Living Life on the Edge at Victoria Falls
So you are going to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, but you seek more adventure than just viewing the smoke that thunders. Well we have great news for you…you can SWIM ON THE VERY EDGE of Victoria Falls. How is that for an adventure?!?!
We visited Victoria Falls during its dry season (September to November) and though Victoria Falls is not at its full beauty of water crashing down, it does give tourists like us, the opportunity to enjoy Devils Pool. Devils Pool was the most thrilling experience we have ever done and it was an amazing adventure! We cannot say enough great things about our experience, but we can say – GO DO IT and we can show you how!
What Is Devils Pool?
Devils Pool is a naturally formed pool on the edge of Victoria Falls. It is created when the Zambezi River has low water levels, which allows a rock barrier to be surfaced and forms a circular movement of water with minimal current. It sounds scary and it is definitely thrilling, but completely safe!
When Can You Visit Devils Pool?
The Devil’s Pool is usually open between mid August and mid January – depending on Zambezi’s water levels. We know that a trip to Africa takes months of planning and booking ahead of time, so our suggestion is booking a day to Devils Pool as early as September to almost guarantee the experience. No one can predict how dry the Zambezi River will be every year and what its water levels are, but with September being in the dry season, your chances are very high. We went October 4th, 2017 and the water levels for Devils Pool were perfect. This is a very popular activity and sells out fast, so try to book as soon as you can.
How To Get There
There is only one company, Tongabezi, that has been issued with an exclusive operators licence to conduct the Livingstone Island and Devils swimming pool tours. There are several off-the-street guides who try to bring tourists to Devils Pool, but it is strongly advised to not engage with them. Book safely with Tongabezi (you can also stay at their luxury tree house lodge, click here to read our experience), you are swimming on the edge of Victoria Falls after all, not something to take lightly.
So with that being said, Tongabezi is only responsible for the Devils Pool tour portion. How guests arrive to Royal Livingstone Hotel (the meeting point) is booked with another tour operator, Shearwater or Wild Horizons. These companies will take care of transportation from a guest’s hotel to Royal Livingstone Hotel. From there guests board a small boat and cruise down the Zambezi River to Livingstone Island. Then from Livingstone Island, you swim across a small current of the Zambezi River till you arrive at a “jetty”. Once there you walk a little ways down and plunge into the Devils Pool!
The Adrenaline Rushing Experience
The Devils Pool tour departs five times a day, seven days a week, with a group size of no more than 16 people – we were lucky to have only 6 people in our group. The tour lasts between 1.5 to 2 hours and includes either breakfast, lunch or high tea (depending on what you pick). The tour times are:
As we briefly mentioned, the experience starts at Royal Livingstone Hotel, where you fill out some paperwork, BRING YOUR PASSPORT. Once the paperwork is settled, the tour begins by boat on the Zambezi River to Livingstone Island. The boat ride alone is exhilarating and sometimes you can feel the mist from the falls. Once you make it to Livingstone Island, you are greeted with a warm welcome and a cold drink of a traditional African Maheu energy drink (made with maize meal, milk and sugar). We recommend you take this drink to boost your adrenaline! It does have an acquired taste, but we enjoyed it. Your guide will explain the details of what your tour will entail and give you the opportunity to take photos near the edge of Victoria Falls – if you are lucky, you can see the most magical rainbow (typically during the morning tours and sunny days). Even being near the edge and seeing Victoria Falls adjacent to you was thrilling and yet the experience just kept getting better.
Guests will strip down to their desired swim wear while on Livingstone Island. We suggest you come wearing your swim wear with clothes over it. It makes for a quick and easy changing room. We also recommend you wear wet shoes (or any shoes you do not mind swimming in) because there are rocks on the bottom and you never know how shallow or deep some areas of the Zambezi River is. You will also be walking and stepping on rocks along the way to Devils Pool.
Your guide will have a wet bag for your phone, camera and wallet, which they will hold the entire time for you, so you can focus on swimming your way over to Devils Pool. The guides truly make the experience as easy and fun for you as possible. They will also lead you to the exact path that is the safest. In some instances, there was even a rope for us to use as a guide and assistance if the current was too much for us.
Alas, Devils Pool! Guests should be advised that even though they say the current is low, it was still a little tricky to swim in. Again, our guide did an excellent job in giving us the BEST experience because he catered to every guest individually. We all took turns to sit on the edge of Victoria Falls and capture the moment by memory and camera. While one guide is sitting with you on the edge, another guide has your camera to take all the photos you need to relive this thrilling moment. Even while we waited our turn we were living the life! Everyone is still able to swim inside Devils Pool or go up to the edge on the side without interrupting anyone’s special experience. So though you are waiting for the most exhilarating part, guests still enjoy every moment of Devils Pool. We would say that everyone got at least five to ten minutes up on the edge, depending on the guests and how scared they were. We felt like we were on the edge for a lifetime, while others in our group had enough after only a few pictures. Time spent at Devil Pool also had to do with the group behind us. After a total of about 20 minutes of having Devils Pool to ourselves, the next group came behind us. It was all well organized and everyone is on such a high that we were all nice to share the adventure together.
When we were up on the edge it was an electrifying and sensational experience – we were seriously hanging off the rocks of Victoria Falls watching the water crash down just a few feet next to us! We could not get enough of the adrenaline coursing through our veins. Christina kept inching further to her near death while Adam was content laying safely on the edge. Though we were in Devils Pool, we were in heaven.
Eat and Explore
Once we were back on Livingstone Island we enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast in a tent with our group and some others. Breakfast included your choice of beverage, a freshly baked biscuit and eggs benedict on an english muffin with bacon. Breakfast was delicious, but the atmosphere was even better. The tent had open windows, so we were able to see the edge of Victoria Falls the entire time.
Guests receive breakfast for the 7:30am, 9am and 10:30am Livingstone Breezer tour. Lunch is served for the 12:30pm tour and High Tea is served for the 3:30pm tour.
Guests are not rushed to leave, but rather suggested to sit back and relax or walk around and explore Livingstone Island. We definitely recommend that you do both. We walked around the island and though Victoria Falls was dried up, the views were still stunning. The magnitude of how large and high Victoria Falls is mind blowing and even crazier when you realize you are standing in a place where water is typically flowing down. Near one of the magnificent viewing areas is a plaque honoring David Livingstone and his famed discovery. As our tradition goes, Adam was able to collect sand (one of the softest sands) on Livingstone Island to add to our sand collection.
Safety is very important. We felt safe during the entire experience – even when we were hanging off the edge of Victoria Falls. Our tour guide was always right next to everyone to reassure and help us with any troubles we may have been experiencing. They were also very friendly and engaging, which we always appreciate. Having the guide next to us on the edge was definitely reassuring that if we were to slip, he would have our backs. With that being said, he never let us do anything crazy – we were not allowed to stand on the edge or hang too far off of it.
Again, please do not book with any off-the-street vendors. It is not safe or worth it. You can book directly with Tongabezi (click here) or with Wild Horizons and Shearwater. Pricing includes transportation to and from Livingstone Island, breakfast, lunch or high tea and of course, the Devils Pool experience. You do not need an entrance ticket to Victoria Falls.
Morning Breezer (7:30am, 9am, 10:30am): $110
Lunch on Livingstone Island (12:30pm): $175
High Tea on Livingstone Island (3:30pm): $150
If you are not able to visit Devils Pool, do not fret, you may have the opportunity to visit Angels Pool! Angels Pool is another adrenaline rushing natural pool on the edge of Victoria Falls that is typically open before and after Devils Pool. For more information click here.
- Bring your PASSPORT (it will be secured safely with your guide)
- Bring sunscreen
- Wear wet shoes or any shoes you do not mind getting soaked
- Swim wear (bikinis are acceptable)
- Wear your swimwear under your clothes
- Bring a bag you don’t mind getting a little wet to hold your belongings
- Bring a change of clothes if you desire – there is a changing room/bathroom
- Bring your camera with a waterproof case
- Bring cash if you desire to tip your guide
Live life on the edge!
Christina + Adam