Reviews of Tena Tena
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Tena Tena review
We have been to Tena Tena before and it was just as good this time. The guiding was excellent, the lodge and new location beautiful and the staff very helpful. It was only let down by the average food. The two camps I visited prior to Tena, Wasa Lodge and Shoebill Island, managed much better in more difficult circumstances.
However the camp itself still remains one of my favourites in all Africa, probably because of its position on the river in such a beautiful part of the South Luangwa.
What a lovely camp
The camp and location are wonderful. It was our first time at Tena Tena and we will definitely go back.
We requested the same guide as on previous visits and RPS were kind enough to arrange this. Kanga is an excellent guide and nothing is ever too much trouble. He went out of his way to find all that we wanted to see and photograph and always had something new and interesting to say about life in the bush. We have become keen birders (much to the amusement of our friends and family) as a result of Kanga's enthusiasm!
Bertram and his team looked after us very well and the food and service were up to usual RPS standards i.e. fabulous!
This was my first visit to an RPS camp and I was very impressed. I liked the way they got out early in the morning (30 mins before other camps) and didn't have overly elaborate breakfasts which tend to delay people. The experience seemed very "safari focussed" which is a good thing in my book.
They were also very flexible about activities, even sending over an extra guide from Nsefu at one point to accommodate everyone's choice of activities. The vehicles were very comfortable with a maximum of 4 guests and I prefer not having a canopy. Despite the lack of shade, for all round visibility, especially looking at birds or animals in trees, I think the vehicles without canopies are better.
The managers/guides were all very friendly and mealtimes were very enjoyable. It was nice to see a hostess/caterer (Rose) with some safari industry experience.
The food was mostly good, the lunches being better than dinners. I wasn't keen on the Mongolian BBQ idea, especially when I found myself chewing on raw chicken. Fortunately there were no nasty consequences.
I loved the tents, which aren't huge but that makes the outdoors seem closer, and I loved the outdoor bathrooms although the hot water in my shower was very temperamental. I have a fair bit of experience in coaxing these geisers to work, and I couldn't get a consistent supply of water of a moderate temperature out of it. They should do something about this.
But overall, I'd definitely go back to RPS.
Amazing safari at Tena Tena
Luxury tents with comfortable beds, clean sheets and en suite. The tents are light and airy and with nothing much more than mosquito nets on the sides (optional thinker canvas at night), the 37 degree heat was not much of an issue for us. For us, this is the perfect safari experience, although be aware that you will probably be sharing your room with a few frogs and insects.
The camp is excellently run by Bertie, a Zambian, who is also an amazing guide. Bertie was ably assisted by Jessica, a young lady from UK. We liked the 'host' was African and had a genuine in depth knowledge of the country. Great idea to have staff names subtly embroidered on their shirts, so much better than pin on labels.
The food was good, given that you are in the middle of nowhere.
Our guide Nyambe was terrific and it is a superb area for game, especially lion.
A very special safari experience at Tena Tena
Tena Tena was the ideal place to spend the last 3 days of my safari experience, an elegant camp set by the river with 6 guest tents. Hosts Jessica and Bertram and the entire Tena Tena staff offered seamless hospitality, thought of everything, and responded to the varied demands of guests with total grace. Meals are out of this world. We were served breakfasts and one barbeque dinner while facing the river in a line of safari chairs on the bank in front of camp. Accommodations are exquisite, creatively natural. Private, unimpeded views on 3 sides from my tent. Night noises included hippos sighing in the river and the munching of elephants only feet away.. Near my tent we found a lion's paw prints from the night before. A feeling of 24/7 total safety with attentive staff and guards.
Guides Bertram and Nyambe made each walk and drive a magnificent learning experience, their expert knowledge of the wildlife made it possible to be where things were happening and to observe big and small, and the life and death cycles of nature. Highlights included seeing several lion prides after kills, two leopards during night drives, each eating their impala kill, and a mother leopard and cubs lying in the afternoon shade, observing elephants below at a waterhole. The dryness of the season meant more game was visible to us not only in the bush, but also when they came to drink where the (limited) water remains.
A lasting moment for me came during our "sundowners" break on an afternoon drive. From our spot under a shade tree on the river bank, we could watch hippos and crocodiles in the river below, impalas in the distance, waterbirds of all description, and hundreds of gorgeous carmine bee eaters flying around and below us to their perches and nesting holes in the river bank.
I highly recommend Tena Tena and hope to return someday.
Four great days at Tena Tena
Arriving from Nsefu, we found the same high standard of food, service and guiding in this camp as we had there. The tents are impressive and spacious and have the added attraction of being able to look straight out through the fine gauze netting to a private view of the river sand bank (often with grazing bushbuck or warthog) at dawn or during siesta time.
We took two guided walks with Jason Alfonsi and learned a great deal, not just about plants and animals but also about Zambia past and present, and as former residents valued that. Good game viewing here (as at Nsefu) in the height of the dry season. The winds brought quite a few leaves and flowers into the washroom areas at times - needs careful inspection at night!
As with all camps in the park, we would like to see some Zambian women employed in future to provide role models for Zambian girls.
A great start to our safari
Overall our experience of Tena Tena was very good. We were very fortunate that a local Lion pride had killed a hippo which effectively meant that for the next few days we could experience observing lions, vultures and finally hyenas feeding on the carcass.
The camp sits in a great location and it was an added bonus that prior to the rains it was very easy to cross the Luangwa river.
THree nights here
Because I stayed 3 nights the guide told me that I could therefore take a side trip out to the salt pans. This was a great idea as I was able to find out a lot more about the countryby talking to the guide.We saw people carrying chickens on the back of their bikes and were astonished to find out that they make journeys of several days just to get to the market. They also have to face the danger of lions etc whilst doing so. It was a very friendly camp and in common with the other camps the staff are unfailingly polite and helpful. The tent was excellent with the added luxury of a fan which I neede in SEptember as it was around 37oCat lunch time. Its fun to have to be driven back to your tent at night because there are buffalos outside. I found Julius a wonderful driver guide and chef my trip to thesalt Pan which incidentally was littered with bones. Michael provided some great puddings and cake. All staff were very professional well informed and fun. The wiring of the fans needs investigation for safety.Read more about the whole safari
tena tena safari
Lovely camp in an isolated location. Less game around, but lovely for birds and hippos.
Camp host/management left a little to be desired though. There was a known problem with the hot water, which was not explained until we complained about it. They are apparently "waiting for parts". This means that there is an initial few minutes of hot water until the boiler overheats. It then has to be switched off for at least a minute, whereupon a further minute or so of hot water is available and the whole process has to be repeated - not very convenient.
Our room fan broke and not fixed. We lost some clothing in the laundry and were told it was not in camp and if it had been left at Nkwali, then it would have been forwarded. No further attempt was made to track it down. There was little atmosphere in camp, perhaps because the hostess was entertaining her brother.
Tena Tena Review
Terrific. Lovely location on a very active part of the river.
Great welcome. Really enjoyable walking transfer to Nsefu.
Only sorry to have missed the lions that seem to regularly walk through the camp!