I’m a huge Batman fan, and I particularly love Joker (as portrayed by Jack Nicholson) and his signature line “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
No, I haven’t, but I have swum in the Devil’s Pool, which is way better. I guarantee it.
This was by far my most favourite excursion. Make no mistake, all the others touched me deeply on some level, but not many people get to see the Falls from this perspective; the Devil’s Pool is only open for a few months a year (when the water levels are low) and the number of people that get to visit during the open window is about 80 per day. So I am very privileged to have been one.
The day started super early: first to watch another breathtaking sunrise and then hop on to the transfer bus which took me to the border post. Farai, the manager on duty at Old Drift Lodge kindly had a light breakfast packed for me, in case I got hungry. Once through Zimbabwe, I was met by another driver who took me into Zambia, to the Livingstone Island launch site. Check-in was done with Prince, a Zambia local, who says he has been doing this job for many years.
I signed the indemnity form, which I got to keep as a souvenir.
Prince said that I was in actual fact signing a marriage certificate; that he was going to make me a Zambian woman. I had a good chuckle. Soon more people arrived and once the first six were ready, we set off. I was in a group with an American father and his daughter, a Canadian man stationed in Lusaka for work, and two students (from the Netherlands and Japan) who are studying English in Cape Town.
The speedboat ride to Livingstone Island takes about seven minutes and in some parts the water is a little tumultuous, but nothing remotely rapid-like.
That happens further down, in the gorge below the Falls.
For the most part, the water is flat, not unlike it was during my sunrise cruises at the lodge.
A short swim across a small area is required, but the water is smooth and there is a rope for support if required. You don’t have to be an exceptional swimmer, but some relative swim-fitness won’t do you any harm.
I expected the water to be freezing (as it is in South African natural pools), but the water was a comfortable temperature, like that of a tepid bath.
Our entire group slid into the pool under the careful instruction of our guides, Kevin and O’Brien and remained in the water until it was our individual turns to get onto the ledge and experience the wonder of this natural infinity pool. It is a little scary, especially when the mudsuckers decide to lightly nip you but with adrenalin flowing through your veins, you don’t get a chance to think about fear, only have fabulous you feel!
The view is indescribable and the sound of the water rushing by so close to you is almost deafening. I am so grateful that I got to see not one, but a double rainbow. Later that afternoon, when I did the rainforest walking tour, the clouds had covered the sun and no rainbows were visible.
Some friends said I was completely robbed of my senses wanting to be so close to the edge, but as an excursion-goer you never feel unsafe because all through your turn on the ledge, a guide is either next to you if you’re sitting, or holding your feet while you’re trying to pull out your best model-pose for the other guide who is photographing you. One thing I know after this experience is that I would suck as a model.
After our excursion, we took a walk along the warm, black basalt rock and got to see a statue of Dr. David Livingstone and were told some history about him.
After that we headed back to shore, where a light breakfast awaited us. There was an option of a croissant with cheese and tomato, or Jungle Oats with some berries. I opted for the former, which was delicious. The coffee was a welcome boost after the energy I expended in the water.
I would definitely recommend this excursion to anyone wanting to experience the Victoria Falls from within the waters of the Zambezi River that feeds them.
Go on! Be a little daring!