Livingstone Island & Angels’ Armchair: One of the Scariest Things I have Ever Done!

One of the most adventurous activities at Victoria Falls is swimming in the Devil’s Pool – a natural infinity pool right on the edge of Victoria Falls!  When the water levels are too high, which is pretty often, Devil’s Pool is closed due to safety concerns.  But have no fear, Angels’ Armchair is open for business!  Angels’ Armchair is a similar pool also right on the edge of the Falls, very close to Livingstone Island.  Just a tiny rope separating you from the 354 foot drop off…  If you click on the pictures below to enlarge them (pictures taken from the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls), you can see people in Angel’s Armchair on the left side of the screen.  We took these pictures the day before we were sitting in Angels’ Armchair.  I called them crazy…

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Now I don’t really like heights nor am I much of a risk taker (and Dan even less so), so you’re probably wondering how I got myself into this…  Well, I really wanted to see Livingstone Island, and the tour to Livingstone Island automatically comes with a visit to either Devil’s Pool or Angels’ Armchair.  Livingstone Island is an actual island right on the edge of the Falls.  There it is – the island right on the edge!  This picture was taken from our helicopter tour!

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Livingstone Island is the island that Dr. Livingstone came upon when he glimpsed Victoria Falls in 1855!  It can only be accessed from the Zambia side of the Falls and is actually a private island run by Tongabezi Tours.  Tongabezi Tours operates its tours out of the Royal Livingstone Hotel, but you can book the tour through any hotel or hostel.  The tour to Livingstone Island includes a meal, a walk and history lesson around the Falls – including a (practically mandatory) stop at either Devil’s Pool or Angels’ Armchair, depending on season.  There are 3 options in taking the tour, breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.  We did the breakfast tour since it fit best with our time-frame.  Breakfast is also the cheapest option – score!

To start the tour, you meet at the Royal Livingstone’s deck and take a small boat out to Livingstone Island.  You can see the island and mist from Victoria Falls roaring behind it!  I thought this was a bit scary.  Little did I know what I was in for…

275 666 Once on the island, we were greeted with a non-alcoholic drink and walked by a guide to a seating area very close to the Falls! 670 671 674

Upon reaching the table, we were immediately told to change into our bathing suits for a walk on around the Falls.  Note – wear your bathing suit under your clothes!  There is only one bathroom on the island – the famous “Loo with a View”, overlooking the Falls! Sadly I did not take a picture!  In any case, you don’t want to wait in line.

After changing, we were taken by our guide RIGHT TO THE EDGE OF THE FALLS.  WHAT?!  Yes, it was terrifying.  We were so close.  When I signed up for the tour, I thought this was optional…but no!  The guide insisted that we got super close for pictures…  We were terrified, but it was amazing at the same time!!

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After viewing one side, we were taken to a small pool, not as close to the edge, where we could sit/swim around.  That was nice.  I felt remotely safe.  Except for the fact that hippos and crocodiles frequent the area…  Oh well, I figured that they wouldn’t be stupid enough to get this close to the Falls.

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Then, we moved from there to Angels’ Armchair… For background, I knew that Devil’s Pool was closed when we went, and I was thrilled about that!  So I was a little taken aback when we walked even closer to the Falls.  Angels’ Armchair is this small pool RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF THE FALLS.  Literally, a rope separates you from the Falls.  We entered the pool for a few minutes and our very brave guide walked around and took pictures and videos.

360 373 The water was not as calm as I would have liked….380 Here is a picture of the group after us in the Angels’ Armchair! 385

The experience was really cool!  But I was so scared!!  Sorry for the terrible pictures!  I am pretty sure I was crying in a number of them!

After the Angels’ Armchair, we were (finally) taken back to island to eat breakfast.  We were served the most delicious scones, eggs benedict, juice and coffee.  This was one of the best meals I had on the entire trip!!

388 387 All in all, this is one of the most amazing things I have ever done!  The experience was thrilling, but terrifying at the same time!  I am not sure I would have done it knowing what I was in for, but after the fact, I am so glad that I did it.  Would I do it again?  Hell no!

Steal Our Trip

Tongabezi Tours – This is the website.  We made reservations easily through our hostel! The tour is kind of pricey, costing between $95 and $155 depending on the time of day you visit.  Even though it was pricey, I thought it was totally worth the money and as safe as it could have been!

If you are really adventurous (read: dumb), it is rumored that you can hire a local guide to walk you out to Devil’s Pool or the Angels’ Armchair for substantially less than the official tour.  Give how unsafe I felt on the tour, I would NOT recommend this option!

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4 thoughts on “Livingstone Island & Angels’ Armchair: One of the Scariest Things I have Ever Done!

  1. […] In contrast to Victoria Falls, we stayed in the Fawlty Towers Hostel in Livingstone!  The hostel cost about $35 US per person a night.  It was a nice hostel, reminiscent of a 1970s road-side motel.  We had our own room with private bath.  I contend this was the most comfortable bed on the trip!  The hostel also had a common area with a bar and a pool.  People used both, but the scene shut down pretty early.  There were a variety of ages staying here from 18 – 70.  Finally, there was a helpful tour desk that offered bookings on all of the popular tours, including helicopter tours of Victoria Falls, day safaris and tours to Livingstone Island and Angels’ Armchair! […]

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