We Are Healed Through the Souls We Heal

| Tamlin Wightman

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There are three things that are vital to us, here on our remote riverbank… Our connection to the land, our unity with the local people, and the creation of peace and tranquility.

Our spa treatments echo this in every way, thanks to our joining hands with the local Zambian spa known as Sisters of Africa.

With the spa’s founder, Bessie Mwale orchestrating the experience at Royal Chundu and therapists trained in the ways of our ethos, the focus of our spa experience is on a natural and luxurious setting, essential skin products that are made in Zambia, and treatments that keep you in touch with Mother Nature.

Wife to our Executive Chef, Sungani Phiri, and an all-round icon of both strength and peace, Bessie’s ethos when it comes to the spa is, “We are healed through the souls we heal.” Her dream: to unite women in Zambia to become partners in creating a great legacy of spas adapting treatments from their surroundings and celebrating their land.

The treatments reveal a touch of ancient Zambia, with old and new healing techniques adapted from the local villages, to heal the body and soul. Find out more in our five questions with Bessie below.

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5 Questions with Bessie Mwale, the lady behind your pampering

Where do you get your inspiration from in creating your spa experiences?

What really inspires us is who we are and where we are, it is the Zambian cultures and old healing treatments used in our villages like the “Ukuchina massage”, known for healing aching muscles using hot towels and pure distilled water drawn from the great Zambezi River for facials, introducing the world to who we are; and the river scrub that shows our appreciation of Mother Nature.

What are some of your favourite massages and treatments that you’ve put together at Royal Chundu?

The river sand scrub – it is the purest scrub that Mother Nature has swept to the banks of the Zambezi, by continuously cleansing it with her ever running waters. We appreciate what the earth brings to us. I also love our African tree aromatherapy, which includes oils like Mongongo, Baobab and the Mafura butter oil. We are a true celebration of what is around us which we combine with modern spa treatments from around the world.

How do the massages provide a sense of Zambia and the Zambezi?

Our spa concept is created around the Zambezi and Zambia – with treatments like the traditional stick, used for our stick therapy, carved from the dried out wood that has fallen from its stem – usually it would have no use again, but through us it lives again and has a greater purpose. Our local men who make the sticks mould them to better heal others. We also train local women from surrounding villages in becoming spa therapists using a spa menu that has treatments we use in our villages.

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Why should guests make time for a massage during their stay at Royal Chundu?

It is the best way to unwind – being present in the hands of our healing Sisters. Our treatments are done outside on the private deck of the villas or in the gazebo surrounded by the hymns of the birds, trees and river, with spa treatments and products derived from nature, creating a moment of tranquility at the beginning or end of, or during, your journey at Royal Chundu.

What is your background in spa therapy and how did it lead you to Royal Chundu?

I trained in body and facial therapy in South Africa. My dream was to come back to Zambia and practice. I started a small company called Sisters of Africa Spa with the goal of offering Zambian spa treatments. Royal Chundu believes giving the local people a platform to pursue their dreams and to share their culture and traditions with the guests at the lodge.

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