An experience in Zambia from our first trip to Africa in November 2009:
We were picked up from the lodge by a company called “Bushtracks” for our Livingstone Island/Victoria Falls trip. It was a 45 minute drive and the highlight of it was when the driver, after finding out we were from California, asked us “who’s next after the Governator?”.
We were dropped off at the historical Royal Livingstone Hotel, which is a five minute boat ride from our starting point: Livingstone island. The falls are low this time of year, but we could already see the spray coming up from them. We got in the boat and fought the currents and low water that led to the island. We walked across the tiny island to the edge where we caught our first glimpse of the falls and it was spectacular! It’s no wonder this is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
After taking a few hundred pictures, we moved to the other end of the island to begin the adventure I was ecstatic about. To be fair, this was also the adventure that Eddie was not at all excited about: Devils Pool!
We balanced across rocks to get there, handed our cameras over to the guides and received our instructions: Don’t swim in this current, but swim slightly against that current and then stop at that rock. Luckily, we all made it across to where Devil’s Pool was and received our next set of instructions: Jump into the pool here, don’t swim in that current or you’ll go over the falls and if the fish biting your feet bother you, then keep them moving.
I’m sorry. I think I forgot to mention that Devil’s Pool is a small pool that is, literally, at the edge of the falls. Like, on top of Victoria Falls. Like a children’s pool or a hot tub right on the edge of Victoria Falls.
I digress… Our options were to jump in or slide in and sliding in looked much easier and less intimidating. I was actually relieved to see sliding in as an option and slowly started talking myself out of the alternative “You made it this far. You are clearly brave. Sliding in is fine.” The person who got to go first was chosen by whoever’s camera was held up. The first guy went up and the guide asked “are you sliding in or jumping?” He jumped. The next lady slid in, and the next couple of people declined to go in at all. Finally, our camera was held up and I popped up first, with full intentions of sliding in, when asked my preference. I got up on the rock, which was the entry point (where I could more clearly see the small size of the pool and the large drop of the falls) and here is how the conversation went:
Guide: You are jumping In.
Me: I am?
Guide: Yes. 1,2,3 go!
And so I did. It wasn’t too scary, but then again, I closed my eyes so that I couldn’t see over the falls. I made it to the edge of the pool, overlooking the falls, and held on for dear life. To my surprise, Eddie jumped in right behind me! They told us that “little” fish would “give you a pedicure.” I swear one of those fish had my entire big toe in it’s mouth!
We weren’t in the pool long before it was time to head back. We negotiated our way around currents and made it back to the island where we had afternoon tea (I opted for wine) under a tent with a beautiful view of the falls. It was fun to chat with all of the people visiting from all over the world. We made it back to the mainland and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the drive home. I told Eddie that I was surprised that he jumped into the falls instead of sliding in and he told me there was no way he could have slid after I jumped – Oh- and he loved it!