Forget Valentine's Day, Thursday, 15 February, is International Hippo Day, celebrating the third largest mammal on Earth! And one of the very best places in the world to see Hippopotami in all their glory is Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. Experts have dubbed South Luangwa one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and not without reason.
Certainly, the concentration of hippo around the Luangwa River and its ox bow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa – with the official hippo count an impressive 48 per kilometre along the Luangwa River, and an estimated 6,000 hippo living throughout the 9,050km2 Park.
Apart from hippopotamus, South Luangwa is an area rich in natural beauty and other wildlife, including lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and yet largely devoid of tourists – which makes it one of Africa's best-kept secrets. For the savvy traveller looking ahead of the curve, it is the perfect African destination to have an authentic safari experience.
Even better, Zambia is one of those countries that offers up great safari experiences year round. But if you really want to see hippo in all their glory, the very best time to visit is during the dry season from May to October when they congregate in high concentration around the Luangwa River, one of the last surviving sources of water.
Boutique luxury safari operator, Sanctuary Retreats, operates two properties within the Park. Perched on an escarpment overlooking a floodplain in the South Luangwa National Park, the luxurious Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp offers stunning vistas with perfect game sighting opportunities. Lying nestled in a remote game-rich area of the park, lion, leopard, elephant and zebra can frequently be seen. The camp has also been constructed to blend into the local surroundings and designed to leave the lowest possible carbon footprint.
Or for a truly regal experience stay at the luxuriously appointed Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge. Set on a magnificent hilltop location, the Lodge was once the personal retreat of Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, and provides panoramic views across the game-rich valleys of South Luangwa National Park.
If you really want to get your hippo on, now is definitely the time to book a trip to Zambia with Sanctuary Retreats' Stay Longer, Pay Less extended stay offer – where you can stay at one or more of its African camps and lodges throughout 2018 and save up to 40%.
Stay 4 – 6 nights at any combination of Sanctuary Retreats African camps and lodges including Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp and Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge and save up to 30%. Or stay 7+ nights and save up to 40%.
Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge is normally priced from US$390 per person per night twin share.
Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp normally priced from US$450 per person per night twin share.
For more information about Sanctuary Retreats, please visit: www.sanctuaryretreats.com