The Devil’s Pool

swimming in devil’s pool

The first time I visited Africa’s Victoria Falls, I was standing across the gorge from the famous curtain of falling water when I saw a man climbing on the rocks near to edge of the falls.  I suspected he was either crazy or suicidal.  When he jumped I was certain he was both.  But he did not go over the edge and instead climbed up on the rocks to again jump into what appeared appeared to be a death wish.

I later found out he was playing in The Devil’s Pool, a spot near the edge of the falls that is accessible only during the dry season.  If the Zambezi were flowing at full force he would have been helpless to resist the current which would have swept him over the cliff face to a fall of some three hundred fifty feet to where the water reforms into the Zambezi.  I vowed to return one day during the dry season and visit this unique  swimming hole.  Finally I have kept that promise.

Swimming in The Devil’s Pool takes you right up to the lip at the top of Victory Falls, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, so it offers an unparalleled panorama.  And if you jump in on a day like I did when there is a full beautiful rainbow over the gorge, then you are sure you’re getting a little glimpse of heaven on earth.  I write about the experience in my column for the August-September issue of National Geographic Traveler Magazine.  This video shows what it looks like to jump in The Devil’s Pool and sit in The Devil’s Armchair.


Meet the Author
Boyd Matson, in his work for National Geographic, has been bitten, scratched, or pooped on, and occasionally kissed by most of the creatures found at your local zoo. What he refers to as his job, others might describe as a career spent attending summer camp for adults. Currently Matson is the host of the weekly radio show, “National Geographic Weekend.” Conducting interviews from the studio and from the field, Matson connects with some of the greatest explorers and adventurers on the planet to transport listeners to the far corners of the world and to the hidden corners of their own backyards. Matson also writes about his experiencs in his monthly column, “Boyd Matson Unbound” for National Geographic Traveler magazine, produces videos for National, and serves as a spokesperson for the National Geographic Society.