Chatonda Lodge expands business with Growth Acceleretor
Located in Chintheche, Nkhata bay a resort district in northern region, Chatonda Lodge is a hospitality and tourism destination area which has recently expanded its business with support from Growth Accelerator under tourism window.
The Lodge opened its doors in 2009 in Mzuzu with six rooms but has now expanded to 31 rooms.
Mwiza Anderson Mtawali, the owner and Managing Director of the Lodge explained that a number of customers who experienced the hospitality at its Mzuzu place, requested for another lodge but to be located at the lakeshore.
In 2017, he said he managed to secure a land along the lakeshore where he constructed a beach lodge.
During the foundation stage, Mtawali said, they interacted with the community who have been helping where they could not afford like carrying the sand to the place of the construction.
The place where the land was given was very low, a situation which could have easily flooded by water from the lake, he said.
Mtawali said the community was very much involved to fill up the land so that construction can be made at least on a level higher than the lake.
Although using the community was expensive, he said, the business there was need to involve the community to be part and parcel of the lodge so that it is acceptable in the area.
“This made our construction works easy and cheap because of the good relationship with the community,” he said.
Mtawali said they have involved the people in the village from 2017 up to now because the construction is still going on.
While some of the buildings were finished, he noted that the loge needed reliable power.
In 2018, Mtawali said he applied and paid to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to bring electricity to the lodge an amount of K20million for a distance of 750meters.
“On the other hand, we looked for solution to bring power to the lodge after noticing that the possibility of Escom to bring power was minimal,” he said.
Therefore, he said, the lodge opted for a solution of having solar energy. “After enquiring on costs to have solar power, we realized it was cheaper to have than Escom.
Mtawali further said the cost of supplying solar energy to the area was coming at K8million, so many times cheaper as compared to the K20million which Escom charged.
“The time we installed solar that time, we did not have conference room and other facilities which needed much power supply,” he said.
Mtawali recalled that an opportunity rose where he saw an advert for Growth Accelerator mainly targeting people in the tourism industry in which he applied having in mind components like billing system. “Our billing system in both lodges were not computerized. This mean that when customer is checking in, they used manual to issue receipts, keeping records of stocks in the storeroom, as well as waiters were moving from one place to another taking orders.”