The Veterans Experience!

Judy Smetherham (left above) and Di Rapson are truly veterans of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela! It was their fourth appearance as Guests on our show when we featured them on the first 2014 edition of the programme last Sunday night. The show has been running on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station since late 2007 so this marks our seventh year on air. “Why do you keep coming back to Zambia?” Milli Jam wanted to know at the beginning of the programme. “We love the people of Zambia!” The ladies replied and went on to tell listeners that they had arrived back in Zambia on December 22nd flying in from Perth, Australia where they live, and work in education.

Their first stop in the country was Lusaka from where they flew to Mfue in the South Luangwa National Park where they enjoyed Christmas, explaining that Santa Claus had arrived at the lodge in a 4 x 4 with presents for all the Guests. “Not on an elephant?” We wondered. Whilst in the Luangwa they had seen just about all the game there is to see, apart from rhino, but including leopard and wild dogs. From Mfue they had flown to Livingstone via Lusaka on January 3rd, taking in the elephant orphanage in Lusaka on their way. The ladies had been on the river safari since they arrived in Livingstone as well as taking a microlight flight over Victoria Falls that very morning. They were lucky on both outings to avoid the incessant rain experienced in the city for the whole of the previous week. The ladies were looking forward to a one day safari to Chobe NP in Botswana on the following Tuesday, with Chris Tours.

The music on the show was great. We featured our new theme tune for 2014 at the top of the show – Avicii’s ‘Hey Brother’. Tracks from Pitbull featuring Ke$ha and Bruno Mars followed. George dropped numbers from Exile as well as Edma featuring Ty2. Milli Jam added a West African flavour with recordings from Niyola, as well as Kcee featuring WizzKid. George picked Harry Belafonte’s ‘There’s A Hole In My Bucket’ as the oldie of the week, but no-one won the prize we offer to the first person to text us telling us the name of the recording artist. Hardly any wonder! My pick of the week for the ladies (who just LOVE elephants) was ‘Come A Little Closer’ by….Cage The Elephant. We closed with an old number from Charlie Pride.

Judy and Di told listeners that they would leave Livingstone the following week and head for Cape Town for a nine day holiday in that super South African city. After that they would fly to Dubai, from there proceeding on a four day tour to Oman before returning to Dubai for some days, prior to flying home. The ladies also revealed that they had plans in the pipeline to visit Canada and the USA. Milli Jam wanted to know what changes they had noticed in Livingstone since their last visit eighteen months ago, and the ladies noted the improvement in the roads, new street signs and the increase in activity prices – the latter reported through clenched teeth!

In an unexpected move, Judy produced a marvellous book of photos taken in Zambia during their three previous visits, including fabulous pictures of the lodge and its staff, the radio show and its hosts, as well as stunning pictures of the Falls, gorges and Zambia’s awesome wildlife. Pictures of all the various activities they have done in Zambia are also featured in the book! Naturally those present felt that they would each be given their own signed edition of the unique volume but this turned out not to be the case, and the book went away with its owner, never to be seen again. The ‘boos’ in the studio were louder than those for David Moyes at Old Trafford as Man U lost at home yet again!

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time both ladies said they would like still to be happy, healthy, travelling and creating more books of photos!


Kaufela Close Up!

Milli Jam and I decided to turn the tables on one of our co-presenters on the latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild and put George (above) in the chair as the Guest! It was not the first time he’s featured but it had been a long time since we heard from him and we felt our newer listeners should get some insight into George, his past and his ambitions. It was fascinating stuff! ‘The Experience’ is our weekly Sunday night radio show airing on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station, for an hour from 20.30 hrs CAT.

Milli Jam wanted to know how long George had been with Zambezi fm and how he came to be employed in the first place. George told listeners that he’d served for between four and five years. He had been on holiday in Livingstone and had been making some guest appearances at one of Livingstone’s other radio stations when he received a call from the then general manager of Zambezi fm, Chanda Mfula, who had asked him to come and audition with Zambezi fm. He had been successful, following which he was sent to SkyFM, another Southern Province radio station, for further training. George had worked for an organization called Africa Innovations before this lucky break. I offered the opinion on air that I was not surprised that he had been quickly snapped up by Zambezi FM as he had a natural radio voice – and he has!

“How long have you been singing”? Milli Jam asked, and George told our listeners that he had first started rapping in secondary school, covering hits by the likes of Snoop Dogg and others. He had recorded his first single in 2003 with Leo Muntu and subsequently had recorded about 12 singles. He rated the best of these as his new one ‘Enter Enter’ as well as another called ‘Your Smile’. He rated his best live shows as ones that had happened on the Copperbelt, Sesheke and one he had played across in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

The music on or show was good. We dropped tracks from Conor Maynard and Miley Cyrus (who else) at the top of the show. Before he knew he would be appearing as the guest George had chosen work from Exile as well as Mr Vezzy. Milli Jam played numbers from Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry. Our oldie of the week was Alicia Keys’ ‘Sleeping With A Broken Heart’ and the prize we give to the first listener to text us the name of the performing artist was quickly snapped up by Raphael amongst a flood of contestants. My pick of the week was James Blunt’s ‘Heroes’ and we closed with a track from The Saturdays.

Milli Jam referred to George’s recent bungee jumping exploits and asked if he had been scared. George replied that he had not, but that his Granny had been very frightened when he had shown her the video of the jump! Asked why he supported Liverpool football club, our guest did not give a satisfactory reply but told us that his favourite player was Steven Gerrard. We asked him how he managed to get up so early every morning to host the breakfast show and he said ‘you get used to it’!. He revealed that he would soon become an uncle as his sister was expecting a baby. He thanked Father Cletus from Radio Mosi-o-Tunya for the guidance he had given him in his early years of broadcasting.

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in 10 years’ time, George told listeners that he would like to be highly successful in broadcasting and music, and would like to own his own radio station. We wished him the best of luck and thanked him for his service to our show!


Natalie Foxworthy Live On ‘The Experience’

Meet Natalie Foxworthy (above), Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Soulchild, our weekly radio music and talk show airing every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Natalie was on holiday in Livingstone following a visit to Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, concerning her work as a Projects Officer for Education and Youth Development with Children International.

“What does Children International do?” Milli Jam asked Natalie at the top of the show and she explained that for over 75 years, Children International has been providing critical assistance to children and families struggling in poverty. Through their one-to-one child sponsorship program, they reduce the burden of poverty on impoverished children, invest in their potential and provide them with opportunities to grow up healthy, educated and prepared to succeed and contribute to society. Sponsorship of a child is US$25 per month and Natalie estimated that there are some 18,000 children being helped in Zambia. Natalie oversees Children International’s projects in 13 different countries around the world. A former Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador she did her Masters in International Development at the University of California, San Diego. She hails from Los Angeles. During this visit to Zambia, Natalie had visited some of the poorest ‘compounds’ in Lusaka including Chibolya, Kanyama and George.

Natalie told listeners that she had thoroughly enjoyed her few days in Livingstone. She had flown down from Lusaka with Proflight and on her first afternoon she had loved the sunset cruise on Lady Livingstone, being lucky to have seen a great sunset as well as game in, and on the shores of, the mighty Zambezi. She had been out to Livingstone Island and swum in Angel’s Pool, telling listeners that the water was very cold but she had loved the experience of swimming right on the edge of the stunning Victoria Falls! She had also enjoyed a lion/cheetah encounter that very afternoon. Natalie hoped to visit the Livingstone Museum and to buy some souvenirs before heading back to Lusaka, and then on to Kansas where she now lives.

The music on the show was good and we featured tracks from Sneakbo, Iggy Azalea, Zonefam, Miguel, Bruno Mars, Lawson and Sebastian Ingrosso amongst others. Our oldie of the week was The Kinks – You Really Got Me but the prize went unwon – just too old for our young Zambian listeners I guess! Kaufela and his granny asked to be considered for the prize of a dinner for two at the lodge!

Natalie told listeners that she’d been married for three and a half years and that she met her husband in El Salvador when she was stationed there with the Peace Corps. As yet they had no children. They both loved soccer, Natalie’s an avid Barcelona supporter while her husband prefers Real Madrid. She loves Latin music and speaks fluent Spanish. She had found Chanters Lodge through the Trip Advisor site and had enjoyed her stay at the lodge. She felt she could not visit Zambia without coming to see Victoria Falls and had loved the sight both from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Asked where she would like to be and what she would like to be doing ten years from now the gracious and interesting Natalie said she would love to be living in Africa, and working for an NGO involved with youth development. We wished her the best of luck.


Wendy And David Duncan Grace ‘The Experience’

After a couple of weeks highlighting local talent we were back to Guests from Chanters Lodge appearing on our weekly radio programme last week, and we were delighted to host Wendy and David Duncan (above) from Winnipeg, Canada. Wendy and David are both recently retired, David from his job with the Canadian Federal Government as a marine biologist and Wendy as a resource teacher. This was their first major overseas trip since retirement which had already taken them to Tanzania, Zanzibar and Johannesburg. After a brief stop in Livingstone – time enough to do the sunset cruise on the Lady Livingstone which they had loved, and to see Victoria Falls which had amazed them, they would be off to South Luangwa NP in Eastern Zambia the day after the show, for about four days – then on to a week in Cape Town. Wow! We said. Had they done the bungee jump at the Falls, we wondered? “No” was the reply “but we heard the jumpers screaming when we were down at the Boiling Point”!

Our weekly radio show, sponsored by Chanters Lodge, airs each Sunday evening on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station, from 20.30 – 21.30 hrs CAT and streams live on the internet too! One host is George Mukwita aka Soulchild aka Kaufela, one of Livingstone’s up and coming rap musicians, apart from being a full time presenter on 107.7 fm. Main host is Milimo Mudaala, aka Milli Jam, club DJ, radio presenter and entertainment manager – a public figure in Livingstone. We give away a dinner for two at the lodge on each show – to the first listener to text us telling us who’s singing our oldie of the week. On this show the artist was the late Paul Ngozi, famous Zambian musician. The prize was quickly won.

The music on the show was ‘latest’ and good. We opened with John Newman’s UK number one ‘Love Me Again’ back to back with 14 year old Gabz’z smash ‘Lighters (The One)’. George chose Zambian tracks from Karasa and Flex Ville Marley, while Milimo preferred Michael Jackson and Daft Punk for his selections. My pick of the week was ‘It’s You’ by Duck Sauce – different anyway. We closed with Russ Chimes and ‘Turn Me Out’.

Wendy and David told listeners that they’d been married for 39 years and had two daughters, Jocelyn 29 and Rachel 23. Jocelyn is a chemistry teacher while Rachel is still studying. Wendy told listeners how much she admired Zambia’s efforts to preserve their fantastic wildlife by creating so many protected National Parks, and this charming couple had been delighted to see animals in and on the Zambezi as they sailed the sunset cruise the night they arrived in Livingstone. They made special mention of Winston, game guide on the Lady Livingstone, for his great knowledge and good public relations. They were happy with the service from their Livingstone taxi drivers too! And, the sunset over the Zambezi had been dramatic!

Music wise Wendy said she preferred movie themes and Celine Dion, David – Willy Nelson and the Stones. Sports wise they were interested in Volleyball as both their daughters were players, as well, of course, as ice hockey! How had they come to choose Chanters Lodge? One of their daughters and some friends had stayed there some years back, so it was a natural choice, also recommended by their travel agent.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing ten years from now, David said he hoped still to be living in Winnipeg as their home base but travelling frequently, as well as cheering Winnipeg Jets to a Stanley Cup victory (ice hockey for the uninitiated). Wendy said she would love to have grandchildren, as well as still travelling with David. We wished them the best of luck and thanked them for appearing on our show.

If you missed the show and would like to listen, here’s the link to the podcast.


Looking For Mrs Livingstone – And Chanters Lodge!

We were delighted to get a recommendation for Chanters Lodge right at the end of this piece from The Herald Scotland which I have shortened a little. The writer is Julie Davidson and the picture shows the front cover of her new book.

 Elephant-viewing by taxi.

They don’t do zebra crossings in Livingstone, they do elephant crossings. You need to know where and when to look, as there are no road markings giving the great beasts right of way, but the local taxi drivers will take you to the junction of their favourite route. Each day, a mile or two from the new Shoprite mall, just after sunrise and just before sunset, the elephants cross the town’s main drag: Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, which is not only its lively commercial hub but the road to the Victoria Falls.

“You mean,” asked a new visitor to Zambia, as a family of five cows and three teenagers sauntered from verge to verge while we crouched behind the bright blue taxi taking pictures, “they don’t stay inside the national park?” Our driver chortled. “The park is not a zoo. They are wild. They go where they want. They go into farmers’ fields and eat the crops. And sometimes they are dangerous. Just last week an elephant was wounded by poachers in Zimbabwe, swam across the Zambezi and killed a woman in a village 20 miles up river from here.”

For all its elite lodges and luxury hotels, Livingstone remains wild at heart. How did the tribal lands of the Toka-Leya and the old colonial settlement of a British land-grab become a celebrated tourist hub and the “adrenalin capital of Africa?” It’s all down to a phenomenal geological fault and the marketing skills of a famous Scot, with a bit of unsolicited help from Robert Mugabe.

Until the late 1990s, the town of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side of David Livingstone’s self-proclaimed “discovery” was the honey pot for visitors. It is much closer to the eponymous cataract (Livingstone is seven miles from the river on a rising hill) and its tourist industry was better organised. But since my own early visits to both I have seen the Zambian town become the beneficiary of Zimbabwe’s political instability, and expand and prosper without losing any of its charm. In fact, its new affluence has saved many of its historic buildings, including the Edwardian clubhouse of Livingstone Golf Club, which re-opened in 2006.

I was back in Livingstone for the bicentenary programme’s academic conference: “Imperial Obsessions: David Livingstone, Africa and world history: a life and legacy reconsidered”. The boy from Blantyre doesn’t only live on in Zambia, he has a global afterlife that is apparently eternal. For three days, European, American and African scholars chewed over papers that ranged in theme from “Livingstone’s dialogue with the rainmaker and the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment” through “The empire of sentiment: David Livingstone’s 1874 funeral and Africa at the heart of the nation” to “David Livingstone: Prophet or Patron Saint of Empire in Africa?” Not all the speakers were academics; I was there on the back of my book, Looking for Mrs Livingstone, to remind the scholars that the great man had a wife whose contribution to his early journeys is often overlooked.

Closeted in a hotel conference room for three days while the sun shone on the glittering plumes of the Victoria Falls, I was expecting a certain amount of frustration, if not tedium. But by and large it was all stimulating stuff, and when we were released into the brilliant light and sumptuous greenery of the Livingstone suburbs I felt I needed none of the manic attractions of the town’s adventure tourism – bungee jumping, gorge swinging, riverboarding, abseiling, white water rafting, flipping over the falls on a microlight – to improve my mood.

Only the falls could do that. I’ve never felt they needed any of the extreme sporting accessories they have acquired to intensify the exhilaration of their spectacle. I have flown over them in a helicopter and swum in the Devil’s Pool on their very lip, looking into the abyss as it gulps down epic draughts of the Zambezi. (This is something you can do, at a price, from Livingstone Island, but only when the river level drops in the dry season, usually between August and January). But I’ve had my best moments simply walking along the rim of the gorge beside the five mighty cataracts, my insides trembling with their Plutonian thunderclap, daft tears of emotion mingling with gusting douches of rainbow spray.

Different seasons bring different volumes of water over the Falls, but there is no such thing as a wrong time to see them. When the Zambezi is in full flood you get towering columns of spray and boiling cataracts; as the dry season progresses the spray dwindles, the curtain of water parts between the main cataracts to expose the 300ft cliffs, and you get some sense of the geological force which, millennia ago, tore a rift a mile-and-a-half wide in the flat Zambezi valley; and in every season the forest walks on either side take you through storybook Africa, alive with monkeys, baboons and exotic birds.

So once again, with three of my fellow conferees, I negotiated a $10 dollar taxi ride down Mosi-oa-Tunya Road to the Victoria Falls National Park, paid the $20 entrance fee for foreign nationals, saluted the statute of Livingstone, stern and questing, just inside the gate, and set off along the forest path to the incomparable viewpoints. Sure feet were needed on the rough stone steps and slippery earth; the Falls were full and it was the first time I’d crossed Knife-Edge Bridge in spray so dense the figures ahead of me slipped in and out of view.

Then a wonderful thing happened. This scary footbridge, maybe 200ft high and 100ft long, is a link across a vast bowl of emerald bush on the edge of the cauldron. As I slithered along, holding tight to the handrails, the spray was cleared by a persistent eddy of wind, the sun flooded the steep slopes of the bowl and a rainbow arched over the forest. As I paused to look, a lone swallow pierced the spectrum, darting in and out, swooping and soaring until it had climbed over the rainbow.

Why couldn’t I?

Getting there

There are no direct flights from Europe into Livingstone but it is easily reached from South Africa and, as of this month, from Kenya, with connecting flights from the UK. British Airways ( and South African airways ( have daily flights via Johannesburg, while Kenya Airways ( has opened a new route three times weekly via Nairobi.

Where to stay Livingstone and its environs cater for everyone from penny-pinching backpackers to well-heeled retirees. At the top end are exclusive, all-inclusive riverfront lodges like Tongabezi, the River Club and Stanley Safari Lodge, or the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel, with its enviable site beside the Falls; in the middle is a range of three-star hotels and private guest houses; at the budget end are clean if boisterous hostels like Fawlty Towers and Jollyboys Backpackers. And then there is Chanter’s Lodge, which on my last visit became home for five days without stretching my wallet. Check it out:


The Huey!

From Wildside Safaris

If the instantly recognisable sound of a helicopter does something to you, you’ll absolutely love Livingstone’s newest addition to the ‘must-do’ list of adventures: a 20 minute skim over tree tops and a breath-taking fly-through just meters above the river in the the Batoka Gorge in the Zambezi valley just below the falls – in a giant Huey (pictured above).

The Huey takes off from Baobab Ridge and the open doors add to the thrill. Don’t expect to come back with your hair intact – rather with all the cobwebs blown out! And with an awesome experience under your belt! The big chopper, with its distinctive heavy thudding sound, takes between eight to 13 passengers. Take off is from the Baobab Ridge helicopter base, within view of the Mosi O’Tunya – the ‘smoke that thunders’.

The helicopter was developed by Bell Helicopter for the US Army and first flew in October 1956. Since then 16 000 have been produced and around 7000 UH-1′s, as the helicopter is officially known, saw service in Vietnam. It is powered by a single, turbo shaft engine, with a two-bladed main rotor and tail rotor.

The costs per person for the Livingstone flight are US$290. For more information and bookings contact Wild Side Tours in Livingstone. Other flight options over the Victoria Falls are smaller helicopters (US$155 for a 12 minute flip) or a microlight ((US$168 for a 15 minute flight).


Hippo On Board!

 Just love this story from Proflight! Thought it was a carved hippo when I first saw the photo!

Proflight Zambia welcomed an unusual passenger on board its aircraft last week in the form of Douglina, a 120 kg hippo calf. The four-month-old orphan, at 1.2 meters long, was flown by the airline in a specially-made crate from the Lower Zambezi to her new home in South Luangwa National Park. The animal was rescued by a team from wildlife charity Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), who had observed it for several hours, alone and in distress on the Zambezi River.

When a female hippo nears the time to give birth, she leaves the pod for one to two weeks to give birth to her young and bond with the calf. Without its mother for protection from predators, the calf would almost certainly not have survived the night. Hippo have been identified as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List drawn up by the World Conservation Union, with an estimated global population of between 125,000 and 150,000, a decline of between 7 percent and 20 percent since the IUCN’s 1996 study.

Settled in her new temporary home complete with plunge pool, cleaned and refilled each day, Douglina – who was originally thought to be male and named Douglas – was fed from a bottle with a formula put together with the advice of experts. Consuming 1.5 litres of milk with two egg yolks and supplements every three hours – she grew quickly. After the elephant and white rhino, the hippo is the heaviest land mammal and soon Douglas grew too large for his current enclosure and became expensive to feed and look after. Hippos can grow over four metres in length and 1.6m tall. They can live for up to 45 years, with males reaching maturity at about 9-11 years old and females at 7-9 years old.

The plan is to release Douglina back into the wild when she reaches maturity. In view of this the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) decided that the safest place for the calf to be reared until she can be released is Chipembele Wildlife Trust in South Luangwa, where experienced wildlife rehabilitators have committed to caring for her in their open facility. However the big question was how to get her there? A road journey would be long, stressful and potentially dangerous for the disorientated calf and so a much shorter and more comfortable journey by air was advised.

Thanks to Proflight and their generous team, the calf has been given a much higher chance of a smooth and successful relocation in a purpose built wooden crate in the back of their caravan aircraft! Douglina was accompanied by one of his dedicated carers and ZAWA a vet. Later this year Douglina’s milk consumption will be reduced and in accordance with a natural hippo calf she will be weaned between February and June 2014. Her new home in South Luangwa is often visited by wild hippos and it is hoped that she will ultimately find a mate and join a wild pod.

Proflight have supported CLZ for many years. As well as flights, CLZ was also their dedicated charity in 2011 and into 2012. CLZ thank Proflight for all of their fundamental help to our work protecting wildlife for the present and future generations of Zambia.

Proflight Zambia was established in 1991 and is the country’s only domestic scheduled airline. From its base in Lusaka it flies to Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Ndola, Solwezi, Chipata, Mansa and Kasama.


Ngonye Falls National Park

From 1000x Africa

“The opening of Ngonye Falls Park in Zambia is  a crucial wildlife corridor between national parks of five Africans countries.  It lies a few hundred kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls. Its one of the main wildlife corridors between Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.

The Zambian Minister of Tourism, Masebo paid tribute to the development partners who have been supporting the Ngonye Falls Park, notably the Federal Republic of Germany for funding the operations of the park for the last two years, the training of staff and the acquisition of equipment.

The Minister said that the five partner countries of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe want to mutually conserve their natural resources in a sustainable way that will benefit the local communities and will eventually reduce rural poverty. The opening of Ngonye Falls is a step in the further development of the area.

“The partnership between communities and their natural resources is the key element to the sustainable management of national parks and, if established correctly, also the key element in combatting rural poverty.” Masebo also said that the KAZA TFCA combines economic, ecological and social development and could become the shining example for sustainable development in the region.

In Kabula Village in the Ngonye Falls Park is an elephant restraining line erected around Kabula Village. An elephant restraining line consists of electrified wires that run two metres above ground, thereby allowing communities free movement while protecting crops from elephants. T

The elephant restraining line has proven tremendously successful and there has not been a single breach by elephants since its erection. Dr Victor Siamudaala, executive director of KAZA TFCA, welcomed this development, saying that all five partner countries’ concerted efforts were needed to achieve their commitment to regional economic integration through the sustainable management of transboundary natural resources and tourism development.

Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta said that the Conservancy would be an important area in KAZA TFCA to re-establish wildlife populations and their migration routes to the benefit of the local communities. He also reminded all of the Conservancy’s significance to the KAZA TFCA, as it will ultimately link Chobe National Park in Botswana to Kafue National Park in Zambia. The Senior Chief thanked the development partners of the Simalaha Community Conservancy, notably the Mava Foundation for Nature and the Swedish Postcode Lottery for their support.


Extreme Experience

Meet Tony Pilcher, entrepreneur and owner/manager of Jet Extreme, his company providing exciting jet boat adventures in the rapids below Victoria Falls for tourists to Livingstone, Zambia. Tony was our Guest on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela, our weekly Sunday night radio show airing from 20.30 to 21.30 hrs on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Tony kindly donated a jet boat ride for two people to add on to the weekly prize we give away on the show, of a dinner for two with drinks and a swim at Chanters Lodge. We give the prize to the first person to text us telling us who’s singing our ‘oldie of the week’ – this week’s track was Cher’s ‘Believe’ and the great prize was quickly snapped up by Mpezeni – to the consternation of others!

Tony told listeners that he’d started his company in 1999. For five years before that he had been an overland truck driver hosting trips from Cairo to Cape Town passing through Livingstone on many of his trips. He had seen an opportunity for jet boating on the Zambezi and had got himself organized. I pointed out that he and I had started up businesses at roughly the same time. Tony explained that it cost ZK500,000 (about US$100) pp to participate in the jet boat activity, the ride itself lasts about half an hour, the rest of the three and half hour activity is taken up with the transfer to the cable car which takes passengers 220 meters down to the boat launch. Tony’s two directional cable car is unique in Zambia and is a ‘must do’ for tourists. The activity includes a stop over at Chief Mukuni’s village for a spot of culture! The 800 hp boat cruises at speeds of up to 90 kmh, performing ‘jet spins’ leaving you facing the other way in a matter of seconds and generally soaking wet! “Has it put you off?” I asked George and Milli  who were angling for an invite “not at all, not at all, no!” They exclaimed in unison. The company has two boats one eight seater, one eleven seater and the minimum number for a trip is eight people.

Musically Tony expressed an interest in the Bellamy Brothers. We did not have them on the play list but we did have Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida and their number one UK smash hit ‘Troublemaker’, back to back with Bruno Mars ‘Moonshine’ – a great start to the show. George dropped Salma Dodia’s big African hit ‘Wonderful World’ together with Afunika’s ‘Free To Mingo’ and yes that is the right spelling (smh). Milli Jam spun ‘Hope We Meet Again’ from Pitbull featuring Chris Brown together with a Paris Hilton/ Lil Wayne combo. Our pick of the week was ‘Not Giving In’ from Rudimental featuring John Newman and Alex Clare.

Tony told listeners that he is married to Sue, who had been out of Zambia for some time following a family bereavement, they did not have children ‘but who knows what might happen when she comes back’ said Tony to some in studio laughter! Milli Jam wanted to know who were the best clients of the jet boat and Tony said that the Asian community were his best supporters but he really depended on agents for marketing and bookings. Sun International gave him lots of business. Being a New Zealander Tony said he loved rugby but no longer played.

Jet Extreme has expansion plans in the property market with Royal Mukuni Villa Estate. At the top of the gorge near the cable car start point the company has 22 plots already sited, as well as investors lined up including the Mukuni Development Trust. Tony hoped that in ten years time he would still be happily married, would have started a family and would still be driving jet boats as part of an expanded successful company in Zambia.

We wished him the best of luck.


Bridge At Kazungula, Zambia

The Kazangula Bridge saga rumbles on. Here’s the latest from the Zambia Daily Mail. 
Kazungula is the border crossing (above) between Zambia, Botswana and Zambia and is situated 75 kms from Livingstone.

THE design review of the US$259 million Kazungula Bridge will commence in February next year, the Road Development Agency (RDA) has said. RDA Kazungula Bridge Zambia project engineer Lazaros Nyawali said the 923-metre long bridge has a complex design and that it is important to ensure that a workable one is put in place. Mr Nyawali said this in Livingstone on Tuesday after RDA officials inspected rehabilitated roads in the tourist capital. (Which cannot have taken them very long! ed)

He said a consultant to review the design has already been identified and that the process will take six months after which the tendering process for the contractor to build the bridge will start. And Mr Nyawali said compensation and resettlement mechanisms for people who will be affected by the construction of the bridge are being taken care of. He said most people who bought land in the surrounding area where the bridge will be built have already been compensated and that 38 families in Lumbo village will be relocated.

“Prior to construction of the bridge, there are environmental issues which should be looked into. There is need to resettle and compensate people. This exercise should be completed before works on the bridge start,” he said. Mr Nyawali said the Kazungula Bridge is of strategic economic importance as it will facilitate the integration of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He said the bridge will also enhance transport operations along the North South corridor which links mineral rich regions of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The Kazungula Bridge project is a joint project involving the governments of Zambia and Botswana which have sourced financing from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA).

JICA is financing 57 percent of the project while AfDB is contributing 31.5 percent. The European Union has provided a 1.8 percent grant to the two governments which are funding the rest of the project.

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