Devil's Pool: Swimming on the Edge of Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls Travel Blog

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The Devil's Pool is a small natural pool right on the edge of the cliff over which the Zambiezi river plummets 110m, providing us with one of the natural wonders of the world - Victoria Falls.  At this time of year the water level of the Zambezi is very low which means that it is possible to walk out to Livingstone island and then, from there, go to the Devil's pool.

After paying our park entrance fees we met our guide, Kelvin, who first took us to a viewing platform where we got our first glimpse of the Falls from the ground.  The view was amazing but as we would soon see it would get far more spectacular.  There was very little water on the Zambian side of the falls but they were higher than they had been a few days ago when I went up in a microlight.

 This is because there is a power plant a little way up stream and it controls the water flow to a certain degree depending on the demand for electricity.

We were now lead to the edge of the Zambezi and removed our shoes as we had to cross a small wall that ran just beneath the surface of the river.  Although the water level is far from its maximum the force of the water is still apparent.  My main concern was that if I fell in my camera would get wet but for stability we lined up and help hands as we slowly made our way across the wall, which was about 100m long and only 10cm wide.  Once across there were other occasions where we were expertly lead through the river, Kelvin telling us where to put our feet to avoid falling on the slippy rocks. below.

The walk to get to the Devil's Pool took about and hour and a half, as although it was not far there were numerous photo opportunities as we made our way along the edge of the falls.

Swimming out to Devil's Pool
 Sometimes we would get withing 20cm of the edge and it was possible to look right down whilst being sprayed with mist.  All the while the thunderous sound of the water below reminded us of how powerful nature can be.

On reaching Livingstone Island Kelvin told us how we would get to the Devil's Pool.  We had to swim 30m or so diagonally up stream then diagonally downstream for about the same distance to a small group of rocks.  I should point out that we were swimming across the Zambezi, 20-30m from the edge of Victoria Falls and all that separated us from the edge was a few small rocks and a thin rope that had been tied across the surface of the water.  I presume the rope was there to give us something to try and grab onto if the strong currents swept us towards the edge.

Now that we were next to Devil's Pool we had our safety briefing, which went like this: "Go this way [Kelvin points to the right to where water is gushing over the edge a mere 2m from where we are standing], go this way and you are safe [point to the left where the water speed is much lower]".  Being Africa there were of course no life jackets, safety ropes or fences or even an inquiry as to whether you were a competent swimmer or not.  So, in I jumped and was carried by the current the couple of metres to the edge of the Falls.  All that separated me and a 110m drop was a natural 'wall' of rock, about 30cm deep and a couple of meters long.  As we sat in the pool our feet were nipped at by fish and crabs and a photographer took our cameras off us to take pictures of us.

 To do this he was walking right on the edge of this 'wall' as the water gushed past him.  Thankfully he did not slip and took some excellent photos.

To get out of the pool Kelvin through us a rope and then one at a time he pulled us against the current back to the safety of the rocks.  What an experience!!!

We then took a quicker and more inland route back across the river before walking to more view points where we could see the Falls head on.  There are no words to describe how incredible these views were and the combination of the sheer power of the water, rainbows, spray and the magnitude of what we were witnessing made this one of the best thing I had ever seen.  A $60 experience I will never forget.

TravellinChic says:
OMG! This is one hell of experience! Thank you for sharing! :) I won't be able to do this. I have acrophobia and not a swimmer...failing all the requirements for this experience :P So, it's great to "experience" it thru your blog :) Cheers! :)
Posted on: May 27, 2011
SheLuvz2Fly says:
Absolutely Amazing! I do want to experience this - even though it does sound verrrrrrrrry scary!!
Posted on: Oct 01, 2010
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Swimming out to Devils Pool
Swimming out to Devil's Pool
Victoria Falls
photo by: Biedjee