A devastating fire in 2023 proved to be the catalyst for a fresh start and an exciting new chapter at Ila Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park. After the heart-breaking destruction of the old boma and some communal areas, the team at Green Safaris poured their hopes, imagination and skills into a stunning new structure that melds old and new into several lounges, dining areas and decks: all with uninterrupted views of the Kafue River.

The lounge under the soaring dome of the new boma, with the stairs leading to the deck.

The outside of the new ‘double-domed’ boma area comprises traditional timber techniques while the inside exposes the steel ‘skeleton’ of beams and girders that the entire structure, clad in a ‘skin’ of canvas tenting. The space feels simultaneously airy and cosy. A wide staircase leads the second-storey deck, a perfect spot for sunbathing, birding or stargazing. The new boma flanks the large communal infinity pool, which also overlooks the river.

The Safari House

Another new development at Ila is the Safari House, an exclusive-use villa that is perfect for families or small groups. It has a main bedroom and a twin room, extensive indoor and outdoor areas for relaxing and its own swimming pool overlooking the river. Safari House also has a solar-power system and it constructed of bricks and mortar, ideal for travellers who prefer a more conventional residence to a traditional tent.

The two-bedroom Safari House has its own pool overlooking the Kafue River.

Villas are gaining popularity as a way for parents to bring younger children or grandparents on safari or for small groups to stay together without having to go ‘tent hopping’ to socialise and have meals.