When you visit Royal Chundu, your heart starts, and then stops again when you connect with the majesty of the Zambezi and its people.
I’ve been trying to write this post for a couple days now, and I genuinely don’t know how to put into words just how incredible the people of Zambia are or how memorable my stay at Royal Chundu was. I’m genuinely concerned that my writing won’t do it justice so I suggest you take everything you read and see in this post and times it by 1000 and then you should be near the mark!
Victoria Falls has always had a sense of mystery, awe and luxury surrounding it. My first trip to The Falls was when I was about eight years old, I was honestly more excited about the fact that we got to drink Coke every day because we were on holiday. When I got the opportunity to go visit the Zambezi again I was thrilled to go back and truly appreciate the sheer majesty of the entire area. My visit to Royal Chundu also marked the first time I got to travel with my new travel buddy and videographer extraordinaire Jason. We’re going to be travelling loads together and creating flipping aweosme videos for you guys. Let me know what you think of the video and where you think we should go next, we’re dead keen on exploring more of South Africa and Africa!
Getting There & Visas
If you’re coming from South Africa the easiest way to get to Royal Chundu is quick flight from Johannesburg, Cape Town and even Nelspruit. The flight from Johannesburg is only 1h40m, it’s faster than flying to Cape Town! The route between South Africa and The Falls on the Zambezi side is extremely popular so you won’t have any difficulty finding flights. If you have a South African passport you won’t need a Visa but there are quite a few countries that do require that you have a visa, you can look at the full list here. Most of them are on arrival and the process seems pretty streamlined so there’s not much stress involved.
Royal Chundu is about 50km from Livingstone/Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport and you’ll always be greeted by a Royal Chundu representative so you don’t have to worry about where to go or how to get there.
The Lodges – River & Island
Royal Chundu is separated into two lodges, the River Lodge and The Island Lodge, they’re both set along 15km of private waterway so you quite literally have an entire stretch of the Zambezi to yourself, that’s if you don’t mind sharing with the elephants who make their daily afternoon pilgrimage to the waters edge.
While both Lodges are heart-stopping Island Lodge is truly something to behold. The lodge is home to four villas and is set on the rivers edge amongst Baobabs and Jackelberry trees that have been there for almost 2000 years (you can do an island tour when you visit and your guide will give you the DL.
The River Lodge villas are completely private and each one has an uninterrupted view of the river, one of the most captivating features of the villas are that their walls facing the river are made of glass so you can open up the entire room and really connect with the energy the river practically forces on you! Seriously could you think of anything more unbelievable than staggering than sleeping with your doors open with the sound of the Zambezi rushing past…or taking an open air bath on your deck surrounded by candle light? I sure can’t!
To book or chat to the lodge click here.
Food And World Class Service
‘Welcome Home’ these are the first words you’ll hear when you arrive at Royal Chundu, and chances are you’ll be greeted by either Aggie or Hessah, if you want to begin to understand what a beautiful place the Royal Chundu is you need to have a chat with them. Nothing goes on at Royal Chundu without Aggie or Hessah knowing about it, which is probably why everything is done with such grace and thoughtfulness. If I had trouble describing the lodge there are simply no words to describe what incredible people Aggie and Hessah are. It goes without saying but all the staff at Royal Chundu are exceptional and you won’t need to lift a finger during your stay except to order another G&T.
All meals are included at both lodges, while you can arrange private dining in your villa, all of the meals are served in the common areas of the lodges. For the most part the weather is pretty balmy so chances are you’ll be dining under the stars with a couple of monkeys peering down at you from the trees. I was a little concerned about my dietary requirements but the chefs went out of their way to create a personalised, plant based menu for me at every single meal and each plate placed in front of me was perfection. During your visit you can also arrange a tasting menu where traditional Zambian food is incorporated with traditional Western ways of cooking.
Another little touch is your morning tea/coffee that’s delivered through a little hatch near the front door of your room, I’ve been trying to convince Craig to install one in our apartment…and serve me hot chocolate every morning since, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to be going down too well.
River Cruises, Canoeing and Helicopter Rides
While Royal Chundu is an oasis away from the insanity of everyday life and you might not want to leave your villa for a second, there is so much to do around the lodge and the falls that you’ll have to tear yourself away for a little bit.
You can pretty much do anything your heart desires in the Vic Falls region from Royal Chundu but if you don’t want to leave the property you won’t be disappointed, you can do canoeing , private picnics and sunset cruises come standard, there’s something truly humbling about watching elephants drink, catching birds playing in the air, hearing hippos grunt all the while watching the sun set over the Zambezi. On my way back to South Africa I got to travel in style…basically this insane helicopter landed right outside the lodge and we did an aerial tour of the falls with Batoka Sky , seeing the falls from the air was a once in a lifetime experience and offers the most intense perspective of The Falls and the Zambezi. If there’s one activity you do ‘outside’ of Royal Chundu it has to be this helicopter flight. For a full breakdown of what’s available at the lodge click here.
By far my favourite experience during my stay was the village tour, Royal Chundu are fully committed to supporting their neighbouring villages of Mushekwa and Muluka through sourcing their fresh produce locally to helping establish a school and various other improvements to the community’s daily life. In true Zambian style we were greeted with the biggest smiles and open arms, walking through the village with its children singing around me (and laughing at my hair) will forever be one of my fondest travel memories. You can read more about the village and its relationship with Royal Chundu here.