Valentine’s Day is around the corner, are you all excited?! Personally, my husband and I do not celebrate the day because we don’t want to limit our romantic efforts to one day, but everyone has to do what makes them happy! And because I am not a party pooper, I am here to help with a list of ideas and places to visit for the day or more realistically the weekend as Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year! Road trip whoop whoop!
Do note that this list is particularly for people wanting to get away from what will inevitably be packed restaurants in Lusaka on 14th Feb.
KWISOKO GAME RANCH:
This game ranch is located 20km outside of Lusaka on Chifwema road off Leopards Hill Road. For the ultimate romantic weekend or day out, I think this is a very special place. I like that the style of accommodation is tented chalets which feels very rustic and has the feel of you being very far from Lusaka despite its close proximity to the capital!
Imagine sitting outside your elevated tented chalet and watching the stars with your special person with a nice bottle of wine. And as if that can’t get any better, waking up to see the beautiful sun rising overlooking their miombo woodlands. I honestly could not think of anything more perfect for celebrating your season of love!
The ranch offers many different activities from cycling safari to horse riding safari which I think is very cool. If you are an adventurous and athletic couple, this would be right up your street. On safari you’ll see game such as giraffe, buffalo, sable, eland, waterbuck…..the list is honestly endless!
Tented chalets will set you back $300 per night according to their website. For bookings and all the safari options, including their pricing, follow this link: http://kwisokogameranch.com/bookings/
CHITA LODGE KAFUE:
I am such a fan of Kafue for many reasons; its close proximity to Lusaka is a huge allure as well as it being so relaxed and therapeutic when you are out on the river. I would recommend a weekend trip staying at Chita Lodge in Kafue, with a Saturday boat cruise and drinks on the river then coming back to relax poolside at the lodge. You can either go on the Lady Betty or do like I did a few years ago, and show up at the river and get on a boat cruise by the harbour! Sundowners on the river is always a win!
I was last at Chita Lodge for lunch on my way back from Siavonga a couple of months ago, and I was very impressed. Their food menu is simple but well executed, and the space is green with access to viewing exotic birds and game. Their rooms are also basic but clean but if you don’t mind that, then this place is a winner!
If you are a nature lover and want to treat your loved one to something of this nature, then check out Chita Lodge for sure! Prices for a standard room for 2nights will be approximately ZMK1,500 for 2 adults.
For more information and booking visit the link below. They have a provision for booking online which is fantastic and saves time: https://chitalodgesandresorts.reserveport.com/
Conveniently located about 45mins out of Lusaka central is this gorgeous and rustic lodge. It is one of my favourite lodges and restaurants in Lusaka province, and I have spent many a weekend eating my way through their delicious food and wine menu.
From the moment you enter their gate, you could be lucky to see game walking in this private game reserve, and things only get better once you arrive at their reception area and see the pool overlooking the lush gardens.
If you are into rustic chic with fantastic food, game viewing and a beautiful pool then this is the perfect day trip or weekend trip for you. Rooms cost approximately ZMW1950 per night for the stunning chalets. Food prices vary from about ZMK140-ZMK300. The prices are well worth it because the chefs put a lot of effort and love into their food and it shows.
Lilayi lodge is also home to the Lilayi Elephant Sanctuary so be sure to go and see the baby Ellies who are being so lovingly looked after and cared for by sweet heroes. You will be able to book that through the reception at the Lodge.
For more information and booking, visit them here: https://www.lilayi.com/lodge I would advise calling them for local rates too. From what I have seen online their rates are for international guests booking.
LE ELEMENTOS HOTEL:
How about a staycation at one of Lusaka’s coolest boutique hotels?! Think dinner on their amazing outside decking area with delicious wine! I am happy to hear that their food has improved since I last ate there, according to reputable foodie-friends of mine. Their menu isn’t the most extensive in terms of selection, but I almost think it is better to keep it small and execute what you do have perfectly. And the only way is up!
Food aside, their rooms are beautiful and would be incredibly romantic over Valentine’s Day. They have different themes, so when booking be sure to ask for the different themes and take it from there!
Follow this link for booking and more information to tantalize you: http://leelementos.com/
My list would not be complete without adding Afrigonia on to it. To say that I love this restaurant would be a HUGE understatement! I have basically eaten everything off their menu and enjoyed myself thoroughly each time!
I am pretty sure it will be packed on Valentines Day, but if you don’t mind the crowds then it is 100% recommended. They have a wide array of dishes from fresh seafood, to steak to lamb to duck! Yummy! Something for absolutely everyone. Another great thing is that they allow corkage so if you want to bring in your fancy wine and champagne you can! It is located in Woodlands, Lusaka.
THE ROYAL DIL:
One of the most beautiful looking Indian restaurants at Acacia Park in Lusaka, and thankfully the food on their menu matches up to the stunning interiors of the restaurant!
I would highly recommend this if you do want to stay local and have exquisite food in a stunning space, with your choice of wine off their extensive wine list. Yes, the constant theme throughout all my posts will be wine haha! I am a sucker for a delicious bottle of good wine washed down with incredible food.
Some of my favourites off their menu are veggie samosas and cheese balls to start (the cheese balls are INSANE), and for my main meal I love their Kadai chicken with mixed egg & veggie rice and a garlic butter naan bread. They also do an incredible chicken biriyani. Another perk with the Royal Dil is their varied vegetarian menu which is also delish. I am a particular fan of their dhals. Ask your waiter for the Chefs recommendation if you aren’t sure what to order because the options are plenty!
NIPPON MAI SUSHI:
If you love Sushi and want an authentic experience away from the hustle, bustle and hype then this is for you! Located in ‘The Village’ off Leopards Hill road in Lusaka, it would be a cool dining and cultural experience. I am heading there to try out their food next week, but from the reviews I know that their sushi is so yummy! I’m also more inclined to get away from the crowds that will inevitably be at most Lusaka eateries that day!
Their sushi kitchen is open from Thursdays to Sundays, while they serve the rest of their menu the rest of the week.
You cannot think Valentines without Siavonga coming to mind. This absolute gem of a location, which one could consider the Zambian version of the Italian Riviera is a true beauty! From lazing around poolside, to heading out on a boat cruise, this could be the perfect weekend getaway, especially if you reside in Lusaka because it is a quick 2-3hrs drive away.
If you wanted to do something as a group of friends, I would recommend the Galloping Waters House Boat. I have wanted to do it before but haven’t had the opportunity….yet! It was high up on my list of things to do locally in 2020. I just couldn’t think of anything better than being on Lake Kariba Inns on their gorgeous boat, with your friends and good food and booze! You can also have a private chef at an extra cost, so that none of your crew is worried about cooking and washing dishes after. Just total relaxation for everyone! Check out this website for more information: https://tryzambia.com/accommodations/galloping-waters
I love the Try Zambia website because you can check out all the accommodation options in Siavonga and book directly on their page.
My personal favourite spot in Siavonga is Lake Kariba Inns and this has been longstanding since I was a little girl, so I can vouch for them and their excellent crayfish, cocktails (not when I was a little girl – since adulthood hehe) and serene atmosphere!
FLOWERS & PERFUME!!!
Ok, so now that I am done with some of my recommendations of things to do and see in and around Lusaka, let us get onto flowers! There are a couple of brands that I absolutely LOVE! One of them is A Touch of Zin. Her flowers are absolutely stunning and varied. Another thing that I love is that she is affordable. So many of the companies offering floral gifts are out of this world expensive and it doesn’t make sense to me. So, go with A Touch of Zin if you want an exquisite flower arrangement that will truly embody your loved one’s personality with a lot of class. To make arrangements WhatsApp +260950548057.
My second option for beautiful flower arrangements is Just Bloom. They really do have an incredible selection of blooms, including imported flowers! I was first introduced to them via their Instagram page when I had to buy one of my besties a beautiful bunch of flowers. Their selection suits my personality perfectly because it is rustic but still effortlessly stunning! You will not regret visiting their page. To make arrangements call +260950620895 or visit them on 21 Omelo Mumba Road, Rhodespark, Lusaka.
I would reiterate though that make your bookings by beginning of next week to ensure that you aren’t too late when it comes to ordering flowers! It is inevitable that they will be overwhelmed and may not be able to meet your orders if you order the day before, duh!
Ok, and maybe I am biased, but I used to work as admin manager at Colorcafe – Eastpark Mall, and they really are the best in the perfume game! I would recommend them a thousand times over for not only a brilliant selection of perfumes, but also customer service. One of the other brilliant added value services you get there is having your perfume for your loved one being gift wrapped for you. I cannot wrap to save my life (even after working retail for 2 years haha), so such services are always much appreciated! Find their stores at both Eastpark Mall and Levy Junction in Lusaka.
So those are a few of my picks of things do, see, eat and buy for your loved ones! I hope this will be of some help to you. I would also recommend any of my readers to check out rwLusaka across all their social media pages. They have some cool dining options for Valentines Day across the country as well as other food options for the rest of the year too!
Another great page to follow on Facebook is Ntanda Adventures. Check them out if you are looking to take your loved ones further afield to South Luangwa. They have some Valentine’s specials which may be of interest to you lovely people!
Disclaimer – All images apart from my own taken from respective social media pages of businesses included in this post.