New Bridge At Kazungula – At Last!

 Zambia and Botswana will start building a $259 million bridge in June to replace the ferry service between the two states, the chief executive of Zambia’s Road Development Agency said on Tuesday. Bernard Chiwala told journalists the contract would be awarded in Botswana on Monday.

The bridge, which is expected to improve transport between the mineral-rich regions of Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo and the port of Durban in South Africa, would be completed in four years, Chiwala said.

The project is financed by the African Development Bank and the governments of Zambia, Botswana and Japan. 

The proposed bridge is some 75 kms from Livingstone.


The Wassinks!

Meet The Wassinks! Left to right (above) Rosie, Lauren, Emma and Henri, our guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz. ‘The Experience’ is a weekly radio show airing every Sunday night from 20.30-21.30 hrs on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The show is sponsored by Chanters Lodge and features latest international and Zambian pop music together with animated conversation with our guests of the week!

The Wassinks told us that they had only recently moved to Lusaka, Zambia after a ten year stint working in Ghana. They were in Livingstone for the long holiday weekend to get some rest and to recuperate after a hectic move from one country to another, a stay in temporary accommodation in Lusaka, as well as finding places for and settling Rosie (9) and Emma (8) into school. The girls told us that they were now learning at the International School in Lusaka but that they were missing their friends from school in Ghana. It was most of the family’s first visit to see Victoria Falls though Lauren said she herself had seen the natural wonder from the Zimbabwe side some 18 years ago. Henri had moved to Lusaka to establish his company Liebherr, Zambia having worked for the same organization Liebherr in Ghana.

Henri explained that Liebherr, a German family business was established in 1949 by Hans Liebherr. The great success of his first mobile, easy-to-assemble and affordable tower crane was the foundation on which the company flourished. In Zambia the company sells and provides spares for excavation equipment used mostly in the country’s flourishing copper mines some 500 kms north of Lusaka, as well as in Solwezi, north west of the capital.

The music on the show was great. We opened with tracks from Avicii as well as Sam Smith and Fuse ODG featuring Sean Paul. Milli Jam and Jay chose numbers from Usher, Dandy Crazy, and Olly Murs as well as Jay Rox’s latest hit ‘Khmutima’ – ‘I’ll fix her broken heart’ translated Jay “I bet you would!” Said I. Our pick of the week was Nicki Minaj’s ‘Pills N’Potions’ and the oldie Drake ft Rihanna with ‘Take Care’. Felistus won dinner for two with drinks at the lodge for knowing the artist on the oldie and quickly texting.

The family told us that as well as relaxing at the lodge they had much enjoyed their visit to the Falls – they had got very wet from the spray and Emma thought it was all quite scary! They had loved their sunset cruise on the Lady Livingstone they had taken that very afternoon, and a visit to the reptile park had also gone down well. “Did you hold the snakes?” I asked the girls. “Noooooo!” they laughed. We wondered whether Lauren had also found a job in Lusaka but she replied she had had no time to do so up to now, though being a primary school teacher she hoped for that chance in the future. Both Lauren and Henri were looking forward to welcoming family members for visits to Zambia once they themselves had settled down.

Henri is Dutch from Twente, Lauren English from North London (born in Tottenham and supporting their team – we brushed past this), they had met in Nigeria when Lauren was working for Shell and Henri for a dredging company. Henri’s specialist area is financial management. Henri’s favourite footballer is a chap called Robin van Persie. The girls told us that they loved the music of Katy Perry as well as a particular track called ‘The Fox’. They also loved their iPads!

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing ten years from now, Henri said he would like to be retired and living near the beach in Thailand. Lauren hoped to be healthy, happy and settled. We wished them all the best for their time in Zambia.


Another new Lusaka Hotel!

A 148-room property in Lusaka is set to become the first hotel in Zambia for Hilton Worldwide’s Garden Inn brand, the company has announced. Hilton Worldwide has signed an agreement with investors National Pension Scheme Authority to open the Hilton Garden Inn Lusaka City Centre in 2015.

It will form part of an integrated, mixed use development alongside corporate and government offices in the heart of the central business district Hilton Garden Inn global head Adrian Kurre said: “The introduction of Hilton Garden Inn in Zambia marks a new chapter in the brand’s ever evolving global portfolio.

“We are delighted to help meet the growing local demand for affordable, quality accommodation in Zambia’s blossoming capital city and look forward to welcoming guests to Hilton Garden Inn’s award-winning hospitality.”

The hotel will incorporate the brand’s functional signature features of a business centre, complimentary internet access, comfortable guest room desk chair and quality bedding. Guest amenities will also include an outdoor pool, fitness centre, all-day dining facility together with a garden lounge and bar.

“Today’s announcement is significant as we prepare to enter another capital city in Africa and further our strategy to provide quality services and products to the continent’s expanding market,” said Hilton Worldwide Europe and Africa senior vice president, development Patrick Fitzgibbon.

“Lusaka’s influence and prominence as a commercial centre continues to grow and we are inspired to grow with it.” Zambia is currently benefiting from steady economic growth and, according to the African Economic Outlook for 2013, is expected to continue to grow by an average of 7.9% per annum


The Mudaala Experience!

Actually every edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz is a ‘Mudaala Experience’! Why? Well Milli Jam’s real name is Milimo Mudaala! ‘The Experience’ is our weekly radio show airing on Zambezi 107.7 fm at 20.30hrs (CAT) every Sunday night, and we were delighted to welcome Milli Jam’s younger brother Munyama (pictured above) as our Guest on the most recent edition of the programme. Munyama is Sales and Reservations Manager with Robin Pope Safaris, based in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Robin Pope Safaris launched in 1986. The blurb says they ‘have always believed in offering exceptional customer care and bespoke holidays’. Munyama confirmed that this was true telling listeners that he has been with the company for seven years. The firm specializes in walking safaris in the South Luangwa National Park. Munyama went on to tell listeners about Robin Pope’s extensive business interests including Stanley Lodge in Zambia near Victoria Falls as well as lodges in Malawi. Robin Pope himself he described as a ‘legend’ in South Luangwa. The company has a justifiably awesome reputation.

Jay asked most of the questions on the programme as Milli Jam already knew most of the answers! We wanted to know if Munyama was married, whether he had children and if so whether his family was there with him in Malawi. He confirmed yes, yes and yes, revealing that he and his wife had married on Livingstone Island during the days he worked for Tongabezi here in Livingstone. “Did you swim in Devil’s Pool after the ceremony?” I asked. Unsurprisingly they had not! . “Does your wife work in Malawi?” I wondered. “She works for me in the office!” Was the sharp reply – “a real family affair then!” I said.

The music on the show was good. We opened with tracks from Avicii, Rita Ora and the Common Linnets. Jay and Milli Jam featured tracks from Calvin Harris, Eddie Black, Runnel and Trey Songz. Our oldie of the week, for which we give a prize to the first person to text us the name of the recording artist, was ‘Hope’ by Twista and the prize was snapped up by one Sanford. My pick of the week was Ed Sheeran’s ‘All Of The Stars’ and we closed with 5SOS’s ‘Don’t Stop’.

Munyama told us that he had completed secondary school at St Raphael’s in Livingstone before going on to study hotel management at HTTI in Lusaka. He supports Manchester United FC naming his favourite all time player as Roy Keane and current star Wayne Rooney. Milimo and I quickly reminded everyone which club had won the 2014 FA Cup the day before the show! Milimo revealed that his young brother Munyama had gone as far as bribing Milimo’s kids to switch support from Arsenal to Man U. Such devious tactics came as no surprise to those of us familiar with Man U supporters and their methods!

Musically Munyama revealed that he has broad taste and that his favourite acts are Boyz 2 Men along with Bob Marley. Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, he said he would like to have retired and be living on his farm back here in Zambia. We closed by thanking him for appearing on the show and holding him up as a great example to young Zambians of how you could make good with hard work and application.


Bedroom Renovations

We are happy to report the start of bedroom renovations at Chanters Lodge.

Rooms 9 and 10 were built and opened in 2006 overlooking the then new swimming pool and these rooms have really really worked! Wear and tear takes its toll!

The picture shows Benson Bulongo the tiling expert busy destroying the work he did in Room 9 all those years ago, in preparation for laying new floor tiles in the bedroom as well as new floor and wall tiles in the bathroom.

Emma from Emma’s Wear in Livingstone is busy measuring for new curtains, as well as a bed cover.

We hope the renovated room will be ready by June 7th for it is booked……


The Swedish Experience!

Meet Carsten Sommer (left above) and Gert Krantz staying at Chanters Lodge and hailing from Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden and the fifth largest in the Nordic countries. Carsten and Gert were kind enough to appear on the most recent edition of our radio show – the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz – airing from 20.30-21.30 hrs every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Milli Jam asked them at the top of the show “how long will you be staying in Livingstone?” and was surprised at the answer “three weeks altogether”. “Just in Livingstone?” “Just in Livingstone!” Carsten and Gert confirmed. They went on to explain that when they travelled they liked to stay for some time in the same place to be able to make friends and really get to know the local culture. “It’s good for Richard’s business too!” Quipped Carsten. I quickly agreed…

Gert is a civil servant and works for the Swedish tax authority in civil registration, he told listeners that he is just a couple of years away from retirement. Carsten told us that he had been a chef for some thirty years as well as a sailor in the Swedish merchant navy, he is virtually retired but still works from time to time in the food section of a local supermarket. Did he miss not working full time? Not a bit of a it! He and Gert had spent three weeks in Ruanda in January this year and they would not have had time for so much travel if Carsten was still working. Gert had accumulated enough leave days to also be able to undertake both trips.

The music on the show was good with latest tracks from Pitbull, Foxes, Avril Lavigne and Usher. Milli Jam and Jay chose music from Roberto, Timaya, Tommy D, and Kelly Rowland. Our oldie of the week, chosen by Milli Jam, was ‘Soldier’ by Destiny’s Child with Lil Wayne and TI. Surprisingly the response was poor and no-one won the prize we give each week of dinner for two with drinks at the lodge for the first person to text us the name of the artist on the oldie track. We surmised that our listeners (apart from Man City supporters) were out drowning their sorrows on the final day of the UK EPL and not listening!

Carsten and Gert revealed that they are both single without children and to Milli Jam’s disappointment, that they had no real interest in sport! Music wise they loved the Zambian music they’d heard around the bars and cafes in Livingstone, only regretting that they could not hear the words and did not know the names of the performing artists. They also revealed they had spent quite some time in Cuba and the Caribbean, and loved the music from that part of the world.

Since arriving in Zambia they had enjoyed the lion and cheetah encounter but had been unable to complete the elephant safari due to the encroachment of a wild elephant into the area, disturbing those beasts used for the safari. They were looking forward to their first sight of Victoria Falls. They had loved the sunset cruise on Lady Livingstone and had been lucky to see elephant on the river banks during that trip.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Carsten said his only plan was to live life one day at a time. Gert wished to be both healthy, rich and still travelling.


The Curio Experience!

Meet Kebby Chimunya (above), Livingstone businessman and Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz, our weekly radio show airing at 20.30 hrs CAT every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Kebby has a shop at number 41 Mukuni Park in the city, just a ten minute walk from the lodge, selling curios, carvings and other souvenirs to visitors. “I always tell our Guests they must haggle the prices with you when they visit your market!” I told Kebby at the top of the show, “do you give them a good deal?” “Always!” The unsurprising reply. “What’s your best selling item?” Milli Jam wondered and Kebby told listeners there is an angel made from sisal and banana leaves, in various different poses, selling at about ZK30 (US$5). Light in weight it is the most popular item with tourists. “Not wire warthogs or carved giraffes”! We laughed.

Milli Jam wondered how our Guest had first got involved in the souvenir business and Kebby explained that his elder brother had helped him make the breakthrough. Leaving Linda High School he had found it very hard to find employment and with his brother’s help he had now been involved in the curio business for about eight years. “How’s business?” We wondered. Kebby replied that the best months were from May to September but that business was very tough for the rest of the year. “Much the same as the lodges.” I commented, and then made the point – not for the first time on our show – that the city of Livingstone needs Zesco (Zambia’s electricity company which diverts the water above the Falls) to let the water go over Victoria Falls on the Zambian side for at least an hour a day, every day, during the dry season. A plea that will presumably fall on deaf ears – again!

The music on the show was great with latest tracks from Calvin Harris, Coldplay, and Ariana Grande. Jay and Milli Jam picked numbers from Mubby Roux ft Tommy D, Davido, Michael Jackson ft Justin Timberlake as well as Karasa. My pick of the week was D’Banj’s ‘Bother You’ which samples Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’. Our oldie of the week was a Zambian track ‘Kedike’ by Chidinma. The prize we give to the first person to text us the name of the the artist was won, with lots of contestants mostly getting the answer wrong!

Kebby told listeners that he is married with one child. Music wise he loves the Gospel genre and mentioned Ambassadors of Christ and Exile as his favourite performers. On a more worldly basis he likes Westlife! He has enjoyed quite a few of the tourist activities available in Livingstone including the museum, sunset cruise and fishing. He has never bungee jumped. His favourite football team is Barcelona and when it comes to England – Liverpool. He told us that he gets visitors from all over the world to his shop, but especially many from USA, Canada and Italy.

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, this hard working, enterprising entrepreneur said that while he would like to still be in business for himself, he also wanted to undergo further education and training as a nurse.

We wished him the best of luck and thanked him for coming on the show.


The Richard C Nyathi Experience!

Meet Richard Nyathi (above) – half South African, half Zimbabwean, born and brought up in Zambia, Richard has spent the past fifteen years or so in the far north of Norway – if that doesn’t make him truly Zambian then I’d better look for another reason! Got it! Richard arrived at the studios of Zambezi 107.7 fm to feature as the Guest on our radio show about ten minutes after we’d gone on air with the latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient, featuring Jay Hillz last Sunday. Truly Zambian as I said! Milli Jam stood in for Richard at the start of the show telling us about his son’s gold and bronze medals in an Under 16’s athletics meeting in Botswana. Great stuff!

The Chanters Lodge Experience airs every Sunday night from 20.30 – 21.30 hrs on Livingstone’s leading local radio station. At the top of the show Milli Jam wanted to know how Richard and I had come to know each other, and we explained to listeners that Richard was one of the first Guests at Chanters Lodge when we opened way back in 1998.

I went on to tell Milli Jam that Richard, and one or two of his friends, were very keen on a group of Norwegian volunteers working in Livingstone back then! The Norwegian girls spent a lot of time at Chanters accompanied by Richard and his friends – so much so that Richard ended up marrying one of them – Marianne Olsen (who has also been a Guest on our show) – and moving to Tromsoe in the far north of Norway. Richard, a civil Engineer by profession, now works in maintenance for Moi i Rana town council. Mo i Rana is a town and administrative centre of the municipality of Rana in Nordland county, Norway. It is located just south of the Arctic Circle. Richard told us that socially Norway is a non racial country but professionally it can be difficult for people with non-Norwegian qualifications to get ahead. Things, however, had been better for him since he moved to Moi i Rana.

The music on the show was good with latest tracks from Mr Probz and Indiana at the top of the show, followed by tracks from KCee, Owl City, Katy Perry and Chiko Wise. Our oldie of the week was Beyonce’s ‘Naughty Girl’ and the prize we give to the first person to text us the name of the artist on the track was quickly snapped up. My pick of the week was MNEK’s ‘Every Little Word’ and we closed with a new track from Joel Compass.

Richard told listeners that he had definite plans to move back to Zambia and revealed that he had recently remarried – his new bride was Zambian and the couple were busy trying to finish building their house in Livingstone. Richard had also acquired a plot in Kazungula on the banks of the Zambezi. Milli Jam and I were happy that for once we had a fellow ‘Gunner’ alongside in the studio. Richard revealed that he had been to the Emirates Stadium many times to watch Arsenal ‘live’. His favourite player at the moment – Tomas Rosicky, favourite all time – Dennis Bergkamp. About the manager. “Why can’t he re-invent himself?” was Richard’s question! Music wise Richard is into jazz and reeled off a list of favourite artists, unknown to the rest of us!

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing ten years from now our Guest said he would like to be retired, living in his house on the Zambezi and fishing! Milli Jam, who had stood in for our Guest in the early part of the show said he wanted to be the owner of a radio station. “This one?” I wondered. “Why not!” The reply. It was a good show.


Chris Taxis and Tours

It is inspiring to see how Chris Mweetwa (above) has expanded and developed his company over the past five years. The latest addition to his ‘fleet’ being a luggage trailer (parked at our lodge) – and they are not cheap. Chris looks after most of our Guest and staff transport requirements and comes highly recommended. Here’s the link to his website. Don’t forget to review his operation on Trip Advisor if you have used his services. Here’s the blurb:

“We are a travel and leisure company offering excellent and cost effective Tour and Car Hire Services in Zambia. We are located in Livingstone home to the Mighty Victoria falls.

The Company, since its establishment represents transport products, which have been carefully, selected from major activities provided in Livingstone. Acting this way, Chris Taxi & Tours Ltd has managed to continually enrich its product line, from simple ordinary taxi business to the modern transport system of the new millennium and to recently expand its activities to offer tours to the tourism sector.”


Stephen Gillespie and Mark Scarbrough

Meet Stephen Gillespie (above left) and Mark Scarbrough from Indiana and Tennessee, USA respectively, Guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz. The ‘Experience’ is our radio show that airs weekly every Sunday at 20.30 hrs on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Stephen and Mark told our listeners that they had only arrived in Livingstone by coach two hours before the show started, they had been ferried quickly to the lodge from the coach station, fed and then whisked off to the studios of 107.7 fm. Actually and surprisingly they showed no signs of tiredness and were only too happy to explain why they were in town. It was Mark’s 15th visit to Zambia – he has been involved in many projects in the past – but for Stephen it was his first time in Zambia and first time in Africa too!

Stephen and Mark explained that they had already been in Zambia for about five days and had spent time in Lusaka and Mazabuka. Their goal is to build a clinic in Pemba, Southern Province in an area where the nearest medical facility is some 50 kms from the the village. The clinic would aid the poor and needy and would include medical, dental and optical facilities. Financed through donations and fund raising in USA, the clinic would be staffed year round by medical and nursing staff from USA on a volunteer basis, but would of course employ some local personnel as well. “How did you link up?” Milli Jam wondered and Mark explained that they had met at a conference held at Two Rivers Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. The purpose of this particular visit to Zambia was to receive all the planning and other permissions necessary for their venture, as well as to make a video of the proposed project which would assist in raising funds and attracting volunteers. Video making is Stephen’s area of expertise, construction Mark’s.

The music on the show was good featuring tracks from Kiesza, Chris Brown, Emily Sande, Elyar Fox as well as DJ LBC, Zero, Katy Perry and Macky 2. A great mixture of Zambian and international tracks to reflect the eclectic nature of the music on our show. The prize we give each week to the first person to text us the name of the artist on our oldie of the week was very quickly snapped up by Emma. She won a dinner for two at the lodge for texting us speedily to tell us that Lou Bega recorded Mambo No 5. A track and an artist totally lost on yours truly! You live and learn!

Milli Jam wondered how Mark was always able to bring Richard the latest Charley Pride music whenever he stayed at Chanters and Mark explained that he is a friend of Danny Hutchins. Danny Hutchins is a lead back-up musician with the Charley Pride Band. He plays strings and keyboard with Charley Pride, a country music recording artist who is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mark revealed that he is single with two grown up daughters, Stephen is married and also has a daughter. Whilst in Livingstone Stephen would be editing the material he had recorded in Pemba for the video, he also hoped to visit Victoria Falls and to go on safari to Chobe NP in Botswana. The guys had also brought soccer kit with them from the States as a donation to one of Livingstone’s local teams. Mark showed some interest in UK football and revealed support for Manchester United. Fairly normal for our show guests. Jay was cock-a-hoop that his beloved Liverpool show every sign that they will be EPL champions in UK this year, Milli Jam and I were happy that Arsenal had won.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Mark said he would like to be in Livingstone with his daughters Melanie and Jennifer staying at Chanters Lodge, Stephen would like to have led multiple visits to Zambia and to have seen their clinic project staffed, thriving and fulfilling a desperate need.

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