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The breathtaking Victoria Falls & Royal Chundu Lodge

The Victoria Falls from the Zambian side

The Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side

'Flight of angels' in a helicopter over the gorge.

What a way to start the New Year! My daughter Tara and I had the great good fortune to be invited to Royal Chundu Lodge 30km upstream of the Zambezi on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls. Owned by Tina Aponte, Royal Chundu is the only Relais & Chateaux lodge in Zambia (www.royalchundu.com) and is totally Zambian managed. I can truthfully say it is one of the most beautiful lodges I have ever stayed in. The chalets cling to the riverbank where kingfishers dart among the reeds, hippos chortle, crocodiles lurk and herds of elepahnts come down to play and bathe.


Ultimate luxury in the heart of Afirca - Royal Chundu Lodge Zambia

A giant kingfisher waiting to spot a fish

A hippo proclaims his territory as the sun sets on the Zambezi

An elephant comes for a dip in the Zambezi

River Lodge has 10 gorgeous riverfront suites, while for the utmost exclusivity and privacy choose just one of four ultimate villas on Island Lodge. Royal Chundu has exclusive rights to 15km of Zambezi river fronatage so you won't see another soul other than your fellow guests and the quite wonderful local staff. Spend your time just lazing at the pool, enjoying a decadent riverbank picnic complete with antique linen, Persian rugs, hammocks and cooked-on-the-spot pizzas, go canoeing, spoil yourself with a floating spa treatment, watch wildlife or tick off rare birds from your boat, and be prepared for spectacular sunsets.

Zambezi sunsets are breathtaking

And when you visit the Falls, (Royal Chundu provides superb local guides) be sure to walk the Zambian side AND the Zimbabwean side. And throw caution to the winds and take that awesome helicopter flight over the gorge. It's worth every penny.

The iconic Vic Falls bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Spot the bungee-jumping shack in the middle of the bridge. The helicopter windows were a bit misty by this time...

Photos by Tara (mainly) and Kate Turkington

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Kate Turkington is one of South Africa’s best-known broadcasters, travellers and travel writers. From Tibet to Thailand, Patagonia to Peru, Kashmir to Kathmandu, St Helena to St Albans, the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, like Shakespeare’s Puck she has girdled the world. She continues to travel when and where she can but Johannesburg is home where she writes and blogs in print and on social media.

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