Described by The Times as ‘altogether beyond superlatives and…one of the best safari camps in the whole of Africa’, Robin Pope Safari’s premier lodge is located in South Luangwa National Park, in the Nsefu sector, on the banks of the Luangwe. Recently redesigned and rebuilt, Tena Tena is a small and excellently run bush camp.
A wood (mukwa and bamboo), thatch, stone and canvas build, set in the shade of a grove of mahogany trees, a short walk from the Buca Buca waterhole, the camp consists of a mess area and 5 sleeping tents. The shared areas include a bar, lounge, dining area and outside seating. Characterised by a simple seating arrangement, hard wood stools, easy chairs and low tables, the open-sided chitenje is a comfortable and cool retreat from which to look out over the river.
food and service
Meals at Tena Tena are taken in or outside, and the food is first class, as is the service.
Nicely spaced, well protected by thatched roofing, rustic looking, the sleeping tents are airy, spacious and subdivided into bedroom, changing room and bathroom. Each possesses a double or twin bed, a veranda, some seating and a decor that takes its inspiration from Moroccan bazaars and Bedouin interiors.
The furniture is made from local, found materials, and the beds are especially organic looking, with great big branches constituting their super-structures. The partially open air bathrooms come with twin sinks, showers and flush toilets. Tena Tena accommodates a maximum of 8 guests.
Activities include guided walks, night and day drives, sundowners and bush picnics. Both Tena Tena and Nsefu run fly-camping walks – from one to the other. The fly-camps are private and can last from 1 to 4 nights.
The green seasons are April/May and November/December. The rains arrive in full force from January to March, whilst the peak travel season runs from June to October. The camp opens in May and closes in September. Tena Tena links well with Nsefu, Kutandala, Chiawa and The River Club.
Robin Pope Safaris take their responsibilities towards the human and physical environments in which they operate very seriously and are critically aware of the negative impacts that tourism can potentially have on the environment, wildlife and local communities neighbouring their properties.
In Zambia, they financially support the vital anti-poaching activities of South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) in order to keep South Luangwa’s wildlife safe from poachers. SLCS is the only body in South Luangwa equipped and skilled to immobilize, treat and rehabilitate snared and other wounded animals. SLCS has darted and treated elephants, lion, hyena, giraffe, wild dog, leopard and many other species, and is able to respond to all cases of injured wildlife in South Luangwa.
The company has also set up and manages the first authentic cultural village tourism enterprise in Zambia. Trade with Kawaza Village has been encouraged and this community enterprise now provides employment for 10 village members, financially supports orphans and elderly people in the community and provides their local primary school with textbooks and learning aids.
Robin Pope Safaris have been very pro-active in working with their local neighbours to bring about sustainable development initiatives in the community. The Kawaza School Fund has become one of the biggest success stories in the Luangwa Valley, and has inspired both guests and other safari operators in the area to work together to change lives through improved education provision. It has not only improved the standards of school buildings in the area, but also access to educational materials.