The Goal: Devil’s Pool
We have one goal today. We have to get to Devil’s Pool. We’re in Livingstone, Zambia and we’re spending the day at Victoria Falls (known as Mosi-oa-Tunya locally) , one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The boat tours sold out. There might be room on a walking tour but Devon just suffered from heat exhaustion and it’s a long walk in the heat…
We have breakfast and then get to work. As we’re passing the very fancy Royal Livingstone Hotel, I get the idea to go in and pretend we’re staying there to see if they can help. We walk in and spot a tour organizer and she took pity on our situation. She even went so far as to call Livingstone Island operators to see if they could make an exception for us. Unfortunately, after an hour or so of attempts, it fell through. Luckily for us though, we could still do the walking tour.
Walking on the Edge of a Cliff
The only authorized tour operators who can legally offer tours of Devil’s Pool is run by Tongabezi. We set out at 11:15am with our Tongabezi guide and a few other tourists. We crossed the rocky riverbed of the Zambezi River slowly but surely. Keeping an eye on the edge, we navigated over giant rocks and little streams of water that hadn’t dried up. Being the height of the dry season, the Zambezi river narrows just enough to make Devil’s Pool possible. Years of erosion led to natural “swimming pools” here which is essentially what Devil’s Pool is. An infinity pool with a 355 foot/108 meter drop to the land below.
As we draw nearer to the the falls, the path gets trickier and I actually fall in at one point, scaring everyone but me. I laughed hysterically, but apparently it wasn’t that funny to the others! Haha. We end up at a point where we have to swim facing the direction of the rushing water and try to get ourselves across to the other side which is dry. There is a rope at the cliff side which our guide said is “the rope you try not to miss grabbing or you’ll go over the edge and die”. We made sure to stay upstream from the rope and made our way across, finally to Livingstone Island.
It’s Now or Never
We meet up with another Tongabezi guide and they fill us in on how to successfully get in and out without going over the edge. All I can say about this entire experience is that it was thrilling, unforgettable and utterly exhilarating.
Of all the travel experiences I’ve had, this is one of the most exciting experiences of my life. If you like adventure and aren’t afraid of heights, I highly recommend it! We felt safe the entire time and the guides were fantastic.
Botswana, Here We Come
We stopped for lunch and watched baboons steal a woman’s lunch and were thankful it wasn’t ours. Baboons are so brazen and freaky!! Afterwards, we headed for the Botswana border.
We crossed at the Kazungula border crossing and were immediately bombarded with “fixers” who wanted to help us through for a price. We rented our vehicle through a company called Bushlore and they actually had a representative working this border to help their customers through the vehicle importation process where it’s a bit difficult. All the other fixers swarmed around him and it seemed like he got them to help with the process and in the end we had to pay a few different people for their help. It was very confusing and I wish he would’ve explained things to us a bit more. Even when I asked direct questions he seemed to wait for others to jump in first. Frustrating, but we were happy when it was over. Once on the Botswana side it was much more streamlined.
We got a room at the Kasane TravelLodge for the night and enjoyed blasting the A/C! Tomorrow we enter Chobe National Park!