Journey Specialist Angie visited Royal Chundu outside of Victoria Falls late last year and was blown away by the luxury accommodations, attentive service and plethora of activities on offer. She shares her highlights below.
Royal Chundu is not just an accommodation, it is an experience! Resting on the tranquil banks of the Zambezi River, upstream from the mighty Victoria Falls, the lodge embraces an ambience that is both wild and graceful. No one does luxury with warmth and merriment quite like they do! Here you feel like an absolute king or queen but without any unwanted fuss.
What an entrance! The Royal Chundu heli package has you arrive in style as you are met at Livingstone Airport by helicopter and flown to the lodge over Victoria Falls en route. At over 5,600 feet wide and dropping over 300 feet, Victoria Falls is the largest curtain of water in the world. With a bird’s eye view of both the Zambian and Zimbabwean side of the Falls this is no doubt one of the best ways to view one of the world’s natural wonders. After an awe-inspiring journey, you are delivered right to their doorstep where you are greeted by the Royal Chundu team and instantly feel a sense of homecoming.
The lodge is quirky and colorful, yet luxuriously elegant. It encompasses two lodges, River Lodge and Island Lodge, both with views of the Zambezi. River Lodge is the larger of the two with ten suites and the Island Lodge (a honeymooner’s dream!) is more intimate with just four suites. The well-appointed suites at both are splashed with cobalt blue and earthy palettes and open up onto private decks overlooking the river.
In addition to luxury accommodation, Royal Chundu offers exceptional activities. Upon reflection of my role as a Journey Specialist I always seek to create itineraries for my clients that not only check off bucket list items (such as seeing one of the world’s natural wonders) but that also create unique moments and memories that extend well beyond one’s wildest expectations. Royal Chundu does just that!
As the sun set on my first day at the lodge we glided through the river on a cruise with a sundowner in hand, the sounds of the birds and picture-perfect hues across the skies. Upon arrival back at the lodge a special evening of traditional song and dance awaited us, and a night I will always remember. Set in a traditional boma by fire and lantern light, the evening is a celebration of tradition, creativity, food and wine. The menu is a Zambian tasting menu with exquisite wine pairings and the entertainment by the local community is out of this world!
The next morning another layer of icing was added to the already perfect cake. I set out with my guides on a canoe as we (well, they) paddled us through the rapids of the Zambezi River. With birds singing, and light through the trees we arrived at a secluded island. Here a picnic brunch was set up with mimosas, fresh fruits and oven-baked quiche.
The community empowerment is so strongly and beautifully woven into the Royal Chundu experience. In addition to the Zambian evening the night prior, one of my favorite moments at Royal Chundu was my afternoon spent with Edith. Edith is a key member of the nearby local community and also happened to be my guide’s grandmother. Edith and I spent the afternoon at the nearby local village as she shared with me snippets of her life in the village and her extremely impressive garden and tips.
Returning to Island Lodge that evening to the ‘grand finale’ I opened the door to my room and there on my private and expansive balcony was a bathtub and setting of dreams! Candles, the view of the sun setting over the river and a glass of wine was waiting for me. This was heaven on earth!
Royal Chundu deserves an A+ in ambience and authenticity. If you’re considering a luxury stay in the Victoria Falls area, I cannot recommend Royal Chundu enough!
View a preview of what Royal Chundu looks like in the video above.
Photos courtesy AAC Journey Specialist Angie Voigt and Royal Chundu