Swim at the Edge of the World’s Largest Waterfall: Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls

Ah waterfalls – so majestic, so calming. Especially as a 3D moving picture on your aunt’s wall or from a great, great distance. But, come up-close, and they become giant forces of nature, just bidding their time before they drown you with their hundreds-of-gallons-a-second.

However there are those among us, that turned the world’s largest waterfall into a kiddie pool, presumably in their chase for the Darwin Award.

Not in the picture - grandma...

So if you just came off a 10 hour Fear-Factor marathon, and feel like conquering some of your phobias, perhaps a trip to Africa’s Victoria Falls is exactly where you need to start. This experience will trigger your fight-or-flight reaction several times over, as you expose yourself to a whopping four out of the ten most common phobias.

Even if your parents employed the child rearing process that favored throwing you into the deep end of the pool, blindfolded, with a lead weight strapped to your foot, chances are you still would not be prepared for the challenges you’ll face.

Alternate child rearing practices were equally unsuccessful

The edge of Devil’s Pool is 360 feet above the water/ground below, and while modern architecture makes that figure something to laugh at, it’s still dangerously high. To put it into perspective: you can spit from the roof of a building, 360 feet off the ground, and still find enough time to hide, before your loogie hits Godzilla in the eye. And if Japanese movies have taught us anything, Godzilla is very, very big.

Then again, if you’re the type of person to spit at Godzilla, fear of heights isn’t likely to be one of your weaknesses. Probably neither is fear of open spaces, water or spiders – all of which you will have to face on this vacation getaway. It’s not like there is a paved road leading straight to the waterfall, so it’s worthwhile to note that you will be in the wilderness, and among the fauna that lives there. By fauna we mean the Six-Eyed-Sand-Spider – the second most poisonous spider in the world, for which there is still no antidote.

If you look it in the eyes, it will steal your soul

If you are still undeterred, then congratulations, you have some massive stones on you! We sincerely hope you will have an opportunity to swim the Zambezi River right to the edge of the Victoria Falls. Once you’re in the water, you should be fine. There is a natural rock wall just below the surface that prevents you from being swept over the edge of the falls. However, jumping into the water requires a giant leap of faith on your part, so don’t skimp-out on good guides that will show you where the current is weakest.

The Devil’s Pool is on the Zambian side of the Zambezi river, but even if you are staying in Zimbabwe, you should not run into problems crossing the border for a day trip. Your problems will be avoiding civil wars, and hauling around local currency to buy bottled water.


To visit the Devi’s Pool, you need to go with any operator that offers trips to the Livingstone Island adjacent to it. The island is owned by the Tongabezi Luxury Lodge, and while you don’t have to book your stay with them (though trust us, you’d want to, after you see their accommodations), it is a good idea to go with their guides.

It is the job of the guide to tell you exactly where to jump, and even hold your ankles as you lie and hang your arms over the edge.

Check out this video to see exactly what you can expect on your adventure:

Best Time To Go:

You should go during the summer, that’s Africa’s summer, when the water is at a safe low level. The season is from September to the end of January, with the water at it’s lowest around November and December. But, based on the rainfall that year, there may not be any falling water on the Zambian side at all!

Bragging Rights:

Criminal Lawyer – some people may question your mental health, but everyone will want to hear your stories.
Extra bragging points if you:

  • Bungee jump at Victoria Falls
  • Stay in the tree-house suite
  • Catch a moon rainbow (like a normal rainbow, but from a fulll moon)

A typical tour that includes a boat ride, meal, and a swim in Devil’s Pool (about 2 hours all together), can cost you anywhere from $60 to $120 based on the time of day. Additionally you may have to pay a park entrance fee of about $20, which isn’t always included in the tour price. The leading operator offers 5 tours a day to the island/waterfall, with a maximum of 12 people per tour.

Insider Tips:
  • Be ready to fight off mosquitoes in this malaria zone.
  • To spend more time in the Pool, hire a guide from Tongabezi to take you.
  • Consult your doctor at least 6 weeks before your trip regarding prophylactics for Malaria, Tetanus and Yellow Fever vaccines.
Learn More:

Both Tongabezi and the Royal Livingstone Hotel offer tours, so check them both out.

Photo Credits:
Featured Image: http://www.travlang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/victoria-falls_22.jpg
First Image: http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/80976/victoria_falls.jpg
Natural Pool: http://www.worldfamouscities.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/natural-swimming-pool-in-the-victoria-falls.jpg
Water Floaties: http://www.dailyyonder.com/files/imagecache/story_default/imagefield/flatoniabubble.jpg
Spider: http://www.spider-bite.net/spiders/six-eyed-sand-spider/
Zimbabwe hyperinflation: http://www.torn-republic.com/2011/11/here-are-top-9-things-you-need-to-know.html

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