There is something really special about Islands of Siankaba. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just feels good. It feels like home. The majority of the staff here for this trip were here during our last trip five years ago and they are wonderful. They all seem genuinely happy to be there and nothing you could ask for would be too much.
The lodge itself is set up on a series of little islands connected by rope bridges. The main area, with the restaurant/ lounge area and pool and spa is on one island and the rooms are on little islands from there. Everything is open air. The rooms themselves are luxury tents, on stilts, with hardwood floors and claw-foot tubs. They are beautiful. The best part is the balcony overlooking the Zambezi. It is so wonderfully peaceful. You go to bed to the sound of grunting hippos and wake to playful Vervet Monkeys scrambling across your canvass roof.
By the time we arrived, it was late in the afternoon. We had just enough time to hear the rules of the house, take a quick tour and then board the pontoon boat for some sundowners on the Zambezi. I am a BIG fan of sundowners. What a wonderful thing to be out in nature and pause to celebrate the sun setting on a beautiful day in a beautiful place. And there is nothing like an African sunset. Oh, and the other reason sundowners are great- they include cocktails. Cocktails are key.
Just to back pedal, about 10 days before this trip, I completed my third Ironman. Jay and Sarah came ALL THE WAY FROM LONDON to see me race in Whistler. As a congratulations, they gave me a bottle of Veuve-Clicquot , which I told them was my favorite champagne. While we were laying over in Johannesburg, Jay (Fancy Pants) disappeared for a bit and when he returned, he had 8 bottles of Veuve in tow. One for each sundowner.
Okay, back to the pontoon! So we rushed out to the river just in time for the sunset. Jay popped open the Veuve and there we were, our first night in Zambia, on the Zambezi, listening to the flow of the river, singing birds and grunting hippos with great company and a glass of champagne in hand. Our first sundowner as the, self dubbed, “Magnificent Seven”.
As we waited in the lounge area to be called for dinner, we heard a woman singing in the distance. The singing got closer and we realized it was coming from one of the bridges. It was so incredible and right as she came out of the darkness and into site, an entire choir came in singing behind her. They all filled the room and sang for us for about 10 minutes. The setting, the entrance, the voices…everything about it was magical. Jay (Fancy Pants), surprised us all with the village choir. We had only been in Zambia for a few hours and it seemed impossible to top what little time we had been there.