Zambia has so much beauty and so many undiscovered tourism attractions. One such beauty is the Lower Zambezi, which happens to be among the most preferred tourist destinations in Zambia.
When it comes to Safari and fishing, you cannot go wrong with this part of the country.
We had been planning this trip for some time, so when the day finally came, we were filled with different emotions from excitement to anxiety.
The group comprised eight friends, most of whom hardly knew each other.
Our trip was taking us to the Lower Zambezi, in Chieftainess Chiawa’s area, about two hours drive from Lusaka.
For those of us driving from the Copperbelt, it was a daunting five hours on the road but the excitement of going into the unknown seemed to have over-shadowed the effects of the long road trip.
We started off from Ndola about 05:00hrs in the morning as we had to be in Lusaka by 09:00hrs to link up with our hosts who were to drive us down to our final destination.
Having worked late the previous day, we basically had a few hrs of rest before embarking on the Copperbelt-Lusaka drive.
Four of us were from the Copperbelt, the other four where based in Lusaka.
We got to Lusaka around 09:00 hours and found the rest of the team including our transfer bus from the place where we would call home for the next two nights waiting for us.
The whole trip was like it was made in heaven as everything just fell in place.
Whether that could be attributed to good planning on the part of the organisers or sheer luck, that weekend was going to be ours to enjoy and nothing was going to stop that.
The whole group connected from the time we met, one might think we had known each other for a long time.
Our meeting place was Manda Hill and we took advantage of the fact that our bus transfer from the lodge was not taking any other transfers that day, so they were flexible enough to give us more time to do some last minute shopping for the trip.
The excitement of our journey started from the moment we got onto the bus, everyone bringing in this positive energy and looking forward to nothing else but fun.
We were all determined to have great fun.
We left Lusaka around 11hrs and had a beautiful drive down through Kafue and Chirundu right up to the pontoon in Chieftainess Chiawas area.
All through out that drive, we experienced the beautiful terrain that the country has to offer.
Sometimes you get lost and forget that you are in the same country you call Zambia.
Experiencing this did not cost us any ngwee what so ever.
Just a mere drive was exciting and by far more relaxing than just sleeping at home over a weekend.
Crossing the pontoon was an experience on its own.
We had to get off the bus while on the pontoon, seeing the river that was going to be a big part of our holiday weekend,
It was an awesome ride and we all knew that was our weekend.
Our final destination was a place called Kiambi Lodge, which is in the lower Zambezi.
This is a place that we just needed for that weekend.
On first sight, we were impressed with what we saw and we had no regrets getting into this arrangement.
Having already had a first hand experience of their hospitality with the people that picked us up from Lusaka, getting to the place itself made us understand why we had made the right choice. We were warmly welcomed by the staff at the lodge; they showed us our cottage and made us feel really at home.
It turned out that the lodge had a deliberate policy on encouraging local tourism.
It was not a full house on that particular weekend but had several groups of Zambians that had come on a self-catering basis just like us.
It was very encouraging to know that more locals were starting to appreciate taking holidays and the benefits that come with it.
Our first day at the lodge was nice, we played a game in the afternoon and then had a braai in the evening.
We slept very late, chatting and laughing most of the night, basically getting to know one another and forgetting about the stress and noise we had left behind. It felt so good being far from home.
The memorable thing about that night were the millions of stars we saw that we had not seen in ages, it was so beautiful.
On our second day, we had breakfast, did a tour of the lodge, went by the swimming pool and had fun with the water.
We were scheduled to do a sunset cruise at 4pm and since we cooked our lunch late, we had to carry the food on the cruise.
We went on one of the sandbanks and there were some hippos and crocodiles a meter away.
The lodge had given us a cruise guide who was very experienced and he assured us that they would not attack us in any way.
On the sandbank, we saw different footprints of baby crocodiles and hippos.
The sunset cruise must have been the best part of the whole holiday experience; it was so relaxing and just being in the middle of this gigantic river surrounded by hippos, crocodiles and different bird species, not forgetting a high speeding boat was breath taking.
We returned to the lodge after 6pm and everyone enjoyed the cruise. We mingled with some of the guests at the lodge. It turned out that some of them had come from the Copperbelt as well. Obviously it had foreigners as well from South Africa camping there but a good number were locals.
We had late supper, relaxed in our cottage a bit and then later went to the bar area where we had a few drinks.
The guys played some pool and later on scrabble which was hilarious, mostly because some tried to sneak in a few fake words which could not be admitted.
The day ended around 12pm with hot showers before sleeping.
The third day was a day of getting back home.
We woke up late as a result of the previous day’s activities, so we had to rush through the morning chores.
The bus to take us back to Lusaka had already come to our cottage by 8:30hrs.
We left the Lodge around 10:00 am and got to Lusaka around 1pm.
For those of us proceeding to the Copperbelt, we only started off at 3pm and did a stopover in Chisamba, trying to get something to eat from Fringilla, which is another place that spiced up our end of a beautiful holiday weekend.
We got to Ndola around 20:00 hours.
This was a great trip and we would like to thank all our friends who responded within a short space of time and made this all possible.
We would urge everyone especially local Zambians to take time to see and find out what is out there.
With proper planning and engaging in group outings, most of these holidays are and can be affordable.
Most Lodges are now looking at encouraging local Zambians to visit their places and group bookings are particularly encouraged. Let’s take our families, friends and business associates on some of these outings.
Zambia is a beautiful place with a lot of great stuff to see and experience.
Let us explore our country, learn and enjoy it before we go out to other countries to spend our hard earned money.
Domestic tourism is possible!
By; Timothy kaputo and Bwembya Chomba