There are things in life that challenge us both physically and mentally; the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls is definitely one of them.
Despite what I said in my last post about the Falls not being hugely impressive to look at in the dry season, there is one major benefit: the Devil’s Pool. Only accessible in the dry season, the Devil’s Pool is a natural-made infinity pool that sits on the very lip of Victoria Falls over 100m high with a walk and swim over the Falls themselves to get there.
There are no ‘health and safety’ warnings at the Devil’s Pool. There’s no rope around the edge, no ladder to get in and out and if you don’t follow your guide’s advice, there’s a high chance you could die. Sounds fun doesn’t it?! Hell yes it is!
When I first told my friends, before I left home, that I planned to do the Devil’s Pool, some laughed nervously and others outright told me not to do it. My mum? She just shrugged and said ‘if it’s your time [to die], it’s your time’; gotta love her nonchalant attitude right?! But I was determined to do it. Not many people in life can say that they laughed in the face of death (it was a very nervous laughter I can tell you) but Devil’s Pool gives you that opportunity.
What I didn’t realise when I booked the Devil’s Pool was that you would actually have to swim over the Falls. As in, be a strong swimmer, follow your guide and don’t mess up. The other thing I didn’t realise? The boat that would take us to the sand island on the Falls departs from one of the most luxurious hotels in all of Zambia; The Royal Livingstone Hotel. I walked in with black feet, dirty clothes and a backpack and everyone else was over 50 dripping in diamonds and pearls. Even the staff looked me up and down wondering why I was there. Yeah, I know how to stay classy.
So Laura (a girl I had grown exceptionally close with on my tour) and I got in the boat, headed over to the sand island (where they serve the food) (yes, they really do serve food in the MIDDLE OF VICTORIA FALLS) and got a quick briefing from our guide. We just stood and stared not quite comprehending what we were about to do but over the moon to be doing it. Before we knew it we were clambering over rocks and wading into the water to begin our UNASSISTED swim. No rope, no-one pulling you across, just you, your fear and a crap load of kicking when you do the front crawl. We made it over to the first set of rocks before resting (we may be young but the water was deceptively strong!) and then we were off, holding hands to stay in formation before clambering over more rocks and seeing it; the Devil’s Pool.
Then the realisation hits. YOU’RE ABOUT TO SIT ON THE EDGE OF VICTORIA FALLS – WTF ARE YOU DOING?! LET’S DO THIS!
We were told that you could either jump or slide into the Devil’s Pool and in my mind, with the WTF fear swirling around my brain, I was going to slide in but after watching the three American girls jump in before me, I decided that life was too short to not live and jumped right in – waaaaaaahooooooo!…..
This is about the time I warn you not to wear a fashionable bikini to the Devil’s Pool because things tend to become a little loose with the jump and current i.e. you’ll come out of the water and sit on the edge of Victoria Falls for a good 10 seconds before you realise (or anyone tells you) that BOTH your boobs have popped out. Oh yeah, and everyone still waiting to jump from the rocks are men. Fun times! Meh, I couldn’t have cared less. In case you hadn’t noticed – I just jumped into the Devil’s Pool on the edge of Victoria Falls!! Nothing could bring me down.
Laura and I sat on the edge of the Devil’s Pool hugging in disbelief that we’d just done something so incredible. Before we knew it, we were going around for a second time. This is again the time I warn you not to wear a fashionable bikini because it stops you climbing up the rocks as you’re trying to hold on to both your bikini top AND bottoms as the current is forcing them off. Everyone will laugh, you will give up caring and pretty much moon everyone.
When we swam back and walked over to the edge of Victoria Falls to see the Devil’s Pool from another incredible angle, Laura and I couldn’t talk. We just stood there crying and hugging each other. We couldn’t believe it. We’d just JUMPED into the Devil’s Pool! Over 100m high, we had jumped into a tiny pool 1m from the edge of Victoria Falls; simply mindblowing!
We then sat down for the best egg’s benedict I have ever tasted and talked with the rest of our group about our Devil’s Pool experiences with views of Victoria Falls all around us. What a setting! Laura didn’t know it yet but I’d organised a surprise…the chefs had baked her a cake and came out singing Happy Birthday; she burst into tears and seeing her so happy made me cry too.
It’s certainly a day that neither of us will ever forget and for all the right reasons.
You see, it’s not just about your experiences when you travel, it’s about the people you share them with and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to share such happy tears with.