The Devil’s Pool Zambia is part of the South America & Africa Points Heist Trip Report.
One of my friends has a video of himself swimming atop Victoria Falls. I thought he was a crazy person and had somehow snuck into the water. As it turned out, he had booked a day trip to the Devil’s Pool on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. What is the Devil’s Pool you ask? It’s a fabulous tourist gimmick that costs $100 per person plus $20 for the transport to Zambia.
Before I get to the devil, let me dispense with the details. As was the case in Machu Picchu, I did zero research on what to do in and around Victoria Falls. I only learned about the Devil’s Pool while I was paying for my bungee jump. I actually learned the bad news that the Pool requires at least a five day booking in advance and that there were no spots for me. Frustrated, I left the office and was approached by a sketchy man who said he could get me to the pool. This tempter kept changing the price but would not provide details as to how he could make this miracle happen. When pressed, he confessed that the trek to the Devil’s Pool would require walking to the falls instead of a boat ride. Fortunately for me, the tourist company he allegedly worked for would not go for the price. I left to bungee jump and upon my return, I stopped in another tourist office and was told the good news. Two people had cancelled, and there were now spots available. Once again, I had lucked out.
TPOL’s TIP: Read TPOL more frequently so you know what needs to be booked ahead of time. This is one of those activities.
To get to the pool, you need to bring your passport as you will be leaving Zimbabwe for Zambia. The immigration process is painless but the proper documents are required. After crossing the border, you’ll arrive at an oasis resort which had affluent guests sunbathing and enjoying the zebras that strolled around the garden. We were told not to interact with guests or hotel staff. We were only at the resort because it was an access point to the Zambeze River which flows to the falls.
TPOL’s TIP: If you happen to be relocating from Zimbabwe to Zambia (as we were) and you have your luggage with you, ignore the words of the tour guide and have the hotel store your luggage. It would have been pretty ridiculous to take our backpacks to the Devil’s Pool on a small boat. Thankfully, a hotel employee came to our rescue and relieved us of our belongings.
The River Cruise
It’s only a few minutes on the river to the falls. Google overhead shots to see where you start and where you end up to get a sense of how the river flows.
We were told that breakfast was included. I wasn’t expecting anything great and boy was I wrong. Fresh coffee and pastries came first. Then the main course of eggs and bacon, Park Hyatt NY style. I don’t even like bacon and was blown away by how delicious it was. Who would’ve thought that the devil was formerly trained in Hell’s Kitchen?
One of the best parts of the tour is not worrying about capturing the perfect shot of the falls or in the pool. The guides take your camera and snap enough photos outside and inside the water.
It should be pointed out that the Devil’s Pool is a small sect of water on top of Victoria Falls that has been deemed same enough for people to swim in without being pushed over the edge by the current. It is a very narrow area. Although it has not happened, it is not implausible to see a Violet from Montana (a la Willy Wonka) not pay attention to directions and swim out to a restricted area then plunge to her death. So don’t go wander off like I did:
The guides only allow so many people in the pool at a time. Entering and exiting is like an assembly line. First, you take a photo with the waterfall in the background. Then you shift away from the falls into a splash area. Next, you wait in the queue for your turn to be right on the edge of the falls.
There’s not too many opportunities to take a photo without a spotter. Thus, most of your photos will include your guide. I literally embraced this opportunity by taking a photo where it appears that I am spooning my new best friend.
I’m very glad that I got a chance to experience the Devil’s Pool. I would’ve been quite disappointed if I did not get a chance to go. Like everything I’ve done in Victoria Falls, it was expensive. But how can you put a price on these pictures?