Kapishiya Hot Springs, Zambia

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And it really is hot!!  100 degrees, more or less.  And no sulphur!  Who knew that Zambia would harbor such a treasure, a fresh-water natural pool shaded by date palms, secluded in the distant Northern savannah?  This is totally worth camping for!

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Eli and Jake even agree it’s worth the 10-hour car ride, and say they’re ready to do it again.

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Maybe we’ve found our new Zambian Easter tradition?  To go along with coloring brown Easter eggs?

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I have always been a fan of hot springs, actually anything involving hot water, nature, and sitting around outside.  Hamams, Saunas, Banyas… a few hours in any of these makes the world seem new.  Mike and I have a long history with hot springs.

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We’re so glad that the Eli and Jake like them too!

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The campsite had warm showers, but we didn’t need them because we went to the springs twice a day.  We had drinks and talked to our neighbors, and watched Jake and Eli swim under water and dunk each other over and over.  While Mike and I buried our feet in the quicksand, our kids collected piles of smooth white rocks, and made “boats” out of dried tree bark.  One night we came back in the dark after dinner, to watch the stars and feel the visible steam rising around our heads.  We were warned we needed to stay in the pool, to avoid the crocodiles.  We were careful to listen to their advice!

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The Kapishiya Lodge also sits on the property, just opposite the campsite along the river.  It was nice knowing there was lodging nearby in case of an emergency (like that we hated camping), but fortunately we only needed to use it occasionally to top up our gin and tonics.

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The entire property is run by a family, and the lodge and campsite were managed by two young guys who were extremely pleasant and helpful.  Most of the lodges and visitors to the properties are white Zambians.  The same was true for Kapishiya.  There was a chef who cooked for anyone who signed up for dinner, which we did on our last night because we were afraid our ice wouldn’t last that long.  Roast chicken, pulled pork with crackling, creamed leeks, and potatoes.  Nothing fancy, but it was a nice, traditional meal, just like Easter should be!

One day we took a tour of the Manor House, an old English Colonial home built in 1932 by a rich English guy who moved to Zambia.  The house is still there and is actually lived in by some of the remaining heirs.  We took the tour with some lovely people that we’d met earlier in the hot springs.

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It was about what you would expect of a 100-year-old, English manor house in the middle of Africa, that didn’t have money for repairs.  A bit stuffy, old, full of musty things… sort of my worst nightmare.  And you can stay there yourself for $700 a night!  We still don’t get the cost of things in Zambia.  It makes no sense to us.  I guess we are just not that rich.  But WHO IS????  Still trying to figure that out.

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The history had it’s interesting moments, though… weird family dynamics, old books, animal heads on the walls and huge elephant tusks cluttering the hallways.  Also an old cake, sort of like a scene out of Mrs. Havashamp’s house in Great Expectations.

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Outside they must have had a slew of gardeners, because it was very pretty!!

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We hiked all the way up to the top of a hill, to look over the lake and hear the story about how all the family married each other, treated their staff badly, and were eventually shot in Lusaka amidst mysterious circumstances.

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Thank goodness for our guides, Liz and Mike!  They told us so much, drove us around the property in their decked out touring bus, showed us a herd of wildebeasts, and even gave us homemade hot cross buns!  It’s been a pretty magical weekend.  No wonder we want to come back.

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