10/20/09: Livingstone, Zambia
What would you do if someone asked you to swim up to the crest of the biggest waterfall in the world and peer over the edge?
I would want to know how far over I can look.
This morning seven of us piled into taxis headed for the Royal Livingstone Hotel, a facility that rightfully earned its name when the Queen of England stayed there many years ago. If I were the Queen, I would want to stay there as well. Unfortunately I’m not, and the lowest room rate is $850 / night (the Presidential Suite runs $2,509 / night).
After pretending that we were rich enough to afford to stay at this hotel while we toured its grounds, we piled into a motorboat bound for Livingstone Island, a small mass of land next to the edge of Victoria Falls. Here we wandered from ledge to ledge and wondered why they let us get so close.
This was all a precursor to the day’s (and thus far, trip’s) highlight: the Devil’s Pool. No one is sure who found it and deemed it safe for tourists, but the Devil’s Pool is not a pool at all, but rather a small area of flowing water bound for a 100+ meter fall to the river below.
From Livingstone Island, we swam (yes, like slow drowning versions of Michael Phelps) to the rock that was our entry into the Pool That Shall Not Be Named. For safety reasons we would have to crawl slowly and carefully into the pool from the rock, but there’s no such thing as safety in Africa… so we jumped!
Then we sat on the natural rock wall at the falls’ edge while the rest of our group jumped in, occasionally peering over at the rainbows that hid our potential burial grounds.
In the past the guides would hold each person’s ankles while they maneuvered their entire upper body over the falls’ edge for a better view, but unfortunately that practice had to be stopped. Today our sight was limited to the length of our upper bodies. Fortunately, mine is pretty long so I was able to see all the way to the crashing water at the bottom of the falls, an experience I cannot adequately describe through words or pictures. All I can say is that the Devil’s Pool is open from late August to mid January (“dry” season) – please plan a trip to Livingstone during these times to see it for yourself.
Oh, I almost forgot – they serve you a snobby, delicious breakfast of scones and eggs Benedict if you return from the Devil’s Pool.
Puzzles for Postcards
Rhyme Time! (Solve all three of these Nintendo rhymes)
Donkey Kong’s extremely happy son
What a big, bad castle owner wears to a nice dinner
A carpet cleaner for a dirty, evil mushroom
Ohio Picture: Gripping the rock wall with our feet, we managed to free our hands for an O H I O.
Picture of the Day: Life must be tough when all you have is a Segway to get you from one end of the massive Royal Livingstone Hotel property to the other.