There is a certain allure to the notion of traveling in Africa with many associating Africa with just safaris, but there is more to this continent than just exploring national parks in search of the big five. While a safari was certainly on our itinerary, we were going to be exploring the capital’s hot spots first before the big 5. To really experience a destination you have to meet the locals, check out their hangouts and that was the main plan for the first few days in the country. Thats exactly what I had in mind for my travel partner.
Arriving right in the middle of the hot Zambian summer(and month of independence day celebrations – hence the flags) we were immediately welcomed with a cool breeze from the whispers of water flowing from the fountains as we stepped out of the car onto the entrance of Intercontinental. I planned a 17-day trip around Southern Africa which would cover Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia and involving several modes of transportation. This was also going to be the first time my boyfriend was visiting my home country as the first part of this year was dedicated to introducing me to his home country in Israel, which we explored in much of April. With our journey through southern African starting in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital I opted to book us into Intercontinental Hotel.
For me Intercontinental equals an understated luxury, comfort and excellent service. First opened in Brazil in 1946 by Panama Airways and quickly launched an international brand spanning the globe with an impressive guest list such as Louis Armstrong to Princess Grace. As we entered the light-filled lobby and beautifully decorated with a mix of African and European decor we were met with drinks at check-in. What better way to welcome guest in this hot and dry season. We planned on doing a round trip through southern Africa and returning to Zambia before heading back to London, so the hotel was going to be our base for the round trip. It’s located close enough to the Manda Hill and Arcades shopping malls if you are in need of a little retail therapy and want to venture out for food outside the comforts of the hotel’s 2 restaurants, cafe and bars. The main airport is also not to far, which came in handy when we opted for a local Flight to Livingstone to check out the Victoria Falls, instead of the coach or self-drive(four hours drive vs one hour flight). The hotel staff were always attentive and on hand in arranging transportation and anything else to we needed to make our stay comfortable – when my brothers were not available to chauffeur us around town. During the day we escaped the confines of air conditioning and ventured out into some 30 plus degrees Celsius in order introducing my boyfriend to the art of haggling in true African style at Kabwata Cultural Village(post to come), as well as visiting some of the schools I went to as a kid, meeting some of my extended family who still live in the capital before heading into the malls to cool off at the countless cafes on offer.
The idea of ticking off several must sees and do’s on a travel wish list is what I do best as I love the planning and coordination that comes with planning such an adventure, introducing the mister to the city and immersing him in Lusaka’s capital pleasures that more accessible from a centrally located hotel. Look out for a post on a the visit to Kabwata Cultural Village and the sunset cruise on Kafue River which is close enough to do as a day trip. With a packed itinerary and the sheer convenience of being able to lounge by the poolside and plan the remaining of our African adventure one could certainly get used to this!…
This is a first of many posts to come on the exploration of Southern Africa. Below are some of the shots from our stay at Intercontinental Hotel. For a full list of hotels and budget options in Lusaka, check out this list of hotels in the capital.