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Chundukwa River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 April 2017

This is a wonderful place to stay while visiting Victoria Falls. Doug and Gail are great hosts, the food is outstanding and the lodges extending out over the River are outstanding. Trips to see wildlife are available as well as boat trips on the Zambezi River.

Room Tip: House back from the river good for families
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  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Richard S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chundukwa, Owner at Chundukwa River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2017

Many of our guests arrive at Chundukwa as result of 'word of mouth' recommendations and newly made friends who share with their friends....and to this end we are very grateful to have engaged with a community whose wish to take in the best of Zambia and what we have to offer, makes it so special to be a part of. To your band of friends who bravely stepped forth from their tidy worlds in the west to our African Bush Lodge, sharing good food and company whilst enjoying the beautiful views of the river...thank you! We hope you will be back one day.

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14 - 18 of 182 reviews

Reviewed 26 March 2017

We could not be happier that our travel agent led us to Chundukwa. If you are looking for an unforgettable and unique experience near Livingstone, look no further. Here is what makes it so special:

THE OWNERS: This is the last "owner-managed" lodge on the Zambezi. Doug and Gail are essentially inviting you into their home and sharing their love for Zambia, nature and wildlife. They were both raised in Zambia (Doug is 4th-generation) and have lived though its history. They are gracious and warm hosts welcoming you each morning and saying goodnight each evening--they live on the premises. You will get to know their friendly dogs and cats. Before dinner, all guests sit around an open fire with cocktails and share backgrounds and stories (the highlight being Doug's and Gail's tales and perspectives on Africa). Meals include their family recipes, with Doug supervising the kitchen. They can also advise on and arrange any activities in the Livingstone area.

THE LODGE: Each room is a large, separate chalet on the bank of the Zambezi. While tastefully appointed and very comfortable (a big canopied bed with mosquito netting, lounge chairs facing the river for sunrise coffee and sunset drinks, a couch and coffee table), this is one of the last (the last?) up-scale lodges on the river to retain the feel of luxury camping in the bush, with the front of each chalet completely open to the river (others have lost that feel by adding glass doors and air-conditioning). They can keep their glass--there is nothing like waking to an open air pastel sunrise and the sounds of hippos, with nothing but a mosquito net separating you from nature. This is the Africa of your dreams.

THE FOOD: The meals were extraordinary. Breakfast is a cook-to-order hot breakfast (with cereals, yoghurt and fruit available). Lunch and dinner are a set menu each day, with beautifully fresh salads, exquisite preparations, sauces and presentations, and incredible desserts. Because of the small size of the lodge, meals times can be adjusted to fit guest schedules. Coffee and drinks are happily delivered to your room for the morning sunrise or evening sunset.

THE STAFF: Doug and Gail have cultivated and trained a wonderful staff, many of whom live in the nearby villages. Amos and Alex were our waiters--they could not have been more friendly, more attentive or more professional. Victor was our river boat guide, having a tremendous knowledge of the wildlife around the river (and a remarkable ability to spot animals on the banks, in the air and in the river). Be sure to take the Make village walk with one of the staff, learning first-hand about the rhythms of the village, meeting locals and seeing where and how they live. Doug and Gail do much to invest in the village, particularly its children.

Chundukwa is one-of-a-kind, thanks in large part (completely?) to its owners and their passion for Africa, its wilderness, its wildlife and its people. Do not pass up the opportunity to experience their world.

Room Tip: All rooms are on the river.
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  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank pmichalski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chundukwa, Owner at Chundukwa River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2017

With such precious little time, you proved to anyone how much there is to experience at the lodge and in Livingstone in such a short time! We love supporting our guests to make the most of their stay...to imbibe the culture and way of life here in an authentic way plus experience nature up close and very comfortably. We sincerely thank you for taking the time to write such an in-depth review on your experiences of Chundukwa and together with your new friends at the school and our village soccer team, we really appreciate your support and care so look forward to having you return one day soon.

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Reviewed 16 February 2017

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.

Room Tip: Each chalet has wonderful river views.
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  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank vmj306
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chundukwa, Owner at Chundukwa River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 20 April 2017

Thank you for sharing our little piece of heaven with us and indeed for translating your experiences into words so elegantly. Being in nature and on a river....comfortably, is what we are about and are privileged to share. Thank you for coming and we hope to see you again soon. Best wishes from all of us.

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Reviewed 3 February 2017

We were met outside the Livingston Airport by our driver who took us to Chundukwa River Lodge in Zambia. The lodge was far more than we expected from their main web page picture. Our accommodations were resplendent as we picture an African lodge would look like. The lodge was immaculate with very polite and accommodating staff. Our lodge was on stilts over the mighty Zambezi River, the river that flows over Victoria Falls. The owners, Doug and Gale, were welcoming, attentive, and gracious. They made sure our stay was we anticipated. On the sunset river cruise, we saw an unexpected variety of wild animals; hippopotamus, alligators, wart hogs, and many birds. The sunset along the river on our boat was spectacular. We stayed two fantastic nights drinking sparkling wine looking out over our open air lodge listening and watching hippos pass underneath. We liked it so much we are thinking of booking another trip in the future.

Chundukwa is very convenient place to stay not far from Victoria Falls. If we had not gone to both the Zambia and Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls, we would have missed a spectacle. The Zambian side was clear with many drops (there wasn’t a shear wall of water because of the time of the year). There were dozens of stunning falls coming down off the might Zambezi. Though we hesitated about crossing the border to Zimbabwe in order to see the other side of the falls, we were glad we did. (Luckily we had received visas for both Zambia and Zimbabwe which made the crossing less expensive.) We experienced the full force of the falls when we were drenched by the upward spray coming from the crashing of the falls on the rocks below. This is truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

We added an optional trip to see the white (wide nose) rhinos which are guarded 24/7 by Zambian park rangers who carry AK 47 to guard against poachers. Our guide made the arrangements to meet the rangers who then took us on foot within 10 yards of the grazing behemoths. We were so close we could almost touch them. This was our first up close and personal experience with the wild beasts.

Room Tip: All the lodges are over the Zambezi River with great views of wild life and stunning landscapes
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  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank JGSand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gail K, Owner at Chundukwa River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2017

It just goes to show that staying in a 'bush lodge' for the first time does not have to be a scary and daunting experience, especially if it is your first time to Africa. The rooms are designed in such a way that the large walk in mosquito nets act as a formiddable barrier for insects and then you get to enjoy that wonderful feeling of sleeping close to the stars in our open fronted chalets on stilts.
It is easy to view both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides of the falls these days as there is a new visa called the KAZA visa available when you arrive in the country for $50. This allows you to cross the boarders without having to fork out additional funds. We always recommend that you get this visa as it is really worth while seeing the full extent of the falls if you can. Plus it is a wonderful experience to spend the day walking, exploring, chatting to the locals, visiting the markets and simply having the freedom to enjoy Africa at its best.
We are thrilled that you love Chundukwa and sincerely hope that you will make it back this way one day. With fond memories of your stay. Best regards Doug and Gail

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Reviewed 13 January 2017

We spent the most amazing magical 3 nights at Chundukwa and wish we could have stayed longer!
The owners Gail and Doug are charming, attentive hosts and committed conservationists who kept our teenagers enthralled with their tales from the bush. They made us feel so welcome that it felt like we were visiting favourite family members.
We stayed in the Chundu Cottage which was perfect for a family of 5 or 6. The rooms were beautiful and spacious and the setting right on the banks of the Zambezi was spectacular. Amos was our friendly and attentive waiter who looked after all our needs while we were in the cottage. We ate our lunch and dinner on the patio outside of our cottage. All the food was delicious and beautifully presented.
On the final night Gail organised a surprise dinner down on the banks of the river with candles surrounding our beautifully laid table - such a treat and typified how thoughtful all the staff at Chundukwa are.
They arranged the airport transfers and a guide for the day to take us to the falls. If needed they can organise or advise on helicopter trips, rafting etc and you know that they will book you with the best and most reliable companies.
I really can't recommend Chundukwa River Lodge highly enough and we can't wait to go back.
You must go if you are visiting the beautiful Victoria Falls!

Stayed: December 2016
1  Thank Fiona C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gail K, Owner at Chundukwa River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2017

Three days did indeed go so very fast and it felt more like you could have enjoyed at least another 2 days. At least the kids could have had more time to swim in the swimming pool! We loved having you and it was a true delight to create a magical African night with lanterns and a big fire to accompany your dinner on the banks of the Zambezi River. We hope you will be back soon. Best regards Doug and Gail and the team!

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Additional Information about Chundukwa River Lodge

Address: Kazungula Road, Livingstone 20100, Zambia (Formerly Chundukwa Tree Lodge)
Region: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 86 Speciality Lodging in Livingstone
Price Range: HK$3,967 - HK$11,213 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
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

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