Sandwiched between the river and a complex lagoon system, Tena Tena closes for the wet season every year and then reopens for the dry season in May.
Restarting a safari camp can be rather stressful, especially when you’re based in the remote Nsefu sector of South Luangwa National Park. Emily from Robin Pope Safaris shared a little more about what goes into reopening Tena Tena:
“The start of the new season is always fraught with the unknown – when will we be able to get into the Nsefu sector to start camp building? What have the animals been doing during the rains? How has camp changed? How quickly can we get everything back up and running? Well, somehow every year the team works non-stop and manages to get everything looking perfect and ready for the first guests.
Everything is washed, aired, ironed – we literally re-count the entire camp! The cars are re-painted and the tractor bounces its way up on some pretty atrocious roads, hooks up the harrow and starts putting in all of the game drive loops. Then D-Day arrives, and all the staff are smiley and smart, ready for the new guests.
As always, Bertie is heading the Tena Tena ship with Nyambe solid as a rock by his side. Nicholas is back, he was with us a few years ago as a host and has come back to the Robin Pope Safaris family for another season, and then the third guide up at Tena this year is Chris. The rest of the team has pretty much stayed the same and a few of the team members have been with the company for 15 plus years.
The guests arrived from all different access points – airport, river crossings, and let me tell you the first game drive at Tena did not disappoint. We could tell you all about the lovely elephants and buffalo, as well as the occasional towering face of a giraffe looking down, but it was the leopard with her cub that stole the show. The youngster, probably around 6 months old, was spellbound by this new object in its home – a Landcruiser with people sitting in it! The youngster cautiously circled around taking in the new sight and smell whilst mum sat back watching proceedings. I mean do you get much better than that? The guests were all thrilled with the drive and headed back to camp for a lovely meal and an evening serenaded by lions calling. Welcome to a new season at Tena Tena!”