Things to do in Zambia over the Festive Period
So, the festive is upon us and I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what to get up to. Whether you’re looking for a solo trip, a family trip, or a baecation, I hope this guide will have something for you. Often, we are overwhelmed with so much information on social media on specials etc, so I’ll break down a few of my favourite activities that I have seen so far!
TOP PICKS FOR RELAXATION IN AND AROUND LUSAKA:
Lusaka is really making a turnaround for the better, each day there are new restaurants popping up and I absolutely love it. Of course, not all of them are great but thankfully, the majority are. December for me is a time to sit back, relax and visit as many restaurants for boozy lunches and sundowners as possible.
1. The Other Side – One of my ultimate favourite spots in Lusaka in December for the atmosphere is The Other Side at Latitude 15 which is a lovely boutique hotel. Conveniently located on Leopards Lane in Kabulonga, the place oozes lots of chic and relaxing vibes. My favourite beverage there is either their margarita or mojito which are both executed to perfection! They also have a good selection of food, both healthy and otherwise. I love their salads so that always pairs perfectly with my cocktail or bottle of wine, depending on my mood. I must say their cocktails are very decently priced, but wine is on the expensive side so prepare a healthy budget for that.
2. Lilayi Lodge – If you’ve been to Lilayi Lodge before I’m sure you loved it, and if you haven’t, what on earth are you waiting for?! Located on the South Side of Lusaka in an area called Lilayi, this lodge which is set on a family owned game farm is stunning! Again – it is rustic, well organised and the views overlooking the game farm are to die for. Often, whilst dining you will find yourself watching warthogs or kudu meander around. How special!
Their menu is exquisite as is their wine list, so you could happily spend a day there working your way through their wine list with delicious food to pair it with. They also have a pool for those of you who desire a day poolside. Do note that they have beautiful chalets to stay in, so if you feel like an extended stay because you just can’t tear yourself away, then that option is for you.
Great news is that for December only, they are offering a holiday special of 10% off their deluxe chalets and family chalets. They are also hosting a New Year’s Eve Party. Call them on 0971002010 for your enquiries and bookings.
3. Harrys Grill at Sandys Creation – Another venue located on the South Side of Lusaka along Kafue road, this venue is also beautiful and is nestled around beautiful green trees and a tranquil environment. They have a chilled wine cellar to ensure your beverages are chilled to perfection as well as a decent cocktail list too. Further, they have a wide selection on offer on their food menu although it is very pricey, so make sure you have enough kwachas on you. Perfect for chilling outside by their pool area, smoking a shisha or having a dip with friends and family.
Right next to it is Sandy’s creation Resort which is very tranquil and relaxing so for an extended visit, they have accommodation options as well. Call them on 0211847965 for reservations.
4. Chaminuka Lodge and Nature Reserve – This reserve is located near the airport and from the centre of Lusaka will take you about 45mins to an hour to get there. They have recently revamped the road which makes the travel much easier and bearable. Set on a huge game farm this place is a beautiful escape outside of Lusaka, it literally feels like you’re in a different town and the feel takes all your stresses away. Chaminuka offers several activities; game drive around the estate to look at the various animals – these include elephants, giraffes, buffalo, and kudu to name a few.
In addition, you can embark on a delicious cheese and wine tour to sample their locally made cheese on the game farm. That is a real treat for cheese lovers! They also offer fishing and boat tours on their lake to see birdlife which is abundant in the area. You can also do a cheetah interaction for an extra cost, which by the way I do not support or endorse.
A day visit will set you back ZMK575, which includes activities and their delicious buffet lunch, which for me is usually the highlight of the visit. I also love their outdoor bar overlooking the swimming pool and reserve for sundowners.
In December they are having a New Year’s Eve bash with live music, fireworks display and a bottle of champagne for couples for ZMK2000 per person. A day visit will cost you ZMK675 or ZMK400 to join for lunch. Call them on 0973736865 for enquiries on more festive season offers or to book.
One of my favourite getaways from Lusaka primarily because it is a short drive away, approximately 3-4 depending on which lodge you stay at. Another perk is that Lower Zambezi offers canoe safaris which is great if you are after a bit of extra adventure. There’s an abundance of wildlife, birdlife and lots of fun to be had in this haven close to Lusaka. Great for even a one- or two-night getaway.
1. Gwabi River Lodge – As you’ve seen on my website about Lower Zambezi, I adore Gwabi River Lodge, go and read about it to see exactly why because I go in depth on that insert. I will say however, that I was there in December last year with family over my birthday and really had a great time. The highlight of the visit this time was the birthday braai I had Gwabi throw for me on one of the islands. You obviously pay for the service, last year was ZMK100 per person and they prepared delicious fresh meat, bread and salad for you. I just carried my own champagne and a party was had!
You’re in luck because this year they have a Green Season special from December – March 2020. If you stay for 3 nights, you’ll get your third night free, you’ll get 15% off activities, get a complimentary walk on the property and have access to drink specials! What a deal if you ask me!
Access these deals by getting in touch through their Facebook page or call them on 0966345962.
2. Winterthorn – I have never visited before, but the pictures I’ve seen online and social media look inviting enough! I love a good deal and Ntanda Ventures Ltd is offering the place for ZMK1000 per chalet (which sleeps 4) per night on a self-catering basis. I mean, if that isn’t a steal, I don’t know what is. Such a great deal for families or groups of friends. Be sure to enquire about whether they do have staff to help with cooking as well, because I know some self-catering lodges do offer that service at an extra charge.
Activities to do whilst there include boat cruises (to be booked in advance) where you can expect to hopefully see an abundance of bird and wildlife. Ntanda also notes that there are other lodges in proximity if you would prefer to dine there. For information and enquiries call Ntanda on 0966904376.
3. Charangwa River Lodge – This one is 30km from the Siavonga junction in the Southern Province, so not quite Lower Zambezi but close enough! Another place I haven’t visited but is on my bucket list of places to visit. I’ve always stayed at Gwabi so I would like to diversify the lodges I visit in the same location for a new experience in 2020. This is another family friendly but luxury lodge on the banks of the river. I love the look of the rooms, and like the other lodges in Lower Zambezi, they offer boat rides, fishing, canoe safaris, water bikes to mention a few.
Ntanda Adventures Ltd are running a 2 nights package from $280 per person sharing which includes all meals, 2 sunset cruises and vehicle escort from Lusitu to the lodge. They hire fishing boats out for the day at $100 for half day and $150 for a full day fuel and registered river guide inclusive. Call 0966904376 to book.
Home of the mighty Victoria Falls and offering many activities for both the relaxed and adventurous traveller, this is one place you do not want to miss out on!
1. David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa – A lodge that I have visited a few times and absolutely love. It is super chic with an inviting vibe from the moment you set foot at the reception and you are offered a welcome drink. It is perfect for kicking back and unwinding from the stresses of daily life. Perfectly located overlooking the Zambezi river with an infinity pool to boot! We live in the days of social media so imagine the pictures you can take! I am also a huge fan of their spa which has a relaxing atmosphere and great treatments.
Ntanda Ventures Ltd is offering 3nights for $571pps from Lusaka and $665pps from Ndola respectively and this package includes your accommodation, return flights, daily breakfast (which may I add is to die for), x2 dinners, x1 sunset cruise, return airport transfers in Livingstone and a complimentary shuffle to town and Vic Falls. Call 0966904376 to book.
2. Tongabezi – I have never been here to stay but the pictures do the place absolute justice and it is high up on my to do list of Zambian travel! And thankfully there is a resident’s rate special for Zambians until the end of December. I am extremely gutted I am missing out on it this year but hopefully they’ll have more specials next year for us to enjoy!
For the price of ZMK8800pp you get two night’s accommodation in a river cottage, return flights to Livingstone from Lusaka on Proflight (taxes exclusive), all meals and drinks excluding premium brands, a sunrise and sunset boat ride on the Zambezi river, lunch on a local island with guided walk, fishing with equipment included and a sampan floating dinner experience! To fit all of that into two days is quite the feat but anything is possible! Call 021 332 7450 for more information and to book.
3. Islands of Siankaba – Another location high up on my to do list in Livingstone for the ultimate luxury experience. Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Livingstone town, I think this is the perfect place to relax if you want to get away from it all and just be at one with nature. That is what I would do! It is a small property with limited rooms which adds to the exclusivity of the place and is nicely located on the riverfront with views to die for from all angles.
Muddy Paws Travel are running a promotion for the lodge for Zambian residents until the end of December. You stay for 3 nights and only pay for 2 which means you will pay ZMK4400 per person sharing. The rate includes accommodation, all meals, sunset cruises, guided walks and spa treatments.
For more information and booking enquiries contact Muddy Paws Travels on firstname.lastname@example.org or through their social media pages.
SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK:
If you’ve been to my website before then you’d know that South Luangwa national park is my favourite park in Zambia, and it boils down to the number of varied animals you get to see in a short space of time. South Luangwa is also home of the walking safari which allows you to get up and close with plants, insects and birdlife all under the watchful eye of a tour guide and armed guard.
Thornicroft Lodge has a special offer valid from 31st December – 2nd January 2020. Price is $811pps from Lusaka and $893pps from Ndola respectively. This package includes 3 night’s accommodation, all meals, return airport transfers, welcome arrival fruit cocktails, 4 games drives including snacks, dance performance, complimentary toilet bag with organic products and a complimentary Ntanda ventures cap. Call 0966904376 to book.
For travellers who are up for a bit of road adventure over their festive break, then a drive down to beautiful Lake Tanganyika is for you! I kid you not when I say this is the most beautiful area I’ve visited in Zambia to date. As soon as you reach Mpulungu bay in the far North of the country, you’re immediately taken aback, and mind blown by the area’s beauty. Imagine having a full beach break in Zambia on the shores of Lake Tanganyika over festive period, not much else can beat that!
In my Lake Tanganyika blogpost, I shared all the activities one can do there including kayaking, relaxing beachfront with a cold beer, hiking Kalambo Falls to mention a few. I also share my experience of Isanga Bay Lodge which was exquisite!
Isanga Bay Lodge is a tranquil and relaxing spot in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal unless you go to a particular spot on the property. Trust me when I say you’ll forget your phone even exists (apart from to take beautiful photos of course) because you’ll be enjoying the scenery from all angles!
To get to Isanga Bay from Lusaka will take you approximately 11-12hours, but the great thing is that you can break it up with a few spots of tourist importance along the Northern circuit of Zambia, which Isanga Bay can organise for you as part of a package. Areas of interest along the way are Mutinondo Wilderness after Mkushi, Kapisha Hot Springs near Mpika and Thorn Tree Guest House in Kasama. I would recommend breaking up the trip and stopping somewhere overnight. We chose a stop in Kasama along the way and did not regret it.
The lodge offers varying types of accommodation. We stayed in a beachside chalet which I recommend and that will set you back $85pn which I think is extremely fair for what you get. They offer standard rooms and family rooms. In addition, they offer camping which is very reasonably priced. Do also note that they will charge you for the roundtrip boat transfer from Mpulungu (which is where you leave you cars in a secure carpark) and get to Isanga Bay lodge.
For more information on packages etc and to book call them on 0966646991.