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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One Meter From Death: Visit the Beautiful Victoria Falls and the Devil's Pool in Africa

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Victoria Falls is one of the world's natural wonders and among the most spectacular sights in all Africa. Devil's Pool is a natural rock pool on the edge of the Victoria Falls, located along the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.


One Metre From Death: Visit the Beautiful Victoria Falls and the Devil's Pool in Africa

A gorgeous and one of the most popular waterfalls in the world is found on the Zambezi River in Africa. The waterfall was named after Queen Victoria by Scottish explorer David Livingstone. However, the locals call it Mosi-oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders.

One Metre From Death: Visit the Beautiful Victoria Falls and the Devil's Pool in Africa

The water of the river falls down in a straight line for 354 ft (108 m). It is wide (5,604 ft/1,708 m), therefore a water spray raises very high and can be spotted from many kilometers away. The rainy season lasts from late November to early April.

One Metre From Death: Visit the Beautiful Victoria Falls and the Devil's Pool in Africa

During the dry season, Devil's Pool is shallow enough that people can safely swim right to the edge before the waterfall drops more than 300 feet (100m). You don't get swept down by the force of the falls because of a natural rock wall just below the surface. This is as close as you can get to the thunderous roar and permanent rainbows that adorn this magnificent Natural World Wonder.

One Metre From Death: Visit the Beautiful Victoria Falls and the Devil's Pool in Africa

How Do I Sign Up To Swim in Devil's Pool?
The Devil's Pool experience is popular and is only possible when conditions are right, usually September - end of January. Tongabezi owns Livingstone Island and operates 5 tours a day, with a maximum of 12 people per tour. You can e-mail them directly at: reservations@tongabezi.com. You can also book a tour through recommended operators in Zambia and Zimbabwe, they include: Safari Par Excellence, Wild Horizons, and Shear Water Adventure. A typical tour, including the boat ride, breakfast, and a swim in Devil's Pool, costs USD $60 (for lunch it's $120). To spend more time in the Pool, hire a guide from Tongabezi to take you. Do go with an official guide, it is quite easy to misstep or swim into a fast current and possibly go over the edge of the falls.

When to Go to Devil's Pool:
The Devil's Pool experience is only possible when the water levels are low enough. The dry season usually lasts from September to December in this part of the world. The local operators will know when it's safe to go, so e-mail them (see above), or have your travel agent check into it for you. During the dry-season the Victoria Falls are actually more spectacular to look at from the Zimbabwean side so you may be based there, but crossing the border is easily arranged. If you're in the area earlier in the year, check out Angel's Armchair instead (see below).

Is it Dangerous to Swim in Devil's Pool?
Jumping into Devil's Pool is an adventurous thing to do and you need to be a decent swimmer. If you're careful it's safe enough and there have been no casualties. There is a safety line to hold onto when you're swimming to get to Devils' Pool in case the current is too much for you. I had to make a grab for it because I got too cocky and misjudged the strength of the current. Victoria Falls is home to bungee jumping, gorge-swinging, white-water rafting and every extreme sport you can imagine, this is not a "hold-your-hand" environment.

If all this sounds too crazy, check out the milder alternative -- Angel's Armchair. It's also a natural rock pool, easier to get to and open from May to October.

One Metre From Death: Visit the Beautiful Victoria Falls and the Devil's Pool in Africa

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