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A New Lady on Lake Kariba
Protea Hotels Zambia Limited acquires a 22-cabin houseboat, the Southern Belle
The Southern Belle, a grand old steam-style boat that has plied the waters of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe for more than ten years, is the newest acquisition of Protea Hotels Zambia and is undergoing a US$1 million refurbishment.
The Southern Belle, one of the largest houseboats in southern Africa, operated as a charter boat in Kariba, Zimbabwe. She hosted many events, including theme parties, weddings and safari trips and offered stunning accommodation and impeccable service. It was because of her reputation that former passenger, Mark O’Donnell, Chairman of Protea Hotels Zambia, seized the opportunity to buy the boat when she came onto the market.
The Southern Belle will be moored and eventually operate from Siavonga, Zambia. When the refurbishment is complete later this year, she will be officially launched as one of Protea Hotels Zambia’s most desirable holiday and conferencing venues.
The extensive renovation includes repairs, maintenance, new design and decoration and modernisation of facilities. The Southern Belle will have energy-efficient air conditioners and generators and a solar hot water system. Once complete, the Southern Belle will feature 22 en-suite cabins, including two Presidential suites, a conference room for up to 40 people, lobby, sundry shop, restaurant and bar, top deck with bar and a swimming pool. Though the houseboat is receiving a modern facelift, she will still maintain her Southern charm through design elements and menu offerings. “We can’t wait to welcome our guests aboard the Southern Belle!” O’Donnell said.
“We have taken several unforgettable trips on the Southern Belle over the years. The Southern Belle is an exceptional product that will be a fantastic asset not only to our Protea Hotels Zambia portfolio, but also to Zambia as a whole,” O’Donnell said.
Protea Hospitality Group sales and marketing director Danny Bryer said "the Southern Belle would be yet another African luxury tourism drawcard that would espouse the Protea Group’s vision of service excellence, style and comfort."
“She’s a slightly worn grand old lady now, but when the Southern Belle is launched later this year she will be fit to go to the ball again,” Bryer said.
The Lake Kariba district boasts some of the finest tiger fishing and is an ideal base for the exceptional game-viewing in the area. Game species include elephants and buffalo. But if it’s not animals that float your boat, consider taking a birding safari. The lake, with a fossilized mopani forest rising from the water, is also famed for its breath-taking sunsets.
The Southern Belle will be affiliated with the Protea Hotels Zambia franchise. The corporate objective at Protea Hotels Zambia is to offer the highest quality of affordable accommodation throughout the country. With the addition of the Southern Belle in Siavonga, as well as Protea Hotel Chipata which is under construction, Protea Hotels Zambia will have seven lodging establishments available for guests to enjoy.
It is hoped that the addition of the Southern Belle to the Protea Hotels Zambia stable will help raise the profile of Lake Kariba and Zambia amongst the international market.
To follow the progress of the Southern Belle, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email list or search “Southern Belle Zambia” on Facebook.com and click “Like.”
For more information about Protea Hotels Zambia please or email email@example.com or telephone +260 211 252 844.