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Chundukwa River Lodge
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Reviewed March 3, 2010

Stayed here in January with my wife for 3 nights in January. Wish it was longer. The place is amazing and so are the staff. Your hosts Peter and Orla Cornelius really look after your every need not that you have many here because you just cannot help relax.To wake up everyday and look out at the Zambezi river and it's residents! Words just can't describe it.
The evenings were great too with Pete hosting great dinners by the camp fire...... class.
Do the local village tour if you get the chance. Most of what you pay goes back into the village, great touch.
Victoria falls are about 20 mins away and amazing sights greet you there.
I really could not fault Chundukwa and if you want a piece of the real Africa then this is the place for you.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank wwjm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2009

Our first stop on our 25th Wedding Anniversary African Holiday and what a place to start !! From the moment we were picked up at the airport by Dukes to the moment we left, this Lodge just blew us away. Great staff headed by Xanthe made our visit so special with discreet but attentive service and smiles by the bucket load. The lodges sit in well-maintained grounds, are well appointed, and look across the Zambesi. Trips to Victoria Falls are organised as required. The food was excellent and nothing is too much trouble. Nothing disappointed us except for the fact that we couldn't stay longer.
Hurry now, before this corner of paradise gets discovered.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jackomj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2009

We loved Chunduwka lodge. The staff were amazing. Thank you to Xanthe, Levy and Silio. You were fantastic. This was the first lodge we stayed at on our trip so had nothing to compare with but it turned out this was one of the best places we stayed at. I felt I was at a 5 star resort with all of the attention we received. The food was the best from all the lodges we stayed at. They spoiled us! The chalets were so fun and beautiful. It was all part of our African experience. Hearing the night animal sounds was so relaxing. The bathroom hut up the ramp was also fun and different. If you have small children this might not be ideal. They have bulit a house up the river a bit for families. The Chalet was right on the river edge and we could just sit, relax and enjoy the gorgorous view. You truly felt at peace. We did not come to Africa to stay at "Holiday Inns" If you want a generic hotel room that could be any where with buffet food and a crowded pool, then this is not your place. The nights were still chilly so hot water bottles were placed in the bed at night. It was lovely and warm. Xanthe was so very helpful and checked with us everyday to see to our needs. She booked excursions for us. We took a micro light flight over the falls that I would highly recommend. It was fantastic! We also did the lion walk. That was also fun. Then we took a couple of days to just relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Of course the falls were beautiful too!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank louamitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2009

When my husband and I booked our African Adventure through go2africa.com, there was little information available on Chundukwa Lodge. (Anyone looking for a reputable travel agency to assist them on planning a trip to Africa should consider working with go2africa.com (specifically agent Kate Erskine). The company was phenomenal! Our trip went almost without a hitch and the one small problem that we had was eagerly/quickly fixed.

The following is some useful information that I wished I had known before booking and staying at Chundukwa Lodge. There is little info available on the internet/tripadvisor. For convenience and simplicity I broke it up into positives and negatives. I tried to give a very factual, thorough review to assist fellow travelers. Let me preface this review by stating after leaving this poor African country, I should be grateful for what I have so I do feel guilty complaining. Maybe supplies are not easy to come-by here.

POSITIVES:
The food is surprisingly good (see pictures). Dinners are 3 course: starter, main dish, dessert. We enjoyed the flexible breakfast and lunch times. The view of the Zambezi River is great. The lodge is small and intimate. Nightly small bon-fire before dinner with abundant cocktails, wine, beer, is nice. (Water bottles appear to be more rationed than alcohol.) The workers were professional and attentive. There is an excursion (through the lodge) that is available that we highly recommend. Levy Wasamunu, who appears to be one of the head-workers, takes you into his village (Mukay Village) for a small fee (US$20), some of which is donated to the needs of the villagers (Not sure why ALL isn’t donated~ they definitely need it!) It was an opportunity to interact with the Zambian people/children that was truly life changing. I would recommend bringing small trinkets/toys to hand out to the children. It makes for great interaction! You walk 2 km to the village. We spent about 2 ½ hours there. Bring your camera! For us, this was one of the highlights and most influential experiences of our stay. Not sure where else you would have this unique opportunity.

NEGATIVES:
Some may feel like staying at this lodge is a struggle. Having a separate bathroom hut is honestly inconvenient and sometimes scary. You are forewarned that animals (hippos, crocs, snakes) may be outside the door. At times, I was scared to get up in the African darkness to go to the washroom. A flashlight is provided to go between the huts at night. A whistle is in the room in the event of an emergency. One night we had to venture out in complete darkness because the matches were not replenished, our flashlight was broken, and the electric in the bathroom hut was out. Supposedly, workers walk up and down the walkway at night for night-watch, but we seldom saw them. Basic necessities such as toilet paper, shampoo, etc have to be asked to be consistently replenished. There is no conditioner for hair. The shower floods and water goes all over the floor due to poor (slow?) drainage. You are supplied one set of towels that are used for the entire stay and they never fully dry. We did not have enough hot water for 2 showers. Be prepared to co-habitate with insects. Large spiders were in our room and are hanging in trees everywhere. The bamboo shades are ripped in places with holes that could potentially let bugs (mosquitoes) come in. The hut is open-air, so there is no glass window to enclose your room from the outside. Baboons will break into your room and eat your food! It happened to us during the day while we were gone. Laundry services are done by hand washing and hung outside to dry (We washed clothes and they were fairly clean considering, but smelled “smokey” from fire). Pool is cold, dirty and seems more like a pond than a swimming area. No one goes in it. Bedding was stained and kinda dirty. Management was not aggressively helpful or available. It would have enhanced our stay if they would have asked, “Do you need anything?” Be advised! It gets really cold during winter nights! We would wake up in the middle of the night (nocturnal animals are loud, but its part of the experience) extremely cold. Rubber hot water bottles are placed near the edge of the bed at night, but at around 2 a.m., the water has gone cold and there is no heat. We had to layer our clothes and use body heat to stay warm- Overall, my biggest complaints were the bathroom situation and the constant need to ask for toiletries.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
Chundukwa is about a 25 minute drive from the airport. Typically guests have dinner in a group fashion. If you don’t like the other guests~ you’re stuck! There is a small table available for dinner for 2 by request. Sunset cruise is a small wooden boat (see pictures) which takes you out on the Zambezi River with small snacks (popcorn/pretzels/peanuts) and a small cooler is packed with drinks of your choice. There is one guide that takes you out and he is very knowledgeable. You see birds, hippos, crocs on the cruise. Staying in winter months reduces the possibility of mosquitoes. We did not see one mosquito during our stay in middle June. If you enjoy camping and are not “high-maintenance”, this place would be for you. Many fellow travelers appeared to enjoy the experience here, but after long flights and busy days, I would have appreciated a little more comfort at night. Having the bathroom INSIDE the main hut would have made this stay so much more pleasant.

Throughout our stay in Zambia, the lodge hooked us up with a wonderful, professional local guide named Kelvin Mwelwa. Even if you are not staying in this hotel, he is available as a personal guide. He independently took us out for a safari game drive and took us on a tour to Victoria Falls. He can be contacted at Mobile number [--] He is highly recommended.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank THEBSTravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2009

We thoroughly enjoyed EVERYTHING about our stay in the new Chundu House at Chundukwa. The setting is just beautiful, right on the banks of the Zambezi river - looking across to Chundu island and Zimbabwe. Talk about a table with a view! We ate each meal on the outdoor dining table, overlooking the Zambezi river, and enjoying the sounds of nature. One evening, we joined the other guests at the main lodge dining room for dinner, but for all the other meals it was just the four of us. After dinner we would sit outside around the fire talking about the adventures of the day and listening to the hippos "laugh".

The staff at Chundukwa was fabulous - Xanthe, the manager, visited us everyday to see if we needed anything and to arrange whatever activities we wanted. She was SO friendly and had great suggestions for excursions. Our waiter, Levy, was always available to get drinks, or blankets, or even to help spot hippos and crocs in the Zambezi! Levy also gave us a very interesting and informative tour of his village. Our cook amazed us as he managed to prepare one fabulous meal after another in what seemed like a small and minimally equiped kitchen. We also had a great tour guide that took us shopping at the souvenier market in town and to Victoria Falls. There was always transportation available to go anywhere we wanted - into town, to excursions, and airport transfers. Everyone at Chundukwa was friendly, courteous, and very helpful.

The Chundu house is very different from the rest of the chalets at Chundukwa. The other chalets are built into the tress, overhanging the river, supported by stilts. All have their own bathroom, but it is usually in a seperate building near the chalet. The Chundu house is built further back from the river on a regular foundation. It has a kitchen (staffed by a cook) and two bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. Our teens (1 boy & 1 girl) shared one room, each with their own single bed. The only slight issue with there room was that you had to pass through the bathroom to get to the bedroom and since there was only an open archway between the bathroom and bedroom, privacy was a bit tricky. The master bedroom and bath were plenty spacious. The king bed had a beautiful carved wooden headboard and there were plenty of shelves for our clothes. The bathroom was complete with dual sinks, open shower and a toilet. We visited during the winter, and although the house is not heated, we were always kept comfortable with nightly outdoor fires, warm coals at our feet during dinner, and beds warmed by hot water bottles and thick blankets. It wasn't luxurious, but I still felt very pampered.

This is the perfect place for anyone who wants a peaceful setting to relax and enjoy the beautiful nature, exciting excusions, and friendly people of Zambia.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank Traveling Trish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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