The natural excitement of being in the African bush is amplified by the romance and adventure of this magnificent lodge bordering both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Camouflaged between the untouched and untamed natural beauty of the surrounding lush vegetation, Royal Chundu heightens the senses with the sights and sounds this ‘paradise on earth’ has to offer. Coupled with the colonial décor and African charm, the River and Island lodge offers guests peace, quiet and serenity. Either overlooking the bushveld or relaxing alongside the bank of the Zambezi River, the spirit of Zambia is evident, especially in the staff from neighbouring villages. Scroll down for more details about the two lodges and why Royal Chundu has captured our hearts this month.
Royal Chundu, the first Relais & Chateaux property in Zambia, is 14 suites of majestic and secluded opulence nestled on the Zambian bank of the immense Zambezi River. Here, upstream of the Victoria Falls, the river is a wide and tranquil elixir that supports a myriad of bird, fish, mammal and plant life. Elephants graze the banks and islands while tiger fish dart through the water after prey. Royal Chundu represents a commitment to unbridled luxury in the wild of Africa and the constant support of local communities.
River Lodge is the majestic hub of Royal Chundu. The double volume thatch main area looks out across the main Zambezi channel onto the distant banks of Zimbabwe. It feels as if nature birthed this Zambian gem, so seamlessly does it fit into the vegetation around it. The sumptuous sitting rooms are softly lit by crystal yellow glowing chandeliers. The acres of wooden decking, deep cool pool and serene atmosphere offer endless delightful spaces for rest and reflection. The fabulously stocked wine cellar and library full of leather-bound volumes offer sophisticated retreats at night or when the weather closes in.
The ten superbly decorated and sublimely comfortable suites are spacious tributes to the Zambezi and the warmth of the local people. They offer complete privacy indoors and outside on the generous private decks. The river meanders on its timeless journey while hippos surface in the shallows, bushbuck browse in the verdant vegetation and, if you are lucky, an elephant swims across the main channel as you lie on a chaise longue in astonishment at the engulfing splendour.
Island lodge is Royal Chundu’s premier camp with just four superb suites secluded on a private island, surrounded by easy channels and shaded by ancient baobabs. Each suite is a testament to the romance of Africa. The highlight of your private deck is the open-air bath. The acme of rejuvenation is to lie in the tub suspended over the river while inhaling the soft, sweet scent of the river.
If you are not watching the action in the water from the extra length king size bed, then you might be sipping a gin and tonic from the shaded basket chair on the deck or lazing in a tender lounge armchair. The entire front of the suite is fronted with glass concertina doors which means you are constantly thrilled by the wildness of the Zambezi while recharging in the lap of profound luxury.
The main area boasts two opulent lounges, a dining deck slung out under the star-sprayed African sky, an intimate boma and an infinity pool to quench the heat of the day and help you empathise with the hippo grunting with satisfaction in the river below.
Children of all ages are welcome at Royal Chundu and there is an excellent children’s programme where budding young naturalists can have wilderness fun in complete safety under the watchful gaze of the high-skilled Royal Chundu Staff. While your spirit is being recharged with a spa treatment or a snooze on the deck, your kids will be treasure hunting, catching fish, cooking, cruising on the river and visiting local villages.
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