Hotels v B&B


This is a fascinating piece by Daniel Craig (above) on B&B’s v Hotels, I came across the article on HotelInteractive – I’ve added some comments on our own behalf.

“Social media, the great equalizer, has allowed bed-and-breakfasts and independent boutiques to compete for the attention of travelers online with big-box, chain hotels. And when it comes to creative content and compelling stories, small, independent properties have emerged with some of the strongest voices. Recently, the Professional Association of Innkeepers launched a campaign called “A Better Way to Stay” to convince travelers to choose inns and B&Bs over hotels. PAII’s President & CEO Jay Karen calls it “a true grassroots campaign” that will feature “fresh and edgy content—perfect for social media—never seen from our industry.”
(Pity the powers that be in Zambia don’t do something similar!ed)

To find out more, I caught up with Jay. Here’s a condensed version of our Q A session.
Some wear boxers, others brief; some prefer B&Bs, others hotels. Convince us: Why choose a B&B over a hotel?

That’s easy! Do you prefer your breakfast made from food off a Sysco truck or hand-picked by an innkeeper (most likely sourced locally)? Do you like never having to pay for wi-fi? How do you feel about free parking? Historical settings? Beautiful properties? Afternoon or 24-hour free snacks? Sometimes wine and cheese hours or afternoon tea? Local knowledge of the best places for recreation and dining? Also, B&Bs are considered by many women business travelers as safer than hotels. Guests at B&Bs aren’t just a room number and a stat that adds to the RevPAR and occupancy charts – they’re people looking for more than just a room, and innkeepers enjoy delivering more than an electronic key card.

(We still have to charge for wifi though we do give one free hour, we provide free parking, safety for single women travellers is definitely a selling point for us and we value the personal attention we can give to Guests – ed.)

Do B&Bs compete more against hotels or other B&Bs? Should hotels be worried?

When someone chooses a B&B, it’s safe to say they likely chose that B&B over another B&B, not a Hilton or Marriott. We compete with hotels every day of the week. I firmly believe that the loyalty index among B&B guests is much higher than hotel guests. And in the new world of social media, more and more loyal guests will be telling their friends and families about their fantastic experiences. I’m not saying hotels should be shivering with fear, because our total room volume is incredibly modest by comparison, but the playing field has certainly been leveled in this new age of connectivity. I have no doubt we will be stealing some market share.
Lately there’s been a lot of controversy over the authenticity of online reviews. What’s your position on this?

My belief is that the vast majority of online reviews on travel sites are legitimate – at least in our neck of the woods. Travel websites that do not authenticate reviews by verifying that reviewers actually stayed at the properties in question have an inherent weakness. But the concept they rely on is that the law of large numbers will overcome that weakness … the wisdom of the crowds. There’s going to be the occasional fool or fake in the crowd, but the thought is they will be drowned out.

There is a problem with that in the B&B world – we don’t have the large numbers that hotels do. A good B&B that is actively soliciting reviews from guests will still only have a few dozen reviews over the course of a year – not a few hundred. A few bad apples can spoil things a hell of a lot faster for a B&B with 5 rooms than a hotel with 500 rooms.

To me, the bigger problem is review sites claim little or no responsibility when it comes to the details within the review and won’t get involved in the veracity of the reviews. When it comes to negative reviews that have been embellished or falsified, the property owners have everything to lose. Joe Schmoe Reviewer has nothing to lose, and that’s still very troublesome at times.
(So much of our business is now initiated from online reviews – ours are genuine as far as I know -ed)
TripAdvisor: friend or foe of innkeepers?

On balance? Definitely a friend. While we still suffer from second-class-citizenship on the site (we’re mostly found behind the “hotels” moniker instead of beside them, like vacation rentals, in the most visible areas of the site), the site allows the smallest of inns to compete with the largest of hotels in the same city. TripAdvisor is a great site for those who love doing their homework when deciding where to stay.

TripAdvisor reviews can work really well for local, independent players. The rest of the commerce on the site, i.e. banner ads, booking, etc., is no friend to the innkeeper. Nine out of ten B&Bs do not participate in the GDS system, so when someone is searching for availability, we are left out almost completely. It would be good to build a bridge with the off-GDS platforms that most B&Bs use and the TripAdvisor availability search tool.

Over the past few years, we have gained a good bit of attention through our high-profile discussions with TripAdvisor. I believe we have been the only lodging organization that is persistently meeting with their senior staff about parity, fairness and responsiveness with their very powerful system. I’ve been blogging about it since 2008.

(Friend – ed)

Given such limited resources, which social media tools and resources if any do you recommend B&B owners engage in?

Facebook – no doubt. There is no better tool that allows a happy B&B guest to tell their hundreds of friends and family what a wonderful time they had. We haven’t even seen the beginning of the fruits Facebook will produce for innkeepers. I’m encouraged greatly by the social buying sites out there – especially LivingSocial. Twitter is great, but only if you’re posting content that is relevant to Twitter users, and if you look at it as a search engine.

(Find us on Facebook – ed)
How is 2011 looking for the innkeeping industry?

The only weak point in our industry as a result of this recession has been the transaction market. Our RevPAR, occupancy and revenue numbers have remained steady. Changes in travel preferences have benefited our industry – the desire to stay closer to home, long weekend trips, smaller, boutique properties (duh), etc. Therefore, we are generally poised for strong performance in the coming months and years, as long as the economy doesn’t tank again.

Our biggest challenge seems to be that more and more gets added to the plate of innkeepers each year, but nothing gets taken off. Innkeepers pine for the days when SEO was the only internet-related marketing game they had to keep up with. Keeping all the plates spinning in an ever-more-complex world is a big challenge. But that’s where PAII comes in, right Daniel?

(Not brilliant in Livingstone, Zambia at the moment. We’re waiting for a decision about the addition of VAT on accommodation and forward reservations don’t look great. Expenses ever increasing – ed)

Daniel Edward Craig is a former general manager turned hotel consultant specializing in social media strategy, storytelling, and reputation management for the lodging industry. He is the author of three hotel-based novels, a popular blog, and various articles about issues in the hotel industry. His new e-book, The Hotelier’s Guide to Online Reputation Management, is now available. Visit www.danieledwardcraig.com or email dec@danieledwardcraig.com. Twitter: dcraig. Copyright © 2011 Daniel Edward Craig. All rights reserved.

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Croft Cottage


Gotta love Twitter. Suddenly I’m friends with Elizabeth Hatchell from the lovely Croft Cottage in Ludlow. Stranger still, her sister lived in Lusaka in the 80’s. Here’s what she says about her beautiful place. She’s @CroftCottageBnB on Twitter for a follow!

Looking for bed and breakfast near Ludlow, Shropshire? Deep in the English countryside, our cottage is surrounded by farmland in the tiny parish of Hope Bagot, far from the throb of commuter traffic – yet only five miles from Ludlow and Tenbury Wells.

For a comfortable bed and memorable breakfast in tranquil, friendly surroundings, you need look no further. Our guests are welcome to enjoy and explore our five acres of garden with an old wild flower meadow with orchids, a young wood, an ancient brook – its banks lined with alders – and a large wildlife pool. This is home to moorhens and mallards – and teems with dragonflies in the summer. We have an active badger sett in the grounds which you may watch from the comfort of a hide on any evening from March to October and even into the winter. Although we have five bridges over the brook you are strongly advised to bring Wellington boots to enjoy the grounds to the full although they are not needed to reach the front door!

The home of HOPE BAGOT BEES, we usually have honey for sale, weather permitting, although the last few years have been difficult for all bees. The white hive in some of the photos is merely ornamental – the bees live tucked away behind trees at the end of the goose field, away from the house.

We have been welcoming guests to The Croft Cottage, a registered smallholding situated on the southern slopes of the Titterstone Clee Hill, for nearly twelve years and are featured in Alastair Sawday’s Bed and Breakfast for Garden Lovers . We hold a Four Star Bed & Breakfast grading from Shropshire Tourism and in November 2009 we were awarded the new EnjoyEngland Breakfast Award.

Highly recommended!

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Ann Fagan & Gavin Dempster Rock 107.7 fm!


The most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient was super. Our Guests, Ann and Gavin pictured above, were lively, interesting and amusing – they rocked the house and so did the music! Our show airs every Sunday night between 20.30 and 21.30 hours on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s popular local radio station and is a mixture of music and chat.

Gavin and Ann, Guests at Chanters Lodge, told listeners that they came from Perth, Western Australia but had been travelling the world for the past 18 months. They’d arrived in Livingstone a few days previously, having taken an overland truck from Nairobi to Victoria Falls, visiting the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Zanzibar and Malawi before arriving in Zimbabwe. Gavin was delighted to be back in Livingstone and told listeners that for him anyway the highlight of their overland trip had been Ann’s joy in seeing the sights and sounds of Africa for the very first time! “Awwwww” we said!

Gavin had been in Zambia for a month in 2010 exploring Livingstone for houses where he’d lived as a child in the 50’s – his dad had been an engine driver on the railways in Zambia at that time. He’d also taken a 9 day canoeing trip on the Lower Zambezi, describing it to listeners as one of the best things he’d ever done in his life! This year Ann and Gavin had enjoyed their cycle trip around the city the day after they’d arrived, visiting Linda Community Orphanage School for whom they’d brought various goodies!

The music on the show was hot! We featured Jennifer Hudson’s ‘Gone’ back to back with ‘Next 2U’ from Chris Brown and Justin Bieber at the top of the show. Milli Jam’s local selection of Dalisoul’s ‘Musunge Mushe’ (take care of her) and Kay’s ‘Kanyelele’ (ant) had the Chanters Girls rocking back at the lodge. We dropped ‘Boom’ the latest from Snoop Dogg featuring T-Pain, coupled with Tiesto’s UK smash ‘C’mon’ featuring Diplo and Buster Rhymes. We closed with Britney Spears – Until The World Ends. A great selection from Milli Jam also included Ne-Yo’s ‘Hello’ and Jay Lo’s popular ‘Run This World’ featuring The Dream and Rick Ross.

Gavin and Ann told listeners how much they’d enjoyed their recent two day, one night safari in Chobe National Park, Botswana to celebrate Ann’s birthday, where they’d seen a lot of elephant, buffalo and hippo though they’d missed out on big cats – they weren’t all that worried as they’d seen these in the Serengeti during their overland trip. Milli Jam asked this lovely couple if they’d retired – Gavin said ‘very much’ and Ann replied ‘semi’. They’d met when they were both working for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a large charity organization in Australia. “Was it love at first sight?” I asked. “We kind of grew into each other” Ann replied. “Yes” we said, laughing.

Our guests described their musical tastes as ‘eclectic’ but told listeners about concerts they’d recently attended in Perth given by Lionel Richie and Jo Cocker, making us very envious in the studio! We had a great response to our question when we asked those wanting to win a dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge where our Guests hailed from. Gloria won. Our Guests greeted the staff at the lodge, praising them highly and thanked Zambians listening for giving them such a warm and wonderful welcome to the country.

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Ras Mbisi, Mafia Island

I’ve never visited Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean (more’s the pity) but there’s only one place I’d stay of I did and that’s Ras Mbisi – just check their terrible location in the photo above…Yesterday I checked Michelle’s (the owner) blog and found this:

“Friends and links and things

Long overdue this post, I/we have had so much support from friends ‘in the biz’ or with links to it I think it’s about time I tell everyone about them

Richard Chanter of Chanters Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia – @livilodge was one of my first followers on Twitter and a staunch supporter of the Ras Mbisi ethos, we love him and can’t wait to visit – also he used to run one of my fav places in Malawi, Nkopola Lodge, I have yet to dare ask him if he remembers a 6 year old and her 3 year old brother attempting to head out onto the lake on one of the pedalo’s!

Rachel Hamada of Mambo Magazine – Mambo is an online mag for coastal Tanzania in general and the islands in particular and it’s FAB, she is also a travel journo a former political journo and has an involvement with Mustaphas Place in Bwejuu, Zanzibar – we have met a couple of times in real life and she is a fun person to spend time with as well as being quick and well informed on her specialist subjects (not to mention vocal on any subject you care to mention).

Sally Mckenna from Africa-beat.com a great resource for TZ residents and tourists alike, Sal-gal has bigged us up, given us exposure, put us up and generally been an all round good egg.

Matt Bell from receptionbook.com we luurve Matt (and Adam) they maintain our website, explain complicated internet stuff (well ok not complicated just make it simple for idiots) and run our reservations system.

Ulric Charteris and his team from Roots Marketing, Dar es Salaam, the AV, the brochure all their work, we don’t just love them we want their babies.

Elizabeth Cook Tell ‘em PR in Nairobi another Twitter mate and the first to visit Ras Mbisi – we first met over (many) a glass of wine in the Level 8 bar at the Kempinski in Dar – btw I still have your mates swimming costume lovely.

Jane Alexander @exmoorjane on Twitter, follow her and read her blog, her pieces in the Telegraph, The Lady et al, she has done so much to raise awareness of us and has earned a special place in our hearts – I am still trying to combine a tour of the specialist beer producers plus ‘alternative’ health destinations in TZ so we can get her and hubby here to visit in a ‘work’ scenario.

Stay tuned – we are waiting for the photos of last Saturday’s wedding here at Ras Mbisi – an amazing and beautiful day such a treat to be involved (although I did have a few sleepless nights!!) “

Thanks Michelle for the great promo, you rock!

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Kat Harrison Plays 107.7 fm


Meet Kat Harrison, visiting Zambia with Riders For Health and the latest guest on our regular Sunday night radio show The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild, which I co-host, and which airs every Sunday at 20.30 hrs on Zambezi FM, 107.7 in Livingstone. ‘Let The Waves Flow’ is the station’s slogan.

First up Milli Jam wanted to know about Riders For Health, and Kat explained that in Africa millions of people are dying from easily-preventable diseases because health workers do not have the reliable transport to reach them. By ensuring health workers have access to vehicles that never break down, Riders for Health is making sure millions of people across Africa receive regular, reliable health care, often for the first time in their lives.

“Do you fix the vehicles yourself then?” Milli Jam wanted to know, and Kat, laughing, explained that she was the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for the NGO and travelled a lot to the various countries in which Riders operate to assess progress. These countries included Malawi, The Gambia, and Nigeria. We commented that as Kat’s only been with the outfit less than 2 years, she’s certainly globe trotted a lot already. She agreed. We asked her about her education and Kat explained that she’d studied economics and international trade at Bath University as part of her further education.

“How did you come to choose Chanters Lodge?” Milli Jam wanted to know and Kat explained that a colleague of hers had recently stayed at the lodge and recommended it. She went on to say that she was happy and comfortable at the lodge and hoped that Riders would regularly use the lodge in future. “So do we!” I said.

Milli Jam asked Kat if it was true that she had an identical twin sister and Kat confirmed this, mentioning that her twin sister Liz was currently in Thailand working for an NGO involved with disaster risk management and that the two of them planned to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Riders For Health in March. “Have you trained?” I asked. Kat hesitated….”sort of” was the rather unconvincing reply!

The music on the show was excellent as usual. After our opening theme we played ‘Amnesia’ by Skepta and ‘Big Screen’ from Wiz Khalifa. George chose two great Zambian tracks ‘Ma Gelo’ by the extremely hot Mampi, telling her man that his girlfriends don’t love him as much as she does, therefore he’ll be back! (Figures). We featured Mampi back to back (as it were) with ‘Bum Mbeya’ by Karasa which George explained was all about Karasa pleading for a date with a certain young lady! (Probably Mampi – ed).

‘Rolling In The Deep’ by Adele kept listeners right up to date with the latest hits from UK, and George confessed after he’d played Adele that Keri Hilson’s ‘Drippin” was on repeat at his home! Milli Jam chose Kanye West’s ‘Run Away’ and ‘You Make Me Better’ by Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo. We closed with Young Gangsta’s ‘Toot It And Boot It’.

Milli Jam asked Kat what music she liked and she told listeners here favourite artists at the moment were Ne-Yo, John Legend and Bruno Mars. Great taste – the assembled company agreed! We gave away the usual dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge to the first person to text us Kat’s country of origin and the prize was quickly snapped up by Justin amidst a flurry of texters!

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Guests Donate To SOS


We don’t often reproduce Guest reviews from TripAdvisor on the blog, as they update automatically on to our website anyway. In exceptional cases we do though and I think this most recent review qualifies as exceptional through the generosity of our Guests.

“My 19 year old daughter and I stayed at Chanters Lodge for 3 nights in January. Mr. Chanter (himself!) picked us up (and returned us to) the airport at no extra charge. He also gave us a ride to Victoria Falls (normally a $10 US taxi ride and about 10 minutes) while showing us a bit of Livingstone and giving us some travel tips ~ that immediately made us feel much more comfortable with our new surroundings.

This was our first visit to Zambia. We decided to stay at Chanters Lodge because we did not want the insulation of one of the big hotels. We are so GLAD that we chose Chanters! Our room was charming with mosquito nets (not really needed during our stay) over the beds. All of the staff at the Lodge, especially Anastasia, were very helpful in helping us choose activities and get them all arranged. It was no problem to call a taxi to the Lodge for pick-up to our activities when transportation was not included.

The Lodge has a restaurant so meals were easy and delicious. A full breakfast ordered off the menu is included with the room.

We visited the spectacular Victoria Falls two times, walked out on the bridge to Zimbabwe, bartered for souvenirs at the “curio” stands in town, had high tea on Livingstone Island, and canoed for a half-day on the upper Zambezi. Chanters Lodge is an easy walk in to Livingstone (the falls are a $7 taxi ride from town – too far to walk). Anastasia easily helped us make the arrangements for tea, canoeing, and taxis. No pressure at all for booking any trips and Anastasia shared some very helpful tips based on other hotel guest’s reviews.

Prior to coming to Zambia, Richard Chanter helped us make contact with a local orphanage which we hoped to visit with some gifts. Anastasia even accompanied us on our trip to the SOS Children’s Village. The SOS Childrens Village, by the way, seems to be a very well run home and school for 180 children. Our visit was welcomed, our gifts appreciated (we brought to large duffle bags of Tshirts and toys), and we were totally impressed with educational opportunites for the kids and the structure of the homes. A very worthy organization that operates in 130+ countries.

A bonus for us was meeting Tim and Claire, newlyweds who were on our same flight into Livingstone and staying at Chanters. We ended up doing most activities with them and really enjoying their company! Even when we were caught in a ferocious rain storm while at the Falls. We sloshed our way to the Royal Livingstone Hotel to have a cup of tea on the veranda with a beautiful view of the grounds and the Zambezi with the clouds of spray from the Falls. Walking to the Royal Livingstone for tea was an excellent suggestion from Richard Chanter.

I would heartily recommend Chanters Lodge and would definitely stay there again if chance ever brings me back to Livingstone.”

Thanks to the author! The picture? Children playing at the SOS Childrens Village.

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Egypt Air New Route To Zambia

Although we wish there were more international flights coming into Livingstone from Europe and Asia, any new ones into Zambia are welcome, so we’re happy to report this through LusakaTimes

North African aviation giant Egypt Air has launched its first ever direct commercial flight to Zambia. The first Egypt Airliner recently touched down at the Lusaka International Airport carrying Egypt Air Chairman, Captain Alaa Ashour and Zambia’s Ambassador to Egypt Lieutenant General Herbert Simutowe among other passengers. Egyptian Ambassador to Zambia Salah EL Sadek was on hand to receive the delegation.

Speaking to the press later, Ambassador Simutowe said the introduction of the direct flight from Zambia to Egypt and back would have a positive effect on the Zambian economy. He said Egypt being a developed country, the new route would also see more investors and tourists visiting Zambia. And Ambassador El Shadek said the introduction of Zambia on the list of Egypt Air destinations was as a result of President Rupiah Banda’s fruitful visit to the country recently.

He said the development would also enhance the long standing good relations that the two countries were enjoying.

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Craig Brown & Abby Wills


Craig and Abby, pictured above, staying at Chanters Lodge, guested on the latest edition of our Sunday night radio show – the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild – which airs every Sunday night from 20.30 – 21.30 hours on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. It was the last show of 2010!

Craig’s a New Zealander, Abby’s English, and although not married they’re partners and currently live in Johannesburg, South Africa where Craig’s a consulting engineer with Mott MacDonald an employee-owned management, engineering and development consultancy serving the public and private sector around the world. “Do you work?” Milli Jam asked Abby. “No” she replied “I’m a lady of leisure in Johannesburg with a great social life and loads of friends, mainly because of work permit problems”. “That must be a a bit boring, wouldn’t you prefer to be working”? I chipped in. “Not in the slightest”! Was Abby’s instant reply which had us laughing.

Quite a lot of chat on the show was about rugby. Obviously we wanted to know from Craig, a former player with London Scottish, why New Zealand had never won the Rugby World Cup! Craig claimed that they had, in the 80’s, but Abby quickly scotched this idea by reminding him that South Africa didn’t feature then, so somehow it wasn’t a genuine victory! Nice one Abby!

Craig and Abby told listeners about their fascinating travels to both Cambodia and Rwanda earlier in the year with the Penguins Rugby Club, teaching rugby in these developing countries to disadvantaged youngsters. They’d been surprised at the amount of raw talent seen in both places. The Penguins is a ‘by invitation only’ club and you can read more about it by following the link above. What did surprise us was to hear that Abby had also been a rugby player when she was younger until injury forced an early retirement. We also had respect for Craig on learning that he’d recently completed the Paris Marathon in under 3.5 hours.

The music on the show was good, as usual. We got off to a flier with the Ghanain band R2Bees ft Wande Coal’s ‘Kiss Your Hand’ back to back with the awesome ‘Man Down’ from Rihanna’s latest smash album. George chose Petersen’s ‘Wanna Dance With You’ and Kelvin Mwesa’s ‘Wonderful Time’ for his two local tracks. Milli Jam chose Jamie Foxx with ‘Winner’ and Akon’s (imo horrible) ‘No Labels’. We also played ‘Many of Horror’ by Biffy Clyro to give listeners a feel for the UK Christmas No.1. I commented that our closing track Sean Kingston’s great ‘Party All Night’ (and sleep all day) was a good track for this time of year in Livingstone.

Craig and Abby told listeners about their one day safari to Chobe National Park in Botswana where they’d been lucky enough to see a pride of 8 lions – a record for our guests on that trip. This delightful couple had also enjoyed their helicopter flight over the Falls, as well as a sunset cruise and a morning river safari. Abby told listeners that on their last morning, the next day, she intended to bungee jump. (And she did!)

I took the chance to wish our listeners a belated Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2011, and also to thank the staff at the lodge for their extra-ordinary hard work during the holiday period. As we went on air the lodge was packed and for once the girls didn’t have too much chance to enjoy the show!

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Cresta Mukuni Safari Lodge


This from pr.com caught my eye – as you’d expect! Don’t know where it is to be situated but from the sound of it, somewhere in Chief Mukuni’s area. Now there’s a surprise! (There he is above).

Capital Corp Merchant Banking is pleased to announce that it has signed on for a $15.4 M project with Zambian corporation Playland Limited to create the Cresta Mukuni Safari Lodge Victoria Falls. The aim of the project is to build an internationally recognized 4-star Safari Lodge with modern facilities: amenities and conveniences which will cater for incentive groups from Europe and America with facilities that can also be used for local and regional markets in the European off-season. Apart from hotel accommodations, the project will offer other timeshare facilities that will cater to both local and foreign clientele.

The business concept of the project is strong, given the significant gap in the market for Safari and wilderness type high-end hotels in the Victoria Falls area where only 70 hotel rooms exist on the Zimbabwean side, and with limited conference facilities. In order to have a quick impact on the market and to enhance its position, Playland Limited has signed a management contract with Cresta Hospitality which is one of the biggest hospitality groups in southern Africa managing and operating 13 properties in 3 countries (Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Nigeria), to manage its property. This will provide the development with the key personnel, marketing strategies, and implementation strategy needed to insure a smooth and efficient development.

Cresta Mukuni will be twinned with the famous Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge situated in the Botswana National Park, which has won major international awards.

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The Aussies Are Back!


No! Even though it’s Ashes time this isn’t a cricket reference! The headline refers to the three Australian ladies pictured above left to right – Judy Smetherham, Kerry Hegney and Di Rapson, appearing (with furry friends) for the second time on our weekly Sunday night radio show, The Chanters Lodge Experience with The Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild, which goes out live at 20.30 hours for an hour on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm. The ladies’ first appearance was back in April 2009 on their last visit to Zambia. What brought them back? Well, when they were asked this on air, their smart reply was “we heard rumours Richard was looking much younger”! “Quite right too!” I said, while others just sniggered…

In fact the ‘girls’ were back in Livingstone for two weeks to do some of the things they hadn’t done on their last visit, including a microlight flight over the Falls, a swim in Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island and a two night, three day visit to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, leaving from Kasane Airport the next day. They also planned to do the cheetah encounter and as usual visit Maramba Market and Zambian friends they’d made during their last stay. In a way more importantly, the ladies had come from Australia via the Copperbelt in Zambia where they’d delivered 400 school bags, and over 200 soft toys to children at Chiwawatala, Chankuta and Mishikishi Primary Schools. They had to get special permission from the airlines they used to carry all that excess luggage in such a good cause. Oh! and they brought some beanies too. “Beanies”? I hear you ask. Don’t know your Aussie slang do ya? Woollen hats in real English. I only knew the slang as the ladies kindly brought me the ‘Australian Slang Dictionary’! Allows me to be rude to the Aussie cricketers on TV in their own language.

The only tinge of sadness was the news that Mr Billy Mulonda, head of one of the families the ladies had been helping in Ndola had been struck by lightning and killed the day they were leaving the Copperbelt. We sent our deepest condolences. After the Copperbelt the ladies had spent time at Mfue Lodge in South Luangwa National Park and had had a great time, seeing loads and loads of different animals.

The music on the show was awesome and featured numbers from Aggro Santos, Bruno Mars and Cee Lo Green to get the party started. George chose Cray J with ‘Chipe’ for the first of his local tracks, and then Brothahood Crew with ‘If It’s Loving’. George himself featured on this track – as I mentioned last week he’s a locally famous singer by the name of Kafuela as well as a great DJ and technician. George was hot from a live rock show at a venue in Livingstone on Saturday afternoon organized by 107.7 fm. ‘Were you mobbed by young girls’? I wanted to know. ‘Of course’! Was the short answer. Milli Jam chose 112 with ‘Only You’ and Aliyah with ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’ for his tracks, after which we moved on to ‘Bottoms Up’ by Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj, ‘Love All Over Me’ by Monica and Jay Sean’s great ‘Break Ya Back’!

“What have you ladies been up to since the last time we saw you” Milli Jam wanted to know. Well, plenty was the answer. Judy had travelled to the UK and Paris, Kerry to Egypt, Turkey and Holland and Di to Bali. Di, who’d sadly lost her dad during this period, had also been to shows by Pink and Nickelback in Perth where these ladies live. “Noticed any changes in Livingstone and at Chanters”? The DJ’s wanted to know. “Plenty”! The girls replied – mentioning new rooms and the suite at Chanters, as well as Richard and Annastasia’s new offices. They’d seen that Livingstone boasted a new shopping mall.

As usual we gave away a dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge with drinks to the first person this week who could tell us where these lively and funny ladies came from. Australia was the first answer we received by text from Karen. Result!

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