Owner-run has transformed this unique lodge from lovely to superb. We have enjoyed a number of visits to Chundukwa in the past, but our most recent visit was especially memorable, now that Gail & Doug have taken over running of the lodge and added their special touch.
Gail excels in the quiet way she interacts with guests with her knowledge of Zambia and, those lucky enough to stay a few days, experience the Zambezi River in a unique way. It is rather difficult to describe, other than a good balance of being close to nature and at the same time having the comfort of a well-run intimate lodge. Comparing value for money, Chundukwa is an amazing option.
Gail is extremely helpful with organizing activities along the Zambezi and transfers to and from the lodge for any of these. One gets the feeling that the Zambezi is her heaven and she loves to help people experience it for themselves.
The relaxed comfort and being close to nature in the individual en-suite, open-fronted chalets that nestle in the riverine forest at the very edge of the water, is an experience not often found in other places. With full nets that have walking space around the beds, one is well protected from mosquitos and there are fans in each chalet for summer nights. Raised above the edge of the river on wooden stilts and with uninterrupted views due to the design of each chalet, one can gaze across the vast, restful expanse of the Zambezi from ones bed, listening to the dawn chorus of the varied birds and hearing hippo snorts echo across the river. It’s a thrill to hear hippo as they launch themselves back into the water with a splash and a grunt in the early hours of the morning.
All the meals at Chundukwa were absolutely delicious, well presented and made with the freshest of ingredients sourced locally and served with care at the edge of the river or in the open-sided dining area with full view of the river.
For a keen birder, as I am, it is a delight to have such unusually frequent sightings of the shy African Finfoot as he or she glides gracefully in and out of the reed beds below the chalets and often silently out into the open water. It is here, that I witnessed the bird propelling itself vertically out of the water to snatch at tasty spiders hanging from low branches and then flop back to the water, sounding like a fish jumping – quite incredible.
The informal garden of ponds and lawns and the small plunge pool are relaxing places to unwind, listen to nature and cool down or read a book after a day of sightseeing. It is here that I have had amazing bird sightings: a pair of Pell’s Fishing Owls spent a day in one of the tall trees above the lawn, numerous Orange Breasted Shrike families flitting and calling in the trees above the ponds and a nesting Paradise Fly Catcher, amongst many other wonderful birds.
An ideal way to end the day at Chundukwa, is by taking the evening sunset cruise which often includes getting close to the opposite side of the river. One often finds crocodiles and shore birds on the banks or can get closer to hippo pods. As the sun sinks and the sky turns red, the small 4 to 6-seater boat stops in a tranquil place. Wine is poured, beers are cracked and another Zambezi sunset calms the mind and ends an awesome day as the boat glides back to the lodge just before dusk.
Being a small intimate lodge close to nature, this place is good for the soul.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chundukwa River Lodge is an African Bush Lodge built on stilts overlooking the Zambezi river. It is beautifully situated with panoramic views of the river - upstream from the Victoria Falls. Offering the best of both worlds - only 30 min from the falls and far enough from Livingstone town to be away from the noise of helicopters and traffic. Essentially perfect for nature and bird lovers and for those who simply want to absorb the best of Africa. There are flights from Johannesburg and Lusaka every day and easy road access from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Our private thatched cottage is perfect for those wanting to enjoy a home on the Zambezi. It has 1 double en-suite bedroom, 1 double/twin bedroom and one child's bedroom, a second bathroom, an open plan lounge/kitchen area, shaded patio, deck and rock splash pool. The cottage comes fully staffed with a personal,waiter and house-keeper. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chundukwa River Hotel Livingstone