“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem,” said A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh creator and general man of underrated wisdom.

In our remote setting on the Zambezi, we often see more animal life than human. There are a few major cities along the river, but, mostly, the population is sparse.

As such, our friends at Royal Chundu are not only the guests that visit, the team who work at the lodge and the neighbouring villages, but also the curious creatures that we share this river and its banks with.

The elephants, the waterbuck, the crocodiles. The African fish eagles. The baboons and the vervet monkeys that have made the trees around our lodge their jungle gym. The butterflies in all their variety, the snakes, lizards and other wriggly sorts… And of course the hippo… possibly the most dangerous animal you will meet on the river, but a friend if you treat him right – i.e. steer clear.


The Zambezi (meaning “Great River” in the language of the Tonga people of Zambia) gives us that time to listen to them, to watch the different animals and their ways and to learn from them as much as enjoy the thrill, little or big, of sighting them on river cruises, canoe trips, or from meals on the deck.

We went on a little safari around our lodge and its surrounds to capture some of our friends to introduce to you. These are some of the curious creatures you will meet at Royal Chundu. The snakes are more camera shy, or perhaps its us that are too “shy” to get close to them, but know that they are there, elusive spirits that they are…

Village tour

Above: The Zambezi’s lesser-spotted domestic dog – one of our friends at the neighbouring Mushekwa village | Below: Some of the smaller river creatures.

Bug life





The riverine woodland is home to many large animals, including buffalo, zebra, giraffe and elephants, as well as impala, kudu and waterbuck, seen below.




You will find several hundred species of fish swimming in the Zambezi – were you brave enough to don goggles and look, such as the parrot fish and tigerfish, seen below respectively, as well as cichlids, catfish, barb, pike and yellowfish, and many that are endemic to the river.
Read more in our blog, Tiger Fishing & The Art of Becoming a Man.

Parrotfish Run 2015 (445)

Tiger Fishing 11

Zambezi fish

In the film Larger than Life”, Bill Murray’s character says, “You know, they say an elephant never forgets. But what they don’t tell you is that you never forget an elephant.” That is indeed true for us… Meet the elephants of our river in our blog, The Secret Life of the Zambezi Elephant.

Elephants on the Zambezi

Elephants on the Zambezi Tamlin Wightman 10

Hippo and crocodile are abundant along most of the calm stretches of the Zambezi.




The birdlife on the river is prolific, with African Fish Eagles uttering the Cry of Zambia, as well as heron, pelican, egret. Discover more in our blog, The Silent Art of Birdwatching and the Royal Chundu Birding List.

Birding 3

Birding 1

And, lastly, the ever elusive otter…

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
― Anatole France