The much-anticipated opening of one of Zimbabwe’s premier private island lodges, Chundu Island, has arrived. Proud owners, Seolo Africa, who you may know from their already well-respected lodges, Rhino Walking Safaris and Rhino Post Safari Lodge, welcomed their first guests this past week; with both staff, wildlife and the intrepid explorers themselves rising to the occasion.
Chundu Island, located in the breathtakingly beautiful upper Zambezi River, a mere 20km upstream from the magnificent Victoria Falls is, without doubt, one of the most attractive islands the region has to offer. Chundu Island will impress even the most seasoned of travellers with 1.4km of raw, natural beauty, culminating in a white soft sandy beach on the westernmost tip of the island – undoubtedly, the perfect spot to enjoy a quintessential G&T as the sun sets over the river.
The excitement was palpable as I spoke with Jann Kingsley, Managing Director of Seolo Africa. “We’ve worked tirelessly to create a tranquil, yet modern, space, where our guests have the time to reflect, relax, and ultimately, enjoy the awe-inspiring environment that Chundu Island offers.”
The management team’s dedication is evident everywhere you look. From the intricately woven carpets to the individually sourced artwork adorning the walls. And not only is the care so clearly visible in the lodge’s aesthetics, but in the way I heard the wonderful story of how many of these items came to be. Kingsley’s devotion was palpable as she related the anecdote of the many hours spent trawling local markets for the perfect wall art; how she spoke to the local people; how she told them where their art would be viewed… it all speaks volumes to the pride Seolo Africa feel toward their newest masterpiece, Chundu Island.
AnchorWith six suites and two family suites, all overlooking the water, I would venture it is virtually impossible to find a more unique and beautiful African hideaway. Guests are pampered by the most gloriously comfortable beds, a large en-suite bathroom with, and I loathe the word, but I feel it necessary, the most sublime free-standing bath.
The room solitude is afforded by the most magnificent shade trees, with each room extending to its own extensive private deck, complemented by relaxing daybeds and outdoor fans, providing a cool place to admire the view of the Zambezi and surrounding national park.
Chundu Island guests are invited to wind down their day with a sundowner on their deck, or perhaps at the tastefully decorated bar or, if the mood suits, on a sunset cruise along the great Zambezi River, where they will enjoy the majestic sight of elephants and hippos on the opposite bank.
AnchorThere is nothing quite like an evening game drive to complete the magic of an African holiday, and as you would expect from a lodge such as Chundu Island, its perfect positioning allows guests prime access to the Zambezi National Park. 4×4 safaris offer an abundance of African bush, and with the sights, the sounds… you will not be disappointed. Not only does the park offer a spectacular range of birdlife, it positively teems with buffalo, elephant, zebra, impala, kudu, waterbuck, giraffe, crocodile and hippo, along with a small but growing population of lions, wild dogs, hyenas and leopards (to keep the grass-grazers in check!).
The range of activities offered by Chundu Island reflects its prime location and the dedicated, knowledgeable staff on hand – from game drives and walks in the Zambezi National Park to island walks; from sundowner cruises to run fishing and canoeing on the mighty Zambezi; and last, but definitely not least, day tours to the magnificent Victoria Falls; a true ‘Bucket List’ destination for every African explorer.
Chundu Island is a private oasis where nothing else seems to exist but the beauty of Zimbabwe’s natural habitat. I could go on, at length, but trust me when I say Chundu Island is something special. I know from personal experience that comparisons should be used sparingly, but in this case, I’m willing to make an exception: ‘Seychelles meets The Zambezi’ wouldn’t go amiss when speaking of Chundu Island.
Hopefully, my words have given you a glimpse into what is on offer here. Hopefully my images do it justice, but I fear they don’t even come close. Seolo Africa have gone above and beyond with Chundu Island, and the pride they feel is deserved. The warmth of the staff, the wonder of the surrounding nature and the unsurpassed care taken in the lodge itself. I applaud you, Seolo Africa. You have exceeded expectations with Chundu Island.