Until I set foot in Zambia, I had never thought much about the country except to occasionally experience bouts of gratitude for the asylum it afforded us during the dark days of apartheid.
When I finally visited Zambia, I was pleasantly surprised - bowled over, in fact.
Livingstone may lack the frenzied excitement and cosmopolitan atmosphere of a large city, but it definitely boasts the luxury, scenic and adventure- packed yet tranquil ambience of a holiday destination.
When I arrived at the Royal Livingstone Hotel, I involuntarily caught my breath at the sight of the majestic Zambezi River, providing a stunning backdrop to the hotel. The shimmering surface of the timeless mass of water is peppered with the snouts of hippos content to be distracted by the movements of the African Queen river boat.
Also providing memories for camera- slinging tourists is the lush green vegetation bordering the river and the wood-floored, almost-floating restaurants on the banks of the river.
A trip aboard the African Queen, whose ladylike demeanour spoke of the many voyages it had undertaken, brings you face to face with the hippos and the odd zebra lurking somewhere under the trees. You also see buck, giraffe and other game lazily drinking water or scuttling among the trees enjoying their natural habitat.
Cast your eyes across the river across from the hotel and you face the beautiful Zimbabwe.
At any time of day, you have the option to lie under the trees on the luxurious seats surrounding the sky-blue pool, or in the hammocks nearby where the monkeys think it's open season to playfully snatch your belongings just for the fun of laughing at you from the safety of the trees.
If you are not up to lazing about or feeding from the tempting spread permanently on display at the dining hall with its outdoor section, you can periodically take the edge off the sun by dipping into the pool.
Or you can stroll over to one of the tents along the Zambezi for a revitalising massage.
The mother of all treats though must be the Victoria Falls or Mosi oa Thunya (the smoke that thunders), a balm for sore eyes.
The bulk of the falls are on the Zambian side. I swear I felt the omnipotence and powerful presence of God as I stood on the treacherous edge of the falls with the kiss of the spray on my face. The mist, the play of rainbow colours in the middle of the spray and the fascinating bottomless depth of the falls made me feel insignificant. As the water continued its timeless rhythm and sound, the miracle of creation faced me.
Adventurous to the last, I took advantage of the outdoor activities. There's no high to beat jumping into nothing and floating on air, suspended by a thin rope while fox-flying. Time stood still, I started singing I Believe I Can Fly, which at the time I did.
I also enjoyed horse riding and particularly the game drive In addition to these activities, there were options to go elephant riding or river rafting.
From a ghost town, Livingstone has awoken and is slowly turning into a thriving centre, thanks to Sun International's investments.
The two hotels, the Royal Livingstone and Zambezi Sun, standing side by side, are definitely oases for relaxation and economic revival in the area.
The Livingstone's rooms are spacious, tastefully decorated with huge beds that transport you into a state of bliss as soon as your head hits the pillow after all the excitement of the day.
For those of us who enjoy soaking in foam-filled tubs with a sip of red wine, the gigantic bathrooms, with showers befitting royalty, are welcome respite.
One evening my crew and I chilled to great sounds provided by an accomplished piano player. On another, we were treated to a sumptuous braai enlivened by local dancers.
Reverting to form, we checked out the local night club, Masaka. We danced to Mafikizolo hits and showed our gratitude for the support for our music by teaching the locals to codesa.
We got down until the wee hours of the morning.
Forget the Copperbelt, forget Lusaka, Livingstone, the citadel of luxury and class, rocks.