pose in front of the falls.
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