Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > Star Of Africa (Zambia) Newsletter For 1st Quarter of 2004...

Star Of Africa (Zambia) Newsletter For 1st Quarter of 2004...


Apr 2nd, 2004, 10:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Star Of Africa (Zambia) Newsletter For 1st Quarter of 2004...

I can't believe how fast the first couple of months of this year have flown and that we are already half way through March with Easter just around the corner! The beginning of this year has seen a lot of rain in Zambia with everywhere looking emerald green, the rivers high and the Victoria Falls very full and absolutely spectacular. We have lots of updates for you as we prepare for the season ahead, which if based on bookings coming through at the moment promises to be a busy one for us all! Thank you to all of you for your support of Star of Africa and Zambia.

Justice and Tendayi report:
"January and February have not slowed down for us and we have seen some good business coming through from both our regional and international suppliers. Our chefs have been busy working on our dinner menus with the Operations team and in the next month we plan to have an exciting new dinner menu and concept to offer to our clients. More details to follow next month. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in which Sussi and Chuma is situated is very lush and green after all the rains and the growth of all the bush around the lodge and individual tree houses has created a wonderful 'hidden away and private' feel. Work continues on the new Chuma House project located downstream from Sussi Lodge. Chuma House is a wonderful self contained villa overlooking the Zambezi River. This house has two bedrooms en suite, one double and one twin, a private lounge, kitchenette and dining area and a lovely outdoor verandah and barbeque area. Over the next couple of months we will be installing phone lines, satellite TV and putting in a swimming pool. Chuma House will officially be launched in May ready for the high season and plans are underway to build another two houses later on in the year. Chuma House will have its own private guide and vehicle, chef and butler and will offer clients staying there a very exclusive and private experience. Rates and further details can be obtained from Emma in our Marketing Department".

Some guest comments from the last two months:

"This place is heaven. Fantastic lodge, people, food - a real gem - can?t wait to come back"
The O'Connor's - UK

"After staying here, I am not sure which is my first home. Relaxing and fantastic place"
Mr and Mrs Machingaidze - Zimbabwe - Honeymooners

"What a magical and inspiring place - takes the breath away. The staff are amazingly welcoming and hospitable. You are truly a great credit to your profession - True Zambians"
Tim Mushibwe - Deloitte and Touche - Zambia

"Worth crossing the other side of the world for - fabulous."
David and Win Sutherland - UK

Mike Muvishi, one of our guides who has just returned from a trip into the Lochinvar National Park reports the following:

"The water level in the lagoon is very low at the moment, offering clients a superb experience watching the various different water birds and Kafue Lechwe, particularly in a game drive vehicle across the dry river bed. This is the breeding time of year for a lot of the birds and the wattled cranes and weavers amongst many others are busy building their nests. The whole park area is very green at the moment from all the rains. We have had excellent game viewing recently in the park with our clients seeing a herd of 700 zebra, over 400 Lechwe and groups of over 100 impala out on the open plains."

This weekend a group from WWF is staying at Lechwe Plains Tented Camp to discuss plans with Star of Africa for the year ahead as we move towards the official reopening of the Lochinvar National Park in October this year. We will keep you updated on the progress of these plans every month.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of a fantastic new management couple for Kulefu Tented Camp - Catherine and Andy. Catherine comes from a hospitality background having done her training with the Zimsun Leisure Group and Andy is a fully qualified guide who has worked all over Africa including having already spent time in Zambia. Catherine and Andy will be spending the next 6 weeks getting the camp ready for opening on 1st May, including the building of a swimming pool and the soft refurbishment of the room tents. Some feedback from our Operations team on one of their recent trips into Kulefu to take food supplies and wages to the staff based at the camp:

"On the drive through the Park to Kulefu, we saw amazing game. First we came across a herd of over 100 elephants followed by a herd of close on 400 buffalos. We then saw a lioness with three cubs and closer to the camp came across a pack of 10 wild dog on the side of the road. So much for game viewing not being good during the rains! The water level of the river was starting to go down and our staff at the camp reported that bream fishing is excellent at the moment! During our stay at Kulefu we were frequently woken up by nearby lion roaring at night! 2004 promises to be a good season and our team are all busy getting the camp ready for the reopening on 1st May"

We are very excited to advise you of the arrival of a super new management couple at Chichele Presidential Lodge, Nic and Tracey Polenakis. Many of you will be familiar with Nic who is one of the best known guides in Southern Africa having done a lot of guiding work in both Zimbabwe and Botswana. Nic and Tracey bring huge experience, passion and innovation to not just Chichele, but our whole South Luangwa operation which will see some exciting developments and enhancements in the year ahead. Nic and Tracy have had a busy start to the year with two Presidential visits already under their belt. Over Christmas the President of Zambia, His Excellency Levy Mwanawasa and his family stayed at Chichele and in February Dr Kenneth Kaunda and a group of international businessmen stayed at the lodge. This was Dr Kaunda's first visit back to Chichele since Star of Africa took over the lease and from his comments will certainly not be his last! Chichele Presidential Lodge was built in 1972 as the then President Kaunda's private retreat. It was here that he hosted many dignitaries such as the Queen of England and various Commonwealth Heads of State. On this return visit, Dr Kaunda was very impressed with the very high standards at the lodge and the huge amount of work that has been done since Star of Africa took over the lease in 2001. He wrote the following in our Guest Comment book:

"Nic, Tracey and the entire team. We thank you all for all the wonderful up-keep. You kept smiling as you so very well looked after us all the way. I know HE will keep and guide you all the way. Continue to serve HIM and all fellow humans all the way".

Some other super comments from the last two months:

"Definitely a 'star' attraction on the Zambian Safari circuit. A prime example of top standards in accommodation, service and cuisine. Selling a product like this will definitely make work selling Zambia easier. I shall return as am sure many others will"
Donald Pelekamoyo - London Representative for Zambia National Tourist Board

"It was great to be here, learning the history and traditions of Chichele Lodge. Nic and Tracey looked after us well. Rodgers was such a great help in the bush. We could see and enjoy the sight of big five and other animals. We do look forward to coming back here. Many thanks to the staff of CPL"
Mr Gupta - Indian High Commissioner

"Truly the magic of Chichele brought to its full exciting life. What an inspiring place - a smile for every mile and step, warm and friendly staff and management - just what it was ever meant to be. Like the name - 'Chichele' - food without salt is tasteless and unexciting: South Luangwa would be in many ways not the same without Chichele! We wish you every bit of success"
Lil and Tim

"This place is incredible in every aspect. Thanks everyone for a fantastic stay - Nic and Tracey are such great hosts and the guides knowledge made it very very special. I?ll be back. Thanks Nic for helping with the leopard sighting"
Chris Harrison

"Thanks Nic and Tracey for an amazing trip! It is a beautiful lodge and we were made to feel very welcome by you and all the staff. It was fantastic to see wild dogs, leopard, wonderful pride of lion, dead hippo (!) and everything else. We were just disappointed to not see tiger, cheetah and jaguar!! Thanks too to Rodgers for his knowledge and expertise - we will definitely be back! The very best - you will do well"
Roy Penny and Nikky Challoner

It is with pleasure that we advise you that Rodgers has now joined us full time as our manager based at Puku Ridge Tented Camp. Rodgers is a professional guide with over 12 years experience in all the different national parks in Zambia. For those of you who met Rodgers during his time at Kulefu Tented Camp last season, you will know what a huge asset he is to our Star of Africa team. Working closely with Nic and Tracey, Rodgers has seen a busy January and February, particularly with the arrival of a large Church Group of 32 missionaries from the USA who stayed at both Puku and Chichele for 10 nights. This group from the Sagemount Baptist Church in the USA spent their 10 days going into different villages, schools and churches working with the local people in the valley and bringing to them the word of God. During their stay in the valley an eye clinic was set up at a local Baptist church with many of the local people having the opportunity to have their eyes tested and being able to purchase eye glasses for a nominal price of Kwacha 5000. Star of Africa will continue working with some of these villages and schools on various different projects under our Community Projects banner. We will keep you informed in our monthly updates on these various projects.

Developments at Puku Ridge include the addition of mosquito nets in all rooms and also wonderful bath canopies around the sumptuous sunken bath, offering guests total privacy as well as a wonderful game viewing experience out over the flood plains below!

Game viewing at both properties has been superb and the rains have certainly not kept the big game away! If anything it has brought the game closer to the properties. Chichele has seen several lion kills out on the lawn in front of the rooms and Puku has had lion out of the floodplain area. Wild dog have been seen on the road driving out of Chichele and leopard sightings on game drives have been frequent.

Our Operations manager, Nixon Chimuka has introduced some fantastic group charter rates for the year ahead on our Chieftan, Kingair and soon to arrive Caravan. The Chieftan and Caravan will both be based out of Livingstone Airport and the Kingair has just been relocated to Lusaka, giving more flexibility to flight schedules. Details of these rates can be obtained either through myself or by contacting Nixon direct on [email protected]

I have just finalized our new and exciting conference packages for Sussi and Chuma Lodge, Lechwe Plains Tented Camp and Chichele Presidential Lodge which will be sent out shortly. These three properties each offer a unique, exciting and exclusive experience for team building, conference and incentive groups with the huge attraction of being away from the noise and distraction of the city. Rates for regional and international clients are available and details can be obtained by contacting me on [email protected]

We have put together 2 educational trips pre and post Indaba for any of our key international agents attending Indaba in May this year. I will be getting in touch with many of you to make appointments for Dave and Linda Bennett who will be attending Indaba and will include details of these two trips in my email. If you are interested in receiving further information on these trips please contact me on [email protected]. Star of Africa Lodges and Touring will both be at Indaba on the Zambia National Tourist Board Stand - Hall DEC stand number 060.

For those of you still using the [email protected] email address for reservations please now delete this from your system as this address is no longer in use. All reservations emails should be sent to [email protected] and any marketing/rates queries should be sent to myself on [email protected]

Well that's all for this month! I look forward to working closely with you all during the year ahead and to welcoming you and your clients to Zambia and our Star of Africa Circuit.

Emma Seaman
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 2nd, 2004, 10:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Perhaps I am being tres dramatique, but I am just overwhelmed by that newsletter and I am looking forward, now, more than ever, to my upcoming stay in Zambia. Although I know that I will really enjoy my four nights at Kaingo, after that newsletter, I cannot help but wish that I had more time at Chichele Presidential Lodge, where I will only spend my final night.

I will spend seven nights total with Star Of Africa -- four nights at Kulefu Tented Camp, two nights at Puku Ridge and one night at Chichele Presidential Lodge.

Seems like Star Of Africa is really making great strides. They are as close as you will find to a Wilderness Safaris in Zambia, although they only have five lodges.

Star Of Africa is definitely worth considering on anyones next safari. South Africa is so expensive right now that you cannot even get a mediocre lodge in Kruger/Sabi Sand for the same price as Star Of Africa's lodges.

As I said on another thread, I am getting my entire 11 night safari for under $2,500 per person sharing, including all transfers from Lusaka and between Lower Zambezi to South Luangwa. Anywhere else would be nearly double the price, if not more.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:27 PM.