Chundu Island! …Actually I can stop writing again because with these two words I’ve said it all. Now I have to share my experience of the day otherwise I cannot finish writing…
‘I HAVE CAUGHT A FISH!!!’ (I say this with a big smile on my face while waving my hands). I would like to repeat it again yes ‘ME’, who does not even know how to reel in or cast out a fishing line. After countless times trying to catch a fish and people laughing at me the previous day, I finally caught a fish today and it wasn’t a goldfish… I have caught a big Tiger fish weighing 3kg’s with huge teeth! I am so proud of myself and of course, I have a picture for you. Otherwise no one would ever believe me.
Chundu Island is a camp run by John and Sarah located 22km from Zimbabwe’s majestic Chutes Victoria, Zimbabwe positioned on the fleuve Zambèze and accessible by boat. The road to the camp is bumpy and passes right next to the river until you reach a point where you turn right to arrive at the camp. About two years ago John had the thought to rent the small island and build a lodge on it, now the two lead a very tiny lodge and share the 1 km long and 300 m wide island with little velvet monkeys and about approximately 16 bushbucks. In the evening’s they share the island with hippos and occasionally with elephants, which swim across from the mainland as it is so nice here. Honestly if you ever come to Chutes Victoria, Zimbabwe you have to visit Chundu Island and then take a drive to Parc national Hwange, Zimbabwe for a stay at Elephant’s Eye, Parc national Hwange, Zimbabwe lodge as well… That’s an instruction!
After being transported forth by a small boat, next to floating butterflies and dragonflies and the short drive we arrived at Chundu Island and served freshly squeezed orange juice as we were introduced to each individual staff member at this amazing camp, I had arrived in paradise. I tried the outdoor shower during the cold morning while the full moon slowly disappeared on the horizon… gorgeous!
After relaxing for a bit and eating our incredibly good lunch I then explored this small island on my own. I spotted a bushbuck and the little monkeys on the island were eyeing me with curiosity. I felt free as I never felt before since I can rarely walk around alone in the bush without being afraid of being eaten by a lion. I arrived at the end of the island and saw a monkey fleeing from a giant salamander, Wait! …this was not a salamander; it was a mini crocodile. I was petrified for a moment as I realised just five minutes ago I had just signed an indemnity that I cannot sue someone if I get eaten and now here I was moving alone on an island surrounded by crocodiles and hippos… What am I doing here I asked myself. I turned around and saw butterflies flying between the palms and trees and monkeys jumping from branch to branch. My fear disappeared immediately and everything turned pink and blue again. I felt relaxed once more.
I went back and talked a little with John and Sarah who also knew the manager of my tree planting project I was doing in La Zambie since they had studied together many years ago, in Le Cap, Afrique du Sud; Africa is definitely a connected and united village for sure! After an amazing chat we made our way with a bottle of wine and fishing rods to the fleuve Zambèze and saw a few crocodiles on the way. At some point while fishing the rod was pressed into my hand and I still protested that I wouldn’t catch anything because I was terrible at it. But then the came the moment, I had caught a big fish and was full of joy. Afterwards the fish of-course got his freedom back – we were three ladies on board and while our guide already had his cutlery in his hand we decided to let him free out of pity.
The day ended with a boat cruise over the fleuve Zambèze watching beautiful African Fish Eagles in flight and a spectacular sunset in the background. That evening I found a comfortable place beside the campfire to sit down with my glass of wine as I watched an elephant leisurely stroll past on the other side of the river… an awesome culmination to the perfect day. Can it actually get more perfect? Chundu Island is a jewel in the middle of the fleuve Zambèze and I feel like I could put my day-to-day life on hold to be able to stay a while in this beautiful wilderness in the middle of Zimbabwe.
Jenman Safaris hosts a number of great lodges such as this on their tours, to view what lodges you can expect on a Jenman tour, click here.