January 11 2010
Zambia is back on Travelista’s radar, with the recent formation of the Chiawa Partnership Park in the Lower Zambezi, and the renovation and openings of luxe new camps around it. One of the biggest newsmakers is Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge (www.africansunhotels.com/royalchundu, from $510 per person, excluding transfers), situated in the Katambora forest on the banks of the Zambezi river, close enough to Victoria Falls to hear the famous Mosi-oa-Tunya – or smoke that thunders – of the raging waters.
Royal Chundu’s 10 suites are situated right on the riverbank, while the four private villas are sleekly contemporary takes on indigenous lodges amid fern and tree forests which have been here for 1,500 years. While game viewing is a strong suit, Chundu’s real trump card is birdwatching: more than 400 species are indigenous to the area, best seen from a canoe or barge cruise at dusk. If this lodge’s nearby sister property – Zimbabwe’s old-school favourite, the Victoria Falls Hotel – is any barometer, guests can expect service to be both impressively first-rate and gratifyingly genuine.