Did you know that Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World?
Before I visited Zambia, I hadn’t a clue. Within seconds of beholding the falls for myself, it was easy to see why it ranks among Mount Everest and the Grand Canyon as some of the world’s greatest natural beauties.
A Wonder in It’s Own Right
Victoria falls is the longest and tallest water fall in the world! It stretches nearly a linear mile between Zimbabwe and Zambia and reaches 360 feet in height. Picture Niagara Falls, only double it’s height and width and you have Victoria Falls!
Five hundred million liters of water cascade over the falls every minute, creating a cloud of mist that can be seen from the air and 30 miles away. The locals refer to the falls as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or The Smoke that Thunders.
A Bucket List Worthy Experience
My Adventureman and I visited Victoria Falls on two different occasions – once nearing the end of the rainy season (late November to early April) and a second time nearly at the peak of the dry season (August through October). Both trips gave us uniquely different experiences.
In the rainy season, you walk through the park COMPLETELY SOAKED. Sometimes the cloud of mist is so thick, you can’t even see the bottom of the falls, let alone the next step in front of you! Vendors will offer raincoats as you enter the park and I highly recommend purchasing one!
During the dry season, you can see the mile-long precipice with clarity. Although much of the falls is dry, the remaining falls are breathtaking to see.
Defying Death at Devil’s Pool
On our visit during the dry season, a park ranger asked if we wanted to see Devil’s Pool.
“Come with me, I take you there. But we must hurry.”
Not fully understanding the location of the pool or the need for haste, we meandered along behind our guide. He led us away from the viewing bridge to the ledge of the falls. We left the well-worn path and followed our guide onto the ledge clearly marked “Danger: Enter at your own risk.”
Where water once had flowed in a steady flood, porous rocks towns and puddles remained.
We half jumped – half chased our guide across loose rocks and puddles, all the while eyeing the edge of the falls with caution and amazement. In the distance, elephants grazed on the marshes created by the receding water.
After trekking about a half mile, we came to a slowly flowing portion of the falls. The only way to reach the pool was to cross it. We removed our shoes and held hands as we waded into the waist deep water.
About half way across the river, I had a terrifying realization that at that exact moment I was closer to death than I ever had been.
We stood a mere 30 yards from the edge of a 360 foot plummet to our death! At any moment, my foot could slip or a crocodile could decide that I would make a good snack. Charged with adrenaline and a quick prayer, I double-timed it to the opposite shore!
By now the sun was setting. We would be trekking back across the falls in the dark. Our guide insisted that the pool was not far, so we continued on.
Soon after, we saw the mist and heard the pounding of surge of water crashing over the ledge.
We walked to the edge of the water as our guide began to drop trou. We were so shocked we didn’t have time to ask what he was doing before he insisted we do the same. Understanding our confusion, he finally explained that to get to Devil’s Pool, we would have to swim to it.
I wanted to so badly.
Only fifty yards away I could see the pool sitting LITERALLY on the edge of the falls and I could imagine the exhilarating feeling of diving into it, defying death. I felt my husband’s strong hand clamp my arm. The firm look in his eyes sent a clear message: “No, not now.” The sun had set and there were few precious moments of light left. Now was not the time to push our already strained limits by jumping into a zero-edge pool in the dark when the ledge was 360 feet off of the ground.
So, we agreed to be spectators. Our guide dived into the water, gripping the safety ropes that led to pool’s ledge.
About five minutes later, we squinted to see him as he splashed around in the world’s most incredible zero-edge pool.
Can you find him?
We raced back across one of the Seven Natural Wonders in the dark. It will forever be one of my favorite memories. It left us determined to make it all the way to Devil’s Pool on our next trip to Zambia. Third times a charm!