‘I’d Go Back In A Heartbeat’!

As you know we love good reviews. This one was short and sweet, as too was the stay of the Guests who wrote it! I loved the end ‘I’d go back in a heartbeat’. How cute is that!

“We stayed at Chanters Lodge for one night after our overland camping trip. From the moment Richard picked us up in his air conditioned car (nice change after two weeks of hot camping) until the time we left, the experience was perfect. The rooms were clean and comfortable. Food was excellent. Service was great. Richard drove us around and arranged everything. Location was perfect. I’d go back in a heartbeat.”



Recently we were very happy that our guest blog featured on TravelComments.

TravelComments.com travelzine keeps travellers up to date about Southern Africa and the world of travelling. They provide you with the TravelComments.com 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!


Elisabeth Gaarder & Xenia Ploger

“We’ve never done it before and we’re very nervous” said Elisabeth (left) and Xenia pictured above, as we headed towards our Sunday night assignation in my car. “Don’t worry, it’s fun and very nice” I replied “just sit back and enjoy it”. Thinking something different? Tut tut! Actually, we were heading towards the studios of Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm in Livingstone, Zambia, for the latest edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Da Soulchild, as the girls were guesting for us on the show! Elisabeth and Xenia are part of a team of 5 Norwegian 3rd year Tromso University students staying at Chanters Lodge, while they teach pre-school children for a month at Rainbow School in Livingstone, as part of their university course. Our radio show goes out live every Sunday evening between 20.30 and 21.30 hrs, and features music and chat.

“Do you have boyfriends back in Norway”? Milli Jam asked the girls. “What boyfriends”? This made George on technical pay attention and he played ‘Chipyango’ by Dalisoul. The girls were rocking. “They seem to like that number”. I remarked. “I know they do!” Replied George, laughing. “Have you been clubbing every weekend while you’ve been in Livingstone”? Milli Jam enquired. “Oh yes”! Elisabeth and Xenia replied, also laughing, and I knew instantly how George Da Soulchild knew the girls liked Dalisoul!! “What’s the track about”? I wanted to know. “He’s telling girls not to allow themselves to be treated like a local broom – used once, then ditched”. Was the succinct reply. I speculated that the Chanters Girls would have been dancing to that track back at the lodge too, and I think I was right! The other Zambian number we played on the show was a coup – UZ47 with ‘Killa Love’ – first ever airing of the track on radio anywhere in Zambia! Well done George! Our expert on the local music scene.

We played ‘Gone’ by Nelly and Kelly, as well as ‘Shine A Light’ – McFly ft Taio Cruz. Milli Jam selected an old favourite Chaka Khan – ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and Dr Dre’s latest – ‘Kush’ – that was a nice one! ‘Like A G6’ – Far East Movement and ‘The Flood’ by Take That proved we’re right up to date on the Chanters Lodge Experience!

“What activities have you done since you’ve been in Livingstone”? Milli Jam asked our Guests, “apart from clubbing”? The girls told listeners they’d been to Chobe National Park in Botswana for a 2 day 1 night safari the first weekend they’d been in Zambia, and had really enjoyed the trip despite the scary insects! That afternoon they’d had high tea on Livingstone Island and swum in Devil’s Pool. They’d loved it! One of the girls had also flown in a microlight over Victoria Falls on the ‘Flight Of Angels’ and one intended to go Bungee Jumping. “It’s all scary” they commented, laughing at the same time.

The girls explained to listeners that they’d known each other since they were in high school, aged 15 or so, and that they shared a house in Tromso while they were studying, although they were both originally from Oslo. Neither of them had been to Africa before but they’d both travelled widely through Europe. The future immediately after leaving University? They weren’t sure. Longer term? Marriage and children seemed to be on both their agendas. “Better start looking for boyfriends soon then” I remarked, to in-studio laughter.

We gave away our usual dinner for two to the first person to text us the name of the country the girls hailed from and there was a huge response. ‘Nowe’ was one of them! Great that so many people were listening to the show! George, a Liverpool supporter, wanted to talk about football in general and Arsenal in particular, but Milli Jam and I did not!

A good time was had by all, and of course there had been no need for the girls to be nervous!


Jorma Vuorio & Manu Kitinoja

Meet Jorma and Manu (surnames as above) from Finland who guested on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Soulchild, our Sunday night radio show going out weekly at 20.30 hrs on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s best loved local radio station.

Yes, the names were very difficult to pronounce! (You were going to ask, weren’t you?) But we struggled through. We never realised that Finns had such a dry and wry sense of humour either, and we were rocking with laughter at some of the succinct answers we got to our interrogation! Jorma and Manu have known each other since they were at University together in Finland 30 odd years ago, studying Special Education. Jorma is now retired but Manu is still working as Director, Residential School, Limingan Koulutuskeskus. It’s a reform school for ‘bad boys and girls’ Manu told us. “Do they have bad boys and girls in Finland”? I asked, surprised. Apparently they do. Manu is divorced but about to re-marry, and Jorma has been married for a long time and has two daughters, but no grandchildren yet.

Manu had been to Chobe in Botswana for the one day safari on Sunday, and Milli Jam wanted to know if he’d enjoyed the trip. (Manu and Jorma didn’t go together on this outing, as Jorma’s sister was coming to join him at Chanters in Livingstone later in the week, and they planned to go together.) Manu told listeners he’d had a great time even though the weather was windy and wet. The highlight of the trip had come in the afternoon, during the game drive when he and the group had seen a leopard in a tree lunching on impala! That was very lucky!

What other activities had the guys done in Livingstone? Bungee? Milli Jam wanted to know. “No” was the one word answer. “Why not”? “We don’t”. We understood.

Manu and Jorma have both travelled widely – Jorma more than 40 countries. They’d been to Africa before – mostly North Africa though, as well as South Africa itself. They’d spent a week or so in Zimbabwe before arriving in Zambia – in Bulawayo and at Victoria Falls – and had had a good time. This gave us the chance to greet our listeners in Victoria Falls. “Is it cold in Finland at the moment”? We wanted to know. -3C apparently, but in winter it goes down as far as -40C. That’s cold, we agreed.

The music on the show was good. We opened as usual with Aggro Santos ‘Candy’ and the first two tracks were Nelly ‘Just A Dream’ back to back with Jay Sean & Nicki Minaj ‘2012’. George’s tracks were Runnel ‘Why Ninvela So’? and Dandy Crazy ‘Osayenda’. ‘Why do I feel this way’ and ‘Don’t go’ translated respectively. Milli Jam chose TLC ‘Creep’ and Foxy Brown ‘Gotta Get You Home’. Taylor Swift ‘Back In December’ is one of my favourite tracks at the moment and Pink ‘Raise Your Glass’ is thoroughly latest. George also took the chance to tell listeners of the significance of ONE8 as per his recent blog.

“How did you come to choose Chanters Lodge”? Milli Jam asked our Guests. “I take a lot of notice of reviews on TripAdvisor” Jorma replied “and the lodge has very good reviews on that site”. “Happy with your choice”? “Yes”! Another one word answer. At least it wasn’t “no”! “And Jorma added, I’ve been following Richard on Facebook ever since we made our reservation”.

Where would these gentlemen like to be and what would they like to be doing 10 years from now? In good health and still travelling.


3 Lovely Ladies On 107.7 FM!

Check Felicity Clarke, Sarah Martin and Catherine Kelly in the picture above, as they appeared on The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Soulchild on Sunday 24th October – Independence Day in Zambia! The show is sponsored by Chanters Lodge, Livingstone, and goes out on Zambezi Radio 107.7 FM, every Sunday night at 20.30 hrs. The girls live in Liverpool together, and met when they were at Liverpool University. Felicity’s a software developer, Sarah runs a branch of a car hire company and Catherine’s a social worker. What a lot of fun they were too on Zambezi FM, Livingstone’s best loved local radio station – where ‘the waves flow’.

“Is it true Felicity”, Milli Jam our host wanted to know, “that when you arrived at Livingstone Airport you tried to withdraw 150 million Zambian kwacha from the ATM”!? (About US$33,000) “Yes! I got mixed up with the number of zeros”! She confessed. “Just as well I was there to help you”! I said, as we laughed. “Did you enjoy your white water rafting”? Milli Jam continued, and the girls said that they’d enjoyed it a lot. They’d fallen out of the boat a few times but had regarded this as part and parcel of the fun. “What other activities have you done”? The girls were asked, and they told listeners that they’d done an abseiling package involving the zip line, gorge swing and flying fox as well as the abseil. They’d also been on the sunset cruise and had swum in Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island. They’d packed a lot into the two full days and a half they’d spent at Chanters Lodge as our Guests.

“What made you choose Chanters”? Milli Jam asked, and the girls said they’d booked at quite short notice and had been guided by the good reviews they’d read about the lodge on TripAdvisor. No great surprise, many of our Guests say the same. “Are you pleased with your choice?” Milimo (his ‘real’ name) continued. “Oh! Yes!” the girls enthused – “the staff have been great and we’ve had a lovely time”!

The music on the show was up to our normal high standard. Rihanna’s ‘What’s My Name’ from her new album has ‘hit’ written all over it. We coupled that with Bruno Mars and ‘Today My Life Begins’ – sweet stuff. George’s Zambian selections were from Kaufela and Judy and I’m sure, as usual, he’ll write his piece for the blog later in the week. The tracks were ‘Sky Is The Limit’ and ‘Supernatural Woman’ respectively. Milli Jam was back in time with Brandy’s cover of the Phil Collins hit ‘Another Day in Paradise’ coupled with Boyz II Men and ‘Waters Run Dry’ – nice! Ciara’s ‘Gimme That’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Nothing On But The Radio’ went down well with the Chanters Girls back at the lodge, though they’d asked for Gaga’s ‘Alejandro’. Maybe next week!

“Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing 10 years from now?” We asked the girls. “We can’t answer questions like that!” They giggled. “We live for today”! “You live in Liverpool, have you met Stevie Gerrard”? “We don’t know much about football” they said. “Oh! But wait!” said Felicity “I once got Jamie Carragher’s autograph for my brother”! Great stuff!

Milli Jam wanted to know if we’d had a good response from the vacancies we’d announced on last week’s show, and I was happy to report that we’d had an excellent response and had made two new appointments. Was there a prize this week? Yes there was, for the first person to text us he name of the city where these girls lived. ‘Liverpool’ came the answer from Lubeta – before I’d even read out the number to text! Awesome!


3 Brothers Bed & Breakfast

We’re often asked for recommendations for somewhere to stay in Johannesburg. Well here’s one just 7 kms from OR Tambo International Airport. Small, safe and friendly it has been referred by one of our regular Guests:-

3 Brothers Bed and Breakfast offers you the choice of three beautiful and unique rooms with en-suite bathrooms, M-net, as well as complimentary tea/coffee in all the rooms.

Offering a delicious English breakfast every morning and dinner available on request. Come relax in our tranquil gardens, take a dip in our heated pool or enjoy our lapa and entertainment area.


Lion Country

We were delighted on Sunday night’s ‘Chanters Lodge Experience’ (our regular weekly radio show aired from 20.30 hrs for an hour on Zambezi 107.7 fm Livingstone’s great local radio station), to host the film crew staying at Chanters. The team are winding up filming the lion encounter based at Thorn Tree Lodge for the forthcoming second series of Lion Country, a documentary to be broadcast on ITV in UK from January 2011 every Friday at 20.00 hrs for 12 weeks.

“We’re in competition with Eastenders at that time” commented Phil Broadhurst – the cameraman who took that great shot of the studio above. Personally I don’t think they need to worry – they had an audience of 4 million for the first series and the second series sounds wonderful! The rest of the crew in attendance were Sebastian Dunn, the sound man, and Alison Quirk, the producer. Also in the photo are Milli Jam and George Soulchild who expertly co-host the show, and myself.

“Are you scared of lions?” We wanted to know. Generally they said they were not, but they mentioned that when they were filming in Zimbabwe they were surrounded at night by 80 of the beasts making a tremendous noise. Sebastian, the sound man, gave us a great impression of a lion’s roar which we made him repeat! “Have you done the night encounter?” we asked the crew. “Not yet, it’s the last thing we have to shoot before we go home” Alison informed the listeners.

The crew gave us the background to their professional careers revealing that both Phil and Seb have been highly involved with all sorts of programmes featuring wildlife in the past. Alison is the producer and the organizer. We’ve had great business at Chanters from various members of this crew during 2010, and it was lovely to hear them praise the lodge, the food and the staff and to tell listeners that Chanters really felt like their second home.

The music for the show was a good mix as usual. Bruno Mars ‘Just The Way You Are’ kept up our record of playing the current number one in UK – we played it back to back with Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl In The World’ the first single from her new album, high in the US Charts. On the local scene George featured ‘Temperature’ by Uniq (“I suppose it means his girl friend raises his temperature” I speculated. “Affirmative” the guys replied). We played the ever popular Petersen’s “Dance With You” as well. (I was delighted to be given a copy of the new JK album by George, though Milli Jam reported massive disappointment amongst the Livingstone public that JK had been miming during his recent album launch at Steprite).

Milli Jam featured Soul IV Real’ ‘Candy Love’ back to back with Aaliyah’s ‘Rock The Boat’ and we played two tracks from the new Phil Collins album ‘Going Back’ – the title track and ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’. Great new version of an old favourite. We played ‘Going Back’ for Cara, the Lion Manager out at lion encounter who’s a great Collins fan.

As usual we gave away a dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge with drinks – this week for the first person to text us the name of the animal the guys had come to here to film. There was a quick response and everyone got it right! We greeted Guests, mentioning that we were very multi-national this week at Chanters with Guests from Japan, Italy, UK, Egypt, USA, Norway, South Africa and Zambia. We wished two of the Chanters Girls not feeling well a speedy recovery, and greeted the rest of the staff by name too.

The crew thanked the lodge for our hospitality and thanked too all the people at lion encounter who had made their trip so memorable. “When do you leave?” Asked Milli Jam. “On Wednesday” replied Phil, as Milimo and George laughed. “What’s funny?” asked Phil. “Richard only brings Guests leaving on Monday” they replied, as we closed a really fun show.


Caprivi River Lodge

We’re often asked about accommodation in Katima Mulilo, the Nambian town on the border with Zambia, some 2 hours drive from Livingstone. In the past it’s been difficult to recommend anywhere. Now though, we’ve had a commendation from one of our Guests for Caprivi River Lodge – approximately 4.5 kms east of Katima. There are 12 accommodation units and the lodge is owned and managed by Keith and Mary Rooken Smith. On their website they say:

Wake up to the sounds of the Zambezi in our cool, comfortable, thatched, river-facing chalets each with:
• en-suite facilities
• Ceiling Fans
• Bar Fridge
• Electrical Kettle
• telephones

Also offered: very cozy cabins with:
• en-suite facilities
• Air Conditioning
• Bar Fridge
• Electrical Kettle
• Braai Place
• Screened Stoops (Porches)

Our fishermen’s cabins with outside ablutions, with hot showers; these cabins are suitable for backpackers or older children. The cabins are air-conditioned with braai facilities and screened to keep the bugs at bay while you sit back and enjoy the sounds of the Caprivi.

Caprivi River Lodge has a swimming pool, bar and dining facility. Meals are served on the open lapa where one can sit back, relax and enjoy the sunsets over the mighty Zambezi River, surrounded by the sounds of nature.”

Sounds great doesn’t it? And as mentioned it comes highly recommended!


Hostels Board Of Zambia

The Hostels Board Of Zambia has recently opened Livingstone Lodge (pictured above) in the city. The lodge is located on the road to Maramba just past central police, on the site of the former Busiku Guest House. Their room rate is K250,000 per room per night – about US$50 at today’s exchange rate. They might, however, not be able to maintain that rate for long, given the statement from Government below.

“Works and Supply Minister Mike Mulongoti has announced a cut in financial support to all lodges under his ministry because ‘they have the capacity to generate their own income’. “This is the last time that you will be supported by my ministry. I have seen individuals with only one lodge and they are surviving but you have 10 lodges. I warned the Hostels Board the last time we were budgeting that I am cutting their budget because they have the capacity to generate their own income. This is a timely warning that this is the last year,” he said

Mr Mulongoti said the lodges must generate money so that Government receives dividends from them and that these should be declared at the start of the next financial year (2011). Government has spent K2.7 billion in the rehabilitation and construction of facilities at the Livingstone Lodge which comprises a conference room, deluxe executive suite and 11 executive rooms.

The second phase of the project will involve the building of a one storey building that will have 20 rooms. Mr Mulongoti said this yesterday when he commissioned the new Livingstone Lodge. The Minister was accompanied by his deputy Dr Christopher Kalila and permanent secretary Watson Ng’ambi. He said the Hostels Board should no longer depend on government for financial support. He challenged the National Hostels Board to venture into constructing a five-star hotel instead of being comfortable with lodges.

Mr Mulongoti encouraged the Hostels Board to go into partnerships with other investors. He said that since its inception in 1957, the board has had only seven hostels that were left by the colonial government, and three that have been constructed since. “I want one day, either President Rupiah Banda or myself to be able to commission a five-star hotel before we continue quarreling with our competitive sector we are in. You know we have too many vuvuzelas (critics) who are always refusing to acknowledge what we are doing. This is one of the developments,” he said.

He urged the staff and management to work hard in their lodges throughout the country in order to win consumer confidence and attract clients. “We have as a nation not approached tourism with the aggression it deserves. Investing in this sector is not easily accessed especially for Zambians hence the need for a total review of requirements and procedures for one to venture into tourism,” he said.



Livingstone is highly competitive these days in the ‘guest house’ field. When we opened Chanters Lodge in 1998 (as Chanters Guest Lodge) there were perhaps 4 other guest houses in the whole town along with two or three hotels and virtually no restaurants. How different is it today!? On Obote Avenue where we are sited, there are at least three guest houses before you reach us, and signs for another half a dozen! Hotels and restaurants are everywhere.

Seth Godin on a recent blog says this about competition:

“1. Competition validates you. It creates a category. It permits the sale to be this or that, not yes or no. And this or that is a much easier sale to make. It also makes decisions about pricing easier, because you have someone to compare against and lean on.

2. There are six billion people in the world. Even if your market is hand-made spoke shaves for left-handed woodworkers, there are more people in your market than you can ever hope to track down.”

The picture? Our new suite as we try to keep up!

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