“Tembo” meaning Elephant and reflects more than just a place and a name honouring the animals on these plains. It speaks to long and unique relationships we have with elephants. We draw on their pace and their essence for the atmosphere in camp.
The ‘territory’ of this camp is built into the thick riverine forest located on the Zambezi River’s edge, in the private 118,000 hectares (291,000 acres) Sapi Private Reserve east of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. Tembo Plains fits into our highest level brand, the Réserve Collection of camps alongside our other camps like Zarafa Camp, Selinda Camp, Duba Plains in Botswana; Mara Nyika, Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge in Kenya. It is also a proud member of Relais & Châteaux – the only camp in the whole of Zimbabwe given this honour.
Tembo Plains has four double or twin bed configuration tents, each with its own private indoor lounge area, outdoor swimming pool, (with exercise bikes on a wide veranda) and outdoor dining area. Stunning, handmade bathtubs and indoor and outside showers give the tent a sense of ‘home’ where you can move in and live. The Wi-Fi and working areas also provide space for you to catch up on business or just manage the images from the day. Each tent comes complete with a Canon professional camera and lenses, plus Leica binoculars for guests to use whilst they are with us in Sapi.
The beautiful 2-bedroomed family Tembo Suite comprises two tents with shared lounge and dining area and pool, ideal for two couples, a family or a couple looking for the ultimate private safari. All rooms enjoy expansive en-suite bathroom facilities as in the other tents, with indoor baths, showers and double vanities.
“When I designed Tembo Plains’ it was with a view to reference the famous Zimbabwe Ruins but not lose sight of our love of canvas and exploring. So we ended up with a unique combination of canvas and stone walls. The semi-circular walls inside each tent isolate the bath and shower from the bedroom, and indoor lounge areas bringing that architectural reference inside as well. Outside this pack-stone wall design continues along the back of the guest bedroom, and that really gives you a greater sense of privacy, often an issue in tents. Still, I didn’t want a completely ‘built room’, so the front has these uninterrupted views of Zambezi river flowing just meters away from the canvas ‘tented’ portion.” – Dereck Joubert, Great Plains CEO
In the main area, the wine cellar and interactive 5-star kitchen feature this stone design, including the spa and curio store which are hidden discreetly behind beautifully weathered Zanzibar doors.
“There is a long history of exploration from the coast into this area, as traders came in search of gold, so we used these Arab influenced doors to reflect that in the design.” – Dereck Joubert, Great Plains CEO
Painted dogs (wild dogs), lions and leopards are common around Tembo Plains whilst buffalo, and of course, elephants, are seen up and down the river, sometimes swimming the river itself.
The Sapi Private Reserve, established by Great Plains as part of our mission to convert vast tracts of Africa into pure conservation land, is now a beautiful private photographic reserve that borders the Mana Pools National Park. It is recognised as one of the finest wildlife destinations in Africa today. This fantastic wildlife sanctuary and the Mana Pools National Park that we can access if we want to, offer a combined range of over 337,000 hectares of prime, protected wilderness for our guests. It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a core area of the middle-Zambezi biosphere reserve.
Enjoy the privacy of a safari, so rare today, in a wildlife-rich sanctuary along the Zambezi River with us where you don’t have to worry about anything else except how best to soak up every moment. Your safari with us includes everything, day and night wildlife-viewing drives, boating, and canoeing or tracking, drinks and of course our Relais & Chateaux level cuisine and service.
(c) 2021 Great Plains Conservation