Of all the things we get to do during our downtime at the lodge – tiger-fishing at sunset, visiting with Edith and the Mothers of Mushekwa, nothing at all… – perhaps our favourite is joining in on a game of soccer with the local team. You learn a few things face-down in the sand after trying to dropkick the air… like embarrassment, but more importantly that as long as your team has better foot-eye coordination than you, you’ll be ok.
As Mia Hamm, the American female soccer player, said, “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”
This team spirit – the ubuntu of the upper Zambezi – is something that we are incredibly fortunate to have at Royal Chundu, and it’s evident in the relationship between the lodge and the local communities.
5 Things To Know About The Royal Chundu Community
1.The two main surrounding villages that we work with are Mushekwa, the neighbouring, mostly agricultural village, and Muluka, the local fishing village.
2. We employ only people from the villages we share our home on the banks of the Zambezi with, by using revenue from tourism to uplift our local communities. In turn, the faces you will meet here imbue our lodge, our guests’ experiences, with the spirit of Zambia. They bring with them vast traditional knowledge of Zambian cuisine and the natural surroundings – from the indigenous plant life to the birds and fish of the Zambezi.
3. We source all our fresh supplies from within a three kilometre radius, to ensure freshness and support the local community. Our speciality bream is caught by local fishermen, while our free-range chickens, eggs, vegetables and other produce comes from the gardens of Mushekwa, led by Matriarch Edith Mushekwa, who also guides our guests on tours through her village.
4. We run a small women’s project promoting the production of curios and Christmas decorations made from traditional beads and local fabrics, and a community school – the Royal Chundu Foundation School, which educates three grades of children, from four to six years, and covers the entire Zambian curriculum using the modern advantages of tablets. Our social responsibility commitment also promotes therapists from the local villages, allowing previously unskilled women to be empowered by their natural abilities.
> Read more in our blog, Lady Luck and the Katombora Kids.
5. We offer guests the chance to meet the residents of the local villages – to get to know the personalities that make up the Royal Chundu family, and to experience village life – whether it’s a tour of Edith‘s vegetable garden or a wedding blessing from our village elders. It really is the Zambian people and culture that makes this part of the world so special to experience.