'Continually evolving' - Our year in review

To reflect on a whole year in a short space and time is a challenging but excellent exercise as it really helps you focus on what you value and find important.

Our third year of reclaiming and running Chundukwa as our own – we’re getting busier by the day and as we grow, we’re adding new members to our team. Alison Orr joined us in May and is involved in all areas - from reservations, to operations and helping guests put together itineraries for their stay with us.

Chundu Cottage has had a revamp, just in time for Christmas – extending the 2nd bedroom and bathroom, opening up both spaces.

We’ve also expanded our outdoor dining area by building a deck, such a wonderful extension and with a shady tree overhanging it, it is a perfect dining area for all meals!

Upgrades and getting busier doesn’t mean we’re going to change our style – we’re sticking with just 5 river-facing chalets and private Chundu Cottage, so we’ll remain a tranquil bush lodge – as in this review from guests who visited us on their honeymoon. We love special occasions too!

“A beautiful and quiet lodge on the shores of the Zambezi. We spent a wonderful week here relaxing, eating, listening to hippos, walking around the grounds, horse riding, eating, having sundowners in the lounge, taking boat trips on the Zambezi, exploring Livingstone, eating, and so many other things. The only disappointing thing was that we had to leave.”

Garden to table - with a few interruptions from the elephants

Formal cooking has never been my forte, but having a lodge has moved me in the direction of having to put on an apron (at last!)

My first source of inspiration always starts with what is in our garden. Two months ago the elephants trampled absolutely everything in sight except for the Borage bush and the Basil. There is a saying in Africa when things go AWOL but not all is lost.  We simply say “at least”! So yes, there is always something to be made with what’s in the garden.

Doug and I enjoy feeding people. It is a warming and nurturing experience. Having cooked since he was a little boy, Doug handles all things “meat”. It must come from a humane source and must be well cured if it is beef.  Being a true bushman / carnivore he does not touch vegetables. I had been a vegetarian for seventeen years when I met him. Quite the contrast, but it works well in our environment as each plate is designed around our combined love for food. Hence Doug oversees the proteins in our kitchen, and I work with the veggies.  Henry is our head cook, taught by Doug. He started as a groom working in the stables 23 years ago and worked his way into our kitchen. A real natural who has the uncanny way of not ever being able to follow a recipe. It has to come through his own practical learning process. Henry is always calm, and always keen to try new recipes.

We use what we have in the garden, and as much as possible source all other stock locally, and hence the menu changes seasonally..