Royal Chundu Island Lodge

Royal Chundu Zambezi Island Lodge, the "meeting place of the Chief", is a destination of absolute solitude and unspoiled beauty.

This breathtaking lodge is situated on a private and exclusive island, overlooking the majestic watercourse and surrounding bushveld. Incredibly, Royal Chundu is positioned on a piece of untamed Africa with rapids protecting it up and downstream. The sights and sounds of Africa serve to invigorate the senses and enhance the blissful solitude.

Journey back in time, stroll through David Livingstone's backyard and discover the essence of Africa as it was intended.

Spacious suites and lounging areas masterfully blend colonial elegance and African charm, offering 4 private suites on the Katombora Island.

Island Lodge Suites
The 4 private suites share a lounge, dining and pool area and are located on our private and exclusive Katombora Island, 4 kilometres upstream from the River Lodge.

Each Suite has an indoor shower and beautiful outdoor bath on a deck with lounger and the most amazing sunrise and sunset views.

The Suites have air-conditioning, phones, wi-fi and mini-bars for all the necessary conveniences - but they also allow you to completely disconnect and relax.

Sunset Cruise
The Lodge has 15 kms of private Zambezi to explore and enjoy.

Cruise on the river with snacks and drinks, watch the sun go down and try not fill up your camera's memory with the first sunset. There will be more!

You can cast a line and see what bites (strictly catch and release).

Watch crocodiles slip off the banks as you approach and listen to the snorting hippos. In the drier months the skipper will anchor near “Ellie Corner” where you can spot herds of elephants as they drink, play and bathe on the river’s edge nearby. You could also be lucky enough to see baboon, impala, warthog and buffalo.

The birding is sublime.

Fishing
Royal Chundu is renowned for its superb fly fishing. The unstressed waters vary from virgin island eddies and shallow rapids to deep flowing channels which boast the notoriously powerful Tiger Fish, numerous species of Bream and the prized Upper Zambezi Yellow Fish.

One of the biggest celebrations in Africa, the Parrot Fish Run, occurs from June to August every year. It sees millions of fish swimming for miles down the Zambezi as they get caught in the main stream. Local fishermen use hand-woven reed and palm leaf baskets to catch the fish.

Royal Chundu offers a variety of different guided fishing options - for the expert and novice alike. We provide the tackle and rods.

The fishing is strictly catch-and-release. Unless the chefs need something for dinner...

Signature Canoe Trip with a Picnic
As an homage to the family’s personal history on the Zambezi River, picnics are offered along the banks of the river just as our family had picnics in the past: Persian carpets, hammocks, Pimms upon arrival, picnic tables and sumptuous tapas lunches or breakfasts which will find you restoring your soul while listening to the rapids coursing past you.

Start with a leisurely paddle down the Zambezi to our secret picnic spot on an island - and enjoy a truly indulgent and creative meal on the banks of the river. Cocktails, homemade cordials, a gin bar... It's romantic, fun and offers up delicious flavours.

You will go over some very gentle rapids - and you will get wet! You can choose to paddle (as little or much as you want), or just sit back and let the guides do all the work.

A hat and sunscreen are essential!

Village Walk and Gardens Tour
This warm, authentic activity is highly recommended. Royal Chundu is 100% Zambian owned and run. We donate seeds to anyone who wishes to grow food and we buy their surplus at market rates - which means most of our produce is sourced within 4 kms of the Lodge.

Your guide, who is villager, is well versed in all the village traditions and customs, and is able to show which plants and herbs are used in traditional medicine, how to make cooking oil, how to make soap and other necessities.

You travel by boat to the village, walk around with your local guide (while villagers go about their normal lives), stop off at a small market - and then head back to the Lodge.

Katombora Island Walk
Step off the boat onto the wild islet downstream from River Lodge and discover this untamed microcosm of nature for yourself. A guided walk past python creepers, 23 baobabs, and 2,000-year-old jackalberry trees. Our experienced guides will share their knowledge with you about the traditional and medicinal uses of the flora you will come across on the island. Untainted by development or animals, beside the odd baboon, this area represents the perfect ecosystem at play.

Birding
Royal Chundu guides have grown up on the banks of the Zambezi. They know the river’s depths and inhabitants like the path that winds from their homes to the water itself. The calls of the African fish eagle and the sounds of the bleating-warbler have formed the background music of their childhoods.

On a cruise down the Zambezi, our guides will impart their knowledge of nature with you, pointing out the range of birdlife waiting to be sought out. Spot the finchlarks and flufftails tempting birdwatchers from the riverbank trees or the jacanas and kingfishers normally found beside hippos and crocodiles in the shallower reaches.

Choose from a morning, late afternoon (sunset), nighttime, or full-day birding safari, tailored to your individual requirements. The shorter safaris last approximately two-and-a-half hours.

Zambian Tasting Menu
One of the treats on offer at Royal Chundu is a Tasting Menu - a culinary adventure along our riverbank and through our greater national terroir, an honouring of the families living here today and the generations before them, and a celebration of our team of local chefs and waiters and their favourite tastes, textures, scents and memories when it comes to dining.

The Food & Beverage Manager and Head Chef, Sungani Phiri says it is his ambition to showcase the traditional food of his childhood by creating a “Zambian Feast Explosion” using contemporary techniques and styles. He has built on his previous pioneering menus at Royal Chundu and pushed beyond to explore and engage with new ingredients and flavors and innovative methods and presentations.

Livingstone: Heli Flight
What better way to see the magical winding Zambezi River and the crashing of the Victoria Falls than from above in a helicopter?

You can enjoy a riveting helicopter flight over the Falls (the trip lasts approximately 12 minutes) or fly over the Falls, gorge and game park (for about 25 minutes). Look out for the wildlife and other sights below. You’re going to want your camera with you on this trip!

Livingstone: Tour of Victoria Falls
At Victoria Falls, Yeats’ world of magic lies in wait more than ever – from a rainbow’s dance at full moon to the cascade of one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. We invite you to discover just why this marvel, 30 kilometres downstream from our setting on the Zambezi River, is considered the Adventure Capital of Africa. There are so many ways to experience the largest curtain of falling water in the world – a title granted due to the Falls’ width (a hefty 1,708 metres) and height (towering above at 108 metres). Slip through the Zambezi’s ravine on a white-water rafting cruise or fly overhead in a microlight or helicopter – a chopper ride you can continue to our private helipad at Royal Chundu. Test your nerves in nature’s infinity pool at Devil’s Pool and feel the Falls’ spray on your cheeks on Zambian soil or a border hop away in Zimbabwe. Make it a full day adventure on a tour that combines several unique aspects of Mosi-oa-Tunya, so named by the Toka Leya tribe, meaning ‘The Smoke that Thunders’.

Livingstone: Livingstone Island and Devil's Pool
Situated towards the roar and rising cloud of mist suspended above a cliff over which the whole of the Zambezi River plunged. The Makololo paddlers skillfully landed him on ‘Goat Island’ (now Livingstone Island) right on the lip of the chasm. A few steps through the small rainforest and, on the 16th November 1855, he gazed upon one of the most spectacular sights in the world - ‘Mosi- oa-Tunya’ (The Smoke that Thunders) which he named after his Queen as The Victoria Falls. Today visitors are picked up in a twin- engine boat with powerful motors and a skilled skipper re-traces Livingstone’s approach to the island to witness the very best view of the Falls there is. All visits to the island are during the ‘low water’ season, which usually begins in mid-July and goes through to the end of January. High water visits are not possible as the island is continuously covered in the spray/downpour from the Falls. Pick up is from the wooden jetty adjacent to the Royal Livingstone River Deck by an aluminum boat launch with twin water jet propelled engines which then transfers guests on a 5 to 10-minute ride to the island. Drop off is again at the Royal Livingstone the trip. The trip includes a short-guided tour of the island, viewing the Falls and a light snack depending on the time of the visit Morning visits.

Botswana: Chobe Day Trip
This exciting day tour into the Chobe National Park in neighboring Botswana offers exciting game viewing. This trip is highly recommended and whilst you rely on seeing elephant and a wide variety of game, there is also the strong possibility of seeing lion. The day tour will depart from the Lodge at 8am and return back to the Lodge at 5pm, the tour consists of:

- Transfer from Lodge to border ferry
- Ferry / boat transport. This trip offers the opportunity to view four countries at once from the River
- Guided game and/or photographic cruise on the Chobe River in the National Park
- Lunch at Chobe Marina Lodge
- Game drive in the Chobe National Park
- Transfer back to the Lodge

Livingstone: White Water Rafting
Jump in and ride the raging white water rapids of the mighty Zambezi River, the fourth largest river in Africa, in a raft and feel the rush of adrenaline in wild Africa. Be prepared to get soaked! With names like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Devil’s Toilet Boil”, “Washing Machine” and “Oblivion”, you can imagine what the rapids have in store. Your guide will assist you through the rapids and tell you all you need to know.

Livingstone: Lunar Rainbow Tour
This is definitely one of the most unique experiences available at Victoria Falls and can be witnessed during the months from March to July. While rainbows usually appear through direct sunlight, the Lunar Rainbow is rare and occurs from light reflected from the moon’s surface. Experience it from the vantage point of Victoria Falls as the spray from the water going over causes a beautiful “Moonbow” over the chasm.

Livingstone: Bungee Jump
111 meters of pure adrenaline rush! The bungee jump operates off the Victoria Falls Bridge and has a 100% safety record. Over 50 000 people have committed themselves to the thrill of jumping off the bridge. Challenge the limits of the mind and test the edge of fear by leaping off the impressive bridge, with the Falls behind and the mighty Zambezi below.

Livingstone: Micro-Light
The micro-light has an open cockpit for the ultimate adrenaline ride! Micro-lights have an unique, wing-mounted camera which enables clients to capture this exciting experience on film. There are restrictions that apply on the micro-light - a minimum age of six years and maximum mass of 100kg.

Livingstone: Jet Boat
Jet boating is a thrilling new adventure on the Zambezi River in the Batoka Gorge below the Victoria Falls. Feel the wind in your hair and the spray in your face as the powerful jet boats speed through rapids, rush past gorge walls and spin on the flat water.

Livingstone: Steam Train Dinner
Romantic five-star dining on rails at Victoria Falls is now possible with Bushtracks Africa’s Livingstone Express. The 15km journey begins in Livingstone through the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and continues along one of the most historic railway lines in Africa. Passengers can disembark to enjoy the sunset. Guests have pre- dinner drinks in the lounge or observation cars before enjoying a six-course meal, prepared and served by Sun International’s Royal Livingstone, in the dining carriages. This superb dining experience should not be missed.

Livingstone: Bridge Tour
Join us for a voyage on Victoria Falls Bridge, a journey that goes back a hundred years to the time when Cecil John Rhodes laid out his plans for a Cape to Cairo Railway.

On this tour, travelers will discover how the bridge was constructed and how a full locomotive was transported across the gorge before the actual completion of the bridge. Our highly knowledgeable and experienced guides will ensure a safe and informative two hours on and around the bridge.

Stop to peer over the edge at the incredible valley below, so-called no man's land, where Zambia and Zimbabwe meet. It is from here that the brave launch themselves into the depths below during a bungee-jumping experience.

Livingstone: Horse Riding
One of the finest ways to experience the African bush is on horseback. We have a range of trip options available ranging from half day novice rides to full and multi day adventures for experienced riders that range far into splendid Teak forests, Mopani woodland and sub-riverine bush to explore the dramatic scenery above the Batoka Gorge.

Royal Chundu is a superb year-round destination, with each season bringing something unique to the Zambezi and Victoria Falls experience.

At 3,540km long, the Zambezi River is the fourth-longest river in Africa and the largest that flows into the Indian Ocean from the continent. Its journey begins in Zambia, moves through eastern Angola, weaves along the eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana, onwards between Zambia and Zimbabwe, before eventually reaching Mozambique, where it finds its way into the Indian Ocean.

October is the hottest month while the chilliest time is in June. This month also welcomes shooting stars to the sky while July and August hold the promise of the Parrot Fish Run, an incredible natural spectacle to behold.

The Zambezi River is at its fullest between February and July, and peaks between March and April. The rise in water level creates a magnificent spray from Victoria Falls, with superior rainbows worth an ogle. At the Zambezi’s lowest, between November and early December, there is little spray, but a better view of the Falls’ full geological form. This is also a superb time to take a dip in Devil's Pool.

Temperatures on the Zambezi River are relatively mild, generally between 64° and 86° F (18° and 30° C). Winter runs from May and is cool and dry, while from August to October temperatures rise excessively, often reaching 104° F (40° C). November to April is rainy season, with relief coming from occasional clear skies between downpours.

 

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Royal Chundu is set some 30 kilometres upstream from the Victoria Falls and 50 kilometres from Livingstone International Airport in Zambia. GPS Co-ordinates: 17°50'37.0"S 25°24'59.1"E | Closest Airport: Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (HMNIA, former Livingstone International Airport)

Arriving and Departing
A lodge representative meets all guests at Livingstone International upon arrival to transfer them in a private, air-conditioned minibus to River Lodge (45 – 50 minutes). Island Lodge is followed by a short boat trip (5 – 10 minutes). The transfer to Livingstone International Airport departs each lodge according to flight times. Guests can also be collected from Kasane Airport (BBK) and Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) at an additional transfer cost.

Driving
From Kazungula – Turn right to go to Livingstone and continue for about 10 km where you will see the Royal Chundu board on the right side of the road. Turn right and follow the boards for 11km to the lodge.

From Livingstone – Take the road to Katima Mililo (Nakatindi Road) and continue for about 50km and the Royal Chundu board will be on your left-hand side. Turn left and follow the boards for 11km to the lodge.

From the Victoria Falls border post – Drive into Livingstone town (about 8km) on the Mosi-oa-Tunya road. Opposite the Shoprite Mall take the Nakatindi Road to your left. Follow that road for about 50km and you will see the Royal Chundu board on your left. Turn left and follow the boards for 11km to the lodge.

Flying
Daily flights run from Johannesburg to Livingstone International Airport on the following carriers: British Airways, Kulula, and South African Airways. Monday - Saturday (excl Thurs) direct flights run from Nelspruit (MQP/KMIA) to Livingstone on SA Airlink.

Transfers
A return transfer between Livingstone International Airport and the Lodge is included in the accommodation packaged rates. Any alternative transfer can be arranged with central reservations at an additional cost. A lodge representative will meet all guests at Livingstone International Airport.

For more information about Royal Chundu Island Lodge click HERE.

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