Lilayi Lodge is owned and run by the Miller family, which includes Peter Miller, ex-chairman of the Zambia Wildlife Authority. The property’s name means ‘the place to rest at sunset’, and it certainly offers a very peaceful option for travellers interested in staying outside Lusaka rather than within the city. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, and a laundry service. The lodge is open all year round.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge can be accessed via 90 minutes’ road transfer from Lusaka’s international airport. It’s situated 10 kilometres south of the city, on farmland totalling 650 hectares.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT LILAYI LODGE:
Guest accommodation consists of 12 chalets, including two family units. All are positioned within the lodge’s gardens. The interiors are pleasantly spacious and the furnishings have a fresh modern look. Each standard chalet features a four-poster double bed with mosquito netting, bedside stands and lighting, a writing desk and chair, a dressing table, a wardrobe, and a lounge area with a couple of comfy chairs and a coffee table. Additional amenities include an overhead fan, an LED satellite television, a tea-and-coffee station, a bar fridge, and Wi-Fi. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, washbasin with mirror over, shower, and Victoria + Albert volcanic limestone soaker bathtub. Every room has folding bay windows, opening on to a private veranda with lovely views! Both family chalets benefit from all these features, as well as an extra en-suite bedroom for two children and a separate lounge. It isn’t uncommon for guests to spot wildlife from the deck, such as bushbuck and zebra.
The communal lounge and dining areas at Lilayi Lodge are housed in an attractive thatch-roofed building. The lounge contains sumptuous seating amidst coffee and occasional tables, elegant lighting, and some wildlife wall artwork. Adjacent to this space is the restaurant, which is large and circular, with a twinkling chandelier hanging from the roof. Individual tables are surrounded by smart upright chairs, and overall it’s a very glamorous setting for the delicious African fusion and contemporary cuisine cooked up by Lilayi’s talented team of chefs. The bar is well stocked with a variety of drinks, not least an extensive assortment of wines from the lodge’s own cellar! A wide veranda runs around the main building, providing a delightful al fresco venue for relaxing, dining, and enjoying views over the farm. Finally, there’s a very welcoming swimming pool, with inviting sunloungers and parasols set up alongside!
ACTIVITIES AT LILAYI LODGE:
The lodge offers a great range of activities, as follows:
Expertly guided game drives- Lilayi’s grounds are made up of 650 hectares of pristine grassland. The area supports all sorts of wildlife, including 25 mammal species. Drives offer opportunities to spot the likes of giraffe, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, tsessebe, roan antelope, and over three hundred types of bird!
Walking safaris- Also enjoyed in the presence of a knowledgeable and experienced guide, walks are fantastic for travellers interested in ‘small safari’. You’ll get to know plants, insects, and birds in exquisite detail!
Horseback safaris- Horse riding offers thrillingly close encounters with Lilayi’s wildlife. A lot of plains game here is entirely at ease with horses, so you can ride among the herds.
Tours of Lilayi Elephant Nursery- The lodge works in partnership with non-profit conservation organisation Game Rangers International to provide a home and a family to baby elephants orphaned due to human–animal conflict. Additional support comes from Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Guests of Lilayi are welcome to visit the nursery, to enjoy a guided tour. This involves assisting the keepers and generally finding out about ongoing conservation endeavours. You can also observe the baby eles’ lunchtime feeding hours!