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“Nice, but overpriced”

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Chundukwa River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 August 2017

A very nice family lodge with great hospitality and amazing staff, ideal if you are looking for a place to relax in an intimate, homely atmosphere. The rooms are nice and well-equipped, overlooking the river. However, it tends to be very very cold in the evening, during the night and early in the morning. There are also occasional power cuts so you may run out of hot water or won't be able to use Internet. Food and meals are amazing. The sunset cruise on the Zambezi was also very nice.
However, we find this accomodation way over-priced for the level of service and accomodation you actually get. Despite an extremely high price for a very basic level of service (compared to other hotels in the area), they even charge extra for the use of internet which later proved to be unreliable and almost impossible to use due to poor signal and common power cuts. Other services such as the hotel taxi to the falls or Livingstone were also very expensive.
Although it was a nice experience sleeping in the open next to the river, we feel that this is not good value for money. If we could choose again, we would have booked a cheaper hotel with a higher level of service and comfort.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank yalla134
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 9 August 2017

Dear yalla134

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. We sincerely appreciate hearing from our guests as it gives us the opportunity to grow and improve our services where needed. First of all great to hear you enjoyed our hospitality and the staff. And that you liked the rooms and felt they were well equipped.

Yes, evenings and mornings on the river are chilly during our winter months of May-mid August – we find that the electric heating blankets we have on every bed are a must, along with local ‘mbaula’ braziers in the dining area, a massive fire at night to 'cosy up' to under the stars and blankets on the chairs both mornings and evenings. (Every room also has spare heavy cotton blankets for optional use)

As you experienced, Internet connectivity in our area isn’t great – an issue we deal with on a daily basis in Zambia! Internet access is available in the main lodge area, and is most of the time sufficient for sending emails, whatsapps etc, though uploads and downloads will be rather slow and timely, and hence we charge a nominal flat rate per room should our guests wish to be connected.

Similarly power-cuts are also a reality. Hence we have back up’ Inverters’ in every room, so guests still have power in their rooms. We are so sorry to hear that you had a problem with the hot water and if we had only known we could have remedied this for you right away.

With reference to transfers we are situated 25km from Livingstone centre – and about 35km from Victoria Falls. Many guests opt for our ‘Fully Inclusive’ package which includes a driver/guide and vehicle for a full day – to visit Livingstone town, the Falls and any other attractions or activities in the area. Alternatively, private transfers can be arranged from here.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences of your time with us on the Zambezi, we hope that overall you have fond memories.

Our best wishes

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7 - 11 of 184 reviews

Reviewed 28 July 2017

For my husband and I this was our third trip to Livingstone. If you want the character of Tongabezi coupled with the service of the Royal Livingstone...this is the place. Loved every minute. Gail and Doug offer highly personalized service and insight that is invaluable. Accommodations are first rate 'authentic African' they helped us make every minute of our trip valuable. We were traveling with our daughters ages 20 and 16; it was their first African experience. They took care of all of our arrangements including: white water rafting, white rhino safari walk, hike at the falls and tour of the town. The meals were prepared on our schedule and were delicious. Loved the staff and their stables. The highlight of our trip.

Stayed: June 2017
Thank LToombs
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 9 August 2017

Thank you! It is this type of feedback which keeps excited and inspired to do more. Especially that you have visited the area before and stayed in more upmarket lodges and hotels on previous visits! Chundukwa is owner run and so we have the freedom to treat each one of our guests as our own. Flexibility around meals and what you want to do with your valuable time is important to us and you don't have to pay a fortune to feel special. Our stable yard is very busy these days, with guests doing horse trails, riders from the Polo Crosse community practicing in the afternoon and of course Doug training horses. We are glad you were able to join us for a walk around to meet the horses and have a bit of a farm yard experience, plus meet some of the locals from the area. We hope you will be make it back here someday again. Our best wishes to you and the girls.

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Reviewed 21 July 2017 via mobile

When we arrived at this gem of a Lodge we had no idea what a treat we were in for.
The beautiful setting, the unique rooms, the amazing hospitality by Gail and Doug and their team and the animal viewing down the Zambizi River were as memorable as it gets. And the food was the best we had throughout our holiday

Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
Thank Emma A
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 12 September 2017

Dear Emma thank you for your kind feedback. We have had fantastic game viewing on the river this year...a pride of 11 lion, herds of elephant, one lone hyena, a large herd of buffalo seen last week and of course loads of hippo and an alarming amount of crocodiles! We hope you will be back one day for more treats and special sunsets. Our best wishes

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Reviewed 20 July 2017 via mobile

My husband, parents, and I were recently in Livingstone visiting my 24 year old son serving in the Peace Corps. At the recommendation of my travel agent, we spent two nights in a family cottage at Chundukwa. I wish it was more than two nights!
When we arrived an incredible lunch was prepared for us on the deck. None of us could get over the quality of the food. We were on the all inclusive plan so all meals and drinks were included. Also included was a sunset river cruise. That alone was a safari because of all the wildlife we were able to see (crocodiles, hippos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, cape buffalo, and baboons) they also provided cocktails and snacks. When we went back to the lodge for dinner a roaring fire was set up with camp chairs. Such a nice touch! Dinner was outstanding!
The following day we had a driver provided for us to take us to the Falls. He was wonderful and knowledgeable. Because we loved the sunset cruise so much we did a second one. We were not disappointed!
What makes this lodge so wonderful is the delightful owners Gail and Doug, and their incredible staff. They truly love what they do and where they live and want you to have a true Zambian experience.

Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
Thank marymc507
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 9 August 2017

Dear marymc507, we have had several families staying with us through the years who have come out to visit a member of their family working in the Peace Corps. Chundu Cottage being a stand alone house on the Zambezi River is definately a wonderful place for families to be together and catch up. We love being able to cook and serve you in your temporary home away from home and are so pleased that you enjoyed the magic of it. The sunset and sunrise cruises are definitely the highlight of staying at Chundukwa as apposed to choosing accommodation in Livingstone town. We have our own boat that leaves from the lodge, always with a basket of refreshments and some special treats to enjoy whilst being out on the water. Game viewing from the boat can be very fortuitous - especially during the dry months. Glad you were able to see so much. It was wonderful meeting your whole family and we hope that you will be able to make it back this way one day.
Our best wishes

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Reviewed 1 July 2017

We started our trip to Zambia at Chundukwa and from the moment we arrived we stepped into a beautiful oasis of calm and beauty. Having spent some time previously in Zambia we were looking for a lodge that would give us a more authentic experience of the sounds and feel of Zambia - rather than a 'Spa' 'luxury' type experience - and it didn't disappoint. Gail and Doug have built a very special space on the banks of the Zambezi with a blend of quality and simplicity set in beautiful surroundings and a team who provide a genuine and friendly welcome and service. Nothing was too much trouble. Using locally sourced food where possible we were treated to delicious meals including a quirky take on a beef stew - served with a pastry top in an enamel cup! We took advantage of the morning and evening river cruises on offer from the lodge, to catch a glimpse of the huge variety of birds as well as hyena, kudu, vervet monkeys and of course hippo and crocs. We also took a horse ride through the bush. Alison arranged for us to see the white rhino at the local game reserve and there are other activities which can be arranged from the lodge. Although the lodge is outside of Livingstone a local taxi can be arranged to take you into Livingstone and the Victoria Falls. Evenings were spent around the fire with Doug, Gail or Alison who were great hosts and were happy to share their knowledge and insights of living in Zambia with tips of places to visit etc. The lodges were clean, comfortable with some lovely personal touches and open to one side - with views out over the river. We soon got used to hearing the sounds of the night which just added to the 'Africa' experience. We really loved this place - we were able to relax and recharge our batteries in preparation for the safari trips ahead. Thanks to everyone at Chundukwa for making our trip a truly memorable one.

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Catherine C
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 9 August 2017

Dear Catherine C, thank you so much for your feedback. We are so pleased to discover just how much you were able to relax, absorb and appreciate your surrounds at Chundukwa and the area. We certainly intend to offer as much of an authentic experience of Africa as we can with all the comforts, but as you say - we are not a modern luxury' spa' lodge, but rather a luxury' bush lodge' set amongst large Riverrine trees with natural surrounds and a myriad of views overlooking the river.
There is a certain beauty and magic in this area, whether it be the open starry nights, or the Zambezi River quietly flowing by your river chalet or the boat cruises that often yield wonderful surprises such as wild animals coming down to the waters' edge for a drink. Oftentimes, by just allowing oneself to slow down enough to let nature and its subtle beauty come towards you, a whole world of intrigue arises. And of course enjoying the other end of the spectrum of being able to stand on the edge of the magnificent Victoria Falls and feel exhilarated! Thrilled you liked Doug's home-made Beef Pie in Cup! He is in fact cooking up a storm as we speak. Best wishes to you and thank you once again.

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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 #9 of 91 Speciality Lodging in Livingstone
Price Range: HK$3,154 - HK$11,227 (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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