Living on the edge - Victoria Falls

26th October
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Afternoon tea – it’s hardly an adrenalin sport, is it? We were in Livingstone, extreme capital of Africa. We could bungee-jump, raft down The Muncher, zoom through the mist

Afternoon tea – it’s hardly an adrenalin sport, is it?

We were in Livingstone, extreme capital of Africa. We could bungee-jump, raft down The Muncher, zoom through the mist of Victoria Falls in a microlight. But no. My husband Sam and I were going to have tea and scones with our best mate Oli on Livingstone Island, a lozenge-shaped stretch of land in the middle of the Zambezi that stretches out to the very rim of the waterfall. Quite why we had to wear our swimsuits, I had no idea, but I decided not to quibble.

We zoomed over to the island in a speed boat, but before I could even get a whiff of a cucumber sandwich, we were asked if we wanted to go for a swim. I laughed nervously. All around us, the water sped by like a freight train. And then it disappeared. Into nothing. The roar was deafening, the spray swirled through the air and made rainbows. We were literally metres away from the lip of one of the greatest waterfalls in the world, and someone was suggesting a dip.

Somehow I found myself stripping off to my swimsuit and picking my way across a ridiculous set of stepping stones closer and closer to the edge. Led by a couple of seriously cool guys in dreadlocks and baggy shorts, we paddled across a few channels until we perched on a rock and looked down on the world’s most extreme plunge pool.

It is literally RIGHT ON THE EDGE of Victoria Falls. Any closer and you would be 108m down in the gorge. A narrow lip of rock prevents you from being washed over the edge – or at least that’s the theory.

Sam, Oli and I crept down to the edge of the pool in tense silence and lowered ourselves into the water. Immediately, we were whisked us across the water towards the edge where we were pinned up against the rock by the force of the current. Only then does it really hit you where you are. And the only thing you can do is laugh.

Thank heaven for Africa’s somewhat relaxed attitude to health and safety. Tongabezi Lodge who owns the island boast a 100% safety record. Still, once we’d picked our way back to the tea table, I’m afraid I wanted something a bit stronger than Earl Grey.

www.tongabezi.com
Swimming on the edge of the falls is only possible in the dry season when the water is not high enough to whisk you over the edge.

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