When I imagine a waterfall, a peaceful image comes to mind. A calm stream, a trickle of water, a soothing cascade.
Victoria Falls is nothing like that. Located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is about twice the height of Niagara Falls. The sheer power of the water slamming into the rocks below creates a mist that can be seen from 12 miles away. In fact, its original name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, literally translates to “smoke that thunders.”
Thunder it does. Standing before the falls, it is impossible not to feel invigorated by the furious energy of the water. The water hurls itself down fearlessly and unapologetically. Visit in the wet season and you will get soaked if you so much as approach it. It is that roaring energy that has inspired the abundance of adventure tourism in the towns surrounding Victoria Falls.
As somewhat of a thrill seeker myself, I can confidentially say that Devil’s Pool was one of the most terrifying and exhilarating experiences of my life.
Victoria Falls is around 350 feet high; Devil’s Pool is a natural pool that sits atop those 350 feet, right on the waterfall’s ledge. Thanks to a natural ridge, you can jump into the water, swim up to the ledge and peer down at the cascading water around you. To take it a step further, the local guide will kindly offer to hold your legs so you can dangle your arms over the waterfall itself.
As I thrust my arms out into the air in front of me, keenly aware that my life was literally in the hands of my tour guide, I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity and thrill of the Devil’s Pool.
Bungee Jump and Bridge Swing
After experiencing the energy of the waterfalls, some feel compelled to hurl themselves off a nearby bridge with only a bungee cord attached to their ankles. The jump is located on a bridge above the Zambezi River, a river that separates Zimbabwe from Zambia.
For those who don’t like the idea of diving head-first into the open air, you can also jump feet-first off the ledge. This is called the bridge swing, and I can tell you from experience it is far more scary than it sounds. For a few adrenaline-packed seconds, you zoom through the air, waiting —praying— that the rope will catch you. You begin to slow and before you know it the adrenaline and relief kick in simultaneously.
The Zambezi River offers class IV and V white water rafting. This means you will find yourself paddling into rapids of raging water that are probably taller than you are, armed only with a paddle and helmet.
Due to the sheer size of the rapids, rafts often capsize more than once along the course of the river. My group capsized twice, and we were tossed off the raft and sent flailing into the river. It was only when our trained leader pulled me out that I understood the thrill of white-water rafting.
I have walked, flown, biked and driven across country lines. Only at Victoria Falls have I zip-lined across. The same company that runs the Zambezi Bungee Jump and Bridge Swing, offer zip lining that will take you zooming from Zambia to Zimbabwe. The zip line takes you over the Zambezi River at an alarming speed that only gives you a few seconds to realize that you are suspended hundred of feet above the ground with only a metal wire holding you up.
Visiting Victoria Falls is not for the faint of heart. I spent 3 days and 4 nights here, just enough to squeeze in my adrenaline-fill. Whether you go to see the waterfalls, participate in the extreme sports, or simply luxuriate in the beautiful surrounding towns, Victoria Falls does not disappoint.