The Faces of the Zambezi
At Royal Chundu, the village provides, but it also runs, supports, drives and benefits from the lodge. We are a community-run lodge, one of very few of its kind in Africa. It’s a model that we believe can create massive positive change across Africa, and that can help build a stronger, more equal Zambia.
Starting with our people… 99% of our team are Zambian, including our managers. Most of us come from or live in one of the two villages right next door to the lodge – the agricultural Malambo village and the fishing-centric Muluka village. Providing training at the lodge, we’re able to give our team significant opportunities for growth. We offer training to anyone in our community through online hospitality courses and then practical experience at the lodge to back the online course, in order for villagers to obtain certification.
All of our food is sourced from Zambia, mostly supplied by local fishermen and village gardens – whether it’s our own lodge chicken coop and herb and vegetable garden, or the lettuce and mangoes brought in by staff from their home gardens, or Edith and the women of Malambo, with their impressive beds of mielies, chilies, impwa, tomatoes and spinach, and their village chicken and free-range eggs.
We support the village gardeners through a Seed Project, donating seeds to anyone who wishes to grow crops for our kitchens, which we then purchase at market cost. We support local fishermen by buying fresh bream or parrot fish – often from mekoro arriving at River or Island Lodge. This enables us to give our guests a true taste of Zambia and ensure that sustainable fishing measures and regulations are adhered to.
As much as possible, we look to our own sphere for suppliers – such as seamstress work, for our chitenge uniforms, cushion covers, doormats and dish covers, woodwork for our wooden doorbells and mini-mekoro for the Tasting Menu and boutique, for artwork on the walls. Our own staff have created spin-off businesses from the lodge, such as transfer services for our guests, between the airport and our front door, and courier services (such as Best, our Head of Security, who delivers firewood and fertiliser to us by a cattle-drawn cart).
What this means on the ground...
The impact of this is the immediate upliftment of the people who live right beside us – and the families that rely on them. The impact of this is that everyone is invested in the lodge and rather than being work, the lodge is something we are entwined with, in heart and soul. The impact is a uniquely, proudly and distinctive Zambian flavour, look, sound and feel. In our food, in our colours and patterns, in our words and smiles, in our stories and music and dance.
Guests walk away having experienced real Zambia, having connected with the people born from its land, having tasted the ingredients and cooking styles of the nation. Guests leave having helped to support not simply a lodge in Zambia, but countless families, school children at the Royal Chundu Foundation School, women empowerment initiatives and local entrepreneurship.
Your support shines a light on our communities and makes each member proud of the beauty of what is theirs, of our culture and customs. We need to share our own stories, and have them told by our own people. We need to not only give local communities a piece of the pie, but empower them to bake and serve the pie themselves.
Take a look at our Nutritional Label and pie charts below, to see just how your stay at Royal Chundu benefits and empowers the local community.
We facilitate village Water Well Projects on behalf of generous guest donations and work with Pack For A Purpose - an initiative that encourages travellers to make a lasting impact in their travel destination by packing supplies for local communities, schools and clinics in need.
Join us on a visit to the local Malambo village during your stay at Royal Chundu and get to know the faces that make up our greater family.
Read more in our blogs:
Find the Others ~ Community & Abundance on the Zambezi
We Are Best When We Are Our Unique Selves