It’s Monday 13th August 2012 and a large serving of nostalgia

So we have obviously had a crazily busy few weeks not only with game but also with the new Tena Tena which I am delighted to announce has finally opened! The first guests are already in and we reckon the new camp is looking fantastic. There are obviously a few minor ironing out bits and bobs that need to happen but we have done it and are pleased as punch with the results. Our only problem with the grand opening was the fact that somehow we had rain all day!!! Many say this is good luck so we are going with that but we have now dried out after the one rather badly timed rainy day of August!

The last couple of weeks have been flat out with building, painting, and then getting all the tents into Zambia and put up. The task was not a minor one, that’s for sure! We also had a team of experts in from South Africa to install all of our solar equipment, and let me tell you, I reckon they had one of the toughest jobs as all solar kit needs to be put up in direct sunlight, so there was none of this working in the shade for them. But it is all in and up and running and as long as we don’t have a fleet of ladies plugging in hair dryers all at once, we are good to go…

The new Tena Tena tentThe interior

Tena Tena was obviously the place where Robin and Jo met and the beginning of Robin Pope Safaris – this camp has been in the family since 1986 and in 1988 a young hostess came out for the season and never left – Jo Pope (then Holmes)! What an impact both Robin and Jo have had on so many of our lives! Creating a business which was run on passion and family values and employing teams of people who have stuck by their side since they started out. Their influence and values run deep through the company and has continued to do so even after their retirement a few years ago, which is quite simply a testament to what wonderful people they both are.

Robin and Jo back in the dayRobin and Jo now

We are all torn between the old Tena that we know and love and the new Tena! What a challenge – the star of Robin Pope Safaris being not only moved in terms of site but also tweaked and changed a little. Our challenge was huge. The old camp has been a safe and reliable friend but unfortunately the power of nature has meant that the river, having carved out so much of the bank, no longer ran in front of camp. This caused an enormous concern for the actual space of camp and lifespan of the central tree around which the camp is based. At the end of last season the decision was signed sealed and delivered and a new site was found.

InteriorBath time treats

Wet face towels to cool you down

Slightly upstream but not far, under a magnificent grove of Mahogany trees backed up with sausage trees and a wonderful lagoon system behind, we found our spot. Pods of hippos line the river banks in front of the camp, as well as frequent visits through camp of genets, lion, leopard, impalas and warthog – and that has been whilst we have been building!

Lone lionLeopard

Relaxing...

The new tents are slightly more spacious, set up on the river bank with en-suite bathrooms, the walls curving around trees with the fronts low so that wherever you are you have a view onto the wonderful Luangwa. The main area has incorporated the old bar tent, which hangs elegantly from a leadwood stump as the new dining room nestled under a large tree. The bar area is open to the elements with the natural leaf canopy of the trees as its roof. Hollowed out tree stumps act as chairs and there is a large lounge area lower down where the sensation of sand between your toes creates a wonderful feeling of being truly in touch with nature.

Books galoreComfy chairs

The view

However none of this takes away from the strange feeling of taking apart the old Tena half way through the season for the last time.

But anyway a few photos for you all to have a look at and see what you think – we hope you like it as much as we do.

On a final note, I thought I must fill you in on how the lions are doing down in Majete. Yes they have arrived, but sadly one on the female lions, Nakamba did not survive the journey, which naturally we are very sad about. The other three lions are in tip top condition though and have been adjusting to life in the Boma in Majete Wildlife Reserve rather well, feasting on warthog, waterbuck and impala. They will remain in the Boma for the rest of the month, getting used to their new surroundings. I will keep you posted on how they are doing.

LionIn the boma

Well that is all from me for this week – I hope that you all have a smashing time and until the next one, I will leave you with a photo taken by one of our guests of an elephant climbing a tree!!!

Ele climbing the tree

Have fun and carry on smiling,

Emily

Lions allogrooming

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