Sanctuary Retreats presents a walking safari like no other. Now you can explore the pristine wilderness of the South Luangwa – the home of the walking safari – with one of Zambia’s most experienced expert guides, whilst enjoying luxurious tent accommodation and fine dining. This is the ultimate bush adventure by foot, without forsaking personalised service or comfort.

Imagine standing in the giant footsteps of an elephant or touching the bark of a tree where only minutes earlier a leopard had scratched it. Imagine cocktails and canapés as the sun sets over the Luangwa River, hundreds of snorting hippos providing the background music before sitting down to a three course candlelit dinner served under the stars, with white linen, the finest silverware and the surrounding area filled with lanterns. Imagine experiencing all of this before returning to your luxury tent for a night under canvas.

Now, with the launch of our first luxury walking safari camp, all of this becomes reality!

The concentration of wildlife around camp is simply awe-inspiring. On the plains zebra, antelope, buffalo and puku congregate in vast numbers alongside endemic species such as the Thornicroft’s giraffe, Crawshay’s zebra and Cookson’s wildebeest. Predators such as lion, leopard and the elusive wild dog are often seen tracking their quarry and the rivers and tributaries are teeming with hippo, elephant and crocodile. A safari by foot also ensures that one can see many of the 400 species of birds found in the area as well as the rarely seen but fascinating “Little Five” (rhino beetle, buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise and ant lion).

Sanctuary Zebra Plains is located in a particularly beautiful and untouched area of the South Luangwa, perched on a sand bank at the confluence of the Luangwa and Chibembe Rivers. There are just four traditional tents – two doubles and two twins. The camp accommodates a maximum of six guests, allowing for an intimate exploration of the South Luangwa. All tents have real beds, campaign furniture, mosquito nets, en suite facilities and flush toilets. Water for al fresco showers is mixed to your preferred temperature by a tent attendant. The main mess tent has a dining area although most of the meals will be served in the open in carefully selected vantage points. There is also a small library and bar area.

Garth Hovell, widely regarded as one of Zambia’s most highly respected guides with almost twenty years of experience, leads walks twice a day. One morning you might wander along a river bank, observing elephants before canoeing across to a large island across from camp to get up close to plains game. Later that day you may choose to explore nearby Zebra Plains where buffalo, eland and zebra gather in large herds on the open savannah, a rarity in the wooded terrain. Another day your destination might be the Changwa Channel, featured in David Attenborough’s “Life” series and home to one of the largest hippo populations on earth.

This is a seasonal camp operating from June to October each year and will open for the first time on June 1, 2011. Sanctuary Zebra Plains has been designed to leave the lowest possible carbon footprint and will be packed up completely each year with no trace that it was ever there between seasons.

In order to fully explore the South Luangwa, guests will spend three nights at Sanctuary Zebra Plains with set departures on Monday or Thursday. We suggest combining a walking safari with a stay at Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp or Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge, also in the park. These permanent properties offer morning and evening game drives, the perfect complement to Sanctuary Zebra Plains.

Please contact us at for 2011 STO rates and fact sheet about the walking safari.


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