Zambia, Victoria Falls, & Devil’s Pool
Livingstone, Zambia – Victoria Falls and Devil’s Pool
October 28 – November 1, 2014
When crossing borders overland in Africa, it is critical that you have your documents in order. G Adventures lists all requirements on its website, so be sure to give it a read before joining the tour. We were delayed a couple of hours at the border because some members of the group were missing vaccination certificates.
We spent a few nights in Zambia and the first was at a campsite/zoo just outside Lusaka, the Capital city. Eureka Camp was unlike any campsite we’d see to date as Zebras were eating grass around the tents!
It was a short stop over as we were excited to make our way to Livingstone, the adrenalin capital of Africa.
Livingstone was our last stop on the tour. Sadly, our group would be splitting up here. Some continuing on overland to Cape Town, Johannesburg or flying home, but not before an action packed couple of days together. Jessica and I were taking the easy route to South Africa. A short flight with South African Airways from Livingstone to Cape Town (via Johannesburg). We’ll be back, however, to complete the overland route through Botswana and Namibia.
VICTORIA FALLS & DEVILS POOL
Never in a million years did I expect to have the opportunity to swim and hang out in a swimming hole at the top of the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls. We knew the Devils Pool was an optional activity offered by G Adventures and ever since we booked the tour, I had been thinking about this day, wondering if we would chicken out. Not a chance. I mean, we probably wouldn’t be back in a week’s time to give it another go.
We left our campsite early in the morning and headed off for the famous Devil’s Pool and Victoria Falls. Livingstone Island sits atop the falls in the Zambezi River and is home to the Devils Pool. We were unaware that it was such an adventure just to get there.
We took a speedboat through the croc and hippo-infested waters of the Zambezi across to Livingstone Island. From there we had a short hike until we caught our first glimpse of the falls, prompting goose bumps from head to toe.
Surely we are almost there, right? Not the case. In order to reach the pool, you have to swim across a 100 foot section of the river. Remember: Jess is not a strong swimmer, nor is she very heavy and we are about to swim across a fast flowing river where a short distance away, the same water is plunging 350 feet to the bottom of the gorge. Having had trouble getting her in my uncle Mike’s backyard swimming pool, I can’t begin to describe how awesome it was to see her jump in and go for it. Seizing the moment perhaps?
Once we all got to the other side, we could see the Devil’s pool in front of us. The current in the pool was much stronger than the one we just swam through AND it was flowing directly over the edge. There is a technique to entering the pool (which, by the way, you can only enter when water levels allow) and that is immediately after you slide into the current, you have to swim back out of it into the calmer water and to the natural rock bench that forms the outer edge of the pool. You can stay in the current, but it will take you right to the edge, where hopefully you will come to a stop!
Check out this short video from the Devil’s Pool. I am not a huge fan of heights so forgive my shakiness when hanging over the edge of the falls to take this video. Make sure your sound is on! Note: The first clip in the video was taken by Shizuka Toyotomi who was on our tour and was kind enough to let us use it to create this video! Also, Steve Tyler from Aerosmith was kind enough to let me use his song.
You’ve probably seen or heard of the ‘Fish Spas’ in Asia where tiny fish eat the dead skin off your feet? Well, to add to the experience, similar fish are present in the Devil’s Pool so you have to fight the urge to panic when you feel these fish biting!
We spent about 30 minutes in the pool and I did not want to get out. In fact I was the last one out! It was by far the adrenalin highlight of the trip to that point, but Great White Shark Cage diving in South Africa would pose a challenge! Stay tuned for that post!
In order to savor every last-minute of this adventure, we decided to book a ‘lion encounter’ on the morning of our last day. Turns out we had just enough time to fit it in before our flight down to Cape Town.
The Lion Encounter is an activity in which you walk with a pride of lion cubs in their natural habitat. Don’t worry, the lions are not drugged or harmed in any way. The program is designed to help conserve the lion population in Africa, which has seen a drastic decline in the last 25 years.
The lions are raised in a safe environment (away from predators) and once they reach a certain age, they are released into the wild. We had the opportunity to pet the lions and watch them as the learned to stalk their prey. For the most part they played around with one another just like kittens would. Probably because that’s what they are, giant kittens… that grow up to kill buffalo.
The above were just a couple of the numerous adrenalin pumping activities you can do in Livingstone. Whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, skydiving, swinging in the gorge, etc. are all at your disposal. However, they are not free. We paid $160 per person for the Lion Encounter and $90 each for Devil’s Pool. You only live once, right?
The group went out for dinner to Cafe Zambezi on our last night together. Not that the camp cooking wasn’t good, but we all wanted to try some authentic African food before we parted ways.
Zambia was our last country on the G Adventures tour, but our stay on this amazing continent would continue in Cape Town, South Africa!
jess + trickett
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