The devil's pool is one of the most popular tourist attractions at the Victoria Falls - and for good reason. It has been described as 'the most thrilling and potentially dangerous swimming experience ever.'
The Devil's Pool is a deep natural pool that allows tourists to swim right up close to the edge. From the pool, is an incredible view of the thundering waterfalls otherwise known as Mosi Oa Tunya, “The Smoke that Thunders”.
What does this activity cost? What should you wear? How can you book your spot? All these questions and more will be answered in this article!
What is the Devil's Pool?
It's a naturally formed pool of calm water right on the edge on top of the Victoria Falls. The pool is separated from the raging white water just inches away by a narrow strip of rock.
Devils Pool also known as "The Devils armchair" has been carved into the rocks through thousands of years of water erosion.
It is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular places to experience on the planet.
Where is Devil's Pool and how to get there?
Devils Pool is located in sub-Saharan Africa on the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It's on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls. To get to the pool, you need to take a boat trip to Livingstone Island and from there you will wade across to the rocky outcrop which houses the pool.
Livingstone Island in Livingstone, Zambia, is named after the Scottish explorer and Physician, David Livingstone. It was where he first viewed the Victoria Falls back in November of 1855.
This unique Victoria Falls experience is no doubt on the bucket list of thousands of travelers and intrepid explorers.
Is it safe to swim in the Devil's Pool?
During the dry season, when water levels are at a low, tourists can swim in Devil's Pool.
To reach the devil's pool, you will have to swim through a small section of the Zambezi River.
If you're not confident in your swimming abilities, the guides will help you cross by holding hands. However, it is important to note there's a current that makes it more challenging for some.
The guides will be checking for crocodiles and hippos in the river before you all get in. Remember that you are in a national wildlife reserve, so wild animals come with the territory.
It's important to note that if wildlife decides to venture closer, the guides, will not put you in danger. Animals have been spotted near the Devil's Pool and it would be best for swimmers to remain vigilant at all times.
Once at the Devil's pool, there is a rock ledge that stops swimmers from being thrown over the edge of the Victoria Falls. It's this same ledge that actually houses the pool itself at the top of the falls.
While it is safe to swim, those who are not sensible about their safety may end up risking their own lives and maybe even the lives of others. This is not the place to be reckless.
Swimming at the Devils Pool is at your own risk.
Things you should know before going to the Devil’s Pool
Livingstone Island Tour Information
The pool is available for a swim only during periods of low water, meaning the best time is from mid-August to around the end of December. Access to the pool is most reliable from October through November due to the lowest flow rate at that time.
However, keep in mind that seasonal levels vary depending on how much or when it rained upstream.
The pool is closed to tourists when the flow is too high, this is normally from around the beginning of January to sometime in August.
If you are traveling from the Zimbabwe side, your hotel shuttle will typically take approximately 45 minutes to an hour to cross the border and arrive at The Royal Livingstone Hotel (RLH).
Shuttles leave from The Kingdom Hotel, so you will need to make your own way there from wherever you are in Victoria Falls.
Once you arrive at the RLH launch site, it's approximately 15 minutes until the tour starts from the launch site close by.
There are five daily tours to Devils Pool, three in the morning, one at midday, and the last one in the afternoon. The tours last between 1,5 - 2,5 hours, depending on which one you choose.
Morning Breezer Tour
They are 3 Morning Breezer slots, Tours start from the RLH at 07:30, 09:00, and 10:30. Included in the morning tours are light snacks as well as tea, coffee, and soft drinks.
The Morning Breezer Tours are approximately 1,5 hours each.
Livingstone Island Lunch Tour
The lunch tour departs from RLH at 12:30 and typically will include a lunch, wine, or beer and soft drinks.
Livingstone Island High Tea Tour
The High Tea tour will depart from RLH at 15:30, with this tour, you will have the option of tea or coffee, a light snack, and wine or beer.
What to expect during your Devil's Pool Experience
Your trip to Livingstone Island starts on the banks of the Zambezi River in Livingstone, Zambian side - 1,3 km (0.8mi) upstream from the Royal Livingstone Hotel.
Here you will meet your guides and get an introduction of what to expect and listen to a safety talk.
Afterward, you will take a short (5 minute) boat ride to Livingstone Island. The captain will take you quite close to the actual Victoria Falls en route to the island which makes this boat ride an experience in itself.
Once you reach Livingstone Island, the friendly staff welcome you with a traditional Maheu energy drink which is made from maize meal.
From there they will lead you to the very edge of the Falls on the west end of the island, where David Livingstone first witnessed this natural wonder. The view from here is simply amazing.
If you have already seen the falls from the Zimbabwean side, the perspective from this vantage point is quite different and somewhat more "wild".
When the weather is right, particularly on the morning tours, the rainbows are magnificent and add even more beauty to this spectacular view.
On the east side of the island overlooking the horseshoe, you will find a plaque erected in 2005 marking 150 years since Livingstone first discovered the island at Victoria Falls.
After you have had some time to look around, those wanting to take a swim in Devils Pool make their way with the guides to the river. The Guides then explain how you will get to the pool.
This involves short upstream wade or swim across part of the Zambezi River where the current is much slower than the main flow.
Don't worry as there are enough precautions to ensure your safety as well as a safety rope if needed. Guests can even hold hands as they walk across.
You make your way to a rocky outcrop right next to Devils Pool and step up onto it. You are now at the edge of the Falls.
Check out this great video of the whole experience.
How Much Does Devil’s Pool Victoria Falls Cost?
Costs start from $110 per person, depending on which tour you decide to take.
Where can I Book a Devil’s Pool Tour?
The Livingstone Island Devils Pool tour is one of the most popular in Victoria Falls and is often fully booked months in advance. To avoid disappointment it is advised that to get your booking confirmed as soon as you know your travel dates. For bookings, click here
Frequently Asked Questions
If traveling from the Zimbabwe side, you will need your passport and relevant visa, where required. Please read this article for more information on the KAZA Uni-visa.
We suggest you pack sunscreen, a good sun hat, and sunglasses as well as your swimming costume, towel and camera.
It's always a good idea to take a small backpack with you to keep all your belongings together in one place.
You will be navigating sharp rocks which could also be slippery when wet so best to wear suitable footwear such as water shoes which will protect your feet and provide excellent grip in the wet.
It's always a good idea to carry some cash with you (see more on cash and currencies here). You will have the opportunity to purchase some curio's along the way and also the guides always welcome a small tip.
Yes, unfortunately, children under 12 will not be permitted to swim in Devils Pool and the minimum age limit for children just visiting Livingstone Island is 8 years old.
The short answer is, ABSOLUTELY!!