“It must be magical,” I hear you say, “To be able to walk the footsteps of Dr. David Livingstone on a daily basis as a tour guide of Livingstone Island.” To stand at the highest point of the Victoria Falls day after day must be a real treat. Tongabezi Lodge can attest to this very thought.
They are the first and only operator to run tours to Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool. Each day, the lodge offers 5 trips to the island where visitors can learn about its history from ancient times to its World Heritage status.
Tourists travel from far-flung destinations to visit this wonder of the world. It is the bucket list destination. But what is the experience like for an insider who spends countless moments peering down over the edge of the falls, educating visitors across the globe about this unique spot? We asked seasoned guide, Felix Liyali, a few questions about being a Livingstone Island tour guide:
How long have you been a tour guide on the island and what skill sets does it entail?
I’ve been a guide since 2005. It was a great step in my life to be able to acquire this job and receive the right training and required skills necessary to do it perfectly. We do not compromise when it comes to safety considering the location of Livingstone Island and we always remain on high alert.
There’s never a dull moment! Every day is a different story because I deal with people from all walks of life excited to view the falls from this unique vantage point. I sometimes get to brush shoulders with the rich and famous by virtue of my job.
Can you tell us a unique fact about the island that not many people would know about?
Occasionally elephants cross the island and it usually occurs every year around the second week of August when the water levels are very low. This has remained a phenomenon which usually happens on precisely the 13ths of every August. I always wonder how they know…
What has been a favourite moment of yours so far?
A memory moment was back in 2005 when we hosted the descendents of David Livingstone. This was to commemorate 150 years of David Livingstone’s arrival on the island on the 16th of November in 1855.
Amongst the dignitaries was Chief Mukuni the 19th, who is also a descendant of Chief Mukuni, one of the chiefs met by David Livingstone when he came to Mosi -Oa Tunya, “The Smoke that Thunders.”
Last week I had the opportunity to meet the great, great, grandson of Dr. David Livingstone. Knowing that he was coming to visit, I greeted him with this famous quote, “Dr. Livingstone I presume.” This was an awfully exciting moment for me as a guide.
There you have it! Livingstone Island through the eyes of a gentleman who could walk the path with a blindfold on. Guides like Felix are the ones who bring the picturesque island to life with their captivating stories and plethora of fun facts and historical knowledge. It would only be a privilege to walk Livingstone Island in their daily footsteps.