In the month of may we managed to squeeze in a little mini get-away to Samfya beach that lay on the shores of lake Bangweulu. I’ve got to admit, it was a rather long drive from Kabwe for a two nights stay, but that was all we had time for. As we arrived at night, waking up to see the sunrise over the horizon seemed extra special. Our kids were so excited and amazed and for me, born and raised on an island, it brought a certain feeling that’s hard to describe. You feel like you’ve left Zambia, this landlocked country, and landed by the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Most of our time was spent time just on the sandy beach, we had to be careful though as there was lots of litter, including broken beer bottles in the sand. As it was very windy we didn’t go on a boat tour, that’ll be for another time. Instead the kids enjoyed playing in the waves and sand.
As accommodation options are few and we were not organized for camping we ended up booking in at Chita lodge. It lay on a hill with a beautiful view over the lake. Unfortunately I had read a few negative reviews about Chita lodge and some points are still true, like that you have to wait over an hour for your food and some maintenance is needed despite the fact that it’s fairly new. The staff was however very friendly and it was a good place overall. My children enjoyed the pool and playground area.
Samfya is well worth a visit, there are some new lodges coming up and there’s camping sites offering a cheaper alternative. Just remember that Samfya town has limited options for shopping, think market and little market shops.
This trip really reminded us that there is so much to see and so many remarkable places to visit in Zambia.
As new years eve was closing in I felt strongly that all I wanted was to get as far away from any celebrations I could. So I pushed for the family to pack up and go camping, but not at any familiar camp, I wanted to go where no one goes. Have you ever heard of a place called “Wonder Gorge”? It’s way off the beaten track. A place for the adventurous. A place you reach by driving down roads less traveled. From Kabwe we drove out on the road passing Mita Hills dam, then turned down on to a road that takes you to the old Lunsemfwya power station (not the one by Mulungushi dam), crossing the Lunsemfwya river. Judging by the dilapidated road it was obvious that there hadn’t been much traffic there lately . I was glad I was in the passenger seat! After crossing the river the road took us through rural village area until there was no more huts and fields, just bush. With the help of Google maps and a few directions from people (the last 3 hours we did not see a soul) we followed a winding bush road until it abruptly ended. We were now on top of a hill (I’d call it a mountain!) overlooking the point where the Mkushi river joins the Lunsemfwya down in a deep gorge. We set camp and started the challenge of making up a fire, not easy as everything was wet. Thankfully we had a gas cooker with us. All you could hear was the water rushing through the gorge, only sounds of nature, no mobile network, no nothing, just what I had craved for!
We are by no means seasoned campers. Camping usually means ablution block with flushing toilets, hot showers and a fire place. This was raw. Need to got? Pick a spot with a view and make sure to cover it up! Bath? Sorry. We could have written a long list of items that we found we needed but never packed. But what it came down to was water. We had hoped that somehow we would make our way down to the rivers edge, but without someone knowledgeable of the area there was no way, so we were now washing and cooking with our drinking water. Eventually it was the main reason we abandoned camp the following day.
As we set off there was no specific plan, maybe we’d find a different spot closer to the water. But after a few detours and long steep walks we set off for Mulungushi Boat club. A place we are very familiar with but hadn’t visited in a long time. Here my youngest son was very relieved to find a toilet… The other kids had adapted more easy! As it was now new years eve we put a bunch of T-bones on the braii (bbq) and that was pretty much our dinner. We jumped in to our tent by 21 hours and woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the water. Such a wonderful start to the new year.
Flying from Stockholm to Lusaka the connection is rather rubbish so we thought, instead if hanging around in an airport, lets make it a holiday. We planned a four nights stay and to save money booked through Airbnb. We ended up in a sleek modern flat in The Cayan Tower in the Dubai Marina, with a breath taking view from the 32nd floor and a swimming pool on 6th (+30C in the water!). We must have all looked like little kids in a candy store as we were so amazed by everything from the skyscrapers, to the super cars in the streets and the efficiency and cleanliness of the city. Dubai is hot, very hot. This time of the year you should simply not be here. At 06 in the morning the temp was already on 30 and with a high humidity the air was thick and ‘heavy’. However, I doubt there is any other place this hot that is this prepared to deal with the heat. Wherever you go is well air conditioned, you can walk through little connected malls and only be outside between buildings. I had pre-booked tickets for the Dubai Aquarium and The Burj Khalifa which are both accessed from Dubai Mall. The mall itself was overwhelming enough, especially with four kids, but the aquarium was what the kids really enjoyed. On my daughters birthday she got to ride a camel which totally felt like a tourist trap as we were dragged around the dessert camp while the guide took about a trillion photos of us on my phone. In the end it was just fun for the kids and it was just a small part of our dune bashing package. We had started the day cruising over the dunes in a 4×4 land cruiser. Our guide was actually the first local emirate that we met as only about 15% of Dubai’s population are locals and the rest migrant workers and expats. He perfectly controlled the car at a high speed over the dunes with one hand on the steering wheel and one foot resting on the seat…! All in all we had three fantastic days, only problem was trying to control four kids in a small flat, kids that are used to unlimited space, but in the end they didn’t kill each other and we all returned home with memories to keep.
It was six years ago we all traveled to Gotland, Sweden (and back then my youngest wasn’t even born so you could say this was the first trip with the whole family), well for my husband anyway, as I’ve been lucky enough to travel a few more times. The reason there could be no excuse to leave anyone behind was my brothers wedding (will share that in another post) and as with all weddings it brings everyone together in the same place. Sweden was experiencing its worst drought in 70 years and while farmers were crying the sunbathers enjoyed. We had many sunny days at the beach and as it is an island we could, as we always do, pick a different spot every time. We visited at least about five different beaches and they are all very near my parents home. At any given time we were at least 10-12 people under their roof so it was quite intense and nobody took a long shower with the water shortage situation! As always the days flew by and in the last week we were happy to receive some rain and thunder. Our children got to practice a bit of Swedish, enjoy the long days (“why must we go to bed already, it’s still bright outside!?”), hang with grandparents, aunt and uncles, make new friends and eat lots and lots of ice cream. They did however get a bit tired of each other towards the end. Next time we travel they want to see snow…!