Friday, June 13, 2008

Safari Luxury at Siankaba

Siankaba LodgeThe Islands of Siankaba is the perfect spot to begin or end a trip to Zambia, Botswana, or Namibia—or a place to stay the entire time. It’s a riverine wonderland located on two untouched islands on the Zambezi River between Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park about 45 minutes from Livingstone, Zambia

Luxury is the byword at Siankaba. The secluded chalets are two-story teakSiankaba Bath and canvas affairs that sit like a tree houses on eco-friendly platforms raised above the island itself. Inside are custom furnishings made from renewable native woods, king-size canopy beds, and bath suites with Victorian fixtures that include a claw-foot tub large enough for two. You will enjoy a garden deck, sun lounge, and a private dining area as well as a library and games compendium. You’ll also find your chalet equipped with sandalwood amenities, full mini bar, bathrobes & slippers, champagne, roses, bubble baths, and floating candles. For honeymooners, a complimentary private massage is included, too.

Welcome to ZambiaAs comfy as it is, you won’t spend your entire stay in your chalet. At your request, a guide from the lodge will drive you to the town of Livingstone and Victoria Falls, where you can see the sites or get an adrenaline rush bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, river boarding, jet boating, or gorge swinging. Or stay closer to Siankaba and take a guided tour of the tiny thatched-roofed village itself and the nearby school. Visiting the Zambians who live there was the absolute highlight of our first trip to Africa and several scenes from our visit became part of my novel, Heart of Diamonds.

At the end of the day, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi with the other guests (the lodge only accommodates 14 total) or a private outing for just the two of you in a makoro—a dugout canoe—paddled by one of the lodge guides. After “sundowners,” the civilized safari version of cocktail hour where you watch the most beautiful sunsets in the world as you sip your libation of choice, you’ll go back to the lodge for either an intimate candlelit dinner for two or a social family-style meal with the other guests.

After days of tramping the Luangwa bush in Zambia or the Okovongo Delta in Botswana, Siankaba is a welcome respite.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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