Islands of Siankaba Lodge Review

by Connie Ebright

My thoughts on Vic Falls are to skip it unless you go to the River Club (an elegant all inclusive lodge with a fabulous story telling owner) and the falls are in full rush.
Getting from our Botswana camps to Vic Falls is not easy. After our game drive and breakfast we had a camp transfer to Khwai airstrip, a charter flight to Kasane, a road transfer to the ferry to cross the river into Zambia, a stop on the other side of the border to go through immigration, a road transfer to Islands of Siankaba Reception and finally a boat to our island cabins.

Six transfers with six different people and not one hitch in the plans- pretty incredible planning.

Livingstone is supposed to be a resting stop between gaming but ours is chock-a-block with activities.

Our guide Steven told us about the new "Walk with the Lions" that we could not resist. All of the money from the Adventure goes back into preserving the lions. It is a 50,000 acre reserve set up to reintroduce lions back into the wild.

There are four lions, now eighteen months old but orphaned as newborn babies, who were bottle fed and cared for by a group of five licensed native guides they consider their parents.

Because they weigh 260 and 300 lbs respectively we were trained how to look at them, touch them and what to expect.

It was an exciting hour with the King of the Jungle as we took turns hugging and scratching the lions while the guide explained how they would be gradually reintroduced back into the wild. It is costly at $170 per person for the lions.

There are also cheetahs for another $50, but we will see them up close and personal at the Endangered Species Center and we were eager to see the local village so we skipped the cheetahs.

Some of us took the microlite flights (called Flight of the Angels) over the falls which are very low in this season and also because Zambia uses the water for their hydro station.

If you have a fear of heights forget it. Eileen and I found them exhilarating and thrilling, but one person cancelled altogether when he saw the tiny toy plane with a washing machine engine.

Al and Ed took a helicopter flight instead.

The service in Zambia is a disappointment after Botswana and the new $135 PP visa that was recently enacted by the Zambian government is a rip off.

Our guide, Steven, dropped us at the Royal Livingstone for lunch but it was between meal hours so Al had a rip off $19 margarita at the bar and we called for Steven.

Back at Islands of Siankaba we canoed and walked to the local village with Crispin who works at Siankaba and lives in the village. The children were walking home from school at 5:00 pm (the school is a lodge project) and we met Crispin's family of 2 wives and 14 children. His son is the principal of the school and his baby is 4 months old. What a guy!

Laura and I left our school supplies and gifts with his son who welcomed us warmly.

Laura's Tootsie Pops are greeted with whoops of joy and not an ounce of greed or jealousy. One little tyke had never seen a sucker and looked afraid of it, so his brother showed him how to unwrap it and gently placed it in the little one's mouth.

Their simple mud huts are constructed of termite mounds, pounded into powder and mixed with water, a thatched roof; each home has one cooking pot.

The darling children are dressed to the nines for our visit and Crispin is so proud of his brood.

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Connie's Safari Details:

Safari company used: Ebright Travel (make an enquiry)

Area visited: Livingstone (Victoria Falls), Zambia

Lodge visited: Islands of Siankaba Lodge

Date of safari: September 14 & 15

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