Livingstone Island lies perched right on the very edge of Victoria Falls on the Zambian side. So it’s about as close as you get to the Victoria Falls, on the edge of the thundering mass of water.
Livingstone Island is the place from where Dr Livingstone first viewed ‘the Smoke That Thunders’. He was paddled in a dugout canoe through swift rapids towards the roar of the Falls. The Makololo paddlers skillfully landed him on ‘Goat Island’ (now Livingstone Island) right on the lip of the great chasm. A few steps through the small rainforest and then, on the 16th November 1855, he gazed upon one of the world’s most spectacular sights – ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ (The Smoke that Thunders). However he promptly renamed them after his Queen as the Victoria Falls.
The Livingstone Island Tour
For your excursion, you are picked up from the Royal Livingstone jetty. And a skilled boat skipper re-traces Livingstone’s approach with a thrilling 5-10 minute boat journey through the channels of the Zambezi River. On arrival, you are taken on a guided island tour learning about its long history. You have amazing photographic opportunities to take shots of the Victoria Falls from this extraordinary angle. And the very intrepid can even take a heart-stopping peek over the island’s edge to the churning mass below. Afterwards, you relax under the shade of the canopied dining area for refreshments. So depending on when you do the tour, this may be breakfast, lunch or afternoon ‘high tea’.
Seasonal Access to Livingstone Island
Access to this unique Island is seasonal and depends entirely on the water levels in the Zambezi River. All visits to the island are during the ‘low water’ season, which usually begins in mid July and goes through to the end of January. (High water visits are simply too dangerous.) Five visits are offered daily with a maximum of 16 people per visit. Three are in the morning, one at lunchtime and one in the afternoon. We especially recommend it from October to January as then you may be able to swim to Devil’s Pool. The morning tours tend to be a little more rushed. But this is the recommended time for the Devils Pool.
The Devil’s Pool
For a swimming experience unlike any other, you can even brave Devils Pool. This is the island’s very own bathing pool, which was formed amongst the rocks along the edge of the Falls. (This is only possible in extreme low water from late September to early January. And ideally during the morning tour.)
Please note that you need to be a strong swimmer if you are doing this early on in the season (ie around September-October time). At this time of year, the swim to the pool is not for the faint-hearted! Later on it is much easier. I did it in late October and didn’t find it scary. And I am not a particularly strong swimmer.
Some people have complained that it is a little bit of a ‘conveyor belt’ as so many people want to do the swim to Devil’s Pool. So that you don’t have much time in the rock pool itself. You only have about 5-10 minutes admiring this amazing view. Just be aware of this…
PLEASE NOTE: The price mentioned above is for the morning visit to the Livingstone Island. And it assumes you are staying on the Zambian side. But the lunchtime visit is quite a bit more expensive. We can also arrange a visit from the Zimbabwe side but this is more expensive.
If you would like to add a tour of Livingstone Island to your itinerary or dare to swim to the Devil’s Pool, please contact us for a quote. Ideally we like to combine it with Victoria Falls accommodation as well.