A small camp set along the shoreline of the Zambezi River, Mpala Jena, meaning ‘white impala’, is set in a private concession and falls under the management of luxury eco-lodge company, Great Plains.
Consisting of no more than four guest tents, a family suite and a shared area, Mpala Jena makes the most of the shade of the sausage trees, water berry trees and rain trees that populate the shoreline. Built with a fusion of Moroccan-influenced décor and great Zimbabwean ruins in mind, it is a permanent structure, with canvas roofs and a rustic look that uses roughly sanded surfaces and chalk paint on various fixtures to give this look. The shared area, which includes a bar, library and dining and lounge area, is as stylish as it is comfortable. Please note that WiFi is only available in guest tents and not in the main shared area.
Food & service
The service and food at Mpala Jena is excellent. The bar includes a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. There’s a wine cellar. Guests are encouraged to visit the kitchen and work with the well-known Executive Head Chef, Pierre van Zyl.
All accommodations are stone and canvas builds. The four guest tents at Mpala Jena include king-size beds and mosquito nets, a seating area with a desk, and an en-suite bathroom with a large bathtub, shower, double wash basin and flush toilet. This all looks out through the netted front onto a large decking area with a generously-sized plunge pool, all of which faces over the river with stunning views of the Zambezi. Meanwhile, with two rooms and space for four adults or two adults and three children, the family suite is located along the river from the other tents, still within easy access of the shared area, but afforded the most privacy, and extras include a large private lounge and dining area as well as a fire pit in front of the plunge pool.
Located 10 kilometres away from Victoria Falls, guests at Mpala Jena can choose to visit ‘the smoke that thunders’ or spend time in Zambezi National Park going for photographic wildlife drives and walks through the wildlife-rich landscape ending with sundowners. Alternatively, guests may want to spend quality time at the lodge in the pool, sitting on the deck, reading or just watching the world go by.
Great Plains as a whole uses a business model with the core value of benefiting wildlife and people, under the well-known 3Cs strapline:
Raising preservation awareness through film-making and photography of local wildlife.
Using the income from Mpala Jena to invest in the future of Africa’s wildernesses.
Employing and supporting local people in the surrounding communities.