Chef Martha 1

As I sit with my laptop before me, both connecting me with the world and getting between the two of us, I am more and more aware that while modern life may let us know more people, it does not necessarily let us know them.

We get to follow the lives of friends, family, acquaintances, people we’ve never met, and learn about them through screens – but we rarely commit as much time and spirit to doing so face to face. Through that unscripted, unfiltered, unpolished yet beautiful interaction of two people sitting across from each other, getting to know each other.

We find ourselves in other people, and through them. We also, simply, find them, other unique souls to connect with, grow with, feel with – truly, messily, embarrassingly, feel. The heart shows up. In a way that it can’t through a screen, through the facades of technology.

When you travel, you get to meet new people, and sometimes you get to stay around long enough to get to know them. At times, it’s a journey, a relationship built gradually, patiently, but deeply, with each visit. You may see them through the screen in the time between, on social media, but you know the heart behind it all. You understand everything better. You see the truth. And what is life without heart, understanding and truth?

On the river

Spending time with the men and women working at and living around Royal Chundu (the spa therapists, the waiters, the chefs, the guides), the art of truly getting to know someone comes into play. Not merely on sunset cruises or boat trips between River and Island Lodge, but through everyday conversations around the lodge and on day trips.

I often find myself, as a traveller who returns to Royal Chundu frequently, wanting to spend all of my time with the team. Behind the scenes and in front. Because people change a place; they make a place. Just as much as they change us, the traveller.

Below are a few photographs of the people you’ll meet at Royal Chundu – as taken on a recent visit, during stolen moments in between adventures or on the adventures themselves.

Chef Slim 1

Chef, Slim

Chef Banda

Chef, Banda

Chef Justin

Chef, Justin

Waiter Luvita

Waiter, Lubita


Spa Therapist, Clare


Waiter, Dominic

Waiter Kombo

Waiter, Kombo

Guide Fred

Guide, Fred