Southern Belle

Here’s a piece of good news courtesy of Gill Staden’s Livingstone on line.

The US$1 million-plus refurbishment of Protea Hotel’s latest project, the Southern Belle, has been completed. Bookings have now opened for the maiden Zambian voyage of the old steam-style boat, which was an institution in the waters of Lake Kariba on the Zimbabwe side for more than a decade.

Since the completion of her refurbishment, the Southern Belle, operated by Protea Hotels, has undergone lake trials, all of which have proven incredibly successful. The vessel’s first official voyage takes place on 1 December, and bookings have already begun to pour in, says the group.

“The renovation of the Southern Belle has been a lengthy process, and we’re absolutely thrilled that we’ve managed to execute it immaculately. Our first series of lake trials have been a great success, and we simply can’t wait to welcome visitors aboard in December,” said Mark O’Donnell, Chairman of Protea Hotels Zambia.

Renovations to the vessel have been extensive, but all 22 refurbished en-suite cabins have remained sympathetic to the design elements that make up a classic steam boat. Massive interior refurbishments have also taken place. All the original décor and furnishings have been stripped, and the old generators have been replaced with more energy-efficient alternatives, as well as solar energy water heating systems.

The newly completed Southern Belle also features a conference room for up to 40 people, a shop,
restaurant and bar, and a top deck with bar and a swimming pool. All guests will be welcomed aboard the vessel at the newly completed base station, which features a thatched verandah as well as a secure parking facility.

The Southern Belle will operate from the base station in Manchinchi Bay near Siavonga on Lake Kariba. International guests can fly in to Lusaka International Airport. O’Donnell said guests could charter the vessel for one to five nights, depending on group requirements. The Southern Belle would depart from the base station at noon and return at 10h00 on the final day.


You Can’t Please Everyone All The Time!

As you probably know by now I’m a great fan of Seth Godin’s blog. Usually short and right to the point, this is Seth’s take on not being able to please everyone all the time.

“When a popular rock group comes to town, some of their fans won’t get great tickets. Not enough room in the front row. Now they’re annoyed. 2% of them are angry enough to speak up or badmouth or write an angry letter. When Disney changes a policy and offers a great new feature or benefit to the most dedicated fans, 2% of them won’t be able to use it… timing or transport or resources or whatever. They’re angry and they let the brand know it.

Do the math. Every time Apple delights 10,000 people, they hear from 200 angry customers, people who don’t like the change or the opportunity or the risk it represents. If you have fans or followers or customers, no matter what you do, you’ll annoy or disappoint two percent of them. And you’ll probably hear a lot more from the unhappy 2% than from the delighted 98.

It seems as though there are only two ways to deal with this: Stop innovating, just stagnate. Or go ahead and delight the vast majority. Sure, you can try to minimize the cost of change, and you might even get the number to 1%. But if you try to delight everyone, all the time, you’ll just make yourself crazy. Or become boring.

Couldn’t have said it better myself! The photo? Flying Fox 120m or so above the Zambezi! Put me in the 2%!


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!


George Mukwita – Guest Blog

Here’s George Mukwita’s Guest blog for the week. George, who works under the name of ‘George Soulchild’ co-hosts our weekly radio show which goes out live every Sunday at 20.30 hrs on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm – ‘imitated but never duplicated’.

Local artist Robert Banda AKA Roberto has been nominated for this year’s African music awards in the following categories: best artist Southern Africa, best African new comer, best collaboration with Toniks of Uganda. The Awards are set for the 15th of October 2010. His new song ‘Your Love’ sung in English and Nyanja from his forthcoming album played for the first time on 107.7 Zambezi FM on my breakfast show and we also featured it on the Chanters show just days after its release, its red hot! Something for this coming summer I must add.

Danny is labelled as one of the BIG 5 local artists, his new song ”Live” has like all of his songs in the past received criticism in one way or the other. In his new song Danny educates on the importance of consistent and correct use of condoms every time one has sex…In a twisted clever way bringing out the artistic self that he is known for, in the local music industry there are few who can deliver like Danny does. The song is a big hit in the clubs taverns and shabeens it’s also the title track to his new album. We featured it on the Chanters show. Danny has been in the Zambian music industry since 99/2000. His last album didn’t fare so well, now all eyes are on his new project as it promises to do better – guess we just have to wait and see.

Local artist Merriam Mukabe aka Mampi last Friday attracted a very large crowd of Sesheke fans at Goma night club in Katima Mulilo Sesheke, Western Province where she appeared for the first time and delivered a spirited performance that was also meant to introduce some of her new songs from her forthcoming album.

Rumour has it that the Diva has some roots in Sesheke. Therefore it was not surprising that a number of people turned up to witness a daughter coming home. The performance started at 10:30 pm, her stage act was great and it kept the fans screaming for more. After the show she talked about her performance .

“My performance here is one of those usual shows to just help me keep in touch with my fans and let them know what I am working on and that I’m the best when it comes to this because I always aim to give my best. I’m glad I came here – I had no idea how much they love me here. As you may be aware, I am currently working on my new album which hopefully will be released by end of the year. I will be back”

Mampi, whose second and probably most successful album, Chimo ni Chimo was released two years ago says her new project is specifically targeted at introducing her to the international market.

Thanks George!


Doctor Trey

Meet Doctor Trey, aka Trevor Ndhlovu, well known Livingstone DJ. Trevor guested on the latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience, our popular Sunday night show, that goes out live weekly on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm at 20.30 hours. It has ‘The Milli Jam Ingredient’ meaning it’s co-hosted by Milimo Mudaala, also a well known Livingstone DJ, and George ‘Soulchild’ a regular host on 107.7 fm who helps with the technical side. It was a good show featuring some of the latest Zambian hits which George will be writing about for the blog later in the week, as well as numbers by Ne-Yo, Eminem and Travis Macoy, ft Bruno Mars, Brandy and Kelly Rowland.

In ‘another life’, Doctor Trey is a driver/salesman for WTC (Wright Trading Company) for whom he’s worked for years. He was the original DJ at Masaka, better known now as Pub and Grill, owned by Glen Wright. Trevor’s less busy than he used to be since WTC gave up their agency for Mosi and Coca Cola. He’s married with 3 boys and was happy to be able to greet his family on air. Doctor Trey’s an ardent Liverpool fan, and had this been known beforehand he might not have featured. Chanters is strictly Arsenal!… There was much speculation on air about the first game of the new season this coming Sunday when these two teams meet at Anfield. Ah! Premier League soccer, again!

Richard was asked if the winner of last week’s prize had turned up and whether it had been a ‘take away’. He confirmed that Gloria, the winner, had come for a lovely private dinner at Chanters’ expense with a handsome young man and had much enjoyed her night out. Nothing like take away! This week’s question asked for Trevor’s DJ name and the prize was quickly snapped up! People get so excited about winning that they forget to give their own names on the text, which then disqualifies them even if the answer’s right!

Trevor was asked about his ambitions for the future and told listeners that he would love to have his own transport business, revealing that his second born son was in the process of learning mechanics for this purpose. Richard greeted family, Guests and staff alike, and George was happy to recount his week in Sesheke (on the Namibian border) with Mwampi, hot Zambian artist. Why hadn’t he brought her back to Livingstone to guest on the show? No adequate response! Oh well…


Rafting Is Back!

Safari Par Excellence will be reopening their fun-filled, adrenalin packed White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River this Friday, 11th June.

To start off with they will be rafting from rapid 14 (walk into the gorge) and finishing at rapid 25 (Cable Car lift out of the gorge), details as follows:

07.30 – 07.45 – Pick up from Livingstone Accommodation

08.00 – Meet at Zambezi Waterfront for breakfast and safety briefing before driving out to the gorge to start the days rafting.

14.00 (approx) – Return to Zambezi Waterfront for a well earned lunch and to view the photo’s of your day on the river. (Only photos are taken when going from rapid 14, as soon as we start going from rapid 10 we will do photos and video again)

15.00 (approx) – Transfer back to accommodation in Livingstone

Cost: $130 per person

We’ll be happy to make bookings on behalf of our Clients at Chanters Lodge


High Tea At The Royal Livingstone

I liked this, written by Joanne Selby on April 27, 2010 on the Falls Resort blog . It’s great that the high tea at Royal Livingstone is also available to non-residents, and we recommend it to all our Clients at Chanters Lodge. At US$17 per person it’s great value and the view from the deck at the Royal is well, to die for! Especially when, like now, the spray from the Falls climbs high in the sky right across the 1.6 km span of the Zambezi. (Check the photo!)

Here’s Joanne’s piece:

“During the romantic colonial era, all the finest ladies celebrated the tradition of high tea. They would come together in the afternoons to socialize and gossip over cucumber sandwiches, delicious cakes and, of course tea. Today, the Royal Livingstone hotel, allows guests to enjoy this regal custom.

At 3pm, when the sun is high in the sky, and the mid-afternoon slump is starting to kick in, our waiters bring out the most delicious snacks and cakes and display them in the lounge. Suddenly, it’s as if a new life has come over everyone as guests begin to wander in off the veranda. They may have been looking out at the majestic Zambezi River, watching the spray from the mighty Victoria Falls, or maybe even just relaxing with a good book, but the decadent spread calls to them, and soon everyone is enthralled.

Just the other day, two ladies came in for high tea with us and I had the opportunity to get their reactions. After enjoying the lovely cucumber and salmon mini sandwiches with their tea, the cakes and sweets caught their gaze. One of the ladies turned to the other and said, “I really shouldn’t, I’m on a diet, I must think of my waistline.”

“I know exactly how you feel, but we are on holiday…maybe we can have just one?” the naughtier of the two responded.

Soon enough they had given in to the table of sweets beckoning them and went over for a closer look. Standing there for a few moments, undecided, weighing all the indulgent options, they asked a waiter to tell them about the selections. The two ladies finally gave in and took a plate, choosing their favorites…just a few!

Silence came over them as they took their first bites. I asked how they were enjoying everything, but they were too busy to answer. Finally after a few more bites, one of them paused long enough to respond. “Oh, my goodness me, this is decadent. I really shouldn’t eat this gateau…” No sooner had she finished saying those words, did she take another bite. Who could resist?

Ok, so we here at the Royal Livingstone are guilty of spoiling our guests! We admit it! We love watching them indulge and luxuriate, and we aren’t afraid to say so!”


Alex Shipillo

Alex Shipillo, pictured above before his recent bungee jump from the bridge linking Zambia and Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls, and if you can spot him, doing the bridge swing! Alex stayed with us at Chanters Lodge recently.

Alex Shipillo is a young entrepreneur from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and is the President of the Impact Entrepreneurship Group, Canada’s largest youth-run entrepreneurship organization. He’s also the Co-Founder of Youth Canada, the most comprehensive online resource for Canadian high school students. In 2009, Alex was named as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 by Youth in Motion. He’s also a recipient of a City of Vancouver Youth Award, Millennium Excellence Award, and the Gold Standard of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Alex has worked for 2010 Legacies Now, the Vancouver Board of Trade, and web start-ups TeamPages and Penzu. In addition, Alex spends a lot of his time refereeing high-level soccer. Alex’s interests include youth engagement, current affairs, and mentoring younger students through their own exciting experience Alex is on Twitter @alexshipillo He has a great blog too and was kind enough to write this about us on it:

“When I arrived in Livingstone, I was picked up at the airport by Richard Chanter, the owner and manager of Chanters Lodge. This was another place that I had researched online. Richard was a General Manager of a hotel in Lusaka before moving down to Livingstone in the late 1990s and buying property for a small lodge. At that time, all of the Victoria Falls tourism was on the Zimbabwe side and tourism on the Zambian side was slow. However, in the early 2000s, thanks to Mugabe’s “welcoming” policies, the tourism quickly migrated over to Zambia. Now, at least one new hotel is built on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls every single year! Since that time, Richard has expanded his property to accommodate more guests. Online, he is active on Twitter, and has a 95% excellent rating on TripAdvisor. My expectations were high, but they were certainly exceeded when I got here – I got an excellent room at a great price with spectacular service in Livingstone. Be sure to stay with Richard if you plan on heading down to Livingstone.”

There’s a really good description of his other activities while he was here with us too!

Thanks Alex and thanks for being so brave to do the things you did, and for being kind to Chris!


Zambia-Zimbabwe Border

Now, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking this photo was contrived or rigged! Not so! It’s the real deal! It was shot by Cara Watts, the Lions Manager (awesome job title!) at Lion Encounter in Livingstone, Zambia. Cara hails from the South West of England (Yeovil, Somerset) and studied BSc (HONS) Animal Management and Welfare at the University of Lincoln. She says she’s ‘always loved animals and especially the African Lion’.

Cara first volunteered at Antelope Park in Zimbabwe in 2006 and returned again in 2007 to help with the lions. She then stayed on at the Park and became the Lions Manager there. In April 2009 she moved to Livingstone, Zambia to Lion Encounter where they now have 17 lions and are working towards achieving their four stage rehabilitation programme to release lions back into the wild.

Whilst Cara’s parents Mike and Sue visited her in Livingstone (naturally staying at Chanters Lodge) they headed to the Royal Livingstone for high tea and some cocktails. This is where they saw this spectacular view over the Falls and the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Cara’s dry comment: “It certainly looks like I left the dark side for bright Livingstone!”

Great photo Cara!


Volunteer Work At Mwandi Mission

I don’t normally reproduce Guest reviews for the blog, after all you can check them on our site anyway, but I’m making an exception in this case because of the reference to Mwandi Mission. I know lots of people would like to spend some time undertaking voluntary work in Africa, and Mwandi’s one of the best places you can do this! Here’s the review:

“My daughter and boyfriend stayed at Chanters Lodge last October and highly recommended it. They were so right. When I decided to volunteer in the Livingstone area I emailed Richard, the owner, and he could not have been more helpful. He put me in touch with a wonderful project in Mwandi

I stayed a total of five nights at Chanters. The accommodation is first-rate and the restaurant one of the best in Livingstone – the pepper steak and Zambian dishes were my favourites. We had poolside air-conditioned rooms set in a beautiful garden. It is an intimate hotel (about 10 rooms) with a terrace to eat on as well as an inside dining room and lounge. Richard collected us from the airport and took us back and could not have provided better service. He organised things for us including a sunset cruise on the Lady Livingstone (well worth the money), and a walking safari with Chiinga which was excellent ( we saw the rhino close up). The museum lived up to his recommendation and of course the Falls are fantastic – but a very wet experience in March (at least take a waterproof bag, we got soaked through in the rain/spray).

The project in Mwandi was brilliant. I spent three weeks there building a mud hut, helping at schools, feeding programme etc etc. I know Paula is always keen to have more volunteers and as it is only two hours by bus from Livingstone (very easy). Shorter visits are feasible.”

Great stuff! Thanks to the reviewer.

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