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“Not the typical Africa lodge” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Chundukwa River Lodge

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Chundukwa River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Gainesville, Florida
Level Contributor
68 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Not the typical Africa lodge”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2010

Each "chalet" here is a little private bedroom on stilts overlooking the river. The setting is wonderful. No mosquitoes in July -- but I can't speak for the warmer parts of the year! An electric blanket on the comfy big bed kept me toasty warm at night. The shower was hot, and I liked the rustic private bathroom. The meals were really excellent. I think the maximum number of guests is 10. All eat together, B&B style. The location is about 20 km outside of Livingstone, which is fine (I would not want to stay _in_ Livingstone). I took the village tour with Levy, and it was one of the highlights of my two months in Africa. I asked him hundreds of questions, and he patiently answered each one. I didn't feel like I should take photos because the village is so obviously NOT a tourist attraction. The staff at Chundukwa were very helpful and also not intrusive (I liked that). If you do not want to be insulated in a Disneyesque lodge with safari decor, but you can afford to step up to Chundukwa's prices, I highly recommend it. The manager can arrange any kind of sightseeing, etc., that you would like to do. I would recommend you cross the border to the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls and also walk about the town there and visit the hotel. There is MUCH more to see there than on the Zambia side of the falls.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Macloo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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167 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
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English first
London
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 May 2010

I only spent two nights here but I will absolutely never forget it; as the reviews below have mentioned, pretty much everything about Chundukwa is perfect if you're after some serious relaxation and mind regeneration, and at a fraction of the cost of other lodges dotted along the Zambezi near Victoria Falls. Chundukwa is more extremely comfortable than luxurious, but so much the better for it; the rooms aren't fitted out with endless amenities (although you have everything you need) but you don't even begin to notice on account of the fact that you will spend most of your time just watching the river pass endlessly by, and whilst the bathrooms do require you leaving the confines of your room (which can be a little nervy at night given the fact you really are 'at one with nature' here), there's little to compare with taking a morning shower looking out at dawn breaking over the Zambezi.

What really sets this place apart though is the service; it is extremely attentive yet unobtrusive; I have rarely stayed somewhere where the staff genuinely do anticipate what you want before you've thought of it yourself; 5* hotels could learn something from this place! Futhermore, both the owner and all of the staff I met were local and were both a mine of knowledge on the area and, on account of the fact they appeared to know everybody in Livingstone, were able to organise pretty much anything you wanted.

One more thing... the food was superb!

It is with reluctance that I recommend this place so highly because I would hate it to expand or change in any way at all really, but it deserves to be recognised, and I therefore selflessly encourage you to go, you will be glad you did!

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Anon010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joburg
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2010

Chundukwa truly offers you a hideaway in paradise - whether it's the 5-Star service, the amazing scenery, food, the serenity & seclusion or all together which simply surpasses your imagination in every way - I would recommend Chundukwa any and every time - it's an experience that feeds the soul. Thank you Pete and Orla, you went out of your way and beyond;your staff anticipated our every need and added lovely surprises along the stay - personal, intimate and yet you gave us plenty of time to enjoy the silence, space and waters. I left wishing I had just one more day on the deck...

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LoveRealAfrika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West of ireland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 March 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, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank wwjm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wiltshire
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 September 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, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jackomj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 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, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank louamitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
110 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 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, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank THEBSTravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chundukwa River Lodge

Property: 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 84 Speciality Lodging in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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