Lodges

Tena Tena Camp

Iconic & authentic safari

Tena Tena Camp

An icon of Robin Pope Safaris, Tena Tena was the first camp Robin Pope himself opened and ran in the early 1990s. Over the years the camp has had a rather stylish facelift and relocated a few kilometres downstream to a shady spot on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River, but really, not much else has changed. The focus is still on expert guiding, flexible activities and fantastic game viewing. These days, the camp has a devout following of loyal safari enthusiasts and quite rightly so – relaxed and authentic, Tena is the real deal.

At the lodge

The hotel

Moulded around a grand mahogany tree, the main area is shaded by a funky canvas roof balanced on gnarled leadwood stilts. Underneath are several seating areas and a comfy lowered sofa right next to the river, with unbeatable views of of the hippo grunting contentedly below. There’s also a little dining area to the side with the same wonderful views. Meals here are a social affair here and the day’s activities are animatedly discussed over some seriously good food.

The rooms

Draped in rich Persian cottons, hand-sewn cushions and finished with a sweeping canvas roof, the 5 tents feel rather Bedouin-esque and are the perfect place to retire to after a long, dusty day. Bathrooms are open air and come complete with all required amenities, including a few extra tree frogs if you’re lucky. During the day, request for the front of your tent to be rolled up and watch antelope darting around on the opposite bank, straight from your room.

On safari

Experiences

Days at Tena Tena are all about the wildlife – and there’s lots of it! Game drives are in open-top Land Cruisers and explore the Nsefu Sector where the camp is located or the main section of the park via boat access (but we guarantee you won’t want to leave the exclusive Nsefu region once you’ve discovered it!). Walking is also a key part of any stay at Tena and the guides are knowledgeable, inspiring and very passionate.

When to go

South Luangwa by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity varies throughout the month and there is a 1 in 2 chance of rain, although it usually falls at night.
  • Animal densities drop at this time of year with species spreading out and giving birth, providing a buzz of activity amongst the predators.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity is unpredictable and rain falls regularly but usually at night.
  • Animal densities drop at this time of year with species spreading out and giving birth, providing a buzz of activity amongst the predators.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity has dropped and rain is falling only a couple of afternoons a week.
  • The recent birthing season leads to a rise of predator activity and excitement as they take advantage of the innocent newborns.
  • Vegetation is lush and in bloom, alive with the presence of the migratory birds strengthening their wings for the impending journey.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high but comfortable, with little to no humidity and only a handful of rainy days across the month.
  • Animals are in peak physical condition but more difficult to spot with the lush vegetation at its thickest.
  • Birds migrate North signalling the end of the wet season and this time of plenty.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

May

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures begin to cool with the onset of the dry season, rain is unlikely.
  • Game viewing begins to improve as vegetation thins and water holes begin to dry up, forcing the various species into closer proximity.
  • A great time to visit, with good weather and low price before peak safari season.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

June

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing is at its best with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the remaining water source.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • pack a warm jacket for chilly morning game drives.

July

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing is at its best with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the remaining water source.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • pack a warm jacket for chilly morning game drives.

August

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing approaches its peak with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the Luangwa River and other remaining water sources.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • Dont forget to pack a warm jacket, morning game drives can get chilly.

September

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are high with relative humidity, there is little chance of rain.
  • Game viewing approaches its peak with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the Luangwa River and other remaining water sources.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are at their hottest, with humidity reaching an all year high before the fall of the first rains, usually towards the end of the month.
  • Game viewing is prime for most of October, deteriorating somewhat towards the end, should the first rains of the season fall.
  • The arrival of the first rains, trigger a burst of green as the vegetation is rejuvenated.
  • If you don't mind the heat, a great time to visit with tourist numbers dropping and often interesting sightings.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and humid for the first half of November, becoming less intense with the increase of rain throughout the month.
  • Game viewing is still excellent with few animals leaving the area until sufficient rains have fallen.
  • The arrival of the first rains, trigger a burst of green as the vegetation is rejuvenated.
  • The arrival of the rains sees a spike in the insect numbers, so have your repellent handy.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot with unpredictable humidity levels and high evening rainfall is to be expected.
  • Game viewing is good with relatively high densities of wildlife in a rejuvenated environment.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • The arrival of the rains sees a spike in the insect numbers, so have your repellent handy.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.

Wildlife


South Luangwa National Park has the deserved reputation as one of Africa's best game viewing destinations. A diverse mix of habitats and oxbow lagoons attract a variety of wildlife species. Encounter vast herds of elephant, buffalo, hippo, zebra and an assortment of antelope. However, it is the predators of South Luangwa that produce the most excitement with lion and leopard in abundance and wild dog present in the area.

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