Royal Zambezi Lodge was designed by a family with in-depth knowledge and love of Africa, its heritage and its wildlife. Our vision is to help people, from anywhere across the globe, enjoy the best that Africa has to offer with no compromises in either comfort or well-being.
Set against the breathtaking mountain backdrop of the Zambezi Valley Escarpment, our two-hundred-hectare domain, located within the Chiawa Game Management Area, has three and a half kilometres of unspoiled river frontage on the northern bank of the Zambezi River. We are situated directly across the river from Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the Zimbabwe side and just minutes from the Lower Zambezi National Park. Your 5-star accommodation has been painstakingly constructed to retain and enhance the lodge’s unique bush setting while taking advantage of our prime positioning on the mighty Zambezi River and ensuring we capture every glimmer of sunrise from your room.
The lodge offers the perfect combination of contemporary, simplistic style and extreme comfort while providing a pure wilderness experience.
With lions roaring in the distance and hippos snorting in the river, the luxurious thatched suites, elegant design and gourmet cuisine of Royal Zambezi Lodge furnish a perfect base from which to explore this wild and beautiful area. There are no fences around the lodge, and our regular guests include elephant, hippo, buffalo, lion, leopard and a myriad of bird species coming to visit. Gap, the elephant, is just one of the residents, like Dave the crocodile and Jonathina the Giant Kingfisher, whom we hope you will meet!
Royal Zambezi Lodge offers the discerning traveller a front row seat at these unique wilderness experiences, all the while welcoming you ‘home’ to our luxury tented and thatched lodges overlooking the Zambezi River. Your stay with us will give you an enduring love of Africa and leave you yearning for your return to a place that has stolen a piece of your heart. An exciting African adventure awaits in the Lower Zambezi National Park, and we look forward to welcoming you to the “Royal” family.
At Royal Zambezi Lodge we welcome children eight years and older (Kids under eight years on request) and will tailor your holiday to ensure both you and your kids have a great time.
The 15 airy canopied tents nestle under mature trees, each one carefully positioned to ensure maximum enjoyment of the surrounding views while retaining complete privacy. The tents are impeccably finished with a contemporary, understated elegance. Natural tones, luxurious textures and comfortable armchairs create a secluded retreat. Extra length sprung mattresses, with pure cotton bedding and fine down pillows, ensure a perfect night’s rest.
As a family owned property, we pride ourselves in being family friendly and offer a few comfortable and luxury family suite options. This dedicated family unit consists of our two Deluxe suites (6 & 7) which offer a shared seating area between the rooms for the whole family to enjoy. The two suites are strategically placed closest to the main area to provide peace of mind to parents with younger children preferring a shorter (escorted) walk between their suite and the central area.
The separate suites are enclosed and safe enough for children to enjoy their own suite with parents staying in the suite next door. However, we are happy to accommodate one parent sharing Deluxe 6 with a child and the other parent sharing Deluxe 7 with another child upon request.
We also have 3 Presidential suites on offer for families wanting to be under one roof, with the addition of extra beds and mosquito nets for the comfort of the entire family. These suites have been designed as a large open plan home-away-from-home and befitting of the wilderness surroundings.
Amenities of the Deluxe Family Suites (6 & 7):
Shady veranda overlooking the main pool area and a view of the river
Spacious en-suite bedrooms
Outside area with private plunge pool
5 Guests maximum (Consisting of 2 adults or 3 children U12)
1 Extra-large double bed per suite
Room Size = 62m², Deck = 20m², Outside living area = 22m²
Shared family lounge area
The 8 Deluxe Suites offer the perfect combination of contemporary comfort and understated elegance. The airy canopied canvas and thatched tents nestle under mature trees, and each positioned for maximum enjoyment of the surrounding views and complete privacy. Natural tones, luxurious textures and comfortable armchairs create a secluded retreat. Extra length sprung mattresses with pure cotton linen and fine down pillows ensure a perfect night’s rest. Each suite provides a private plunge pool in which to cool down while overlooking the mighty Zambezi River.
Amenities of the Deluxe Suites:
Shady veranda overlooking the river
Spacious en-suite bedrooms
Outside area with private plunge pool
2 Guests Maximum
King bed or 2x Singles
Room size = 62m², Deck = 20m², Outside living area = 24m²
Our 7 Presidential and honeymoon suites epitomise the luxury safari experience. With outside showers, copper baths, private plunge pools, shaded day-beds, the suites provide the ultimate in opulence while allowing guests to immerse themselves in the surrounding wilderness. Offering luxury at a higher level, our Presidential suites are ideal for honeymoon couples, special occasion getaways, or for those who merely want to experience Zambia’s finest safari accommodation.
Amenities of the Presidential Suites:
Shady veranda overlooking the river
Spacious en-suite bedrooms
Outside showers Freestanding copper baths
Large lounge area
2 Guests Maximum (6 with Children)
Up to 4 x singles & 1 King double bed (Offered in 6 Presidential suites only)
Up to 1 x single & 1 King double bed offered in Presidential Royal
Room Size = 156 m², Deck = 39 m², Outside Living area = 90 m²
Safaris are planned very carefully to coincide with the times when you are most likely to see wildlife. This means early, late afternoon, or even night game drives are essential for better chances of seeing animals at their most active. Here’s how a typical day may unfold:
Early Morning An early start means an equally early wake-up call. We serve a continental breakfast from about 6 am and at sunrise, you head off on your selected early morning activity. These early starts are generally the best times to spot the wildlife as the temperature is fresh and the animals are still very active, especially the big cats who will be returning from their night’s hunting.
Late Morning Around late morning, you will return to the lodge maybe for brunch or relax before lunch. If you opt to stay out all day, we will furnish you with a bush lunch to make the most of your time outdoors.
Lunch & Afternoon Particularly in the hot season, it is usually much hotter in the middle of the day, and so most of our guests opt to have lunch in the lodge then either relax in their suites, have a dip in the pool or a treatment in the bush spa. Tea and cake are available from 3.30pm before you then head out for an afternoon activity.
Evening As with early morning, the evening game drive is often the best time to see the wildlife. The predatory animals begin to stir from their heat-of-the-day slumber, and similarly, their prey becomes ever more active and alert as darkness falls. Vehicles and boats usually return just before dark giving time for a shower, pre-dinner drinks and then dinner. The evenings are often rounded off with a few drinks around the bar or campfire swapping safari stories.
At times, you will have the opportunity of going on a night game drive. Vehicles are equipped with powerful spotlights, and our expert trackers will generally spot any wildlife well before you will. The night is often the best time to spot the elusive leopard, which more often than not will be high up in a tree. A game drive at night gives you a completely different perspective of the bush and is an unforgettable experience.
Forty or so years ago nobody was permitted to enter a game park in Africa unless they were in a fully enclosed vehicle. Walking safaris were unheard of, and the first instances of both were pioneered in Zambia by the late Norman Carr. Others were quick to follow, and now the open vehicle concept is commonplace, and for many, it’s the way to go, particularly if time is limited.
An open vehicle offers all-around views, and this elevated viewpoint helps considerably when searching far afield for wildlife. It also means you can move reasonably quickly to new sites, especially if, for example, lions sighted in another location are reported over the onboard radio. A vehicle trip is often considered as a supplement to a boat trip and vice versa.
Our vehicles are maintained as new and offer comfort and security and the ability to take you to places where lesser vehicles would founder. They are purpose built and equipped with both sun shade roofs and warm ponchos for late trips back to the lodge in the evenings. In addition, they have hand-held spotlights for night viewing. Night drives can be extremely exciting when the nocturnal creatures such as leopards, civets, porcupines, genets and aardvarks, to mention but a few, come out to hunt and forage for food.
Our game viewing trips by vehicle usually involve a break at an appropriate point for drinks and snacks. Here you can disembark, stretch your legs and enjoy the ambience and sounds so often missed while travelling. This is usually a good time to chat to your guide and ask all the questions about the bush that have accumulated on the drive. It’s also an excellent time to let creatures come to you, which can often happen if you remain relatively quiet, close to the vehicle and non-threatening.
A special night trip to look for leopard is not an unusual request. At Royal, we always ensure you are spoiled for choice in activities. You only have to ask; flexibility is the backbone of our approach.
People argue that the best way to see the bush is to walk in it. In many ways, we feel they are correct as this intimate form of mixing with nature permits a close study of the various plants, animals, spoor, lairs, burrows, nests and other ground level features. All the sounds and scents are there, unsullied and there’s time to study everything properly without having to move on.
The backdrop to Lower Zambezi National Park and indeed our Lodge is an impressive mountainous escarpment with many peaks and a variety of walks and climbs, some of which will put you to the test and others which will provide a mild cardiac stimulus. The choice is yours, and those who are interested should discuss their preferences with the guides.
The warm weather makes for a trip which doesn’t involve heavy clothing, and the primary consideration is comfortable shoes and clothing while not forgetting water, cameras and binoculars. Porters can be provided to help carry your kit when necessary.
The trip will first take you through the riverine bush and as you move higher the vegetation changes, then thins out, and the most fantastic panoramic view of the Zambezi valley emerges. You begin to imagine how the first explorers must have felt.
Please note: Due to the hot climate during summer months in the Lower Zambezi, this is a seasonal activity and only on offer from May-August each year.
An armed scout accompanies you and of course one of our experienced guides who will point out all sorts of interesting features in addition to the wild animals and birds encountered. That said the prime aim of reaching the top or at least some way up is not forgotten.
As your party is always in radio contact with the Lodge, vehicles can be arranged to speed up your return with some mobile game viewing thrown in. It’s entirely up to you. On returning to camp a swim in the infinity pool, immersion in your private plunge pool or a cold beer will be well-earned.
A Royal canoe trip is something that shouldn’t be missed. You will first enjoy a boat trip down-river to where the canoes await you, each one carrying one or two passengers and a guide. Previous canoeing experience is not a pre-requisite while an ability to sit still helps considerably!
Fishing on the Lower Zambezi offers one of the most exceptional freshwater angling experiences in the world, the highlight being the presence of the world’s premier game fish, the Tiger. The variety in the Zambezi, Hydrocynus vittatus, can grow up to 10 -12 Kg and is a superb fighter.
The best time for Tiger Fish is during our hot months of September to November. Expert resident guides take fishing excursions on new, fully-fitted aluminium boats. For guests who are new to fishing or fly-fishing, our guides provide expert instruction and assistance.
The Lower Zambezi National Park is an IBA (Important Bird Area) and therefore of global conservation significance. Over 300 species of birds are found here. The African fish eagle, Zambia’s national bird, is commonly seen and heard.
A cruise in one of our outboard powered boats will be a rewarding experience any time from early morning to evening. The choice is yours, and our guides will make the appropriate recommendation depending on prevailing conditions. Photographers may not want the sun in their eyes or backlit waters.
There’s always something happening on the river, and the breeze out there is delightfully refreshing, particularly on a bright, cloudless sunny day. The river is continually changing and varies in width, speed and depth, perpetuating the ill-defined Zambia border which follows the original river course. Wildlife knows no such boundaries, and downstream there are national parks on both sides.
There is a rich variety of birdlife on its banks, reedbeds, backwaters and sandy shores mainly when the Palearctic migrants are around. You will see the ubiquitous fish eagle or an osprey often taking larger fish from the river, and there are myriad kingfishers of all shapes, colours and sizes who are partial to the smaller ones. With a vast variety of waders, storks and herons it’s a twitcher’s paradise with a host of interesting distractions.
One is always on the lookout for crocodiles, and the boatman or guide will make sure you can get that close-up of the big one before it enters the water. The hippos, of course, are always around, and your guide will know just how close you can safely go. They will always seek the deepest water, so it’s wise not to be blocking their way!
Recently there have been sightings of a cape clawless otter which we hope is managing the crayfish population that we understand are possibly on the increase. The Malawi Blue Crab has recently been seen in the water. There is often something new to consider, and our guides’ and boatmen’s enthusiasm is infectious.
All the large mammals come to the river to drink and in the case of elephants to frolic in the water. They let you come close enough to get some amusing pictures of their antics. You will often see lion, buffalo, kudu, bushbuck, waterbuck and many other larger animals on the river bank as, unlike the elephant, they have a healthy respect for crocodiles.
Cruises are well stocked with refreshments of your choice, and it’s pleasant to enjoy a sundowner on a sandy island with elephant nearby. Perhaps have a game of boule before returning to the lodge, using the spotlight to search for those bright eyes in the water and the riverbank.
For additional interest, a trip further upriver will allow you to see the riverside villagers happily fishing, bathing and washing their clothes in the river in the same way as they have for centuries. They seem to know when the crocodiles are around!
Welcome Area, Dining & Lounge The classic architectural lines and lofty thatched roofs of our open plan reception area, dining room and lounge offer a welcome refuge and a place to relax among comfortable sofas, enormous fireplaces, well-stocked bookcase and most important of all our cheerful personalised service.
The spacious veranda provides shade from the midday sun and the wide timber decks, which extend over the shallows of the Zambezi, are perfect for fine dining under the endless starry skies, while you revel in the sounds of the African night.
The Infinity Pool After a long day fishing or tracking wildlife the infinity pool, overlooking the river is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Chill out on the sun loungers with a long, cold drink or take a dip in the pool to cool down. If you are feeling active and want to burn off some of the delicious culinary treats provided by our chefs, there is a rowing machine for anyone to use.
The Bar The remarkable Sausage Tree bar is situated downstream from the main building, on a deck suspended above the river, where a large Sausage Tree is the centrepiece of this favourite meeting place. As the sun sets behind the distant escarpment, guests gather for drinks and aperitifs while enjoying lively exchanges about the day’s adventures, listening to the guides recount their stories of memorable encounters or just taking time to sit quietly and experience the magic of sunset in the Lower Zambezi Valley with the soothing murmur of the water below.
The Royal Zambezi Bush Spa draws its inspiration from the natural beauty surrounding the lodge and is one of Zambia’s only bush spa’s. Its minimalist design exudes an air of complete balance, peace and tranquillity offering the ultimate refuge to restore the mind, body and spirit.
We pride ourselves on our attentive qualified therapist who is at hand to provide you with a wide variety of massages and a host of other therapeutic, beauty and skin care treatments. Many of these use local indigenous ingredients from the African bush further emphasising its beauty and enchantment. The spa is also the Zambian flagship of the famous and world-leading Dermalogica brand of skin care products.
Our spa, proudly positioned on a high vantage point, offers stunning views over the Zambezi River. The inviting aroma of burning scented candles fills the air from the open-air massage area or private treatment room. A beautifully appointed lounge area invites you to relax and unwind while taking in the remarkable sights and sounds of the resident flora and fauna.
With snorting hippos in the river and the sharp cries of the African Fish Eagle overhead to lull you into relaxation, what more could you ask for during a soothing massage in our award-winning Bush Spa?
Cuisine Royal Zambezi Lodge prides itself on serving the highest level of cuisine crafted using locally sourced ingredients and will happily tailor menus to various dietary requirements. To ensure you can enjoy your holiday at your pace, we offer flexibility in meal times, and you will be seated at a private table, so there is no rush.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast overlooking the Lower Zambezi River, with the option of continental or a full cooked breakfast to get you ready for the day ahead. Our team of expert chefs will prepare dishes to order or whizz up a healthy smoothie.
Lunch can either be taken under the veranda at the lodge or arranged so that it will not interrupt a good day’s fishing or game drive. With the option of a gourmet picnic lunch or a full outdoor buffet in the National Park, complete with white linen tableware, the concept of outdoor dining takes on a whole new dimension.
Tea will be served in the afternoon before you head out for an activity, and you will be able to relax on the comfy sofas in the lounge with a cup of tea or ice coffee accompanied by freshly baked confectionery.
Dinner is served at private tables under the stars, or by a roaring fire on a cooler night. Alternatively, you may relax in your suite and have dinner brought to your private deck. To celebrate special occasions, you may enjoy drinks by a campfire or candlelit private dinner or a chance to dine in the wilderness.
The locations markers on this map were manually captured, Exclusive-Africa cannot accept any responsibility for errors or positional accuracy. This map should be used as a guide only.