Our original itinerary had us staying at Waterberry Lodge. It seemed really lovely, and it’s right on the Zambezi, but at usual safari lodge prices, we figured we would be too jet-lagged to appreciate it. Chanters was closer into town, and was a quiet, clean bed for the first few nights. Nice garden, nice pool, basic restaurant, pleasant and friendly staff.
Chanters was fine. The room was basic, clean and quiet. Sheets and towels were a bit threadbare, but were clean. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Food was plentiful, but not great. Beer was cold.
Our choice of Chanters was consistent with our traveling style. Because we marathon the travel leg (some people lay-over a day to break it up) we arrive exhausted. We need a bed in a quiet location.
Wilderness Safaris on our 2005 trip to Botswana and Safari Drive on this trip suggested much more expensive accommodations for the first in-country nights. On both trips we felt safari lodge frills would be wasted on us these first days and we opted to save some money. To their credit, both WS and Safari Drive were OK with our decision-making. But in both cases we found our alternative accommodations and made the arrangements ourselves.