At Royal Chundu, the village provides, but it also runs, supports, drives and benefits from the lodge. We are a community-run lodge, one of very few of its kind in Africa. We wanted to explain just what we mean by that, because it’s a model that we believe can create massive positive change across Africa, and that can help build a better, stronger, more equal Zambia. Take a look below.
Starting with our people…
99% of our team are Zambian, including our managers. Most of us come from or live in one of the two villages right next door to the lodge – the agricultural Malambo village and the fishing-centric Muluka village. Providing training at the lodge, we’re able to give our team significant opportunities for growth and uphold our standards as a Relais & Châteaux member. We’re able to keep bringing home titles such as Zambia’s Leading Safari Lodge for nine-years running, and #10 in the Top 30 Resorts in Africa in the Condé Nast Global Readers’ Choice Awards 2019.
The village provides
All of our food is sourced from Zambia, with most of it coming from within a 4 kilometre radius, supplied by local fishermen and village gardens – whether it’s our own lodge chicken coop and herb and vegetable garden, or the lettuce and mangoes brought in by staff from their home gardens, or Edith and the women of Malambo, with their impressive beds of mielies, chilies, impwa, tomatoes and spinach, or their village chicken and fresh, free-range eggs.
As much as possible, we look to our own sphere for suppliers – such as seamstress work, for our chitenge uniforms, cushion covers, doormats and dish covers, woodwork for our wooden doorbells and mini-mekoro for the Tasting Menu and boutique, for artwork on the walls.
Our own staff have created spin-off businesses from the lodge, such as transfer services for our guests, between the airport and our front door, and courier services (such as Best, our Head of Security, who delivers firewood and fertiliser to us by a cattle-drawn cart). The list goes on. As we say, the village provides, but it also runs, supports, drives and benefits from the lodge.
What this means on the ground
The impact of this is the immediate upliftment of the people who live right beside us – and the families that rely on them. The impact of this is that everyone is invested in the lodge and rather than being work, the lodge is something we are entwined with, in heart and soul. The impact is a uniquely, proudly and distinctive Zambian flavour, look, sound and feel. In our food, in our colours and patterns, in our words and smiles, in our stories and music and dance. The peace of our private setting on the Zambezi lets travellers really feel the difference.
Guests walk away having experienced real Zambia, having connected with the people born from its land, having tasted the ingredients and cooking styles of the nation. Guests leave having helped to support not simply a lodge in Zambia, but countless families, school children, women empowerment initiatives and local entrepreneurship.
Your support shines a light on our communities and makes each member proud of the beauty of what is theirs, of what is right here, of our culture and customs. Rather than making us feel the need to be like the rest of the world, your support is the voice that confirms that Zambia, that Africa, need not change, but simply embrace, highlight and get behind its own people, show off its own light, strength and beauty, for its own benefit.
We need to share our own stories, and have them told by our own people. We need to not only give local communities a piece of the pie, but empower them to bake and serve the pie themselves.
As such, we’ve updated our Nutritional Label and pie charts, to show just how your stay at Royal Chundu benefits the local community. To show where the money goes, who benefits, and why this model can serve to create a better world.