Staying at a lodge in Zambia is definitely a highlight when visiting this beautiful country. However, not everyone has the time, or the inclination, to head deep into nature to get to the ubiquitous remote lodges. If you’re one such person, what would you say if I told you that not all is lost? That there is a lodge close to the capital city of Lusaka? Vacation saved, right? Or not saved but enhanced at least. Read on to find out more about Lilayi Lodge!
Lilayi Lodge is definitely lovely. Located about half an hour outside of Lusaka centre, the lodge sits on a private game park, a little oasis of luxury and nature. Each room is a stand-alone chalet, some even big enough to hold one family. The nicely appointed chalets are open plan design with huge en-suite bathrooms. My favourite touch were the glass folding doors that open out on to a small wooden deck area – a perfect place to have your morning tea as you watch wildlife wander the grounds. The lodge also has a restaurant – you can even order room service and enjoy a meal on that deck of yours!
Game Drive and Sunset Drive
Lilayi Lodge sits in a grassland game park; more than 25 species of animals and over 300 bird species live here, none of them you have to worry about eating you. I was there in April which had its pros and cons – a pro was that I had a game drive all to myself. The downside was that this time of year was tall grass season so it made animal viewing very difficult. I did see giraffe and a few deer-like creatures. Not a lot but I really enjoyed being out in the beautiful grasslands, just me, the driver-guide, and our safari jeep.
Another option for game drives is a sunset drive. Again, tall grass season meant we didn’t see any animals. But seeing the grasslands in the “golden hour” light was phenomenal as was witnessing a gorgeous sunset. At one point, we even stopped for a snack and an alcoholic beverage, standing around in the grass. This is when you really know that nothing in this park will eat you!
Lilayi Lodge boasts an extensive wine menu and there is no better way to sample their offerings than by signing up for their wine tasting experience with food pairings. I will say, though, there is an imbalance between the amount of wine served (a lot) and food served (little – to the point where we ordered a meal after the tasting). That being said, though, it was a good experience and I do recommend considering it if you’re staying at the lodge.
Since Lilayi Lodge sits in a private game park that includes no bitey animals, it has several walking trails of various distances. The landscape was truly lovely when I went for an early morning walk by myself. I saw deer-like creatures poking their heads up over the tall grass (see photo #3), guinea fowl birds scurrying around, and a very skittish warthog.
Not actually part of Lilayi Lodge, I still include this as it is right at the entrance to the lodge’s grounds. Also….elephants! The Lilayi Elephant Nursery looks after young orphan elephants. Here you can watch them be bottle-fed, romp around the grounds, and splash the mud puddle to their hearts’ content. Definitely time well spent, watching these cute babies.