Chundukwa River Lodge – Supporting Local Artisans

Chundukwa River Lodge is celebrating its 30-year legacy in 2022 – a horse ranch outside of Livingstone, Zambia, where supporting local artisans includes the peaceful synchronicity of colour, design, community and nature has been at the heart of their story in Africa.

Chundukwa River Lodge’s Riverside Chalets have been a labour of artisanal love by Doug and Gail. They work alongside their local team of artisans – weavers, thatchers, tinsmiths, tailors, welders and carpenters from the nearby villages. The fantastic team has worked and weaved their magic to create five individual and freestanding chalets, focusing on the unique open-fronted layout offering breath-taking views over the Zambezi River.

Local artisans supply the reeds, thatch and walls for tranquil Chudukwa River Lodge overlooking the Zambezi River

All furniture and building materials are produced in Zambia – from sustainably harvested reeds to locally burnt clay bricks, Kalahari sand, recycled wood and steel.

A room at Chundukwa River Lodge filled with tiny details by local artisans that enhance the luxurious yet traditional look

The chalets are made from wood with a roof of thatching grass which keeps the space cool in summer and warm in winter. Each chalet is walled with a Kalahari sand and cement mixture in keeping with the traditional local method of walling.

The walls at Chundukwa River Lodge that are built in the traditional style by local artisans in Zambia

Local artisans create mirrors, mosaics and other details at Chundukwa River Lodge

The chalets have been painstakingly crafted to cause little interference with the river bank – Doug and Gail have not cut away any reeds or trees, thus allowing birds and wildlife such as hippos and otters to move freely between land and water.

A view of the river and a chalet at Chundukwa River Lodge

The décor includes an inspired measure of locally crafted baskets and Zambian local Chitenge fabrics worn by men and women in Zambia.

A reed mat wall, traditionally weaved basket and chitenge cushion all designed by local artisans in Zambia

Chundukwa River Lodge uses no herbicides, pesticides or chemicals on the land as the lodge is situated between two waterways (the river in front and a series of lagoons behind, home to otters, fish and birds.) However, guests are encouraged to be as sensitive to the environment as possible – guests are encouraged to utilise their beautiful selection of locally-produced shampoos, creams and soaps that are organic and environmentally friendly. These include SKIN, Zambian-made cosmetics made of carefully blended natural African oils and goat’s milk soap from Livingstone’s Pure Skills workshop.

 A stone soap dish carved with a hippo figurine and goat's milk soap all supplied by local artisans in Zambia

Hosts Doug Evans and Gail Kleinschmidt believe in supporting local artisans and are conservationists at heart. They have been championing wild places in Zambia and exploring for over four decades. As owners of Chundukwa River Lodge and Zambian Horseback Safaris, Doug and Gail are passionate about preserving and protecting the ecosystems they care so deeply about while ensuring the natural habitats in their care thrive and the communities who rely on them are supported.