Richard Chanter 1947 – 2016


We are extremely saddened to announce the death of our owner and director Richard Chanter. He passed away from natural causes after a short illness on the 20th of May 2016. He was a towering presence who will be missed by all those who knew and loved him.

We would like take this opportunity to assure all our guests that Chanters Lodge is still open for business as usual. In Richard’s words, “The show must go on!” One of Richard’s great contributions to the industry in Zambia was excellent training of his employees. As such the day-to-day running of the lodge is now in the very competent hands of Anastastia, Richard’s right-hand woman and long-time assistant.

Richard’s five children and surviving spouse will be running the lodge going forward and we hope to be able to expand on the foundations he has laid for us.

Thank you to everyone who has sent messages of condolence during this difficult time.

Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.
~ Lao Tzu ~


Chanters Lodge and Social Media

Yesterday I received this query on the Chanters Lodge Facebook page “Quick question: Is it possible to book two single rooms online and then pay on arrival at Chanters?” There followed an exchange of messages on Facebook which culminated in the following remark from the Guest: “Just booked a night’s stay in Livingstone through Chanters Lodge, Livingstone. Very prompt & efficient communication. A Zambian business using social media well. Kudos.” To which I replied: “We give discounts for bookings through Facebook and for Zambians and Zambian residents. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s good value for money – Chanters Lodge, Livingstone.” We do not have an online booking system at the lodge, but pride ourselves on replying to booking enquiries within 24 hours – and usually much quicker than that, we have two internet service providers ensuring that we are very seldom totally offline – African internet is not great!

Here’s a general resume of our social media activity and the role it plays in our business:

We have 734 likes on our Chanters Lodge Facebook page – I haven’t ‘gone chasing’ for a while but I will! I have 1885 ‘friends’ on my own Facebook page – we post pretty much daily on both pages – the whole idea is to market the lodge, but subtly without direct ads like ‘come and stay at Chanters Lodge’. We prefer to post pictures of Victoria Falls, talk about activities in which our Guests are involved, and post updates on our local radio show. As mentioned, we love to get reservations through Facebook and give discounts! One of the reasons we are so active on Facebook is that it is a very popular medium in Zambia and we would love to have more Zambian business.

We have had a Twitter account (@livilodge) for a number of years and follow about 8000 accounts. We have a similar number of followers ranging from friends and family and pop music lovers, through Arsenal supporters, Zambian account holders and people involved with hotels and travel. I love Twitter – it’s a major source of immediate news apart from which you can find yourself talking to people all over the world about common interests. We have had plenty of reservation enquiries from Twitter resulting in confirmed bookings and once again we offer discounts for Twitter reservations. Why? Because we hope it will encourage people to book through this medium. It’s short, quick and immediate and it is, for a small lodge, another means of marketing. Most of our Twitter bookings have come from people in the travel trade or Zambians and we offer discounts to both groups anyway

Pinterest is relatively new but we have had a page (Richard Chanters) for about a year following a recommendation from a Guest. We have boards for the lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, family and the Zambezi as well as Africa and Random pictures. I have found it very useful when Guests ask for pictures of the lodge to be able to refer them to Pinterest – meaning the pictures of the lodge which appear on our website are supplemented on Pinterest. For example we recently pinned pictures of the bedroom renovations in progress at the lodge – photos we would not normally post on our web site as it is a work in progress. There are also photos of staff on that board. On Pinterest we have 198 followers and are following about 250 sites. I often upload photos from Pinterest to post on Facebook if the photos are beautiful or more often funny!

We have been blogging since 2006 – at one time we posted every day but these days usually two or three times a week depending on available material and time to write. These days our weekly radio show forms the centre piece of the blog. We write up the show with a photo of the Guests, reporting the subjects discussed on the programme and the music played – it makes a nice record for the Guests of their appearance on the show as well as keeping blog readers informed. The blog covers a multitude of other issues often involved with the hotel and travel business as well as some funnies. One of the presenters of our radio show, Kaufela, also provides material for the blog writing about Zambian musicians and the local music scene. Thanks to Edward Chanter our blog uploads straight on to our main website.

We estimate that some 80% of our accommodation enquiries are a result of potential Guests reading some of our more than 250 Trip Advisor reviews, mostly, but not all good. Once again the advice to ‘get on Trip Advisor’ came from a Guest. We are proud of the certificates of excellence awarded from that site in recent years. We respond to each and every review written in English and encourage Guests to write reviews on departure. Once again thanks to Edward, reviews upload unedited straight on to our lodge website.

We post on to LinkedIn and Google+



Great piece this from Mr. Larry Mogelonsky – CHA on Hotel Interactive on the importance of SEO. Though some dispute the importance, it is worth taking note!
“It never ceases to amaze me as to how many unsolicited emails my clients get from companies promising to do wonders for a hotel’s web site in terms of search engine optimization. Usually, these missives are well written in an onerous tone that has GM’s questioning their web site, their web agency, their director of marketing and usually all of the above. What’s a GM to do? Just how important is SEO, and can a “specialist” company really help? Above all, is there any value to the whole exercise in terms of true revenue generation?

First, some notes. This article focuses on Google, which at this current time processes roughly two-thirds of all search activity. For those who purchase Google Ad Words, these appear as sponsored links on the right hand side or top of the page and are not influenced by SEO tactics. Positioning your product in this arena, combined with SEO is called Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, and is a whole other discussion.

Why is SEO important?

If a person is looking for a hotel in a foreign city, doing a Google search is the easiest way to find accommodations. Surely every GM knows that this is not the only approach that a potential guest would undertake in their quest to find the perfect spot to rest their weary legs. But it’s typically the first. Other resources include travel agents, OTAs, Facebook, other social media, other travel sites, hotel chain sites and association sites such as Preferred, SLH, or Leading.

With so many methods to find your hotel, being in first place for a broad Google search is far from being the panacea to your occupancy challenges. In fact, it may be almost insignificant depending upon how relevant new customer search is to your marketing strategy. Certainly, it cannot hurt to be in the top two or three as a matter of search results, but it is not Armageddon if you miss this spot.

The rationale here is simple: the more “optimized” your site is, the more relevant it is within the Google search algorithm, resulting in a higher placement for all posted results. But Google rankings cannot be fooled! Don’t think that hiring some third party sales company can take you from an eighth ranked page to a top three position in a matter of days or weeks. It doesn’t work that way. Moreover, Google is wary of some tactics that these proverbial snake oil salesmen utilize and likely has algorithms that negate such surreptitious tactics.

Take the Initiative Yourself
A basic optimization strategy is quite easy to do internally. Review your web site as you do your property, both strategically and tactically. Here is a typical checklist of what you should look for before seeking external help.

    A flawless site, with clear text and no internal errors
    Correct and accurate tags (title, keyword, page and headers)
    Optimized images with photo alt tags
    Fully linked and active blog
    Fully linked and active social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter, but don’t forget Google Plus and Pinterest)
    Your URL registered for at least 24 months before it expires
    Active RSS feed
    At least one data collection form
    Clear navigation structure of indexed pages with sitemap files
    A number of quality in-bound links


Lodge Blog

This from TNooz grabbed my attention. Incidentally if you’re in the travel or hospitality business TNooz is, in my opinion, a daily ‘must read’. Why did this particular piece demand my immediate attention? Well, we’ve had a Chanters Lodge Blog since 2006, not so long ago I wrote to my son Ed and told him I was fed up with blogging and what with Facebook, Twitter and things I was considering giving up. 
His reaction? Emphatic! “Dad, don’t!” “Why?” I wondered. His reply “Google love the updates”. The article below shows that Ed knows a thing or two. Something we knew anyway. Needless to say I still blog and our weekly radio show forms the hub of the blog and forms a good basis around which I post other interesting or amusing things about stuff.

The picture? Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre. Why? Because when I went to Google Images and searched Lodgeblog, this was the first picture to come up linked to our site – page 6 of the search – which could have been better but could also have taken much longer. The picture was posted in January 2010.

Here’s the piece from Patrick Landman.
“I can’t even begin to remember the number of times I have heard hoteliers talk about the need to get more direct business, preferably through their own hotel websites. Of course, this is something we want for all our hotels. We know that direct-sales brings a higher margin to the bottom line, rather than via reservations (with commission) to third party distributors like OTA or low net rate wholesalers and tour operators. But then why are so many hotel websites still, well, static when it comes to content, especially many of the independently-owned properties.

Hoteliers invest in a website and think that is it for the next three, four or even five years. They still view the internet as a business of online brochures apparently. Their website’s content is completely static or stagnant.


It is a well-known fact that search engines put a high value on dynamic and fresh content. They are looking for websites that are constantly adding new information relevant to their field or related to their brand. This should actually be fairly easy for a hotel. Tourism and travel is an amazingly dynamic industry, especially when looking at what is happening in a destination or the property itself. Websites, lest we forget, are a continual effort. The content of your hotel website needs to be dynamic. This is where a corporate blog comes into play.

It should be part of your communication strategy to your guests, as well as potential bookers. Moreover it is also a tool to build a network of connections engaging with your local community. Unfortunately it seems though there is some sort of industry disease, or apathy towards social media. Any creative effort of direct marketing in hotels is approached with distrust, fear and skepticism.

However, the reality is that you might spend a lot of money on your hotel website, but if you don’t have a blog much of it never changes. Your hotel website is dead. Hoteliers, please wake up, and start blogging now! Or else.


But what to write? How to blog? If you don’t know, try it out. Make a blog using WordPress or Blogger, and integrate it. It’s as simple as writing an email. Honestly. In terms of topics, there should be no shortage of what you could write about. There surely are interesting events, festivals or trade-shows in your destination that your guests visit or attend. And how about some restaurant and bar tips? Find out which shops your guests like and make some more related recommendations.

Ah-ha, that should be easy, right? Really it is, I am even doing it right now. I am typing as I am thinking… It is as easy as writing an email or recommending guests staying at your hotel on what they can do in town. In short, become the online concierge of your hotel.

Make sure that you create original content, though, and are not simply punching out lists and articles for the sake of blogging. Make the blog an extended arm of your hotels atmosphere and style. Give it a unique spin. Instead of focusing only on main attractions and points of interest, highlight personal recommendations, unknown gems and hidden secrets of your destination. Bars, restaurants and shops within walking distance of the hotel are always well appreciated.


I mentioned style before. Make it personal. Not just a simple tourist guide approach. Introduce some humor and fun, I am sure as a hotelier you have an outgoing character, and are used to being on stage. Do the same on your blog. Don’t be afraid of what people think. The mission is to set a tone and get noticed.

The angle you choose, accompanied by captivating headline, catches the interest of guests. Come on, admit it this title “If you don’t have a blog, your hotel website is dead!” surely got you to click and read some more. The objectives with integrating blogs into hotel websites are many. One is to ensure the dynamics in content creation for the hotel website, and for search engines continue to value the authority of our website in relation to our location.

Also it provides valuable tourist and destination information to our guests. Blogs provides hotels with original content to share on social media websites and allow properties to engage with local business and attractions on social media websites. Remember, do not write solely about destination-related information. Updates on what is going on in the property is also newsworthy. But these articles should not be in the style of a boring press release. It should be an authentic personal piece. Write it the way you would explain it to a friend.

Treat your guests less like a technical marketing object and more like a guest works amazingly well.

Furthermore, put your staff in the spotlight. Have them explain what they like about working at the hotel, and what their favorite places in town are. Add a fun picture so guests can recognize them during their stay (please, no boring head-shots! ). And how about the launch of a new seasonal menu in the restaurant?


Blogging is a matter of practice – as you write more you get better at it. Find some other blogs and follow them. Search for inspiration online. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. But make sure you add your personal touch to it.


Seya Kitenge Fundafunda

I found this on the African Women In Cinema blog and thought it great to see a Zambia woman making a name for herself in cinema. Seya is in interview with Beti Ellerson. I have shortened it but if you would like to read the whole interview go to the link. We wish Seya the very best of luck!
Seya, you are an emerging filmmaker from Zambia, what were your experiences in cinema while growing up?

Well I come from a family that watched a lot of classic movies like My Fair Lady, A Sound of Music (my favorite film of all time), Fiddler on the Roof, Scrooge, and lots of classic Disney movies like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Bambi, etc. But these were viewed at home, and not at an actual cinema because at the time the state of cinema theatres in this country had deteriorated and we weren’t allowed to go anywhere near them. Despite all this, my interest in performing arts emerged.

You have had diverse international experiences in media production, starting in high school in fact at the International School of Geneva, what role have they played in the evolution of your career at present?

My international background has played a huge role in my life and my career; it has exposed me to so many cultures. At this moment in history, I think it’s critical to learn and understand how to live and work with people of different cultures. And it’s the same in the media industry. Looking at the high school productions, such as the German play The Visit, we had students from different ethnic backgrounds taking up German roles. For my role, I played a painter and recited some of my lines in German, which was tough during rehearsals but when it was show time, I have to say we all did a remarkable job. My work ethic today is what it is because of my past experiences; it has made me a perfectionist.

You attended a film internship program in Helsinki, Finland in 2010. What did the internship entail, how did you become involved with it and what were your experiences?

The film internship in Helsinki, Finland came about after the 2008 production of the feature film Suwi by Musola Cathrine Kaseketi. It was the first co-production between Zambia and Finland. We had half of the crew come from Finland. And upon completion of the production, the Finnish crew wanted to do more for the young Zambian crew in terms of training since Zambia has no film school. When they returned to Helsinki, they presented a proposal to the Finnish Government to do a 3-month film internship in Helsinki. Due to budget constraints, they couldn’t take the whole Zambian crew, so only three could go in 2009, which was the first year. There was an application process and selection, so I applied for the 2010 group and got selected. I had an amazing experience during the internship and learnt a lot, including: the history of film and filmmaking, exercises in making short amateur silent films, attending the 2010 Helsinki International Film Festival, scripting and directing a short film called Kayemba.

Your final project, Kayemba, is about the traumatic experience of a young Finnish-African woman by the same name. Why did you choose this subject, what were your experiences with the actors and crew, and what has been the reception of the film?

The idea for Kayemba came about while still in Zambia, before I leaving for the internship. As part of the application for the internship, one had to send a synopsis of a film one would like to make at the end of the internship and so that is how Kayemba came about. I am a human rights advocate at heart and I wanted to do something that had to do with women’s rights. The subject matter for Kayemba is so important and relevant and needs to be talked about and addressed with urgency throughout Africa and the world at large. There are a lot of women, young women in fact, whose rights are infringed upon, due solely to the fact that they are women. And if this film helps even one woman, then I will be satisfied.

The cast and crew of Kayemba were a great group to work with. Everyone was very dedicated to this project before, during and after the shoot. I am so grateful to them. They made my directorial debut stress free. Kayemba is screening at the 2011 Kenya International Film Festival (21-31 October), which is really exciting. This is the first major film fest at which it is being screened. Some viewers expressed feeling depressed, maybe because of its inconclusive ending. There is no happy ending. I wanted it to be as realistic as possible. Some did not like it. For instance one YouTube viewer commented “I don’t believe that showing violence prevents violence. That is why I don’t like this film. It is not a good idea to show a rape.” But overall, the responses have been encouraging.


DJ Wolf

Our regular contributor, George da Soulchild, also co-presenter of our weekly Sunday night radio show reports:

In the past, running a blog in a Zambian rural setting could have been perceived as a far fetched dream, but not anymore as youths like Choma-based music blogger Hope Munkute, otherwise known as DJ Wolf (above), have come to embrace this (blogging) information medium to create a difference in society.

The 26-year-old blogger who is based in Choma’s Macha area and runs a Zambian music blog tells the Education Post that coming up with such a thing was a testimony that Zambian youths in rural settings had come to embrace the technological advancements taking place world over.

“Blogging boosts one’s self esteem. Since I was introduced to blogging by an Australian friend, as a youth, I have used my blog to express myself, share my passion and explain music the way I see it. The area I am coming from is a rural place but with the good internet connectivity that is there, I have been able to do something beneficial and contribute something positive to the Zambian music industry,” says Hope. Hope adds that he set up the blog as a way of contributing something to the Zambian music industry.

“I have always been into music and by coming up with this blog, I thought I could update the happenings in the Zambian music scene and share it with the world out there.On my site, I promote Zambian artists especially unsigned by profiling them, and the music they do. The response by those following my blog has been overwhelming” says Hope, otherwise known as DJ Wolf.

Hope says since setting up his blog in 2007, the blog has received overwhelming response from its followers,adding that some Zambian artists based in the United States had contacted his blog to have their music marketed.

Hope, who also works as a Monitor and Evaluation officer at Macha Hospital, advises youths to take advantage of the internet and use it creatively. “Youths should use the internet for creative things, business ventures and getting new ideas,” says Hope who is also a radio presenter at Radio Macha.

info courtesy Weekend Post


Economies of Small

Loved this from Seth’s blog! The picture? Victoria Falls – not small!

Economies of small

Economies of scale are well understood. Bigger factories are more efficient, bigger distribution networks are more efficient, bigger ad campaigns can be more efficient. It’s often hard to defeat a major competitor, particularly if the market is looking for security and the status quo.

But what about the economies of small? Is being bigger an intrinsic benefit in and of itself? If your goal is to make a profit, it’s entirely possible that less overhead and a more focused product line will increase it. If your goal is to make more art, it’s entirely possible the ridding yourself of obligations and scale will help you do that. If your goal is to have more fun, it’s certainly likely that avoiding the high stakes of more debt, more financing and more stuff will help with that.

I think we embraced scale as a goal when the economies of that scale were so obvious that we didn’t even need to mention them. Now that it’s so much easier to produce a product in the small and market a product in the small, and now that it’s so beneficial to offer a service to just a few, with focus and attention, perhaps we need to rethink the very goal of scale.

Don’t be small because you can’t figure out how to get big. Consider being small because it might be better.

Amen – ed


Leaving A Mark

I loved this from Seth Godin – takes a couple of readings but spot on as usual!


All you’ve got, all your brand has got, all any of us have are the memories and expectations and changes we’ve left with others.

It’s so easy to get hung up on the itinerary, the features and the specs, but that’s not real, it’s actually pretty fuzzy stuff. The concrete impact of our lives and our work is the mark you make on other people. It might be a product you make or the way you look someone in the eye. It might be a powerful experience you have on a trip with your dad, or the way you keep a promise.

The experiences you create are the moments that define you. We’ll miss you when you’re gone, because we will always remember the mark you made on us.

There’s a sign on most squash courts encouraging players to wear only sneakers with non-marking soles. I’m not sure there’s such a thing. If you’re going to do anything worthy, you’re going to leave a mark.



Recently we were very happy that our guest blog featured on TravelComments. travelzine keeps travellers up to date about Southern Africa and the world of travelling. They provide you with the country guides for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho, as well as city guides for Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. There is travel planning support, route suggestions, self-drive tours and much more, such as the daily updated umhambi travel blog, the travel shop (books, dvd, music, maps), videos, webcams, wallpapers & recipes.

You can follow TravelComments on Twitter for daily tour updates, interesting news and much more from and about Southern Africa and visit us on Facebook! By the way, they say, don’t think too much about your college loan consolidation. Go travelling & enjoy the time of your life!

Bookings & more is the travellers booking platform for accommodation all over Southern Africa, tours in the Kruger National Park, Cape Town, along the Garden Route, in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban, as well as tours in the Chobe National Park, the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, Etosha National Park, Sossusvlei and Swakopmund and much more!

TravelComments informs tourists & travelers with neat up to date reviews.

There you are then, and thanks again to Seb at TravelComments for posting our guest blog!



I loved this from Seth Godin – he didn’t mention Twitter or Facebook though…

Where do ideas come from?

1. Ideas don’t come from watching television
2. Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture
3. Ideas often come while reading a book
4. Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them
5. Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom
6. Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide
7. Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do
8. Ideas fear experts, but they adore beginner’s mind. A little awareness is a good thing
9. Ideas come in spurts, until you get frightened. Willie Nelson wrote three of his biggest hits in one week
10. Ideas come from trouble
11. Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they’re generous and selfless
12. Ideas come from nature
13. Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence
14. Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice
15. Though sometimes ideas sneak in when we’re asleep and too numb to be afraid
16. Ideas come out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower, when we’re not trying
17. Mediocre ideas enjoy copying what happens to be working right this minute
18. Bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones
19. Ideas don’t need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity
20. An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn’t join us here, it’s hidden. And hidden ideas don’t ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.

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