(12 rooms, 6 suites) PO Box 30093, Lusaka; tel: 01 279022/5; fax: 01 279026; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.lilayi.com
If you can arrange the transport, then Lilayi is the most pleasant, and the best value, of the more upmarket options close to Lusaka, under the watchful eye of general manager Kevin Riddiford. It is on a 600-hectare game farm, criss-crossed with game-viewing roads, about 20 minutes' drive south of the city off the Kafue road. To get there from Lusaka, head south on Cairo Rd and continue over the Independence Av roundabout towards Livingstone. Turn left after about 11km, signposted to Lilayi and the lodge, then right at the T-junction, where the police training college is in front of you. Take the next left turn and continue straight to the lodge. It is about 10km off the main road.
Lilayi means 'place of rest', and the name is apt. Accommodation is in comfortable, well-furnished brick rondavels spread out over green lawns. Six of the rondavels are suites, with a bedroom, spacious lounge, and en-suite bath, shower and toilet, though the latter could do with a facelift. The other six rondavels each have two bedrooms, with en-suite shower and toilet, and they share a lounge. There's a free laundry service.
The main building has a spacious bar and dining area overlooking a large pool, plus another upstairs lounge and a small library for reference. Attached is a new conference room for up to 120 people. The restaurant is excellent, with a four-course dinner at around US$20, and is often complemented by a popular outdoor braai; if there's a down side, it's a tendency for rather loud music.
The farm has been well stocked with most of Zambia's antelope, including some of the less common species like roan, sable, Defassa waterbuck, tsessebe and giraffe, and boasts around 300 species of birds. So if you failed to sight something in one of the parks, walk around here for a few hours before you leave or ask to be taken on a game drive or guided walk (free to residents; non-residents US$5). Alternatively you could hire a bike for US$3 per hour, with guided cycle tours an extra US$2 an hour. Horse riding is another possibility, for experienced riders, at US$25 per person. There are also facilities for badminton and volleyball, and a small curio shop.