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Tembo Plains Camp

Tembo Plains Camp is located in the private 291,000 acre Sapi Reserve to the east of Mana Pools National Park

Tembo Plains Camp is operated by Great Plains as one of their ‘Réserve Collection’ camps and offers an exclusive and upmarket safari experience. The camp is built into the thick riverine forest on the Zambezi River’s edge, with a beautiful outlook overlooking a wide floodplain. The suites, while luxurious, are still canvas, so you don’t completely lose the feeling of being in nature; and hospitality is excellent, balancing efficiency and going the extra mile with a relaxed atmosphere. The Sapi Reserve is a former hunting concession and so wildlife is not as dense as the National Park. Excellent guiding and flexible activities, however, more than compensate.


Accommodation is provided in four tented suites, and the two-bedroomed Zanji Suite at Tembo Plains. Large timber doors open into each suite’s private enclosure, ensuring maximum privacy. The suites are built on to timber decks and combine a rear stone wall with canvas sides and roof. The front of each tent has floor to ceiling gauze windows to make the most of the wide vista and cooling breezes. Each suite has a private plunge pool with sunloungers and an exercise bike on the verandah while yoga mats and light weights are also provided. Inside each suite there is a spacious bedroom and dressing area, a writing desk and a lounge area with a leather sofa and armchair, a minibar, tea and coffee making facilities (hot water is provided in a flask). The en suite bathroom is semi open plan, and includes a double vanity, separate plumbed toilet, bathtub (with a view) and indoor shower screened from the bedroom area by stone walls. There is also an outdoor shower. There is Wi-Fi in all the rooms, and each suite comes with a professional camera and lenses and quality binoculars.

The Zanji Suite is built in the same style but includes two ensuite rooms linked by a central lounge and dining area, leading on to a large shared deck with private plunge pool. Breakfasts and lunch can be taken privately in the suite, and dinner is taken at the main camp (from 2024 full private dining will be available as the suite will have its own kitchen). The Suite has its own separate entrance and includes a private guide and vehicle.

Central Areas

The central areas of camp house the bar, very comfortable lounge, dining areas and interactive kitchen, as well as a wine cellar, shop and spa. There is a large deck which can be used for outdoor dining, together with a fire pit.


Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Private Plunge Pools

Habitat & Wildlife

Mana Pools National Park, a World Heritage Site, is a beautiful wilderness area, in northern Zimbabwe where the floodplains of the mighty Zambezi, wooded with acacia and mahogany trees, stretch out on either side of the river.

During the dry season, the floodplains teem with a wide variety of wildlife and birdlife. Herds of elephant, buffalo, kudu, eland, and waterbuck graze the sweet grasses or browse on the tasty albida pods. Lion and sable rest in the shade of the giant figs. Fringing the floodplains, the thick ‘Jesse’ bush shelters the shy creatures such as leopard, honey badger, nyala and bushbuck. Wild dog roam through the area, and crocodiles bask in the shallows, awaiting their chance of a meal when the animals report to quench their thirst. Hippo are everywhere. During the late season (late August onwards), both white fronted and carmine bee-eaters nest in the banks of the rivers providing a colourful spectacle complete the impressive list of birds to be seen.


Activities include game drives by day and night, guided walks, canoeing**, fishing and boat cruises on the Zambezi River. The boat cruises are especially rewarding in this region, as with Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park on the opposite side of the river, you are completely surrounded by nature and wilderness.


Tembo Plains is open from April to November, though game viewing conditions will be best from July to October.

Tembo Plains Camp welcomes children from the age of six years and offers triples for younger children, or the two bedroom Zanji Suite is ideal for families wanting plenty of space. The Great Plains Young Explorer’s program offers activities that are specifically aimed at children from birding and cooking to art and tracking wildlife. Children from six years are also welcome to participate in all scheduled camp activities. Tembo Plains is not fenced and big game does walk through the camp, but the camp offers an exclusive family safari experience, especially for older children.

Tembo Plains Camp is operated by Great Plains Conservation which exists to conserve and expand natural habitats, using sustainable eco-tourism to protect and restore critical habitats, conserve wildlife, and benefit local communities. All resulting in responsible travel opportunities for guests and achieving the company’s aim of ‘conservation tourism’.

Together with their charitable arm, the Great Plains Foundation, they manage over one million acres of land across Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. A conservation and community levy is added to each stay with Great Plains Conservation as a contribution to the Great Plains Foundation’s work.

Here are just some examples of the projects carried out and supported:

In Zimbabwe, Great Plains is securing the Sapi Reserve through the Sapi Restoration Initiative. Working with teams of world-renowned experts, the Initiative’s strategy includes developing basic infrastructure, roads and communications systems, a strategic wildlife management plan, wildlife monitoring teams (including female rangers), support for ZimParks, species reintroduction, on-going flora and fauna surveys, and photographic tourism; all with a single goal in mind: to restore and protect this essential ecosystem.

In 2022 Great Plains launched its first effort to translocate elephants on a large scale, starting in Zimbabwe. 101 elephants are now free in the Sapi Reserve, with a collar on each herd matriarch, giving an unprecedented opportunity not only to protect individual animals but also to research, learn and contribute to the body of knowledge around successful elephant translocations.

In other parts of Africa, the Great Plains Student Conservation Camps have reached students and teachers in both Botswana and Kenya with environmental and conservation education. By engaging and mentoring young people in communities bordering protected land, students see positive examples of local professionals working to protect their fragile ecosystems and are inspired to become champions of biodiversity themselves.

Through Conservation Roots the Great Plains Foundation is partnering with local communities to restore indigenous trees to landscapes across Kenya, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Working with local communities, partner organizations and school systems Conservation Roots plants indigenous trees and teaches their value and critical role in functioning ecosystems.

In 2024, Great Plains expanded the reach of their impact beyond the areas in which they operate and established a partnership with 4Ocean. Plastic waste is collected from the world’s oceans and turned into fashionable bracelets, which are available for sale in their camps. Every bracelet removes 5lbs of plastic from the sea, provides jobs, and starts a clean-up movement. Great Plains is donating a percentage on behalf of each guest who stays at a Great Plains safari camp to ocean clean-up activities.

In addition to their own projects, Great Plains offers its guests the option to bring a donation of supplies in partnership with Pack for a Purpose where guests may use the empty space in their suitcases for donations of much needed supplies for ongoing projects.