More about Chanters Lodge
Chanters is wonderful!
I can not say enough wonderful things about Chanters Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia. We came as guests and left as friends. The prices are very reasonable, the food wonderful and the staff the most helpful I have ever experienced. I would highly recommend a stay there when you are in Livingstone. It is just minutes away from town by foot and they can help you set up all activities while you are there. Richard and his staff are top notch.
Pat, Uwe, Tyson, and Brad Nehring
Having stayed at Chanters lodge for two days in June,i can honestly say it wasnt enough time to visit everything.But,in the time we had,we did get to have a 30 minute trip in a helicopter.Not to be missed by anyone going to Livingstone.Fantastic.
The lodge itself has a great atmosphere with very friendly and helpful staff.The food was to die for.From the time we were picked up from the airport to the time we left,the staff made our stay a perfect two days.
The next visit will certainly be more than 2 days.
I would like to thank Richard and his many staff for the very friendly welcome and the pampering there after.
Would certainly reccomend to anyone going to Livingstone for a stay to give Chanters Lodge a look.
Derek and Pam.Scotland UK
Great Service but rooms not good
My family and I stayed at Chanters Lodge from July 10 through July 13th. Richard Chanter, the owner and his general manager, Jonathan were extremely helpful. They met us at the bus station in Livingstone after our 5 hour journey from Lusaka. We got a great, average rate of $50 per night for the 4 rooms we had booked. Prior to booking with him, Richard Chanter was extremely helpful on email by answering our questions immediately and providing tips on where to go and what to see. We arrived from Tanzania by plane and had to stay one night in Lusaka since the journey to Livingstone was too long to make the same day. Richard made arrangements for us with Tusha Lodge for about $65 per night. Tusha Lodge is in Roma, which is about 20 km from Lusaka airport. More about Tusha Lodge in a separate review.
I believe the main reason that Chanters gets such good reviews are the marketing done by its owner and the service provided by the staff. Chanters has its own website and Richard Chanter maintains a weblog with regular updates about his customers and little stories about our lives. Because of the website, you would get the impression that his is the only lodge in Livingstone, which is not true.
3 of the 4 rooms we got were in the oldest section of the lodge and were not very clean (at least not by my standards). Two of those 3 rooms didn't have shower curtains and when I suggested to Jonathan that they put shower curtains in, I don't think he quite understood why they were necessary. The plumbing in the bathroom for Room 1 leaked on the last day so no one could use it. It was a good thing we were all family and could share the bathrooms. Some of the ceiling tiles in rooms 1 through 3 were significantly damaged and warping.
The weather in July is cold in the evenings - about 8 or 9 degrees centigrade. Every room should have a space heater and some of them didn't. The lodge's main room has a small fireplace, which is inadequate to heat it so we were chilly all the time inside. Some of the ceiling tiles in the main room were in danger of falling as well. Lighting in the main room was also inadequate.
As I mentioned before, service was excellent - we got most of the things we asked for. My family are big tea drinkers and we requested tea pots in the early evenings prior to dinner, which the staff were kind enough to provide. However, I don't think the staff have been trained adequately. We were a family of 7 and we continuously had to ask for more butter or more toast. We do not have enormous appetites but we felt that 1 small ramekin of butter was insufficient for 7 people.
The food was very good, but I would not say that it merits a 5. We stayed at the Selous Riverside Safari Camp in Tanzania where the food was fabulous.
We used Bundi Tours to book our various activities. Bundi was suggested by Richard Chanter. We were happy with it for the most part, however, Bundi itself doesn't organize all of the activities - it is a booking agent for other Tour operators in the area. I would highly recommend whitewater rafting, either through Bundi or someone else. It is tough but exciting and was the most memorable part of the trip for me. Skip the helicopter ride, it is not worth the expense. The Sunset River Cruise was fun as was the Livingstone Island tour. Victoria Falls is a thousand times more spectacular than Niagara Falls and seeing the falls alone made the trip worthwhile. Zambia has done an excellent job of keeping the area around the falls as natural and unspoilt as possible. I hope they continue to do that.
Zimbabwe, which has a better view of Victoria Falls, unfortunately, has let its tourism sector collapse along with everything else in the country. Many of the lodges on the Zimbabwe side are closed and Zambia is getting most of the tourists who would otherwise have gone to the Zimbabwe side.
If you are going to use local currency in Livingstone, I highly recommend exchanging money in Lusaka rather than Livingstone. When we went, the exchange rate in Lusaka was 3900 kwacha for $1 USD. In Livingstone, the exchange rate was 3700 kwacha for $1USD and the bank's rate was even lower at 3600 kwacha.
If you are going in July, bring jackets for the evening because it is cold. We flew in from Dar es Salaam to Lusaka and took a coach bus to Livingstone. The cost of the bus is about $20 per ticket each way, payable in kwacha. It is a 5 to 6 hour bus ride and expect delays from the stated departure time because the bus company waits until all the seats are filled before commencing the journey. This could delay the departure time by up to an hour. Expect loud music and violent films on the buses - it seems to be standard entertainment. However, the bus does allow you to see the country side and you do make several stops along the way where you can use the rest rooms or buy something to eat and drink.
On a final note, the service at Chanters is excellent but there are other lodges in the area (within walking distance of Chanters) where rooms are better and the rates are also reasonable.
I stayed in Chanters lodge for 3 days, together with my girlfriend and a south african friend.
From the internet, this place looks great. I stumbled across the lodge almost at the same time as our friend and we both agreed to go there based on the website.
Richerd, the owner, is a clever guy. He creates a nice website and will reply to all of your mails almost instantly. He is very helpful and the more mails you write, the higher your expectations rise..
Then you arrive at the place (he'll probably pick you up in person) which is a very very big dissapointement.. I (being Belgian) learned some new words from my south african friend. Derelict, dilapidated etc..
The rooms are big, but VERY dirty.. we found hair in our bed, in the drawers, on the floor.. the shower looks like it has never been cleaned, the ceiling has been wet and is now rotting, is you turn the tab, you really turn the tab.. it sits loose so you have to hold it when you want to get som water out of it (btw, there is only water after 6 in the morning en before they shut it at night..). not only don't you have water at night, but in the morning when you want to take a shower or so, it will take a 30 seconds till the pipes are filled and they do that with a very high pitch noise (it even woke me up when our neighbour took a shower!).
Richard clearly knows what he's doing.. he sits at his table all day long writing his blog, updating his site and replying emails.. all he does is marketing, which works, because it looks like the only lodge in Livingstone.. let me tell you it is not, there are many places and fot the same money.. maybe not on the internet, but then work with a travel agency or so.. or mail me.. I have pictures to prove all what I said here above and if you still doubt going there, just contact me and see for yourself..
We had stayed 4 weeks at the Lodge in May/June 2007 and we can recommend staying over here.
This time we sleep in room no. 10 (faced to the Pool) - very nice room. The room was clean and everything was working in the room. I tried the pool, but the water was to cold, now I think the water is warmer than in May. We had every time we had been there used difference rooms also the old room no. 3 and we had always been satisfied. There had been cleaned and the shower had always worked. Off course – if there is a power drop – nothing works, but what is Livingstone without a power drop a day.
We had used the Lodge the last 6 years and it has all time been a beautiful experience. The staffs are friendly and kindly and had helped us every time we asked for something. We know that some of the staffs are under training, so sometime when things gone wrong, we just made fun of it.
This time we booked a game trip in Mosi-O-Tunya Game Park but we did only saw a few animals like elephants and we didn’t see the last rhino – maybe next time there will be a lot of animals – we hope that.
I know that the main room is under repair and we look forward to see the change from the old main room. We will be back next year for another 4 weeks.
The Restaurant is maybe the best in Livingstone and the prices are OK. We had never been hungry when we were finished eating.
A Friendly Welcome
From the moment when Richard Chanter greeted us personally at the airport to when he drove us back, we received nothing but personalised and friendly service from him and all his staff. In fact, everyone seemed to go out of their ways to make each guest feel important and comfortable. From our previous correspondence, Richard had offered us various choices of excursions according to our interests and, immediately after our arrival, had organised a tour operator to come personally to the Lodge to confirm our trips. He also ensured that the transport that was to collect us each time was timely. At one point, a fellow guest was taken ill whilst in a game park - by the time that we returned to the Lodge, a doctor was there to assist her, thanks to Richard and his personalised service for all his guests. I cannot recommend Chanters Lodge more highly and only wish that the experience were in the near future, rather than in the recent past. We very much look forward to returning!
Wonderful place to stay
We had a fantastic 3 night stay with friends at Chanters Lodge and we highly recommend it. From the moment I contacted Richard by email nothing was too much trouble and he arranged all our trips for us. The lodge is in a very peaceful situation, our 2 poolside rooms were very comfortable and we had lunch in the garden by the pool, a great place to relax! The food was exceptional, the staff lovely and Richard on hand to make sure we had all we needed. He even ran us down to a local garage to get a minor repair done to our truck. We will certainly return and feel we arrived as guests but very definately left as friends, thank you Richard.
I have to be honest, the pre sales (quick email responses, very cooperative in helping booking our day trips etc) got me fooled! As an experienced traveller that in combination with the website (no pictures of the rooms should have been a sign) tricked me into booking Chanters Lodge for 5 nights. Upon arrival we were shocked by the room, dirty and very old and worn. That in combination with an old man in the room next to us visiting Zambia for other reasons and enjoying it all night long and an older lady on the other side starting loudly praying and performing some local religious rituals for over an hour starting at 6am, didn't contribute to our good mood. So the only one thing to do, leave as quickly a possible. We left after 1 night after giving our feedback to the staff, and went to Natural Mystic lodge on the Zambezi river, which was a big relieve. So I really don't understand the exeptional ratings for this place and have to agree with Antonio's rating. Service is good but the rooms are appalling.
Highly recommended, fantastic restaurant
We're just back from a 3 night stay at Chanters Lodge, and were very impressed. We were on a limited budget, and Chanters was at the top of our price range, but it was the right choice. Richard was very helpful, organising activities for us before we arrived, and making sure we were well looked after once we were there.
Our family room was huge and clean, and the air-conditiong worked well. We had a very minor plumbing problem one day, but a plumber was called immediately and the problem was rectified within an hour of us reporting it!
The restaurant is absolutely superb and massively exceeded our expectations; truly astonishing for a lodge in this price range. We ate every meal there for three days, even though we had intended to go into livingstone to eat at least once or twice. The menu is so varied and the food so good that there was simply no reason to go elsewhere. The chef even customised the pasta to suit my daughter's tastes!
Excellent service and superb value overall - would not hesitate to stay there again.
Chanters was enchanting!
The room was large and well laid out. It was very clean. The food was very good and the restaurant had porch seating overlooking a nice garden area. Richard and the staff were very accommodating. He set up our tours via email before we departed for our trip. We stayed at the lodge for four days and enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend it.