Last week, we celebrated Zambia’s independence by traveling down to the Itezhi-tezhi reservoir, a massive lake created by a dam that controls the flow of the Kafue River.
You can drive to Itezhi-tezhi from the north by taking a bumpy but decent gravel road that used to be paved years ago, when the dam was first built. Or you can get there from the south by turning up at Kalomo, the small town I used to live in during my first year in Zambia, on a road that is likely very unforgiving.
When you look at a map, Itezhi-tezhi is kind of in the-middle-of-nowhere-Zambia; hard to get to and rarely visited. I had never been to this part of the country before myself, so I was excited for a new adventure.
We spent the better part of the weekend relaxing on a patio that overlooks the reservoir, cooling down in the pool, and watching the sunset behind a perfectly placed flame tree.
But just before the sun set on Sunday, we decided to go exploring, and our goal was to find a rumored natural hot spring. We jumped in the truck and proceeded to drive through the rural surroundings.
As we drove through a lovely village, stopping along the way to ask for directions, I was reminded of how beautiful Zambia is, how both romantic and brutal village life is, and, most of all, how much I love being here to witness it. When I spend too many days in the city rushing about my day-to-day work, it’s easy to forget how amazing all this really is.
It didn’t take us long to reach a great floodplain, covered in cattle that are raised by the local Ila people. And there, amongst the tall grasses on a small hill, we found the spring. Blisteringly hot, it sprayed out of the ground with force and trickled down in small streams. Children played in the cooler waters downstream. And some of the villagers came to see if they could get a lift back to the main junction. We were happy to oblige.
I love moments like this, where the beauty of the world reminds me of how wonderful it is to be here, not just in Zambia, but present, in my own life.