Well if there is anything those close to me know…is I enjoy a good view, a good drink…good company and good music. Basically IM A LIKER OF THINGS…BEAUTIFUL THINGS…THINGS IN GENERAL. At the beginning of the year, my good friend Tha and I came to the conclusion that we wanted to start a new tradition where we spend New Year’s outside the city or in a new one…just not in Harare where we live. The boys also figured it was a good idea and joined in our festive season getaway plans. While we love Harare and the bustle, it is the festive season which makes it the perfect time to enjoy some R & R away from our homes. So the mission began in April 2013, a mission to find the perfect destination for our New year’s Gateway. Like typical broke students and graduates funding our rather expensive cravings proved to be a little difficult. We the type of friends that want the fancy pool actually just a pool, an amazing view and perfect surroundings. The Jameson Vic Falls Carnival naturally was our first option for a New Year’s getaway. What more could one want more than the beautiful Zambezi as your playground, good music & partying to accompany it. Not forgetting the heavy influx of foreigners from or neighbouring countries and across the oceans too. While trying to find a perfect affordable place within our budget (truth be told…I really don’t think we had a real budget), we realized our new tradition was a dying dream before it even happened.
Fast forward a couple of months of false hopes and shattered Vic Falls dreams, a good friend from University that Tha and I share ,Chitalu also known as Chi invited us to her holiday home in Siavonga which is the Zambian town home to the lake Kariba shores. Cue in our mission music and budgets the couple of months seemed a lot like a game of black jack. Before we knew it we were actually making Siavonga happen. Drinks in hand and a very funny transport story, that only those close to Tha and I would know. The journey left us with stories and memories to share for all those interesting dinner conversations. Interestingly enough Zimbabwe and Zambia have a one way border post which I must say is quite impressive. Once we crossed the border we were met with Zambian hustlers and dealers selling everything from cell phone sim cards to money. The Zambians are pretty serious about their hustle and persistent … what more or less could one expect from a hustler. After our encounter with the hustlers, we immediately saw Chitalu waiting with her cousin, Alex. Excitingly, we embraced each other warmly…. After all it had been a year since we all last saw each other. Welcomed in the true African way with music and some ciders we made our way to Siavonga which is about 40 minutes away from Chirundu (I think it’s 40 …with the over flowing ciders and excitement I may have lost track of time). Chauffeured to our new home, one can not help but take in the beautiful landscape. The drive is quite scenic, from the richly coloured rockery to thick vegetation; and the sharp curves ..your eyes are continuously occupied.
the drive to siavonga
Finally we reach Siavonga and made a quick stop at the market. The major difference between Kariba in Zimbabwe and Siavonga is the authenticity of Siavonga. It is clear that Siavonga is relatively untouched by commercial tourism, that is in Kariba.. these 2 towns offer different experiences to tourists. The market place is full of anything and everything in the rather basic setting and structure. There isn’t anything more exciting and intriguing than being in the market of a foreign and AFRICAN town. The different languages, the dress and I must say Zambians brightly coloured chitenge’s should be in every African woman’s wardrobe. After getting a few extra essentials we drove to the house. As the black Gates opened, a whole unknown luxury home awaited us. Totally unaware that the holiday home actually is at the foot of lake Kariba and the sandy rocky beach.. we were pleasantly surprised that this breathtaking scenery would be our view for the next 4 days. The surprises kept coming not only did the pool overlook lake Kariba but all 4 of us had our own rooms. I luckily enough ended up in the master bedroom … I definitely felt a slight bit of luck with that and was sincerely grateful to our lovely host and friend for giving me the best room willingly.
The scenic view
The next few days we experienced the emotions we imagined during the year when we planned the trip. Complete relaxation, no worries or at least no worries for these 4 days we blocked out any concerns and stresses that await us at home. That is the lovely thing about the festive season, it truly is silly season… it Is the one time in the year you get to indulge and be silly as well as responsible. We made sure we did that…our days often started with an interesting breakfast tradition which included a Russian beverage. From there, it was pool time, and my did we enjoy that pool and on New year’s eve we got a little too excited which resulted in Alex getting a nasty burn from the powerful sun rays. We braaid and for amateurs with some experience we did an amazing JOB. While Chitalu and I pride ourselves in being master marinate mixers and braai experts, Tha and Alex showed of their skills too….not to shabby ladies!The meal of the week for me was the braaid burgers we made on New years Eve which included slightly braaid mushrooms sprinkled with cheese finish , a special basting sauce on the burgers which were served with a fresh salad that included feta and avos.
The anthem of the week was ‘Drunk in Love’ by Beyonce ft Jay Z…we now know most of words and we are still trying to figure out what watermelon Beyonce has been drinking. As young 20somthething year olds we decided sometime in the 4 days to shoot our spoof video to Drunk in Love…yup a spoof . Amongst other things the week included some powerful discussion about everything women love to talk about and the week allowed for us to truly share our goals and lessons learnt. Being away from the hustle of Harare it just gave us the fresh air to truly reflect.
The New years Eve braai and countdown was accompanied but some great drinks and bubbly. We entered the new year greatly impaired and in the beautiful outback in Siavonga where the breeze from the lake rushed over our bodies which were still in costumes from the morening.We entered 2014 in true African style and in the land we love so much. The rest of the week included some more amazing food, and great assistance from the holiday home helpers VaFabian and his wife Miliam who catered to us very well. A highlight of the week was trying Nshima, together with freshly caught fish from the lake served with mushrooms. The meal was delicious and I must say the Nshima was deliciously prepared and smooth… definitely a highlight.
The last day included a last trip to the market where we indulged in some local fashion. We finally went chitenge shopping while Alex looked for some form of sun burn cream. Some of the locals seemed puzzled by our clear foreign presence, others were keen to engage with us. The beautiful Chitenge lady welcomed us with warm smiles and showed us her beautiful printed fabrics. Alex eventually found herself a good substitute cream to help with her burns, it was time to return back for some fun in the sun.
with the girls
The afternoon included us enjoying some time on the sandy beach and the warm Kariba waters. Surprisingly the Zambian side doesn’t have much wild life… we didn’t go into the waters but the shores were quiet and not one lake animal insight…no crocs nor hippos…then to end it all we decided to shoot our spoof video which left us rather tired after trying to get thhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeee shot..We all kept saying wow this is hard…I think out attempts to be directors, wardrobe, make up. lighting…camera crew.sound. video vixens n stars was all a little too tiring but we had a good laugh about it.cue in DRUNK IN LOVE…SURFBOARD SURFBOARD… it was the best way to end our tip.
The beautiful chitenge lady
Siavonga is definitely a calm and slow town where town dwellers can enjoy the quiet lake shores of Kariba. It is perfect if you have speed boats and jet skis to keep you company when you not chilling poolside or taking in the fresh air. While there aren’t much activities to do, it provided to be a perfect authentic location to relax…enjoy the pool and beautiful views of lake Kariba and its surroundings. Chitalu was wonderful host and showed us one of Zambia’s prime locations to escape the busy cities like Lusaka. A highlight for me was experiencing the market and being with my girls on holiday. It was the perfect way to start our new holiday tradition and I think it’s time we start planning and saving for this year’s one.maybe VIC FALLS??…Second time lucky??…time to adjust our tastes to our pockets friends… Thank you to Chitalu for having us and for the wonderful Zambian experience as they say in Nyanja… Zikomo Kwambili.