SURVIVING COVID – NTANDA VENTURES
I don’t think I realised the implications of Covid in March 2020 until we had to scramble about and organize tickets to fly home from South Africa –
We got the second last flight back to Ndola!
Back in the office the only emails we received were please cancel and change to 2021 which kept us busy for a month. Scary days indeed.
All local flights were also cancelled and we had to come up with something to do. We approached a local farmer on the Kafue River an hour from Chingola, and asked if we could fix up his cottage on the river so we could have something to offer local clients as a little escape from town. We haven’t really made any money from it in all honesty but it got our name out there a lot more and it has been fun (great escape for a girlie weekend as well).
The cottage is very close to Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Sanctuary and is also on the road to the source of the Zambezi. https://www.ntandaventures.com/ntanda-camps
By now some of the lodges had opened up for resident self-drives in Lower Zambezi and Kafue National Park and bookings were trickling in.
We then started a DIY website for local holidays (easy to update daily) and this is very successful. It led to a lot of local bookings and greatly increased our local presence.
We were receiving a lot of calls about help with repatriation flights to/from SA as the paperwork was a minefield. Camilla jumped in boots and all and managed this on head on. By August 2020 we had to employee another member to join the Ntanda team.
Fourteen months later the cottage has led us down an added path of us getting involved in 4 x 4 drives around Zambia and the go-to company for self-catering escapes. We also now hold the booking sheet for Kasaka River Lodge, the closest self-catering camp to the park gate of Lower Zambezi National Park on the Zambezi River.
Before Covid we had started using local artisans to make our Ntanda safari pack bags from the local Chitenge and the wooden giraffe (our logo) giveaways and I did not have the heart to stop ordering as all their usual business had dried up – needless to say we are well stocked!
We have also been kept very busy trying to navigate the new digital era we were thrust into, learning about lots more options available in Zambia to the tourist as the local market travelled Zambia as they have never done before.
Then we decided it was time to do some Fam trips and have done 3 trips to Livingstone (including doing a horseback safari with Chundukwa River Lodge in the magnificent Simalaha Conservancy https://www.peaceparks.org/simalaha/ . The KAZA area is definitely a space to watch).
One trip to South Luangwa with 4 girlfriends joining us (16 lodges in a week) and we had amazing game viewing, visiting local craft shops and conservation projects. The lodges are doing an amazing job in very tough times.
International enquiries are starting to trickle in but I can tell you this has never been a better time to VISIT ZAMBIA.
We have learnt that people will always want to travel and explore – no matter the odds. It has been a tough and hectic ride but we are still here.
Thank you Christina, Camilla, Kirstine and Ethel my amazing Team Ntanda.
Read more about Livingstone Victoria Falls