A walk & a swim on the edge of a waterfall (Angel’s Pool in Victoria Falls)

(Part 4 of 4. Finally)

Per my promise to finally wrap up my past due travel posts from 2015-2016, here’s the first one.

To conclude my exciting weekends in Zimbabwe, the fourth and final outing on paper seemed pretty low key compared to what I had done. However, it ended up being one of the truly most terrifying things I have ever done.

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Eli and I got up early Sunday morning and were driven to the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The excursion of the day was the Livingstone Island Tour on the Zambezi River from the Zambia side. As I have mentioned here in the past, Victoria Falls is claimed by both the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. In fact, the Zambezi River acts as the border between the two countries.

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“You are now entering Zambia”

We walked across the bridge, went through customs in Zambia and walked to the Royal Livingstone hotel which is located right on the Zambezi River and where we were meeting our guide for the tour.

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Upon walking onto the property of the Royal Livingstone we promptly bumped into three giraffe and two zebra who were peacefully grazing on the grounds. That’s a thing that never got old while being in Africa: seeing wildlife, whether in expected or unexpected places.

What are you doing here?

What are you doing here?

This guy...

This guy…

...and these dudes

…and these dudes

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We met our guide at the dock and took a small boat over to Livingstone Island. There we disembarked and walked toward the semi-permanent dining tent and bathrooms. We changed into our swim suits (all while with a beautiful view of the raging river) and met our guide again to make our way to the famous Angel’s Pool at the waterfall’s edge.

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At this point you might wonder what exactly I’m talking about. I said we were doing the Livingstone Island Tour. Well, truly it was less a tour of the island and more a frightening walk into the river to the edge of the Victoria Falls. Right. Choosing by my own power to walk to the edge of one of the strongest flowing, highest waterfalls on the planet.

But there is a reason for the trek into the river. It was to get to Angel’s Pool. This is a naturally formed pool of water on the edge of Victoria Falls. It’s not as famous as it’s brother, Devil’s Pool, which is even closer to the edge and slightly more dangerous. However, the Devil’s Pool is not accessible during the high water season so our only choice was Angel’s Pool. Let me tell you, it was still scary as hell.

Getting pelted by water that's flying in every direction from the sheer force of the falls

Getting pelted by water that’s flying in every direction from the sheer force of the falls

Because not only are you fighting rapidly rushing water, there are a few points where it’s so rocky that small wooden planks have been laid out to make crossing easier. However, these planks have developed algae making them super slippery.

A selfie on the edge. Naturally.

Eli taking a selfie on the edge. Naturally.

This was the point of the day when I really, really regretted my decision to do this excursion. I was beyond scared. Walking on a 2 x 4 piece of slippery, flimsy wood two feet from the edge of one of the highest waterfalls in the world with only Eli and the guide to hold on to. As Eli and I clutched our hands I could see the fear visibly on her face and can only imagine what mine must have looked like.

Here I am! Why am I here?

Do you see the edge? It’s right there…one yard from my feet…

We first made it to some dry ground on the edge where we had some photo opportunities in relative safety (I say relative because one trip up and you’d plunge over the edge. Maybe not recommended for klutzy people). Then we crossed back over the slippery wooden planks and onwards to Angel’s Pool. I was really not happy to be back on the wooden planks.

Soaking wet at this point and have not even gotten into the pool yet

Soaking wet at this point and have not even gotten into the pool yet

The other side of the scary planks of wood, just before the Pool

The other side of the scary planks of wood, just before the Pool

"Ok I'll get a little closer...but not too close"

“Ok I’ll get a little closer…but not too close”

But after crossing the river in thigh high furiously raging water among slippery, sharp and uneven rocks, we finally made it to Angel’s Pool. And even as my fear caused me to lose my footing and ram my knee against a sharp rock, I was so glad, once settled and gripping a boulder, to be in the warm waters of Angel’s Pool. It was scary to be sure, but also equally exhilarating and exciting.

Our guide showing us how "safe" it is

Our guide showing us how “safe” it is

"Do you see how close the edge is?"

“Do you see how close the edge is?”

Why are we here again?

Why are we here again?

"Oh my gosh this is so cool but secretly deep down inside I'm super scared in this moment to not be clutching the rock!"

“Oh my gosh this is so cool but secretly deep down inside I’m super scared in this moment to not be clutching the rock!”

Mini waterfall shower

Mini waterfall shower

Our awesome guide

Our awesome guide (whose name I shamefully cannot remember. Apologies!)

We sat in awe for a while, enjoyed the warm waters and the spectacular, one-of-a-kind, not-a-thing-all-people-get-to-see views and made our precarious way back to the dining tent.

We survived! Now lets go get breakfast... Teetering on the edge of a waterfall makes one hungry.

We survived! Now lets go get breakfast… Teetering on the edge of a waterfall makes one hungry.

There we were treated by THE MOST DELICIOUS eggs benedict I have ever had. Ok. So maybe the very real fear of losing my life would have made even dog food taste wonderful, but truly it was a fantastic breakfast that I can still remember today.

BEST eggs benedicts.

BEST eggs benedicts.

Tea in a tent on an island in a river on the edge of a waterfall. Yes please.

Tea in a tent on an island in a river on the edge of a waterfall? Yes please.

After breakfast we headed back to the hotel and got a ride into town. The town is nothing really worth noting however we did head to the market to buy some gifts for friends and family. After we went back to the hotel, had a lovey lunch, then started our walk back to Zimbabwe. About four minutes into the walk the sky opened it up and poured for the rest of the afternoon. We were soaked through to the bone. All in keeping with the theme of the day I suppose.

Lunch at the Royal Livingstone. With champagne of course.

Lunch at the Royal Livingstone. With champagne of course.

In the end, I would for sure recommend white water rafting on the Zambezi. I would for sure recommend zip lining and diving into the gorge. I am not sure I would recommend Angel’s Pool. I mean, as far as it being awesome with a capital A, it was for sure! In hindsight do I think it was maybe too dangerous? Yes. So, if you are up for a good scare then definitely don’t miss out on Angel’s Pool if you are ever in Zambia. And if the water levels are low, I’d say you should probably try Devil’s Pool as well.

I realized I don’t think I ever really did a proper job of telling all the stories from my two weeks volunteering at Nakavango. All the special, up close and personal moments with elephants, rhinos, giraffes and a number of other amazing African wildlife. All the secret places and awe inspiring views along the private reserve…  Although the pictures are a poor substitute of how the sunsets really looked and how the breeze felt on my skin and how beautiful the sounds of the birds were and the rich smell in the air of nature… Nevertheless here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

And this will round out and finish up, finally, my posts on the magical time spent in a magical land.

"Treasured"

“Treasured”

School work day

School work day

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0299.

This was an early morning after camping overnight in the bush. This rhino saw us and was curious...

This was an early morning after camping overnight in the bush. This rhino saw us and was curious…

...so he ran over to say hello!

…so he ran over to say hello!

"What's up guys?"

“What’s up guys?”

"Oh. You have no food for me?"

“Why is everyone hiding in the truck?”

"Ya'll are boring. I'm outta here."

“Ya’ll are boring. I’m outta here.”

I loved this guy. No joke watched him for 30 minutes as he tried to figure out the best way to reach the salt block. What a funny problem for this giant animal who has no problem reaching food up high...

I loved this guy. No joke watched him for 30 minutes as he tried to figure out the best way to reach the salt block. What a funny problem for this giant animal who has no problem reaching food up high…

He finally made it for a bit...

He finally made it for a bit…

but then I swear he knew we were watching and got embarrassed.

but then I swear he knew we were watching and got embarrassed.

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Just waiting for us to leave...

Just waiting for us to leave…

"Ugh, but I really want that salt... so finger licking good!"

“Ugh, but I really want that salt… so finger licking good!”

"Maybe if I can't see them, they can't see me"

“Maybe if I can’t see them, they can’t see me”

"Oh F it. I'm going for it."

“Oh F it. I’m going for it.”

That time Dean, myself and one other volunteer where on a bush walk, miles from the car, and we spotted momma. What's worse, she spotted us. Dean yelled at us to climb a tree as she started huffing towards us. Thankfully, she was bluffing and turned around before getting too close.

That time Dean, myself and one other volunteer where on a bush walk, miles from the car, and we spotted momma. What’s worse, she spotted us. Dean yelled at us to climb a tree as she started huffing towards us. Thankfully, she was bluffing and turned around before getting too close.

Elephant Slide

Elephant Slide

Dean at the Elephant Slide

Dean at the Elephant Slide

Sunset on the river. It's 1,000 times more awe inspiring in person.

Sunset on the river. It’s 1,000 times more awe inspiring in person.

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Early morning drives to work on the reserve were the best. Up with the sun every morning and loving it.

Early morning drives to work on the reserve were the best. Up with the sun every morning and loving it.

Nakavango! First day...

Nakavango! First day…

"Fenced" backyard and pool

“Fenced” backyard and pool

Dining area and common area beyond

Dining area and common area beyond

Rooms

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Our home

Our home

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Simple but wonderful

Simple but wonderful

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Camping night

Camping night

Perfect line(s) 🙂

Perfect line(s) 🙂

A night out with the crew

A night out with the crew

Shoestrings bar and lounge in Victoria Falls

Shoestrings bar and lounge in Victoria Falls

Elephant skull

Elephant skull

Elephant track

Elephant track

Beauty

Beauty

Another beauty

Another beauty

 

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