The Soul of the Zambezi River ~ Zambia’s Leading Safari Lodge 2018

| Tamlin Wightman


We’d like to open our hearts to you for a moment, to take you deeper and show you what it is that lies at our centre, what makes us sing and keep singing…

Because being named Zambia’s Leading Safari Lodge for the 8th consecutive year, in this year’s World Travel Awards, along with the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards recognition, well, our hearts can’t quite hold it all in anymore – all the love, the gratitude and the pride for our incredible team on the river…

So here it is… a journey into our story, as told by our own Tina Aponte, Royal Chundu owner and MD, and shared with Travel Dew.


Thank you to our dearest Aggie for collecting our award at the World Travel Awards gala in Durban and representing the lodge so beautifully.

The essence of what we’re about:

“We don’t try to compare ourselves to what anyone else is doing as everyone does what they do well. We just try to be the best version of what we can be and by doing so, give our guests the most heartfelt, genuine, authentic and luxurious Zambian experience.”

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The things that make us proud:

“We are the only lodge (in the Victoria Falls region) that is 100% Zambian from the top down. We are also the first and only ever Relais & Châteaux lodge in the whole of Zambia and the entire Victoria Falls area, both sides of the river. Royal Chundu is a fully immersed Zambian experience. It’s about who and what we are and who and what our Royal Chundu family of staff are.”

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The moments that inspire us:

“We make people cry a lot… In a good way! I am stopped a few times a week by guests who have been moved to tears by their experiences whether in the village, at our school on the property where we have 54 children all learning on tablets (so state-of-the-art technology for children limited by their geography), by our staff’s kindness, so many little magical moments that the list is too long to mention. … When you emotionally move someone due to an experience you create for them personally, our life’s work is done.”

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Coming for lunch? #zambezilife #wildandfree #theroyalchunduexperience

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That something special:

“Everyone has something to offer in terms of ideas and processes so we act as a family always and that is felt by the guests. Our family feeling is one of warmth and love and that’s the platform that we do everything from. I think that defines our soul here.”

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What you’ll remember:

“The noticeables are our Persian carpet picnic as my grandmother used to do with Pimm’s and silverware on an island in the middle of the river, our homemade mint tea in all the rooms, big bathtubs outside at the Island Lodge, etc, but two things that might not be noticed is our staff and communities’ involvement in everything we do: the local fresh produce supply story as mentioned above. Our head guide supplies us with paraffin and lettuce, one of housekeepers supplies us with all the oranges for freshly-squeezed orange juice on the breakfast tables, one of our carpenters is a beekeeper so he supplies us with honey for the tables and bee boxes around the lodge for our garden pollination, everyone has a hand in what we are doing here so the story becomes more than just one person’s story, it’s a collective energy that weaves our little tapestry together.”

We’d love you to head over to Travel Dew’s interview to read more here >

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Easing into the new week like… #beherenow #theroyalchunduexperience

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Tailor-Made Tours featuring Royal Chundu

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