It’s Monday 28th May 2012 and Claire helps camp building at Tena Tena

As most of you know, the camps have finally opened for the season and we are in full swing. So in the spirit of it all I thought that I would ask Claire (who’s at Tena Tena) to send us some news from her end.

So for this week, over to Claire…

I arrived at Tena Tena eleven days ago to a very big welcome, which lasted all of about 2 minutes. It was camp building time and the clock was ticking. The place looked more like a worksite than a camp and Bertram could obviously see the concern and horror on my face. He assured me that he knew what he was doing and everything would be fine. Of course he was right. We opened about five days ago and everything went pretty much like clockwork.

What I love most about this place is that everything you do is an adventure and never simple. You cannot go to your local hardware store to buy your building materials. Things are a tad different here in the Luangwa Valley. Our bar floor is made from Black Cotton Soil which is from a village called Chiseka. The bamboo which our shelves are made from, are from an area past the airport called Jumbe. Combed grass is used for many things in the camp. Roofs, posts, covers for hot water geezers and fences, it all comes from a village called Seleu. Palm fronds are used to tie the grasses and the bamboos together and they are from Chiseni village. The entire camp is built by the people that work here. Benias our room attendant and Leonard our chef are also carpenters and so they were in charge of all the fences, roofs and shelves. Chiseka our other chef is our plumber. Brown our watchmen is a master plasterer and so he was situated in the bathrooms. Everyone has put in a huge effort to get Tena Tena ready and I know the guests have been blown away.

It wasn’t all work. Bertie went out after work to inspect the roads and of course I tagged along to inspect what has been going on in the bush. Everywhere you look there is love in the air! Lillian’s Love Birds that is. These sweet little birds are in huge numbers this year and can often be heard and seen in the camp. Elephants can regularly be found sloshing in Lunga lagoon being carefully looked over by some Elands. Monitor Lizards left right and centre, including in my roof. The cats have certainly been making themselves heard in the sector as well as being seen on the island in front of the camp. You know those goofy looking doglike creatures that look like they have fallen in a tin of paint? Yes, that’s right, wild dogs! They are around, some guests got to see 15 on the second day of opening!!! Don’t even get me started the Queleas. I have never seen so many in my life and what a spectacle it is when they all take off in unison and create amazing visual effects in the air as clouds of them just float past you. Words cannot describe the noise, which is created when millions of tiny little Quelea wings flap together. All I can say is that its one of those sights that gives you Goosebumps and makes you appreciate the smaller characters of the bush.

Eles cooling offA family of eles

Monitor LizardLions relaxing

Wild DogsMore Wild dogs!

Right guys, my lunch break is over and as Rob says, “Camp building is never finished” so I’m off to fix the generator….kidding! I have been given lawn watering duties.

Hope to see you all this season


Thanks Claire! We also have Neil Rocher here at the moment, giving us a helping hand with building the new Tena Tena. The first day was a little tricky given that we had the tent sites to clear and lions were lazing around in the shade, so instead the team was shifted to another spot away from all the fur and claws!

Finally, exciting news from Lake Malawi… Pumulani has recently been featured on Top Billing, a lifestyle TV show on South Africa’s SABC 3. For those who missed it, you can view the feature on YouTube.

Have a great week!




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