Royal Chundu is a real gem, with its rolling views of the Zambezi River, baobab trees, and 2 000-year-old Jackalberry trees. The private lodge comprises two sections — the River Lodges and the ultra-exclusive Island Lodges — and guests are pampered from the minute they arrive to the minute they leave. “Everything that we do is aimed at giving our guests an authentic, luxurious, Zambian experience,” says Tina Aponte, the owner and managing director of Royal Chundu.

The lodge is positioned on a 15km stretch of the Zambezi River, and guests are afforded a uniquely private and exclusive experience, which includes the option of an outside shower or bath. Despite its secluded location, the lodge is well-positioned, and guests can participate in a number of activities, including a helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls.

But the heart of this establishment lies in its community engagement. Royal Chundu exists in harmony with the surrounding villages — Mushekwa, the neighbouring agricultural village, and Muluka, the local fishing village. “We employ only people from the villages we share our home on the banks of the Zambezi with,” Aponte says.

A local woman showcasing her wares
A local woman showcasing her wares
Image: Supplied

Royal Chundu also runs a small women’s project promoting the production of curios and Christmas decorations made from traditional beads and local fabrics. The Royal Chundu Foundation School is another community-empowerment venture: it educates three grades of primary school children.

“I don’t believe that you can have a luxurious African product that does not benefit everyone as much as possible,” Aponte says. “We have a uniquely cohesive arrangement where we all benefit from the good that the lodge enjoys. We believe strongly (that) abundance only comes from a collective.”

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