Inside the Zambezi National Park, tucked into the banks of the majestic river, sits a hidden treasure – Mpala Jena. Newly renovated by the architect team of Craig Hayman and Hannah Charlton and interior designer Tracy Kelly, the camp stylishly reopened at the end of 2021. Our communications director visited this exclusive tented camp earlier this month and sent back rave reviews.
Arriving at the camp was a thrilling experience. The boat trip over to the property is fantastic, crossing through rapids and back channels along the Zambezi.
She was charmed by the effortlessly luxurious atmosphere of the camp, with its soft and natural furnishings that have been designed to combine warm elements of the earth with comfort. “It has a boho chic feeling, encouraging you to kick off your shoes and walk in the soft sand around the bar and pool areas – so on trend with what travelers are looking for now”.
The tented rooms exude intimacy and come with every amenity and detail a guest may expect. Special highlights are the outdoor showers and bathtubs, a spacious inside bathroom with shower, and a private, shaded veranda with decking leading to spectacular views of the Zambezi River. “I was especially impressed by the thoughtful inclusion of yoga mats in the rooms and even a little pack of washing powder.”
The service and the facilities are equally as first-class as the rooms, with staff who fit into the relaxed environment with a light touch and warm, attentive care. Chatting to chef Tasara at the lunch buffet, or ordering a signature Baobab cocktail from Ash the barmen, and catching up with Rabbon the camp manager, all feels like we’ve known each other for years.
What was especially delightful was the fresh and delicious food. Settling into the outdoor dining area overlooking the Zambezi, lunch included creative salads with a fresh-from-the-garden approach and made-to-order pizzas straight from the wood-fire oven.
A pro tip from other Mpala Jena travelers is to take the opportunity to have dinner at a surprise spot along the river under the African stars. The Mpala Jena team knows how to create a magical affair!
Activities on the go during the day: head out on the river for some fishing, take a dip in the pool, book a spa treatment, go on a game drive, or just sink into soft chairs and cushions and take it all in. “The bar area is so beachy and vibey – you might want to linger there a little longer as the sun sets”, advises Janalyn.
As a final note, our YPA team is passionate about finding partners committed to sustainable tourism and Mpala Jena is a partner who gets it right. Virtually all of the camp’s electricity comes through solar panels, they recycle waste, and they’ve used locally sourced materials in constructing the camp.
So, if you have dreams of waking up to the sun rising over the Zambezi River. If you’re a traveler seeking tranquility, pampering, and a little adventure. If the sound of hippos snorting in the river next to your private suite is something that makes your heart race. Then surrender yourself to a few days of bliss at Mpala Jena. Contact Nick to find out more about adding this property to a Zimbabwe itinerary firstname.lastname@example.org