Eight Reedbuck is a relaxing small hotel that is very Zambian.
Eight Reedbuck Hotel: Our full report
Anonymously sited in Lusaka's residential suburb of Kabulonga, number 8 Reedbuck Road seems like any other house on the road. However, inside Eight Reedbuck, its individual and flexible approach allows it to claim the title of Lusaka's first boutique hotel – even if a few of its Zambian fixtures will make disciples of Scandinavian design wince.
Eight Reedbuck is the brainchild of Clive Shamwana, a genial and cosmopolitan Zambian who spent time running health clubs in the UK, and working in a senior role for Intercontinental Hotels, before deciding to return to Zambia, where he was born. Seeing a gap in the market, he decided to open a small, quality guesthouse with individual rooms and a sense of place; somewhere that actually felt Zambian. Clive's understanding of the needs of overseas travellers is a real positive here – and a reassurance for many visitors.
Clive still owns and runs Eight Reedbuck, which has ten suites – all are large, totally different and fairly eclectically furnished. All named after Zambian tribes, and their furnishings and colors subtly reflect this. So, for example, the Lozi suite has a black-and-white striped theme, and is decorated with carvings, fabric and art from western Zambia.
Of these suites, two – the Lozi and Botatwe – are slightly larger than the others, and command a slightly higher rate, but all enjoy broadly similar in-room facilities. All have satellite TV, a proper domestic fridge, a small safe, tea/coffee-making facilities, a large digital safe, remote-controlled air-conditioning, a phone (for internal calls) and free WiFi access (which is a little slow). Most have king-size beds, and there's usually space to add an extra bed for a child if requested.
Each of the rooms at Eight Reedbuck has a large en suite bathroom with a flush toilet, a shower and a separate bath. They're all very different. The ground-floor rooms have a glass roof above the shower – with bushes and trees around it outside – and one or two even have a Jacuzzi! All the rooms are designated as non-smoking, although smokers should ask for a ground-floor room with a private outside garden.
Beside the dining room is a large garden in which are several shaded areas with soft seats and sun-loungers, and also a very large, clear and inviting swimming pool.
8 Reedbuck has a driver who works with the hotel, plus a relationship with a local taxi company who can supply them with reliable taxis. This is useful as reliable taxis aren't always easy to find in Lusaka!
Our viewWe think of Eight Reedbuck as one of the best options for our travellers who overnight in Lusaka. It's décor is quirky and slightly ad hoc, and you shouldn't expect Michellin-starred food, but it is an interesting, authentic and very Zambian place to stay – and has so much more character than the more anonymous big hotels.
Ideal length of stay: We often use this for just one night in Lusaka, although it's probably one of the city's better options for a longer stay.
Directions: It's about 25-30mins' drive between Lusaka airport and 8 Reedbuck, depending on the traffic.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: There's a small restaurant here, used by residents and a few non-residents. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – although if you're arriving /leaving at a strange hour, the kitchen can always rustle up a toasted sandwich and salad or something similar.
The dinner menu has half a dozen options for starter and main courses, many of which are either Zambian dishes or based on Zambian dishes. (Albeit prepared very much with an overseas palate in mind.) The fundamentals of these – steak, fish, pork, chicken and a vegetarian option – are fairly standard, even if the names and details are new.
For example, Impwa, which is a vegetarian starter: aubergines slices grilled with olive oil and served with a sweet tomato and raisin chutney; or Nyama ibisi, which is beef fillet seasoned with fresh herbs and drizzled with a fresh chilli sauce and server with a fresh garden salad.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks not included
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome here.
Special activities & services: Eight Reedbuck have high chairs, but no cots. (Given enough notice – they could probably make a plan.)
Generally recommended for children: Fine for children – although they should beware of swimming pool with deep end, depth unmarked. This does have steps into the shallow end.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: The phone at reception with is manned 24 hours, local SIM-cards available if you need to buy them, and free WiFi throughout.
TV & radio: All rooms have satellite televisions – which have BBC World, CNN, Al Jezera and package of satellite channels.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Security measures: Security guards on site 24 hours, linked to a rapid-response unit. Parking for guests is within a security gate.
Fire safety: The hotel has fire extinguishers in central corridors. It does not yet have smoke alarms – and we have recommended these to them as important!
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: The hotel can change small amounts of money for guests in case of need.
Accepted payment on location: Visa and M'card are accepted with no surcharge. However, Travellers' Cheques, and Amex and Diners' cards, are not accepted. Cash: Zambian Kwacha, US Dollars, UK£, Rand and other major world currencies can all be accepted.