By Marion Ueckermann
I’ve taken a weekend escape to Zambia—twice.
Many years ago, my husband and I were privileged to accompany my bosses on a business / leisure trip to the land of my birth. I got the opportunity to go again the following year with the company’s accountants. As the conference coordinator, it was my job to be there and ensure all went off smoothly. I know, some people have it really tough, don’t they?
On the first visit, the group stayed at the prestigious Royal Livingstone Hotel on the Zambian side of the mighty Zambezi River. On the second trip, we stayed on the Zimbabwean side, though we did cross the river into Zambia for our sunset river cruise and dinner. It was wonderful to have seen the Victoria Falls from both sides—the views and experience remarkably different. The Zambian side is filled with rain forests and numerous walking bridges to cross over gorges. The Zimbabwean side is mostly flat and open, the only bridge to be seen, the railroad bridge—home to bungee jumping daredevils.
Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side
On the first trip, I arranged a water arrival for the delegates. It was exciting. We boarded water taxis berthed beside the African Queen where we’d have dinner and a sunset cruise later that afternoon. The taxis raced down this enormous river and over gentle rapids until in the distance we could see the mist rising from Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders). The Victoria Falls. We were almost at our hotel.
The Royal Livingstone was an amazing place to stay—we even had our own butler. On our last night there, the Prince of Oman and his entire entourage of around seventy checked into the hotel. We didn’t get to see him, although we did spot his bodyguards in the gardens while a bunch of Arabian-looking children played close by. And we saw his private Boeing at the airport when we left.
Another exciting guest was the monkey that woke me that first morning. As I opened my eyes, there he was, sitting on the bedside table, helping himself to the nougat that had been left on my pillow the night before. Suffice it to say, a pillow fight ensued. I won!
Only when we stepped onto the balcony of our room, did we see all the havoc this little blighter and his family had caused—below the lawns were littered with papers from the chocolates I’d placed in our delegates’ gift packs. Hubby and I weren’t the only ones to make the fatal mistake of sleeping with the door open.
Later they snuck into my bag at the swimming pool, stealing a pocket pack of tissues, and testing them high in a tree to see if they were edible. They even made a mad dash at the tables of guests taking high tea, pinching the expensive snacks right off their plates.
Not all of the uninvited guests were that wild and unruly. Late that afternoon, Zebra lazily dotted the lawns of the hotel, but we were told not to get too close as they could give a nasty bite.
Besides visiting the magnificent Victoria Falls, the sunset cruise on the Zambesi River, and riding and feeding the elephants, were the highlights of my visits to Zambia. That’s why I included both these experiences into my newly released novella, Orphaned Hearts.
Elephant ride & feeding
If you enjoyed this little weekend escape to Zambia, why not pick up a copy of Orphaned Hearts and spend a few more hours soaking in the beauty of Zambia.
Barnes & Noble
Will his past, or her future, keep their hearts orphaned?
When his wife dies in childbirth, Zambian conservationist Simon Hartley pours his life into raising his daughter and his orphan elephants. He has no time, or desire, to fall in love again. Or so he thinks.
Wanting to escape English society and postpone an arranged marriage, Lady Abigail Chadwick heads to Africa for a year to teach the children of the Good Shepherd Orphanage. Upon her arrival she is left stranded at Livingstone airport…until a reluctant Simon comes to her rescue.
Now only fears born of his loss, and secrets of the life she’s tried to leave behind, can stonewall their romance, budding in the heart of Africa.
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MARION UECKERMANN’s passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven.
Marion loves writing Contemporary Inspirational Romances set in novel places and has three Passport to Romance novellas published and contracted through White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint: her debut novella, Helsinki Sunrise; Oslo Overtures (August 2015); and Glasgow Grace (2016).
She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.