by Tamlin Wightman
on July 11, 2014
7 min read

“There’s something about a Gin & Tonic, the call of the African Fish Eagle and a tangerine, sunset sky that just has to resonate somewhere in you.” Such are the words of one of our inspired explorers below. And as you’ll see, as the last of our new consultants bring you the final glories of their journey, the last leg in Zambia clearly stole their hearts.

Whether it’s the country’s people, their spirits both as gentle as the upper reaches of the Zambezi, and as strong as the tumble of the Falls, or the adrenaline of the activities – the tiger fishing, the trail biking, the helicopter flips, Zambia is a wilderness worth treading and today it’s Beverley, Lauren and Benjamin who take you there.

Zambia

We hope you’ve enjoyed the ride so far, from Chobe, to Zimbabwe and now, Zambia, starting at Royal Chundu… (Watch our video of the lodge, Zambia’s first Relais & Châteaux property). In case you missed Part One and Part Two here they are.


Saturday 24 May – Beverley

I think I have finally discovered the finest way to start the day, wrapped in a fluffy white gown I pad across the room to our serving hatch, summoned by the gentle ringing of traditionally made African bell, and open the wooden doors to the aroma of sublime morning cappuccino. I can’t help popping my head out the door and calling thanks to our butler. Tray in hand I make my way to our deck to indulge in this glorious morning treat and to soak in the sunrise over the mighty Zambezi - bliss, pure bliss.

“I think I have finally discovered the finest way to start the day, wrapped in a fluffy white gown I pad across the room to our serving hatch, summoned by the gentle ringing of a traditionally made African bell. I open the wooden doors to the aroma of a sublime morning cappuccino. I can’t help popping my head out the door and calling thanks to our butler. Tray in hand, I make my way to our deck to indulge in this glorious morning treat and to soak in the sunrise over the mighty Zambezi – bliss, pure bliss.”

The day just got better, with a delicious breakfast on the lodge deck next to the river, our hunger most satisfied we set off by boat for a tour of Mushekwa local village. Here we had the pleasure of meeting Edith, the true Matriarch of the village and an inspiration to her clan and all that meet her. We were quite amazed at how they have learnt to use so many natural elements around them to make daily living easier and even prosperous. A definite highlight of our visit to Royal Chundu.

“The day just got better, with a delicious breakfast on the lodge deck next to the river, our hunger most satisfied we set off by boat for a tour of Mushekwa local village. A definite highlight of our visit to Royal Chundu.”

Here we had the pleasure of meeting Edith, the true Matriarch of the village and an inspiration to her clan and all that meet her. We were quite amazed at how they have learnt to use so many natural elements around them to make daily living easier and even prosperous.

“Here we had the pleasure of meeting Edith, the true Matriarch of the village and an inspiration to her clan and all that meet her. We were quite amazed at how they have learnt to use so many natural elements around them to make daily living easier and even prosperous.”

Our next adventure was a canoe trip to the island of Katambora for a picnic lunch. Two per canoe with our capable guides we set off to take on the mild rapids and get just a little “up close and personal” with the Zambezi.

“Our next adventure was a canoe trip to the island of Katambora for a picnic lunch. Two per canoe, with our capable guides we set off to take on the mild rapids and get up close with the Zambezi.”

Our picnic venue was a true sight to behold and after some relaxing we tucked into a tasty lunch of salads, chicken kebabs and juicy cheese burgers. Our hunger satiated, we headed off on a walk across the island where we got the chance to do a really special group hug around a very large and beautiful baobab tree. 

“Our picnic venue was a true sight to behold and after some relaxing we tucked into a tasty lunch of salads, chicken kebabs and juicy cheese burgers. Our hunger satiated, we headed off on a walk across the island where we got the chance to do a really special group hug around a very large and beautiful baobab tree.”

Royal Chundu Island Lodge

“On to Royal Chundu’s Island Lodge and well, what can one say, just lovely, romantic, quiet, private and a honeymooner’s delight. Not much to top a bathtub filled with bubbles and rose petals on your deck looking out over the river and up to the shining stars above. Katambora Island is truly a delight.”

A canoe race back to the main lodge and we were ready for something a tad gentler, so we took once again to the water in what had become our favourite “pastime” – a sunset cruise. There’s something about a gin & tonic, the call of the African Fish Eagle and a tangerine, sunset sky that just has to resonate somewhere in you.

“A canoe race back to the main lodge and we were ready for something a tad gentler, so we took once again to the water in what had become our favourite pastime – a sunset cruise. There’s something about a Gin & Tonic, the call of the African Fish Eagle and a tangerine, sunset sky that just has to resonate somewhere in you.”

This evening we were treated to a 6 course tasting menu by head chef Sungani Phiri and his staff, what a feast! Elegantly paired with fine South African wines, this menu was an education of the local Zambian food scene and truly delicious to eat. Well researched and combined, Sungani showed us the original main ingredient used to inspire each dish and regaled great stories of how they were used in his local culture and how he had adapted the menu to combine both traditional and western flavours to tantalize the discerning palate.

“This evening we were treated to a 6 course tasting menu by head chef Sungani Phiri and his staff. What a feast! Elegantly paired with fine South African wines, this menu was an education of the local Zambian food scene and truly delicious, well-researched and combined. Sungani showed us the main ingredient used to inspire each dish and regaled great stories of how they were used in his local culture and how he had adapted the menu to combine traditional and western flavours to tantalize the discerning palate.”

 


Sunday 25 May – Lauren

After the best time at Royal Chundu, we were sad to leave, but were looking forward to seeing what was lying ahead. Our African adventure continues! We hit the road and it was a bumpy one! We made it to the Islands of Siankaba, a tranquil lodge lining the banks of the Zambezi, and were warmly greeted by the friendly Sam who quickly got us onto a boat for a river cruise (can never get tired of these!). There is plenty to do here - sunset mokoro trips, tiger fishing and trail biking, or spa treatments in their lovely garden spa!

“After the best time at Royal Chundu, we were sad to leave, but were looking forward to seeing what lay ahead. Our African adventure continues! We made it to the Islands of Siankaba, a tranquil lodge lining the banks of the Zambezi, and were warmly greeted by the friendly Sam who quickly got us onto a boat for a river cruise (can never tire of these!). There is plenty to do here – sunset mokoro trips, tiger fishing and trail biking, or spa treatments in their lovely garden spa!”

Onwards to Tongabezi! What a fantastic welcome we got - lots of singing and dancing and happy faces. Rudy is a fantastic host and showed us around this beautiful, spacious property with its green lawns, lemon trees and wooden walkways along the Zambezi.

“Onwards to Tongabezi! What a fantastic welcome we got – lots of singing and dancing and happy faces. Rudy is a fantastic host and showed us around this beautiful, spacious property with its green lawns, lemon trees and wooden walkways along the Zambezi.”

Onwards to Tongabezi! What a fantastic welcome we got - lots of singing and dancing and happy faces. Rudy is a fantastic host and showed us around this beautiful, spacious property with its green lawns, lemon trees and wooden walkways along the Zambezi. For honeymooners, Tree House is a must! Private and open, with gorgeous views and décor. We hopped into two river boats and sped off to Sindabezi Island, 15 minutes away. Another warm welcome and drinks on arrival! We were asked to take off our shoes and walk on the soft white beach sand. Yes, this is an island getaway in the Zambezi. I love it! If you are looking for a luxurious, secluded, relaxing island-style holiday, with a touch of Africa, this is the place. We didn’t want to leave!

“For honeymooners, Tree House is a must! Private and open, with gorgeous views and décor. We hopped into two river boats and sped off to Sindabezi Island, 15 minutes away. Another warm welcome and drinks on arrival! We were asked to take off our shoes and walk on the soft white beach sand. Yes, this is an island getaway in the Zambezi. I love it! If you are looking for a luxurious, secluded, relaxing island-style holiday, with a touch of Africa, this is the place. We didn’t want to leave!”

What a view! | From the Royal Livingstone Hotel

“Onto our next stop and overnight stay, The Royal Livingstone Hotel, within walking distance of the famous Victoria Falls. As we came through the entrance to reach the hotel, we saw giraffes enjoying a munch on the trees! The animals move freely and are very relaxed – we even had zebras outside our room eating the grass. The bar at the Royal Livingstone is magnificent, and the food served at the restaurant is delicious! We left the grand, colonial Royal Livingstone Hotel with special memories.”


Monday 26 May – Benjamin

We departed the Royal Livingstone hotel and headed off to the United Air Charter helicopter landing point, 15 min from the hotel.

“We departed the Royal Livingstone hotel and headed off to the United Air Charter helicopter landing point, 15 min from the hotel.”

The main building is on a small hill and offered a breathtaking view of the spray from the waterfall. Located on the deck was also a friendly gentleman playing the Marimba. We met Lizelle who gave us a brief introduction about the helicopter flight and another part of the staff explained the flight routing. The helicopter flight was around Victoria Falls, as well as straight over the Falls, and then over the national park area.

“The main building is on a small hill and offered a breathtaking view of the spray from the waterfall. Located on the deck was also a friendly gentleman playing the Marimba. We met Lizelle who gave us a brief introduction about the helicopter flight and another part of the staff explained the flight routing. The helicopter flight was around Victoria Falls, as well as straight over the Falls, and then over the national park area.”

Helicopter Flips

“We were then also informed that we would be flying in the Huey, an old American Army Chopper, which flies with open doors and also has allocated seats on the side. I am usually scared of heights, but the helicopter was very stable in the air and I could fully appreciate the absolutely amazing views of Victoria Falls and the Gorge as well as the surrounding areas.”

Helicopter Over Africa

“There’s nothing quite like soaring over the Vic Falls in a helicopter.”

Victoria Falls by Helicopter

“The sound of the helicopter was incredible and it definitely added to the experience. However, the sound levels were very high, and my hearing was slightly impaired once we had touched ground. The flight took about 15 min. The perfect end to an already incredible trip we’ll remember forever!”

Victoria falls from the air

This is the end of our new consultants’ journey from Chobe to Zim and Zam. Be sure to follow our blog more more great travel adventures and inspiration. For more information or to start planning your own trip to Africa, contact one of our travel consultants. They’ve been there, seen that, got the stories to tell… Thank you to the Big 8, as we like to call them, for sharing Africa with us. Till next time…