How many vacations have you taken where you completely unplug—I mean completely—no smart phone, no computer, no wifi or electronics?
As the mother of 4, physician, and owner of a business, BFFLCo, I could have never imagined it possible.
My 12 year old son and I had a rare opportunity to visit Zambia with his tennis coach. We set out on a whirlwind month of preparing and traveling to this absolutely stunning and remote country.
Here’s what you need for preparation:
- Passport and VISA into Zambia
- Global Entry: GOES skip customs lines at JFK
- Safari Clothes and packing
Day 1 Lusaka
If we had been really daring, I would have tried to make the ProFlight flight to Livingstone the same day I arrived. Emirates through Dubai to Lusaka arrives around 2pm; the Proflight to Livingstone leaves at 2:40. You can make it, as profilght lets passengers onto planes as little as 15 minutes ahead of departure. The terminal is very small and takes 3 minutes to get your bags and re-check in. If you are stuck in Lusaka for the night, try Kilamanjaro Country Lodge.
An African cell phone works and you can buy minutes on airtel or MTN. I would just turn off your American smart phone.
Day 2 Livingstone
We stayed at the Stanley Safari Lodge.
It’s a Robin Pope Lodge and easy access to all the attractions in Livingstone. You can also stay at the gold standard Royal Livingstone, but Stanley Lodge prepared us for going out into the bush.
6 things you must do in Livingstone
- Helicopter ride
- Devils pool
- Walk along the falls at sundown
- Walking with Lions
- Riding Elephants
- Visiting a local village Makuni
Day 3-5 Proflight from Livingstone to Mfuwe.
Tafika camp sends Cessna to make 15 minute flight transfer to Tafika camp in South Luangwa. This camp is geared for active the active person and sits just outside the National Park. Excellent game viewing: leopards, lions, elephants, hippos, civets, impalas and antelopes to mention a few animals; delicious deserts, especially the date pudding with Amarula liqueur.
Day 6-8 Deep into the African Bush: Kapamba Bush Camp
By far the most luxurious and interesting camp. Dinner on the riverbank surrounded by hyenas, packs of wild dogs, lions, elephants, zebra, giraffe and splurge for the private guide. This is truly remote with no outside contact except by jeep. Well worth the trip!
Last day: transfer to Mfuwe by small aircraft
Proflight to Lusaka quick set of tennis and then home on Emirates.
If you can swing it financially, definitely book business class and take a sleeping pill. You’ll be home in no time and feel completely well rested.
Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, MPH is the founder of BFFL Co, a company devoted to improving patient experience and helping people recover.