Emerald Mines & Safari in Zambia

Traveler: Özlem Güsar – Creative Director

What is your most unforgettable escape? I just came back from Zambia. I visited the largest emerald mine in the world; also extended our trip with a few days for Safari.

What was the purpose of your travel? Apart from my own company; I’m the contributing jewellery editor of Elle Turkey and I was invited by Gemfields, which is the world’s largest ethical and precious stones mining company, to experience the mining process of emeralds.

With how many people did you travel? We were just 6 journalists from all around the world and also there was the Gemfields team. In total we were 10.  Although we had no clue about each other we had a great time together.

Where did you stay? We stayed  two nights in Kagem’s mine guest bungalows and it was really isolated from the rest of the world and it was in middle of nowhere. For Safari we stayed in two different safari camps of legendary Norman Carr. Chinzombo and Chongwe. Both of them were really amazing.

What did you most like about the trip? Canoeing Safari in Chongwe Camp was a dream. You’re literally canoeing amongst crocodiles, hippos, elephants on the Lower Zambezi River.

Could you share an unforgettable memory about the trip? Our Gemfields mine visit was once in a life time experience. I helped workers with digging and we found a very big emerald rock and it was there longer than a couple of million years.  Knowing that you’re the first person who touches it was a priceless experience.

Your most surprising find during the trip? During night time, leopards eat baboons, but at daytime baboons, as a gang, chase leopards. It was big shock for me.

Favorite restaurant(s) or food you have tried during your trip? African barbecue was outstanding. It was a bush dinner under millions of stars in Chinzombo.

What are the must tries of the city? For African art in Lusaka visit the gallery owned by Claire Chan and is  called www.thestartfoundationtrust.org – As a couple they’re living in Lusaka for more than 20 years and working very hard to promote African art in and all around the world.

Any hidden gems you could whisper to us? Before departing for safari you should have a drink at the bar of Latitude 15 Hotel in Lusaka.

Would you go back? Yes yes yes.

Could you list a few of your favorite finds you came back with? I bought beautiful handmade products from heart of the Africa I visited www.elephantwood.com in Luangwa. It’s run by Adrian and Christina Carr. You can get amazing wooden bowls with unique certificates.

Any tips that might be useful to know before going there? If you have a snake phobia like me go to Africa during winter time.

Next stop you would like to visit? Believe it or not, in 15 days time I’m flying to the Serengeti Four Seasons to watch the big migration.