After greeting our driver at the Livingstone Airport, my dad and I stepped out into the 100 degree heat of Zambia. Excited to jump start the day, we headed off to our lodge - The Stanley Safari Lodge. It is located about 10 minutes outside of the town of Livingstone, closer to the falls. Our host, Peter, greeted us with cold drinks as we arrived to the beautifully crafted lodge. With open walls, thatched roofs, and wooden rhinos decorating the lodge I realized where I was - AFRICA!
We decided that we wanted to dive right into the different activities Livingstone offered. I had read about Devil's pool prior to arriving and knew that it was the first bucket list item I wanted to cross off. Swimming in the upper Zambezi also sounded mighty refreshing after the long day of travel. With this in mind, we headed to Victoria Falls! From our hotel room we could see the spray coming up from the falls, I could only imagine what it would be like being right above them. To get to Devil's pool you start at the David Livingstone Hotel. You take a five minute boat ride to Livingstone Island. After a tour of the Island (this is where Dr. Livingstone first saw the falls) we stripped down to our bathing suits and got ready to swim above the falls. Hearing the roar of the falls sent shivers down my spine - remember it is 100 degrees out. We were about to swim right above these 300 foot water falls. I plunge myself into the river and all fears are gone. All I can think is I am swimming in the Zambezi, how can this be real?! When we arrive to the edge of the falls, the guides get a bit more serious - just kidding - they do a back flip into Devil's Pool. After their fun tricks, which show how experienced they are, the invite us to the edge. The water rushes by me and launches itself three hundred feet below. People from the Zimbabwe side of the falls are waving and taking pictures. My dad and I looked over the edge to as far as they would allow us and grinned ear to ear.
After the thrill of Devil's pool was over we went back to Livingstone Island and experienced the first of many delicious meals. As the sun began to set we were directed back to the small boats that would take us back to the lodge. Watching the sunset over the Zambezi was a sight I could never get sick of, which is good because I had plenty of more sunsets ahead of me.
The next morning started bright and early to avoid the heat of the day. Though we swam above the falls we did not get to see the vastness of the falls, so we decided to hire a guide for the morning. We spent a couple of hours wandering the paths of the Zambian side of the falls, snapping pictures, getting sprayed, and learning about the history of the area. A crazy fact that I learned is that Victoria Falls has been carving its way through the rock since they have existed. They are currently in their 8th position, but the water is working its way to a 9th path.
Though the Zambian side was full of rainbows and shear rock faces, we heard the Zimbabwe side has much more water. Our guide took us to the Zambia/Zimbabwe border and we got our visas stamped. As the guide could not come with us, we began the journey into Zimbabwe on our own.
The path to the falls was straight forward. Walk down the road for about a half mile and the entrance to the park would be on your right. This half mile was the hottest journey of the entire trip. It was at least 100 degrees and the sun was blazing as we trekked across the black pavement. It was totally worth it.
As we entered the park, I felt the spray of the falls without being able to see the actual waterfall. We followed the pathway around the Zimbabwe side of the falls and I was in awe every way I looked. There was so.much.water. Remember, this is low season for Victoria Falls so I can only imagine returning at high water. We were able to look out at Devil's Pool, where we sat just one day before. It was crazy to see how close we were to the edge.
We agreed to meet our guide at the border at 2:00 PM and with a little less than an hour to kill I decided to take a leap of faith. Literally. The two countries are divided by a bridge, and right in the middle of the bridge is a big, 300 foot bungee jump. What better way to pass an hour then to huck yourself off of a 300 foot bridge in between Zambia and Zimbabwe? Let me mention that this bungee jump broke *AH* a couple years back, though the lady did survive and was not harmed. My dad decided to stay back and document his daughter - if only I could have read his mind while I took my last step off the bridge. Bungee jumping down into the Batoka gorge, with the rapid number 2 of the Zambezi right below me was one of the most beautiful moments I have experienced.
With ruffled hair and blood pumped full of adrenaline we made our way back to the lodge for some delicious lunch and a dip in the infinity pool. As we had a pretty jam packed morning, we decided to take the evening to explore the town of Livingstone and the David Livingstone Museum. One of my favorite parts about traveling is learning about the history of the location. My dad, on the other hand, loved the museum because it described the famous saying "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"