about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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three perspectives of victoria falls
in zambia, zimbabwe, and livingstone island

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls.  We were going to see the Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world, with the largest sheet of falling water, at a width of 5,604 feet.  Named in the local language as the Smoke That Thunders, we expected cascades of gushing water, condensation rising from the gorges, and ample photo opportunities.

Victoria Falls Zambia side

Victoria Falls from the Zambia side

We didn't expect this.  On the last day of our Africa-in-Focus overland trip, we drove into the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.

Zambian side of Victoria Falls

Pool and view of Victoria Falls from Zambia side

We walked through the entrance gates and found ourselves at a mostly dry rocky edifice with a few thin rivulets of rushing water.  We’ve seen more impressive waterfalls in our own backyard .

Boat coming from Livingstone Island

Boat driving in from Livingstone Island

Not to be deterred, we chose a tour out to the natural-made infinity pool at the top of Victoria Falls, very aptly named the Devil's Pool.  Our guides took us by boat to Livingstone’s Island, a small promontory which can be reached only by hiking or boat with guided tours from the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

Akila swimming into infinity pool Patrick swimming out into the infinity pool
Sitting on top of Victoria Falls Victoria Falls sunset

Zambia side of Victoria Falls

On top of Victoria Falls and sunset

Once at the island, we swam in a straight line ---- to avoid the current that would sweep us over the waterfall ---- to the rocky point which clings to the edge of the world’s largest waterfall.  One of the guides watched us dive into the Devil's Pool while another stood at the shore and took pictures of us with the rainbows beaming from the falls behind us.

Tea set up at Livingstone Island Afternoon tea at Livingstone Island

View from Royal Livingstone Hotel

Hippo at Zambezi
Afternoon tea and sunset over Zambezi River

We digested our experience over afternoon tea and cocktails over the blood red African sun touching into the Zambei River.

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe side

Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe side

It wasn’t until the next day when we were on the Zimbabwe side of the falls that we realized what we had done.  Like the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls offers far better views of cascading water and the rising steam in the dry season.  (In the rainy season, the Zambian side offers the better views because you can only see mist on the Zimbabwe side from the thundering falls).

Standing on top of Victoria Falls Standing on top of Victoria Falls
Jumping into Victoria Falls infinity pool Victoria Falls
Standing on top of Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side

And, as we walked along the Zimbabwe side, we saw people doing the exact same thing we had done the day before.  That guide in what seems to be an impossible stance taking pictures: that was our guide.

Victoria Falls

Those crazy people jumping into the world’s tallest waterfall: that was us.  Those people who look like they might just die up there: that was us.  Yikes.

Those specks are people swimming in the infinity pool there

So, it turns out that a tiny shift in perspective makes a great deal of difference at the Smoke That Thunders.


Jollyboys Backpackers

Jollyboys Backpackers

Jollyboys Backpackeers

We stayed at the very lovely and clean Jollyboys Backpackers in Livingstone, Zambia, and highly recommend them.  They helped us book our trip to Livingstone Island, a fantastic Zambian cooking course (which I will write about soon), and our stay in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  The lounge areas and pool are amongst the nicest we have ever seen in any hostel and we loved our stay there.

Sunset over Zambezi River

The tour to Devil's Pool and Livingstone Island starts at the Royal Livingstone Hotel

Jollyboys booked our tour to Devil's Pool and Livingstone Island but almost any tour operator in Livingstone can help you book that tour.  There are various alternatives, some requiring a hike into the island, while others use a speedboat, and some offer afternoon tea or breakfast.  We chose the afternoon tea option and really liked it.

Zimbabwe Royal Livingstone Hotel

Royal Livingstone Zimbabwe

Breakfast at the Royal Livingstone
Victoria Falls Hotel Victoria Falls Hotel
Royal Livingstone Hotel Royal Livingstone Hotel
Scenes from the Victoria Falls Hotel

We stayed at the very swank Victoria Falls Hotel on the Zimbabwe side of the falls to celebrate our last three days in Africa and of the first leg of our round-the-world adventure.  It was lovely and actually pretty reasonably priced considering how much most five star hotels cost across the world.