Sanctuary Lodges: South Luangwa

Here at South Luangwa Safaris, we are always on the lookout for new and exciting places to send you and fantastic lodges to stay in! Last weekend we headed into the bush to test the Sanctuary Lodges. With lodges all over Africa, we had high hopes and we were not disappointed. Not only did we have fantastic service and food the guides excelled themselves by finding 7 leopards in 2 days…7 DIFFERENT leopards!

leopard in south luangwa

First up we went to stay at Chichele Presidential Lodge, aptly named, as it was once the personal retreat of Zambia’s former President Kenneth Kaunda. Built in the 1970s it has a strong colonial feel with a sweeping veranda with views over the park, a pool, library and bar there are plenty of places to relax in between your game activities. Here you can enjoy afternoon tea, a glass of wine before dinner or simply enjoy the many artefacts, pictures and books about a bygone era in the lodge.  Service here was impeccable and everyone went out of their way to make you feel comfortable and relaxed, it is also very family friendly accepting children of all ages with lots for them to do. Each room is spacious with a separate en-suite bathroom with shower and bath. The rooms have large four-poster beds and all have AC, which is brilliant for the hotter months.

puku, south luangwa

Next up we headed to Puku ridge, just 5 minutes away from each other the lodes are completely different. With a bushcamp feel, Puku has elevated safari tents overlooking a small waterhole/marsh which attracts all sorts of wildlife including a regular herd of elephants, ground hornbill, monkeys, impala and one of the 7 leopards we saw – who is a common feature in the mornings, so much so the guests have suggested it is called Leopard Ridge instead! It has a far more rustic feel, with a large deck shaded with huge trees giving the whole camp an almost treehouse styled theme. Designed to leave as small as possible carbon footprint this lodge has more of an eco feel. There is no pool however you can easily hop into one of the cars and use the one at Chichele should you wish. Here you can enjoy getting back to nature, the head of the house, Leevies, is an excellent retired guide and has incredible knowledge of birds. Spend an afternoon with him watching who comes to visit the camp, both in flight and on four legs. Each tent has its own private viewing deck, huge bed, an en-suite bathroom open to the tent but with a closed toilet and inside and outside shower.  Again, the service here was impeccable from a never empty wine glass to the excellently cooked food with the bonus of dinner under the stars, looking out for night-time visitors to the waterhole.

As you can see we were more than impressed with the lodges but of course it wouldn’t be a trip to South Luangwa without a few game drives and that’s where these guys raised their game. Taking us to places away from the crowds but still teaming with wildlife. Within just 2 short days we had managed to see large herds of elephant drinking, herds of buffalo building dust clouds as they grazed the ever fading grass, giraffe, zebra, a whole variety of antelope, birds and of course our leopards (and because I really wanted to we had a look for snakes-found one just before our last drive hunting a gecko!).  We can’t wait to send you out here and come back ourselves!

Want to know more about Sanctuary Lodges, South Luangwa? Email me today:

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