Tena Tena

Tena Tena: Our full report

Rooms
6 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (94%) From 112 reviews
Children
OK for ages 12+
Open
22 May to 31 October

Run by Robin Pope Safaris, Tena Tena is in the remote Nsefu Sector, on the north side of South Luangwa National Park in an area rich with game. In August 2012 the camp was moved to a new location, due to the changing course of the river, and it’s now situated about a kilometre upstream from its previous site, still on the edge of the Luangwa River. It focuses on excellent guiding and flexible activities, with personal service and attention, all in very comfortable surroundings.

Tena Tena is a few hours' drive north of their main camp, Nkwali, which is in the Mfuwe area, and reasonably close to Nsefu, its sister bushcamp, and the only other permanent camp in the Nsefu Sector. All of these combine really well with each other, and the more adventurous may even like to combine a permanent camp with a longer walking mobile safari.

The camp is tented, and it is perhaps this that helps Tena Tena to retain a 'close to nature' feel, with both the tents and the main area tucked away in a shady mahogany grove with views over the Luangwa River. The new camp is very stylish and of high quality yet it still retains the charm of the old Tena Tena.

The main area, split over two levels, is built under a vast tented roof supported by rustic poles, with views across the river. The upper level offers a comfortable place to relax with lovely wooden furniture with cream and ochre cushions. Nearby is a large dining table with directors' chairs where most meals are enjoyed. There is also a large wooden bar, a good spot to chat to fellow guests after game activities or before dinner. A ‘loo with a (very good!) view’ is located nearby. From the lower level, built-in seating with ample cushions in the same cream and ochre colour scheme affords a great spot to watch the sun setting – if you are not out on a game activity!

Sandy pathways lead to Tena Tena's six spacious tents, each with its own private shady location. Every tent has a veranda, with a couple of comfy armchairs and views of the sandy bed of the Luangwa River, a spot that's popular with wildlife. The front of the tents can be rolled up so that you can enjoy the view from your bed. One of the six, designated the honeymoon tent, has a larger seating area and a larger couch outside. It is also set even further away and thus affords more privacy.

Inside, the bedrooms are decorated in neutral safari tones, which are stylish but very subtle. Locally-made straw mats lie on the polished concrete floors and a couple of kikois are provided – on hot days it is great to wet these and relax in the shade with them wrapped around you! Guests will also find Maglite torches, mosquito repellent and drinking water by the beds, and a plug point for charging batteries. Fans are also provided in the rooms for the hotter summer months.

The king-size bed is located in the centre of the tent with a polished concrete headboard sporting two solar-powered reading lamps. Behind the headboard is an area for storing luggage as well as ample hanging space and shelves.

Through a flap to one side of each tent is an open-air bathroom, with a flush toilet, double basins and hot-and-cold shower. Toiletries are also provided.

Tena Tena's activities include a choice of walking safaris, 4WD game safaris and night drives. Typically there are two activities per day, each lasting around 3–4 hours and led by an expert guide, and for each you'll have a choice of what you do. An armed scout accompanies all walking safaris, along with a fully qualified guide; the standards of guiding are exceptionally high here. On our last trip, in June 2017, we walked from Nsefu to Tena Tena, and our guide was incredibly knowledgable about many of the smaller animals. We were also able to sit and observe elephant and buffalo from close range.

Tena Tena combines really well with its sister camp, Nsefu. If you are staying at both camps then it is possible to do a half-day walking safari between the two.

The more adventurous may also wish to spend one or two nights at Robin Pope Safaris bushcamp. Speak to us if you would like to include this experience in your visit to Tena Tena.

Those looking to experience something of the local culture can also combine Tena Tena with a trip to Kawaza Village – which was originally set up with the help of Robin Pope Safaris.

Our view

Tena Tena manages to strike a balance between being simple yet stylish, without compromising at all on comfort and quality. For those looking for a touch of wilderness and superb guiding all housed in a good-quality tented camp, Tena Tena is an excellent choice.

Geographics

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: We recommend a minimum stay here of three nights, perhaps preceded by two to three nights at Tena Tena’s sister camp, Nkwali.

Directions: Fly to Mfuwe Airport and transfer by road to camp, the transfer taking approximately one hour.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Robin Pope Safaris

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Though we didn’t have time to stay for a meal during our last visit in June 2017, we've visited Tena Tena many times before and each time their meals could not be faulted.

Breakfast is normally served around the campfire before an early-morning activity. It often includes hot porridge, cereals and bread toasted over the coals, with the option of eggs cooked to order. Fresh fruit and tea and coffee are also on offer.

Brunch is served at around 11.30am or midday, depending on the time everyone returns from the morning activity. You can expect light salads, couscous and a selection of hot dishes. We loved the beef kofta, beef Thai salad with courgette and grilled lemon chicken on a visit in 2012.

Dinner starts with a few relaxed drinks around the campfire or at the bar, then moves on to the dining table, beautifully set up either in the main area or outside under the stars. On a previous visit the starter of blue cheese and pear salad was particularly memorable, as were the handmade fishcakes served with lemon mayonnaise as a main course. You can also expect an indulgent dessert, rounded off with coffee.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Filtered drinking water, soft drinks, house wine and local spirits are included in the rates. Fine wines, champagne and imported spirits and liqueurs are charged as extras, and need to be ordered in advance.

Further dining info: No

Special interests

Solo Travel: Tena Tena is another great Robin Pope Safaris camp in the game-rich Nsefu Sector which has flexible activities and excellent guiding – as well as a very relaxed social feeling. It's a great choice for solo travel in Zambia, especially as it charges no single supplement.

See more ideas for Solo Travel in Zambia

Honeymoons: Tena Tena is a lovely choice for those who want to combine luxury with a touch of wilderness on their honeymoon to Zambia. Offering delicious food, great guiding and a very comfortable, private and secluded honeymoon tent, the service is attentive and thoughtful.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zambia

Walking safaris: Tena Tena overlooks the Luangwa River on the edge of the Nsefu Sector, some of which is very open and flat, so well suited to those looking for a walking safari in Zambia. The guiding standards are also very high. Serious walkers might choose to sleep under the stars at a Robin Pope Safaris bushcamp.

See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zambia

Children

Attitude towards children: Tena Tena is happy to accommodate mature, well-behaved children.

Property’s age restrictions: Children of 12 years and over are welcome at Tena Tena.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Children will need to be constantly supervised by their parents as the camp is not fenced in and game wanders freely throughout.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: There is a back-up generator on site if necessary.

Communications: Tena Tena is in constant radio contact with its sister camp, Nkwali, which has a landline phone as well as internet. There is no cellphone reception at Tena Tena.

TV & radio: Tena Tena has no TVs or radios

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: The bathrooms in all of the tents are fully plumbed, with flush toilets and hot and cold showers.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a doctor based at Flatdogs Camp, about an hour’s drive from Tena Tena. First-aid kits are provided in the camp vehicles and all guides are trained in first aid.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There are two night watchmen at Tena Tena, and you will be escorted to and from your tent at night.

Fire safety: There are fire buckets at each tent. Fire extinguishers are located in the main areas and staff are trained in their use.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A complimentary laundry service is included. Items are hand washed by male staff and then line dried. This does not include ladies’ underwear, which you would need to wash yourself; washing powder is provided in the bathrooms.

Money: Safes are provided in all the rooms. There are no exchange facilities available at Tena Tena.

Accepted payment on location: Tena Tena does not accept debit or credit cards, but payments may be made in cash with US dollars, British pounds, Zambian kwacha and euros. Visa and Mastercard payments may be made, with prior agreement, at Tena Tena’s sister camp Nkwali.

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