Wine and dine treat at The Quorum (review)

I needed a treat and I let my appetite lead the way. My taste buds whispered they wanted something scrumptious and not home made. I looked up a few hotels from booking.com and found a resort called The Quorum. I loved the general outlook of the place and headed there.There are restaurants I know of that are not much of an attractive package in terms of outdoors but the food they serve is on point. I was in the mood to enjoy a meal with a view or in a place that appeals greatly to the sense of beauty.

Arrival

I didn’t necessarily make a call, reservation or anything like that. I just got on a cab and arrived there. The place had a parking lot on the outside and I think I only saw two cars on the inside. Most cars were parked outside. Am thinking there should be a bigger parking lot should there be a big event there. So unless there is parts of the resort I didn’t see, I gave them 3 stars for the parking lot.

Upon arrival, the guard did alert someone to take me to the reception and I saw some smiling and welcoming staff and I must say it was smooth sailing. I however understood in no time that this was a club hotel and there were some parts of it that I wanted access to that well…. I couldn’t get to simply because I was not a member. There was a way around it though. I stuck around in the wait room

About the resort

This resort is a club hotel or those kind of resorts that offer membership and loyalty programs. https://www.thequorumzm.com I went there to have an eat out at the spot I saw on booking.com only to be told  ‘access denied’ because I was not a member. Ouch! I didn’t let that slide. After digging deeper, I found out I could still have access as a non member if I had one of the services in the resort like spa and spend about $30 dollars minimum there. It was fine by me.

Fast forward, I finally stepped into the restaurant I wanted to dine in because of it’s views. Though found at the resort, it had another name called Mafinga Peak Rooftop Restaurant. This place boasted a sophisticated yet informal atmosphere. There was another restaurant downstairs that I could easily access but that’s not the one I saw on booking.com. I had to get access to the rooftop restaurant.

I don’t think I want to rate their loyalty or membership programs that almost caused me to miss my dining opportunity because this is the lifeline of this resort, it’s a club hotel and ‘members only’ is the password for most services here. I am sure it has its pros but a con is definite, there are one time customers that they may miss out on that may never necessarily want to be all timers or regulars. It’s good that the way out of this was to make customers like us make use of other services as key to another.

The dining area

The dining area had two sides. One side had tables with four seats and others two seats closer to the bar area and covered by a glass demarcation and the other side that was more spacious had comfy sets of casual chairs. The theme colour was lime green a bit of white here and there with a brown floor. There was a seriousness to the place with a touch of casual. What a combo! The place can be ideal for family, business and group gathering yet perfect for an intimate or romantic get away. The beauty with this place is, the restaurant area is not all you see but as you enjoy your food, you have a beautiful view to go with it.

I loved that the place and  neighborhood aren’t noisy. The music playing in the background was soothing. Rating the dining area as far as the general vibe is concerned was a 4 star. The reason for not having a 5 star was because the rooftop glass shield meant to enjoy spectacular views has to be super clean all the time because it’s glass. Had this been of other material like marble, a definite 5 star here. Glass easily shows blemish.

The other things that added a touch of beauty to the place is the fountain like structures around the restaurant that added to the relaxed mood. The orange flower pots added a touch of cheerfulness. The ceiling had beautifully hanging simple chandeliers which am sure look heavenly at night time. The rest rooms had a chocolate brown theme and the walls were slapped with modern oval mirrors.

Let’s order!

I was in the mood to have something meaty, a bit of Greek salad and my forever favorite, mashed potatoes. I want to always remember the medium grilled meat I was served. This steak was mildly charred on the outside and still had the brown all through and am sure it was a slow process to avoid it being too tough but succulent.

My Greek salad had simple yet perfect combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, crisp onions, olives in olive oil. I found my mashed potatoes creamy and full of amazing flavor. They were fluffy and well served in a cute bowl.

The bar informed me that the cocktails they had always contained egg whites and they were nice enough to ask if I was allergic. I wasn’t. Funny thing is I have forgotten the name of this cocktail but it had strawberries, fresh lime juice, gin etc. Totally loved the cute glass they used.

As far as the food was concerned, the level of yummy was definitely a 5 star and I should have congratulated the chef. I spent about 40 dollars for the meal and that’s because of some taxes to go with the kind of place. I had two of those cocktails.Wink wink.

Lasting impressions and recommendations

The place is cosy and I loved it’s vibe. The staff bent over backwards to give great service. No place is perfect but so far it’s living up to it’s stars. I would go back again but this time to enjoy the room services.

Safari vibes at Chaminuka Game Reserve (Part 2)

The last time I filled you in on this safari trip, I was still on the part where I have a dream to be licked by a baby giraffe in Kenya. I have seen this happen and would like for it to be my experience but anywho this safari got me exposed to lots of animals I mentioned earlier and even the giraffe which I have not been so lucky to spot on my tours.

After seeing the animals I mentioned earlier, I then saw a handful of zebras but tonnes of impala! These animals and it’s relatives,species or look alikes do out number many animals you will see here and in most game parks maybe because the others are more shy , I don’t know but it’s either that or they breed per second!Lol! And it is for this reason that I never have the ‘WOW!’ moment when I see them because I have seen too many of them.They are otherwise a beautiful creation!

If by any chance, Zambia is on your hit list, do drop by this place and enjoy lots of their services like boat cruising, lion feeding, cheetah and elephant interaction, game driving , cheese tasting, fishing, horse riding and lots more!

The other thing I enjoyed as part of the package was the buffet lunch! There was such a wide range of foods like barbequed chicken, variety of sausages, lots of cheese types, potatoes cooked in many ways.You will thank them later but you surely need this heavy lunch after close to two and a half hours game drive and an hour boat cruise.

After the game drive, we got to a place in the game reserve where there was a water body called Lake Kasenga.If you like, you could enjoy some fishing but since this was not part of the package, it will come later I guess. The same group that I went with on the game drive was with me on the cruise. The word ‘cruise’ makes you think of the fancy boats and all but we used an ordinary looking boat that kind of looks locally made but with an engine.It still did the trick. I wish I spotted hippos here but nope. Beauty of the views and some animals coming to refresh themselves made the trip so memorable.

PRICES?

Their price ranges for some activities I recall inquiring on were as follows:

-Elephant interaction -About $30 -Cheetah experience -About $30 -Horse riding – About $30 -Lion feeding -About $12 – Boating – About $10 I did find the prices in this range but do check out their website for more or latest info : https://www.chaminuka.com

LASTING IMPRESSIONS AND OPINIONS

1) REMOTE LOCATION: The place is in the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia and offers outdoor activities for outdoor lovers and this is one thing I loved about this place.

2) TOURISTIC: It had a touristic touch and of course that is why I am writing about it. Many tourists flock to Zambia to go to the south for the Victoria falls but this place can be described as the hidden gem for those that just don’t want the usual, ordinary or the norm.

3) PRICEY ACCOMODATION:Because it was in the outskirts, accomodation was more on the pricey side and I did a day trip for that reason but if your piggy bank is full then why not spend a longer time? My thought was for the place to consider a backpackers as well.

4) HELPFUL STAFF: The staff, absolutely organized and helpful,very professional and knowledgeable, a reason to stay there longer.

5) WOULD I RETURN? Definitely.

Safari vibes at Chaminuka Game Reserve (Part 1)

You probably have big issues if you don’t enjoy discounts. Almost every one of us enjoy freebies. I enjoyed a good package of a game drive, boat cruise and buffet lunch at Chaminuka lodge which is the same place you find the game reserve in the town of Lusaka, Zambia. I have pushed my luck in things like lotto, competitions and what not…..I suck! I am proud to say though that the trip was at a discounted price and off I went to enjoy this package. When you visit Zambia, do consider doing this tour, it is worth it. The place is known for giving discounts on some packages and this particular deal was for teachers on Teachers Day.

If the truth be told, I was kinda getting tired of having this place on my bucket list, I was so happy when I checked it and it was worth the while.I was not just day dreaming about it long before it happened….nah!It kind of just was a boom! I have to do this today kind of thing.

DISTANCE AND LOCATION

I was not mobile or driving because I was in Lusaka for just a few days. When you arrive in the capital city of Zambia, Lusaka at the airport, you are basically an hour away from the place. You could even get on the metered cabs from the airport provided you download the app called Yango or Ulendo using a Zambian sim card or better still, ask one of those nice people at the airport to book it for you on their phone. Both is good. After close to an hours drive from the airport, you will find this sign post welcoming you to one of our most beautiful havens of game life.

WHAT WAS IN THE PACKAGE?

The animals!

One thing is for sure, I wanted to spend a night at the lodge in the game reserve but their rooms were more on the pricey side and because this trip was not planned for, I was doing a day trip and that’s it! Because I got there by 9 o’clock, I just waited an hour for the game drive guests from the lodge to fill up the vehicle we were using. So I was not alone on this drive. Little Miss Solo traveller was not going solo. The game drive vehicle was full and off we went.

The first animals I saw were the cheetahs which were actually caged because they are used for an interaction tour and because that wasn’t part of the package, I could not ( with a tear from my left eye) enjoy this beastly interaction. I just interacted with them with a wire barrier in between.Even though I desired to interact with them, I heard they were also on observation of some sort.I also was not in the mood to say the ‘ let them not shred me to pieces’ kind of prayers.

We then spotted some elephants with a man and I thought we could have close interaction with them as I am very sure they are also used in an interaction tour but we were only allowed to view them from the vehicle. The same thing was true for the caged lions that I heard roaring .

I am ashamed to say but this was my first time to see ostriches! My desire was to see them run because I hear they could win in the Olympics. In this game drive, you will catch a glimpse of the above mentioned animals.

The animal I have struggled to spot in most of my game drive tours is the giraffe.

I am not sure about the population of giraffes in Zambia but I know for sure I have missed it on my past game drive adventures. My time came. I had my chance to view giraffes up close! I have never seen such peaceful looking creatures and my dream is to be licked on my face by a baby giraffe in Kenya!!!!!

Two Day Camp and Hike in Kafue

The goal of this hike and camp out was to build endurance and so the guide only helped carry our tents in his car and the really heavy stuff otherwise all those personals like our bags, foods, drinks and all were for us to carry. I can’t stress enough but this load caused a lot of energy from me to be sucked dry. I thought the challenge was just taking that hike carrying nothing but boyyyy was I wrong.

I am not sure what expert campers carry for food, snack, drinks and all but this is not glamping and my sleeping disorder of having ‘earlier nights’ really tried my patience.I am not gonna stay up late cooking up a storm! On our menu which the instructor had us make was 2 minute noodles, canned beans and vegetables.Mother nature did supply us with some mushrooms.We picked some fresh ones and added them to our meal. What a treat it was!

THE HIKE DISTANCE

DAY ONE

The starting point was set for us. Maps were given to us as well. The guide had given us a mini training of how geography works.(Geography was not exactly my fav subject in school…..sooo) but if I could understand the map so can you.

We studied it. We also had never been down this trail but the guide had been and he wasn’t supposed to spill all the beans about where we headed.

Off we went down this endless trail and frankly speaking it was refreshing. We told stories and all until we stopped for water, rest to take a leak or to allow rest for our bodies since they protested against tiredness. We covered both flat and hilly places, stony and watery places. The good news is we managed to cover half the required number of kilometers for the day.

The target was to use this one route that was like 10 kilometers to the camping grounds. We started at about 9 o’clock to 5 pm and found the guide had prepared our camping spot, pitched the tents already and all that was left was to tell some night stories and call it quits for the  day ….. and  we did!

HIKE DAY TWO

I woke up to music from the birds and  the ground was wet from the night showers and I hoped to hike on dry ground.We didn’t need continental or English breakfast but we did stuff ourselves with some bread, beans, juice and remainders of previous night’s meal. It was perfect to start another day of a 10 kilometers hike.

At this point, I was done enjoying nature. I just wanted OUT!! I picked up my tired pieces with the help of my team and we walked through that trail. The second hike had more of hilly and stony land.Very uncomfortable. My team mates developed blisters on their feet but their drive to want to finish the 10 kilometers fueled mine. Fast forward, we made it!

THE HIGHS AND LOWS

The high of this hike and camp was how I got a certificate to be a Duke of Edinburgh Award and Adventurous journey leader. I also enjoyed the nature and being away from the usual and the normal.

The low was that at one spot which happened to be a picture taking place because of the beautiful scenery, we were stopped from taking pics because it was believed to be a shrine and taking pictures would upset the spirits. Can you imagine!?

Lunch at Radisson Blu Hotel review

I really get bored being in one place for too long.I don’t know who suffers from this condition but it’s depressing to have a monotonous life.

Nshima

The same feeling applies to food and views.Sometimes I am okay having my traditional Zambian staple food which is called ‘nshima’ but I wouldn’t want to give my mouth a bore by having it continuously the way I see it get eaten here.

Having a mother that was a hotelier,was literally married to food and fussy about food presentation, those things kind of rubbed on to me.

I feel eating out refreshes your soul.Leave your fridge, stove, pots, pans alone and head straight to a place all that can be done for you PERFECTLY.

No one wants to visit a four or five star hotel and come back loaded heavily with disappointments.We all expect perfection or something close to it!

I had already listed lunch and the target upscale hotel in mind was Radisson Blu hotel.

I may never be sure whether Radisson Blu is a four or five star hotel but the bottom line is it is an upscale hotel where only the best should be good enough.

Being in Lusaka at that time, I took a cab and off I went only to be so well received by a guard at the main gate and the other enterance.No one wants a grumpy waiter, guard or whatever.

I chose to have my lunch at the pool side.I found just few people outside, nothing that could interfere with my looking like a weirdo taking selfish selfies or asking employees to take photos of me for me…..coast was clear, just enough noise.

LET’S ORDER!

I ordered pork spareribs and mashed potatoes. I love potatoes! This was definitely going to go well with a cocktail. And it did! There is a lot of tantalizing that goes on from order time, to eating time and since I was not in the mood to go through that agony, I found something to keep me busy.Viewing!

Let’s order

I went round the hotel enjoying site seeing.When you seek meals in an upscale hotel, even the decor and vibe of the place are a biggie!

Ablution block so clean

I went round and I must say the decor fits well in the theme of the hotel.The hotel has some lovely decor and interesting art work that clients with an eye of art would fancy.My honest opinion is they should not let the same decor up for too long.There should be some changes every now and then .

The front view of the hotel

EATING TIME!

One of things to use to rate a good restaurant as far as I am concerned is length of time of the order. It shows how efficient the staff is.Of course other things come into play like the number of clients. Judging from the length of time it took to prepare the food to it’s mouth watering taste, one may think it took forever to prepare it.

The chef took a good 30 to 40 minutes which I think is the average waiting time for the kind of meal I ordered.Besides, I even inconvenienced the chef by changing my order slightly eating into preparation time.

The first thing I noticed when I saw the food was the generous portions. I have dined out with a 25 dollars I spent on the meal but left with my stomach protesting it didn’t get enough. I was not only stuffed but satisfied.The former has to do with quantity and the latter, quality. My general rating food wise was 9 out of 10!

FINAL RATING

The location of the place is perfect if you want an urban, boutique, close to everything kind of location which was a 9 out of 10.

The staff were super helpful and friendly and this is treatment they gave not for show but if it was fake, I am glad it looked real! That was a 9 out of 10.

I however didn’t appreciate what appeared to be a mini bar right next to the pool which I believe is for those enjoying the pool.I wasn’t there to swim but my eyes told me that place needed a touch up, ASAP before more critiques spot it.

My unbiased rating is a genuine 8.9 out of 10.Experiences differ.Mine was awesome!

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