Dream holiday diary #7

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Tuesday

Woke up early this morning so we could get everything done before we leave tomorrow! Start off the day with a fab buffet breakfast at the hotel, and head to the local craft market to get a bird for Richie’s mom. After the game park, we’re a little wild-animal verskrik and end up buying all the usual touristy things! Hahahaha. We now have the cutest zebra wooden carvings, yellow billed hornbill, elephants, a gorgeous giraffe head, oh and I can’t forget the zebra salad bowls, wooden salad bowl (really Rich? we can’t get that in SA?), and some kind of couples love vibe stone thing. Well at least we came to an agreement that we can both buy what we love and whatever we don’t like of each other’s will equal each other’s stuff out in our house. YAY ME, that’s just given me free reign for all the cheesy things I want to bring into our home :D

The locals are really pushy but super friendly and are very welcoming when we say we’re from SA. “Ahh, neighbours!” they exclaim. (As soon as they get over the disappointment that we won’t be fooled by their prices and won’t be spending the big bucks) haha!  We drag ourselves away from the craft market as we need to explore the falls before our trip to devils pool this afternoon.

Victoria Falls is definitely something you need to experience for yourself. No pictures could ever do it justice as your eyes can take in every crevice & waterfall as you examine every inch of the falls!

People have said you get soaked – and you really do!!! The falls are incredible and absolutely awe-inspiring. I could have stood there for days just looking at the falls, taking it all in.

There is this INSANE guy in a speedo standing on the falls on the other side. Is he MENTAL? Wtf is he doing standing on the falls? He could DIE!!! We take some photos and think of the slogan for this madman “where’s Wally”. This guy has clearly lost his mind. He is also wearing a pink speedo which confirms it.

We need to go back through to Zambia to the Livingstone Hotel as that is where the boat will collect you from at 3:15.  Wow this hotel is exquisite!! I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Vic Falls to stay at the Livingstone. The hotel is situated right on the river, really close to the falls, and has the most amazing view & decks where you can watch the sunrise & sunset.  There is also a Zambian National Park where you can view the waterfall but I don’t know how far it is from the hotel and we just don’t have time to check it out.

We meet the Wild Horizons representative by the river who runs the Devils Pool excursion & he asks if we are strong swimmers. We think he is joking & laugh. We’re on our way to Livingstone Island to swim in Devils Pool!

YAY this is so exciting, can’t wait to see it even though in my head the thought pattern is repeating “what the f am I doing?! How did I let people talk me into this“. My heart is already pumping as we follow a pathway on the island, past the “loo with a view” and we round the corner to come out at the other side, right next to the falls.

The guide takes some pictures of Rich & I standing next to the side of the falls and then it’s time to swim!

He says “Now listen carefully” and starts talking about how we are going to swim to the pool. “We are going to swim in a straight line to that branch over there”

I’m SORRY?! What did he just say? We have to SWIM there?!!! Past the biggest waterfall ever with a current that looks like its PUMPING?! He carries on talking as the thoughts in my head go wild. Wait a minute… which branch???

“Once you reach the branch you need to swim diagonally to the rock.”  What? Wait. WHICH rock?????!!!  “Remember to swim hard to the right so the current doesn’t push you to the left“

You mean to the left like where there are gallons of water plummeting down HUNDREDS OF FEET? Are you JOKING? Is this all a joke?

“Once you reach the rock you need to face your body to the falls and move yourself along the rocks using your hands to grip the crevices”

Again. what the frikkadell am I DOING HERE???!!! I start to have hateful thoughts toward Rich, Clauds & Nix for making me feel like I would be a wimp to NOT do this. Are they psycho?! I didn’t know you had to swim to this place!!! I can barely swim, nevermind freestyle swim. I’m not a strong swimmer!!! Breast stroke is like my strongest form of swimming. I turn to Rich and threaten to break up with him if he DARES to let go of my hand or leave me for an inkling of a second in that water. I think he can tell by the look in my eyes that I am dead serious. They must be as big as a dinner plate right now. He promises.

The ‘pool’ where we are going looks like one of the roughest areas of the falls, with spray shooting up into the air.  My thoughts are still assessing my mental sanity. What the hell am I doing? What the HELL am I DOING?!

“Once you have passed the rock you need to swim straight to the green bush. You must swim slightly to the right, so you don’t get swept by the current, but don’t swim too far right because there is a rock there. Don’t swim into the rock”

GREAT. 

We all have to hold hands and form a human chain as we wade to the spot we need to swim from. My heart is beating right out of my chest and I feel like I am going to have a heart attack on the spot. I totally can’t do this. I CANT DO THIS. THIS IS MADNESS. I seriously consider backing out. But Richie & I are somewhat competitive and I can’t let him do this without me. *sigh* seriously. I have to be competitive NOW?!

The guide reassures us that there is a safety rope, and if we should get swept away by the current, a lifeguard will reach us by the time we get to the safety rope. Oh. You mean one of the 2 lifeguards who are currently about 15 metres away from me? How are THEY going to get there before ME??!

Turns out we are near the area where that crazy man was. In fact its even worse as there is a lot more water here. Now, WE are the WALLIES.  I start getting the giggles as the adrenalin starts pumping through my veins. OK. It’s time to swim. WAIT I DON’T THINK I’M READY. But I have to go NOW. The people behind me are waiting. I jump and am mentally ready to take my last swim.

But it’s not that bad :D I CAN SWIM!! HELL YEA, I am DOING THIS!!!

I swim toward the branch and grab hold of the guide’s hand – we are all swimming one by one. I look into the eyes of the woman who swam before me and we swop “we’re absolutely crazy” smiles. I feel like we will share a bond that will last a lifetime. We all wait at the first branch for everyone to get there before heading to the rock. This time the current is much stronger, but it’s still ok. There is water going in my mouth and over my head but I am filled with more determination than I can remember and I WILL make it to that damn rock. Reach the rock safely and head for the rocks where we need to move ourselves along toward the bush. This isn’t so hard…but still terrifying as you watch the water going over the side and the ensuing mist. We clamber over more rocks to get to devils pool. Ok now they MUST be joking. We’re going to swim in THAT? The water is swirling and just FLYING over the edge. Thats not a POOL!!!

 

The guy asks “who’s jumping in?” and I again think he is joking. Everyone puts up their hand except me & another girl. I couldn’t be more wrong. SERIOUSLY?! You guys are going to JUMP in? We’re supposed to jump in toward the middle and then sit by the edge. “don’t jump in too far right or you’ll be swept over the side”

GREAT. Less than a metre away from the WATERFALL THAT IS PLUMMETING HUNDREDS OF FEET DOWN ONTO ROCKS.

Yes OKAY. I will also jump in.  I hate Richard right now.  But I still can’t wipe the silly grin off my face. This is absolute craziness. But I am actually LOVING every second. I feel exhilarated, alive and freer than I have ever felt in my life.  This is complete madness and I look over to the other side of the falls where we stood earlier and now where people are just staring at us like we are mental. I know what they’re thinking. We ARE mental.

Rich jumps in while my heart is in my throat and takes his seat by the edge. It seems alright and the two lifeguards are in the water with the safety rope behind him. They won’t let me die I keep repeating to myself.  I can’t even breathe I am so nervous and just find myself jumping as they count down to 1.

 

I’m in the water and HOLY SHIT. This current is STRONG. I feel like its going to push my whole body sideways and I am holding on to these rocks & Rich as hard as I can but this feels absolutely unbelievable sitting here, defying death. I can’t even feel the cold water my adrenalin must be pumping so much. This is absolutely MIND BLOWING sitting here watching the water flying over the edge, less than a metre away from the drop. Nevermind chilling in an open car next to lions – this takes the cake as one of the most insane things anyone can do in life I recon. After this I might have climbed out the rover to pat those silky soft leopards;) There is nothing in this world that I have ever experienced which comes close to how I felt in these moments.

Its time to get out and I hoist myself out using the safety rope. Uh oh its time to navigate the rapids again back to Livingstone island. But I now feel like I can accomplish ANYTHING and this part is a piece of cake.

Once back on the island we are all laughing crazily. I still feel like I am on cloud 9 even though my nerves are SHOT :D  I order a double vodka, lime & lemonade to calm my nerves, and I feel like I could smoke ten thousand cigarettes … but settle for just one ;)

Rich and I just keep exchanging crazy smiles. Rich mentions how his parents are going to flip & he is going to say it was my idea.   I remember his mom asking me to keep her son safe and reminding me about the snapped bungee cord before we left. Oh dear. His mom is going to KILL me when she finds out about this. hahaha

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur as we are floating away in our own little world of swimming next to the edge of Victoria Falls.  Everytime I think of that jump and swim I cant help but smile & shake my head. Absolutely crazy and surely the dumbest thing I have ever done, but well worth every single second.

Memories are priceless after all, and I will NEVER forget this day ❤

Read Diary #8