Our History


Map of the AreaCharlie Harper came travelling through southern Africa at the age of eighteen looking for adventure, but could not have foreseen that this amazing continent would become his home for the next 10 years.  Having heard about the spectacular and little-visited waterfalls in this area, Charlie and his friend Ben came to stay in Ruarwe for a few weeks, using it as a base for their trekking jaunts. Whilst chewing the fat with the village Headman one day, Charlie received an interesting proposition…… that he take the land around the waterfall and use it to bring tourism, and therefore money, into the area. Only two rules were stipulated: that there would be no lewd or illegal behaviour and that the business would employ local villagers. A few weeks and a visit to the DC (District Commissioner) later to check whether this offer was too good to be true, and Charlie was the very proud and very young owner of one of the most beautiful spots in Africa!

Over the course of 10 years, Charlie and his growing staff have turned the land on and around the lodge from arid bush into the idyllic, lush paradise that you see before you now.


River Lodge

Zulunkhuni River Lodge started out in 2001 as ‘Wherearewe?’ Backpackers, attracting spirited travellers from around the globe who sought a place untouched by the trivialities of the daily grind.

In 2006 our name changed to ‘Zulunkhuni  River Lodge’ to acknowledge the importance of the Zulunkhuni River as the life source of the lodge and of the surrounding area. The river, flowing through the lodge on the final leg of its journey to the lake, is the main source of drinking water for all the villages and hamlets nearby.

Though the name has changed, the ethos of the lodge has remained the same: to provide a peaceful respite from the world, using local materials and employing local people, to bring new skills and money into the area and to have a good time doing it!

In 2007 Matt Harper joined forces with his brother to co-own the lodge.