Wear in the World: Zambia


07-07-2011 | In : Wear in the World

Gillie Lightfoot is a designer of textiles, or in her words, ‘of bags and bits and bobs’. She lives in Zambia, is the second largest employer in the north west where she runs Tribal Textiles, a sustainable fairtrade business set on the edge of the South Luangwa National Park. She recently moved to Sugarbush Farm, an organic smallholding on the outskirts of Lusaka. Since her move, she has opened Jackal and Hide, a bustling lifestyle store, the first of its kind in Lusaka. Jackal and Hide houses Gillie’s uniquely designed crafts, jewellery, leather goods as well as some imported furniture.

Jackal and Hide, Lusaka

One of Gillie’s colleagues at work at the Tribal Textiles headquarters

What’s your favourite destination? I am in love with Africa. There are so many beautiful places in this part of the world – from Lamu in Kenya to Kaya Mawa in Malawi. I’ve lived in Zambia, South Africa since 1986. Anyone travelling to the capital, Lusaka, should not leave without spending some time outside the city, especially in the beautiful Luangwa Valley.

The Design House at Jackal and Hide

Where is the best place to eat? The Design House, Jackal and Hide, Leopards Hill Road, Lusaka 00260213841. You can have light organic lunches set in the beautiful gardens on African Farm twenty minutes from the busy city centre of Lusaka. After eating, I recommend a stroll around The Design House to see the wide range of contemporary African interior pieces, original designs and unique leather goods.

African treasures at Jackal and Hide

Where is the best place to drink? Outside, under the African skies in Luangwa Valley at sundown.

Drinking at sundown at Lunagwa Valley

Where is the best place to sleep? Flatdogs Camp, in the Tree House, Luangwa Valley.

Flatdogs Camp

Best time of the year to visit? For the bush experience in the Luangwa Valley, try April to November. Early on in the year you get lush long grass and later on you’ll get the typical African haze and heat that turns into those fabulous thunderstorms.

Zebras in the bush

How long is the perfect trip to Zambia? Three weeks.

Gillie at sundown

Things to avoid? Mosquitoes and Malaria. Ask your doctor for the right prophylactics – they’re not necessary in Lusaka but you’ll need them in the bush. Also, avoid tight shorts, especially in built up public areas. It’s really more respectable to wear looser shorts that sit just over the knee.

Giraffe in the bush

Off the beaten track: Wild animals of the bush; elephants, leopards, giraffes and many more. Time to reflect on your own life!

Gillie’s goddaughter and youngest son, Oscar  in the garden at Luangwa

Holiday packing tip: Take a Kikoy/Kanga/Chitenge length of material with you as a scarf, for baby spills on planes, as a cover-up  and I even use mine as a towel after swimming.

Tribal Textiles

Holiday fashion item: My good old suede boots from Camper. They are sadly no longer manufactured. Also, my straw cowboy hat -I end up wearing that more than anything else.

Army Roll safari shorts by Current/Elliott, hat by Star Mela and lip balm by Carmex

Holiday beauty item: Carmex lip balm.

Holiday read: A New Earth by Eckhardt Tolle.

On holiday I like to listen to: Guitars, crickets and the sound of the lake lapping on the sand.

What I learnt in Zambia: To slow down, reflect and know that there is always something to be happy about.

Picnic with family and friends in Luangwa





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[...] store is full of beautiful leather goods (all designed by the owner Gillie Lightfoot, see this recent write-up about her) and other crafts and art.  If you scroll down [...]

thanks great right up on Sugar Bush, look forward to seeing you at the Cafe.

This is the most inspiring, exotic post on the SP blog so far! Stunning!

Love that we can inspire people, and love that Zambia can be on the map.

I read with interest this blog – many of Gillie’s thoughts and observations are echoed here at cazenove+loyd with Zambia being one of my favourite destinations to send our clients. Her holiday packing tip is also the one I recommend without fail.

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