Today we took our first outing outside the city. We are going to see elephants! Our destination is Lilayi Lodge, an elephant orphanage about 30-minutes away.
Many of the nice hotels in Southern Africa are called “lodges,” and there are several on the outskirts of Lusaka. They are perfect for travelers who don’t have time to go on a remote safari, but want to get out of the city. This is a shot of the downtown city skyline:
Like all big cities around the world, Lusaka can be noisy and dusty! The rest of the country is at times breath-taking. Look at these trees!
Silhouettes like these are everywhere. The purple one is a jacaronda tree, which is in full bloom at this time of year.
The roads are a little rough, but they are full of scenes that make us feel like we are finally in Zambia. Hold onto the wheel, Mike!
As we drove into the lodge, we paused to see this in the trees:
In case you can’t see it with the camouflage, here is another view:
The Elephant Orphanage at Lilayi Lodge was started many years ago to rescue baby elephants whose parents were killed by poachers. Lilayi Lodge donates part of its property to feed and protect the babies until they are old enough to go back to the wild. Elephants are considered “babies” for three years. It was cute to watch them drinking milk from bottles:
Here are some of the older kids, giving themselves a bath:
This little guy wanted to get in the water:
Wow, it’s hot today!!
These kids are playing:
Look at those guys!
Not sure which kids are the cutest.
We learned a lot about elephants. Eli listened closely and can tell you the whole story, in true Eli-savant fashion.
Back at the lodge, we stayed to have lunch and enjoy the sunshine by the pool.
The boys had fried fish and steak, Daddy had a burger, and I ordered fresh line fish with spring rolls. Zambia has some of the best fish I’ve ever tasted!
Lilayi is beautiful and we had a wonderful time. There is a piece of me that feels uncomfortable knowing this kind of weekend experience is not typical of the way local people live. We’re still just learning how to get out and be active doing things, and we miss public spaces where people can be outside and simply gather, without eating a fancy lunch at a Lodge. We had so many beautiful playgrounds with gardens and fountains in the home we just left in Baku! I guess we’re still going through the adjustment. But we’re also embracing the chance to be here and learn whatever we can in our short three years.
Like all new places, Zambia is full of its own treasures that we have yet to discover. Like this warthog coming to visit while the kids were out on the playground. What a funny looking creature!
Despite feeling a little like fish out of water in our new home, we are all having a great time today.
What’s not to love about a long afternoon with friends, surrounded by nature, with drinks by the pool?
Discovering the secrets of Zambia’s beauty is only just beginning.