Angel’s Pool, Victoria Falls, June 11, 2024

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Liz and began our Africa trip with 3 days in Johannesburg and one day in London in transit June 7. On June 11 we flew to Livingstone, which is on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. I had stayed on the Zimbabwe side in November 2002, which was early in Mugabe’s disruption of the country after a relatively tranquil first 20 years. At that time nearly all the tourist infrastructure dating to the British colonial era was in Victoria Falls. Zambia took advantage of Mugabe’s chaos, built some resorts like the Avani where we stayed, and now tourism visitors are about the same on each side.

Adventure activities are sensitive to water flows as shown below.

For those familiar with American rivers, 1,000 cubic meters per second in the chart is 35,000cfs and about what it is now. November is closest to the lowest flow in normal years and when I was there it was 12,000cfs, which is typical of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. That meant the quarter of the falls nearest Zambia was completely dry, so it was fortunate that I stayed in Zimbabwe that time.

Livingstone Island is near the middle of the falls, reachable by boat from the Zambian shore. Devil’s Pool is a well known attraction where you can be in the water looking over the falls. We had been warned by Buffy Tang who was there in May that the water was too high for people to go there. When we checked into the Avani, they informed us of the alternative Angel’s Pool, so we signed up to be ready for that in an hour.

Loading the boat:

We first walked to the western side of Livingstone Island with the view toward Devil’s Pool.

In lower water the partially exposed rocks at center lead left to Devil’s Pool, which is just below the small exposed tree.

There is a lot of spray coming from the Main Falls here.

Then we walked a short distance across Livingstone Island.

Some of the other guests approaching Angel’s Pool:

First two guides escort us for a look over the edge.

A guide took our picture while the first people were getting in the pool.

It is midwinter with high temps about 75 and lows about 45, that wide range being due to 3,000 foot altitude and low dry season humidity. There has not been a cloud in the sky for the 12 days we have been in southern Africa so far. There was an eclipse in Zambia June 21, 2001 and confidence in clear skies must have been as good as it gets.

Water temperature was about 65 which was fine in the pool. But the ponchos were welcome while waiting your turn in the continuous mist. The afternoon high tea timing was ideal for comfortable air temperatures. They offer Angel Pool for breakfast tours and those would be quite cold in the early morning.

The first guest is in the pool now.

Here one guide instructs a guest how to pose for the flying over the falls effect which the second guide holds him by the ankles.

Plaque of David Livingstone, the first European to view Victoria Falls:

Afternoon sun orientation set up the rainbow over Angel Pool perfectly.

Just before getting in the pool we sat here together.

Then the guides escort you to the picture spot.

First you sit on a rock by yourself.

Then Liz in the flying pose:

The first guide took the pic in portrait mode so the other guide holding her ankles was not visible.

Me in the next position:

Liz in same spot with view across to Zimbabwe:

Liz in another pool with view upstream:

After the high tea snacks we went back to Zambia in the boat. The view back near sunset explains the local name for the falls, Mosi-ao-Tunya, the Smoke that Thunders.

We were off the grid at Okavango safari camps June 14-18 and may be similar at remote camps in Namibia June 21-29. It will take a long time to go through pictures from this trip.
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The pools before Victoria Falls have always looked ominous to me. I am not sure I would feel comfortable in them.

But I am not really a fan of balconies higher than 10 stories either.
I have not heard of accidents at the pools. There was a rope break accident in 2012 at the Victoria Falls Bungee jump;