Rooms 11 & 12

Check the progress on our two new poolside rooms at Chanters Lodge. We’re looking to expand our accommodation facilities for the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa when we expect visitors to visit Victoria Falls both before and after the tournament.

We’ve bought the bathroom suites and hot water geyzers required (on sale from a local hardware store). The rooms will have a double bed with en suite bath and seperate shower. They’ll be air conditioned and provided with small refrigerators as well as satellite TV’s. They’ll have a great view across the pool to the garden.

At the moment it’s not possible to say when the new rooms will be in operation but it’s important that the majority of the building work is complete before the onset of the rains on November 15th.


Thanks to TravelWires for publishing this online interview this morning:

“Hot on the heels of fellow Zambian internet entrepreneur Sara Brown from is Richard Chanter, the owner of Chanters Lodge in Livingstone (Zambia). He shares with us his journey to launching Chanters Lodge and how I hope other operators within this space could learn a thing about keeping an active presence on the internet (it does not cost a cent, just dedication)…

When were you born and where are you based?
I was born in Tiverton, Devon, UK and I am based in Livingstone, Zambia.

Can you educate my readers about Chanters Lodge, what exactly inspired the business?
The obvious need in Livingstone in 1997 for a good restaurant – the rooms were an afterthought!

What were you doing before launching your business and when was it launched?
From 1979 – 1992 I was GM of what is now Southern Sun Ridgeway in Lusaka. From 1992-1995 I was a transporter and market gardener. From 1995-1997 I was in unsuccessful business partnerships in the catering trade in Lusaka. This business was launched in 1998.

How much was invested in launching your business and how was that capital financed?
Total invested on launch was US$100,000 but there has been additional investment of US$200,000 since. The initial capital was loan followed up by investment from a maturing pension fund and from profit.

What planning did you engage before launching?
Probably not enough!

Are there any major challenges that you had to overcome in launching your business?
Wow! So many! Development and management in Livingstone in the late 90’s was a challenge in almost every respect you could think of!

I notice your property has numerous reviews on, do you also generate bookings through that website?
Very many, I also respond to every review.

Do you use any booking engine for your property?

You’re an active blogger, does this helps your business in generating bookings?
Hard to say, it certainly doesn’t do any harm!

What are your short and long-term business goals?
Short term to finish the ongoing construction of two additional rooms and to maximize revenue in 2010 (World Cup). Long term to be able to semi-retire in 2012 with a good self-fulfilling management structure in place.

What is your opinion of country focused portals like

Which industry events do you exhibit your business?
None so far

Which sector of the Zambian tourism industry do you feel still presents untapped business opportunities?
Development of infrastructure generally and specifically in Kafue National Park and on Lake Tanganyika
What are your three preferred industry blogs that you read daily?
Hotel Blogs and Best of Zambia – I write more than I read also Hotel Interactive

Is the tourism industry in Zambia involved with the forthcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup?
It needs to be!

Is your occupancy rate affected by the current economic climate?
So far not really

What does responsible tourism means for your business and do you subscribe to it in your operations?
It means care of the environment, training and development of Zambian personnel, maintenance of our assets and first class public relations and yes we try to!

What does the internet means for your business?
80% of our reservations and almost 100% of the feedback. It also brings Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor. Everything?
Has your property ever fell victim to the cheque and credit card fraudsters?


Nelspruit Kruger – Livingstone

This from Livingstone Weekly caught my eye:

“August 17th, 2009, will see the inaugural launch of Airlink‘s (South Africa privately owned and domestic/ regional carrier) expanded network, with a new service, linking a number of Africa’s most beautiful and scenic destinations. “The GreateKruger National Park, Royal Malewane Private Game Reserve, Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Savanna Private Game Reserve and Livingstone, Zambezi!”

The service will operate from Nelspruit Kruger to Livingstone every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in both directions. The new service will enable tourists to Southern Africa to have the pleasure of an early morning game drive within the Greater Kruger and enjoy sundowners overlooking the Zambezi the very same day!”


Boom Time For Gary, Indiana?

This piece from Caryn Eve Murray in HotelInteractive will interest all Michael Jackson fans:

Gary, Indiana counts its Majestic Star Casino & Hotel, its SouthShore RailCats baseball team and even the nearby Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore among the biggest drawing cards in this struggling former steel town. But nothing, perhaps, could be bigger in Gary these days than one modest house in the heart of the city: The childhood home of Michael Jackson, whose sudden death last week after cardiac arrest turned the small frame structure, within hours, into a towering magnet for a gathering of the grief-stricken Jackson faithful. They arrived there mostly from homes only a short traveling distance away – far removed by hundreds of miles from the California mansion where their idol had fallen.

But if local officials have their way, many more hundreds, if not thousands, may soon want to go the distance to get to Gary. They see Jackson’s family home, and the two nearby schools the Jackson siblings attended – Garnett Elementary School and Roosevelt High School – as the epicenter of a collection of Jackson attractions paying homage to a beloved native son. The idea is nothing new, but this sudden and sad turn of events may give it a new impetus to grow. “Gary is the hometown where it all started,” said Curt Brantingham, public relations manager of the Indiana Office of Tourism. “Any tourism there would have to be something compelling to draw people, not just once but multiple times, something of such interest that it would have a wide appeal.”

But with Gary lacking the glamour and notoriety of Jackson’s high-profile Neverland Ranch in California, Brantingham said, “it is hard to speculate.” It is, however, not so hard for Gary’s Mayor Rudy Clay and members of the Gary Indiana Chamber of Commerce, who have lived for quite some time with the as-yet unrealized possibilities of honoring Jackson through a variety of appropriate attractions, even years before the pop star’s untimely death at the age of 50. Over the years, there has been talk of a museum, a monument – and a performing arts center, with the Jackson family involved in these discussions, even with previous administrations, said Lalosa Burns, Clay’s press secretary.

“We have thousands of hotel rooms in the immediate vicinity,” she said, most notably in Merrillville. “If people do make this an attraction and come and stay we can accommodate them and we would be happy to help.” The city’s location just southeast of Chicago makes it easy enough to get to, with access to Chicago’s airports and its proximity to Interstate 80 and 94. “This is the most traveled highway in the country, so we get a bit of traffic through here anyway,” said Chuck Hughes, executive director of Gary’s Chamber of Commerce.

Other than a beautiful lakefront, “we don’t have the greatest tourist attractions for people,” said Hughes. Still, there is potential, he said. “Invariably when people come, for whatever reason they come, they all ask and want to see Michael Jackson’s boyhood home. “Everybody is still in shock,” said Hughes. “We want to pay tribute. We know that he is gone. I would imagine in Gary and all over the world the wheels are turning in people’s heads, public officials, everyone wants to do something.”

Certainly the idea of a museum, incorporating Jackson’s personal and musical history, remains strong, as does a performing arts center, he said. But whether it gets off the drawing board in Gary, or elsewhere, is still unknown. Hughes, who served Gary as a councilman-at-large for many years, remembers when it almost seemed a brick-and-mortar possibility, even 10 or 15 years ago. “The project would have been so huge. But that was prior to all his problems,” he said. Had those troubles never surfaced, he said, “who knows what would have transpired?


Zambia Tourism Awards 2009

I originally heard about these awards from Best of Zambia, rapidly becoming my source of all worthwhile information about the tourism business in this country via Twitter. But this post is from John Chola:

“An initiative designed to promote and reward excellence in tourism operations has been launched in Zambia. The initiative was also aimed at being recognised as a prestigious event hence attracting both public and industry-wide support and extensive media coverage.

Launching the initiative on Tuesday at Lusaka’s Southern Sun Ridgeway, the hotel’s general manager Adrian Penny said the initiative presented a high profile opportunity to showcase the best tourism operators in Zambia. Mr Penny said the Zambia Tourism Awards would motivate stakeholders to continue upgrading services in order to become globally competitive, inspire stakeholders to contribute to the development of the tourism industry in Zambia and help promote Zambian tourism to domestic and international markets.

He said that the initiative would recognise and ward categories such as best safari accommodation, best hotel, best guesthouse, best lodge and best back packer facilities. Operators offering camping site and Caravan Park, heritage and culture tourism sports, clean and green as well as community tourism would be awarded accordingly. “Other award categories included the best travel and tour operator, the best restaurant or catering service, the best tourism transport award, the best in tourism promotion and the guide of the year Award,” said Penny adding: “we also have awards for the best in adventure tourism, best entrepreneur award, tourism facilitation and the Zambia tourism special”.

The awards would be open to all Zambia-based tourism operators and application had been restricted to online participants. Mr Penny encouraged businesses and the public to take part through a website “Just visit and click the Tourism Awards button on the top of the page between 1st July 2009 and 15th August 2009 to participate,” Mr Penny said.

There would be site visits commence in September and October 2009 while winners would be announced at the high profile awards night slated for November 2009 in Livingstone. Mr Penny said that the 2009 Zambia Tourism Awards were a public-private sector partnership initiated by the public sector through the SEED Project under the Ministry of Tourism, Environment & Natural Resources and co-organised with the Tourism Council of Zambia.

He said that the initiative was also supported by private sector agencies such as The Best of Zambia, Capacity Building for Private Sector Development, Southern Sun Ridgeway and Radio Phoenix. The initiators of the Zambia Tourism Awards encouraged more support from the private sector towards sponsorship of different awards, marketing and promotion of the event.

Meanwhile, one of the initiators Joseph Brown said that in order to encourage Zambians to sample the country’s tourism most operators had introduced special rates. Mr Brown said Zambians visiting tourist resorts around the country would be charged a special rate different from those paid by foreign tourists.”

And would I have a strong objection if you went straight from reading this to nominating Chanters Lodge in the best Guest House category? Um, no! No objection at all!

Nice to see my old hotel The Ridgeway in Lusaka right up there as a sponsor too! The picture? Victoria Falls, an automatic winner in every category!


More From Mustapha’s Place

The latest from this awesome tropical paradise. Talk about mouth watering!

“We have a new chef now at Mustapha’s Place, and we are going to be doing Thai dishes such as crab and coconut cakes, hot and sour crispy squid and lime salad, steamed fish with lemongrass and fried fish with chilli and tamarind as well as classics such as jumbo prawns in red curry paste and massaman chicken curry. We will still be serving an array of Swahili classics as well.

We are also going to be launching our new Casuarina treetop spa shortly (mid-July) and also check out our hotel blog for travel pieces on undiscovered Zanzibar, such as the new Kiwengwa-Pongwe forest reserve, the old village of Unguja Ukuu and the Jambiani cultural village tour.”

How nice is that?!I seriously want to spend time there, sleep and eat!


Tourism & Zambia’s Economy

Here’s something possibly more interesting than your normal Monday morning inbox – it’s my Thursday by the way, as my half day will be on Wednesday this week…

This from AFP.

“Zambia’s dependence on copper has tethered its economy to every swing in the metal’s price for decades, but President Rupiah Banda told AFP heavy new government spending will help break that cycle. Zambia’s troubles mirror those of many African countries whose economies depend heavily on exports of a handful of raw materials, leaving them vulnerable to swings in commodities prices, like the dramatic drops seen last year.

Zambia’s case is particularly severe, with 80 percent of its exports earnings coming from copper. The 65 percent drop in the metal’s price last year sparked thousands of layoffs and a 73 percent fall in the value of its kwacha currency. The country’s leaders have long promised to diversify the economy away from copper, but in an interview with AFP, Banda said he is confident his government will make progress by pouring money into long-term investments in manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.

“What we have done at least, we have put a lot of emphasis and a lot of money in our budget on those sectors we want to concentrate on in addition to mining,” Banda told AFP on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Cape Town. “We want to keep the mines that are open open, but we also want to start factories, we want to start more agricultural projects.”

When Zambia won independence from Britain in 1964, it was considered a middle-income country. But a fall in copper prices in the 1970s and failed exercises in socialism left it among the world’s poorest today. Banda was elected president in October 2008, in the middle of a new downturn that saw copper prices fall from 8,000 US dollars per metric tonne to 2,800 dollars in about six months. But he inherited a better situation than the country has seen in past downturns. Zambia’s economy grew at an average of 6.2 percent in the last three years, and is forecast to slow to four percent growth in 2009.

The government used the good times to build up more than one billion dollars in foreign reserves, giving Banda a cushion to spend even during a downturn. He is putting a major emphasis on agriculture, increasing spending by 37 percent this year in hopes of improving food production and creating new export crops. Zambia, which is among the few African countries that has never experienced major civil strife, boasts large tracts of land with potential for game ranching and adventure holiday tours.

The country is also looking to new markets for its goods. Mining minister Maxwell Mwale told AFP that resurgent demand in China and India has helped stabilise copper prices around 4,500 dollars, with output up more than 13 percent in the first four months of the year. Energy minister Kenneth Konga said the country had the capacity to produce an additional 8,000 megawatts of power and export it to its neighbours such as South Africa, which suffers steep energy deficiencies.”

Make of this what you will – in my opinion Zambia talks tourism but doesn’t ‘do’ tourism! Some examples? Immigration, infrastructure, tax, and foreign investment. That bit about increased electricity exports? That’s a bit of a joke with Zesco in the state it’s in….

The picture? Fishing for ‘yellow bellies’ on Lake Tanganyika, Northern Zambia.
I wish…………


Mustaphas Place, Zanzibar

“Beam me up Scotty!”

Surprising what you find on the internet. I came across Mustaphas in Zanzibar on Twitter. I was having a lousy Friday at Chanters Lodge, which got no better as it went along, and in what HotelChatter might call a ‘cubicle moment’ I wanted to go to Zanzibar immediately! Here’s all about it:

“The rooms at Mustapha’s are one-of-a-kind. Designed organically by Mustapha, Culture and their friends, they vary from smaller bandas with access to quirky (and nearby) shared bathrooms to larger bungalows with their own bathrooms. From the African stylings of the Round Room, to the jungle charm of the Treetop Room, there is a room for everyone.

Treetop Room – nestling up high, this room built with wooden poles is airy and charming, as well as being a bargain.

Green Room – for those who prefer to stay closer to the ground, the green room is a comfortable and affordable option.

Yellow Room – this bigger room is good for those with children, or small groups travelling together on a budget.

Swiss Banda – a sizeable and characterful bungalow with space for four people, but also good for couples wanting a bit of space

Jacuzze – opposite the bar, this bungalow is comfortable and charming – good for couples but can sleep more if necessary.

Africa House – also known as “Honeymoon”, this bungalow is slightly tucked away from the rest, so good for romantics, or families with children.

Yes, we’ll have Africa House please!

Prices for the rooms at Mustapha’s are low compared to most hotels on the island and you get access to the same stunning beach and beautiful plant life as many expensive luxury hotels, but with a more laidback vibe.

Just take me there – not but!

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