The Royal Chundu Experience
Last week I shared some details with you guys about Royal Chundu in Zambia – my absolute favourite holiday spot. The rooms, people, food, and facilities (infinity pool for LIFE) are all incredible, but what truly set Royal Chundu apart for me was #TheRoyalChunduExperience.
As I mentioned before, when we arrived at Royal Chundu, we were greeted by the lovely Hessah, one of our two hosts for the weekend. Hessah chatted us through the weekend ahead, asking us about our expectations for the trip, whether there was anything specific we wanted to do, and offering suggestions for activities. I was barely listening (you might remember that I was being given a shoulder massage at the time, so I was pretty much in heaven) but I know I vaguely nodded and agreed to his suggestions, which all sounded pretty incredible. At that point, as we sat in the afternoon sun looking out over the mighty Zambezi river (and boy, she is mighty) I would have happily not moved from that spot all weekend. The view alone was enough to make me happy.
But when we got to our room that afternoon, there was a full itinerary waiting for us on our beds. Every moment of our weekend had been planned out – from activities, to meals, to relaxation time, Hessah had planned in everything that we’d mentioned that we wanted to try, meaning we were guaranteed not to miss out on anything. And rather than the weekend feeling rushed or hectic, we knew exactly what we were signed up for, and when, so there was always plenty of time to just hang out and enjoy relaxing together.
The itinerary is just the first part of #TheRoyalChunduExperience. At every point in your stay here, you are made to feel special and cared for. Here are a few of my other favourite things about #TheRoyalChunduExperience.
Daily Sunset Cruises
When you’re staying at Royal Chundu, you are treated to a complimentary sunset cruise along the Zambezi each and every day. Complete with snacks, drinks (not included, unless you booked the luxury package) and incredible views of the river and the nature reserve on the banks. As Royal Chundu is set on a private stretch of the Zambezi, you’ll never see another boat, either. Bliss.
Daily Bubble Bath
My absolute FAVOURITE part of our time at Royal Chundu. When you get back from your daily sunset cruise, there’s a full drawn bubble bath waiting for you on your private balcony. As the last bits of the sun disappear and the stars begin to appear, you can lie in the warm water and feel the last of your troubles melt away before you head off to dinner. I can’t explain how much I loved this experience – someone sign me up for daily outdoor baths for life, please.
Tiger Fishing in the Zambezi
My family have always been fishermen – since I was small, we’ve spent many of our holidays fly fishing in Mpumalanga. But heading out on a boat into the middle of the great Zambezi river is an entirely different experience. We rose with the sun and headed out onto the water with our trusty guide, Moses, who is probably one of my favourite humans on earth these days. Moses taught us how to fish, had fresh hot coffee ready for us, and talked us through the process of reeling a tiger in whenever we got a bite. It was both beautiful and exhilarating.
Royal Chundu Signature Canoeing
Hessah insisted that we do the Royal Chundu Signature Canoeing, and I’m so incredibly glad that he did. We were told that a couple of guides would take us a little way down the river, and after about an hour or so we would stop for a picnic lunch. In my head, I was expecting to pull off to the side somewhere, at which point the guides might pull out a couple of sandwiches and a few beers – and I was oh so very very wrong. We were greeted on our lunch break by a host with Pimms cocktails (which had been chilling in a tyre cooler box floating on the water, obviously) and shown to where we would be eating lunch – a fully laid picnic table under an umbrella. And rather than a couple of picnic sandwiches, a chef had spent the morning cooking up a buffet for us that blew my mind (and stretched my stomach.) Complete with a pizza oven, full barbeque, seemingly endless drink options, a floating tyre desert table, and a working toilet, it was like we’d somehow stumbled onto paradise. After we’d eaten our full (and believe me, we really pushed ourselves) we were then given some time to relax in the hammocks or on the rugs that had been laid out for us in the shade. I have never felt so pampered in my life.
Village Walk and Community Tour
One of my absolute favourite things about Royal Chundu is the amazing work that they do with their community. All of the food eaten at Royal Chundu is sourced within 3km of the lodge, minimising their carbon footprint, empowering the local community, and ensuring freshness. One morning, we were lucky enough to find ourselves on a tour of the local village, where we were greeted by the village matriarch, an incredible and inspiring woman who showed us around. It was an amazing opportunity to meet and interact with the villagers, hear their stories, and learn about their traditions. We learnt how Royal Chundu had helped their village to prosper – from providing jobs for the villagers (many of the staff we met at the lodge were locals), to providing them with a working water pump (preventing deaths because villagers no longer have to walk to the croc-infested waters edge to collect water), to buying their crops for the meals we ate, to building a school so that all the kids could get a good education. We saw how families were being empowered to create their own business, build their own homes, and create real futures for their children. I left with my heart extremely full of hope and admiration for the amazing Zambian people.
In our three (sadly) short days at Royal Chundu, we managed to pack a lot in, but we hardly scratched the surface of #TheRoyalChunduExperience. Along with fishing trips, sunset cruises, canoeing adventures, and delicious meals, Royal Chundu has a full spa with a giant list of available treatments, a variety of island walks, and birding safaris available, and that’s just the beginning. Outside of the lodge, they can organise other activities like star gazing, hleicopter flights around Victoria Falls, white water rafting, golf, horse riding, elephant safaris, and pretty much anything else you can think of. We opted for a tour of Livingstone Island, which Hessah organised for us, and it was amazing – but more on that later.
We’ve stayed in a lot of places – some ridiculously cheap, and some alarmingly expensive, but noone has ever come close to Royal Chundu when it comes to experiences. It doesn’t matter how 5-star your resort is – if the service is shocking and the experiences are empty, you probably won’t want to go back. With Royal Chundu, it was the complete opposite – these guys earn their 5-star rating with each and every second that you’re there. #TheRoyalChunduExperience is truly like no other.
Thank you to Royal Chundu’s Tina and her team for the most incredible weekend – you’ll be seeing my face again very soon.
Get in contact with the team:
View their website here, follow them on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter.
Tel: +27 13 751 1038
Check Royal Chundu out on Tripadvisor here.