Why Travel the Chindwin River?

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As far as rivers go the Chindwin River is a much more scenic river than the Irrawaddy. Bordering the river are steep banks of granite, rolling hills, and in many parts the forest comes right up to the river bank. You may even be lucky enough to spot monkeys jumping along the shoreline. There is considerably less traffic on the river and it is much less frequented by tourists, making it all the more magical for those who make the journey.

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Which African National Parks Are Best For you?

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If you were to take Africa and cover the surface of the moon with it, around 80% of the moon’s surface area would be covered. With this much land, it’s no wonder there is so much variety on offer at each of the African national parks and reserves. But such diversity can make it hard to select precisely which safari destination is right for you.

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When is the best time to visit Botswana?

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With the 50th anniversary of independence and ‘A United Kingdom’, a major new Hollywood movie about the country due for release this year, it’s time for a well-deserved place in the sun for Botswana. Sanctuary Retreats has four unique properties in this land-locked country, with three in exclusive private concessions in the Okavango Delta and one overlooking the Chobe River. No destination in the portfolio better epitomises the company philosophy of ‘Luxury, Naturally’ than Botswana.

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Helping Nature and Culture Thrive in Kenya

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Sarah Liaram is the Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy (SRP) co-ordinator in Kenya, based at Sanctuary Olonana, and is part of the Masai community living on a private concession bordering the epic Masai Mara. Sanctuary Olonana was our very first safari camp in Africa and is a property where we have many outstanding projects in place.

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The Ultimate Luxury Safari Experience

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Located on Chief’s Island in the exclusive Mombo Concession of the famous Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp has a strong reputation for offering guests one of the top safari experiences in Botswana. And it’s about to get even better.

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LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

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We think time is one of life’s most precious resources. So there are certain things we’ll never compromise on in our quest to bring you the perfect holiday in the perfect location.

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Behind the lens: Sanctuary Kusini, South Serengeti

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Meet our Sanctuary Kusini camp manager Isbjorn Viot, an aspiring photographer, a conservationist and passionate admirer of Africa.

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New Chef and Restaurant on Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

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Awe-inspiring natural beauty, iconic World Heritage sites and cultures enhanced over centuries – these are the riches around as you sail China’s legendary waterway. The guiding philosophy of all Sanctuary cruises is ‘Luxury, naturally’, and Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer gets you as close as possible to central China’s most captivating landscapes amid authentic charm and unrivalled comfort. Now with a new chef and restaurant redesign the experience to got even better

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Hands on holidays with the feel-good factor

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At Sanctuary Retreats we understand that you share our commitment to responsible travel. So, when it comes to developing our range of holiday experiences, we make sure we place as much value on what you can do when you’re staying with us as on selecting the location itself.

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Building a Greener Future at Sanctuary Chief's Camp

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Taking care of nature is one of our most important tasks, not only as a company, but also as individual people. We can all do our bit to help conserve wildlife and protect local people and places. At Sanctuary Retreats, we have always been focused on this, working with local people and finding sustainable building techniques that cause as little impact on the environment as possible.

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Go Wild on a Family Safari

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When it comes to keeping enquiring minds stimulated, we can think of no better way to broaden your family’s horizons than with an African safari.

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Africa in 360˚ Virtual Reality using Google Cardboard

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Google Cardboard now lets you explore the world in Virtual Reality using the Google Street View app. So we sent our intrepid Google Street View photographer out on the road to visit our Southern Africa properties so you can now 'virtually' experience our lodges and camps from the comfort of your armchair!

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Tantalising Tanzania

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Sanctuary Retreats client Toby Wood recently travelled on a Tanzania Safari with us and here shares his experience. We asked him to pick out his top 'Wow Moments' and the most difficult task was to narrow them down to just four!

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Top Seven ‘wow moments’ with Sanctuary Retreats

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With mindfulness one of last year’s biggest buzzwords, we can’t think of any other activity that encourages you to stay so wholeheartedly in the moment better than travel. For all of us at Sanctuary Retreats, the best holidays are measured by the myriad of life-affirming memories that we bring home. Which is why our team of passionate travel experts scour the world, gathering the most unforgettable experiences that can elevate a great trip to an extraordinary one.

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Botswana Beckons

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Welcome to the land of wild nature, precious diamonds, and unmatched luxury. Botswana ranks among the most exclusive and breath-taking destination for luxury safaris and adrenaline-charged adventures in Africa, and here's why…

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Honeymoon Safaris: What to Expect

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The romance of Africa has captivated and inspired everyone from explorers to writers for centuries. There is something about this continent that draws you in and forces you to feel more alive. It is hard, then, to think of a more fitting way to celebrate life as Mr and Mrs than on an African safari honeymoon.

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Find Your Sanctuary

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Sanctuary, to us, means refuge, a place to escape the storm of everyday life. It means to switch off, relax and enjoy what this beautiful world has to offer, whether that be watching the circle of life on the plains of Africa, or uncovering the mysteries of the Orient by river boat. This is what it means to us. But what does it mean to you?

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7 Reasons to Visit Myanmar in 2016

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We have recently celebrated the one year anniversary of the launch of Sanctuary Ananda, our luxurious all suite ship that takes passengers on voyages of discovery on the mysterious rivers of Myanmar. We asked Tim Buma, one of our managers on board the ship, for his top reasons to visit Myanmar and he said: “It is the friendliest nation in the world, the temples in Bagan are like visiting Angkor Wat ten years ago and cruising the way between Mandalay and Bagan is the most convenient way to travel between the two.”

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Sightings with Purpose

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Sanctuary Kusini and its Southern Serengeti plains are famous for their high cheetah population. For years, our guests have shared unforgettable moments with these majestic hunters. However, this may not be the case for long. Cheetahs are now designated as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List. Due to habitat loss and human conflict, there are only very few cheetahs left in a free roaming, wild environment. This means that the Serengeti is one of their last remaining strongholds.

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World Aids Day Honoured in Zambia

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December 1st was officially World Aids Day – a day to create HIV/AIDS awareness and promote testing, prevention and treatment. Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy (SRP) is working with local communities in Zambia to help fight the disease.

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Sanctuary Retreats Voted Top Resorts in Africa

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Since its launch in 1987, Condé Nast Traveler magazine has been a source of luxe travel inspiration for millions. Now in their 28th year, Condé Nast Traveler has built up something of a cult following, with their readers being some of the most travel-savvy in the world, always on the look-out for the next “it” destination, hotel or eatery.

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Sanctuary Chief's Camp Redefined

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We are delighted to announce a major investment programme for our luxurious Botswana camp – Sanctuary Chief’s Camp. Renowned for its exceptional levels of service and customer experience, our exclusive camp is consistently rated as one of the top safari camps in Botswana. It is located on Chief’s Island in the Mombo Concession of the famous Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana, an area known as the ‘predator capital of Africa’.

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A Festival of Light or Festival of Colour?

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Asia is a melting pot of other-worldly cultures, vibrant landscapes and unique festivities. In particular, both China and Myanmar are renowned worldwide for their bright and colourful festivals. At any time of year you might find yourself swept up in a local celebration, taken hand in hand by the local people and given an insight into their lives, loves and values. This November, two of the continent’s most exciting and vivid events will be taking place across China and Myanmar. But which one would you like to experience?

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Meet Camilla Rhodes: Philanthropy Coordinator, Zambia

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I have been the Philanthropy Coordinator in Zambia for almost two years; it is a role that is hugely gratifying with no two days the same. Alongside my duties in camp I can find myself overseeing the drilling of a borehole, having a meeting with government officials to discuss school literacy requirements and presenting a lecture on conservation practices to school pupils all in the same week. It certainly keeps me on my toes!

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Top 20 Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

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Here at Sanctuary Retreats we are no strangers to getting up-close-and-personal with the local wildlife around our camps and lodges. Our staff have had numerous encounters with vervet monkeys helping themselves to food from the buffet table, as well as the occasional baboon discovering where the sugar is kept and trying to make a run for it when he thinks nobody is watching.

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Journey of Life - The South Welcomes the Migration

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The southern Serengeti and its great plains have faced a time of drought and hardship. The land is dry and water is extremely scarce. Great numbers of wildlife left, following the rain and rivers to the north. The remaining inhabitants have had to adapt. But things are about to change and between January and March when the calves are born there is nowhere in Africa so alive. Sanctuary Kusini Camp Manager, Isbjorn Viot, describes the Great Migration as it heads south towards their calving grounds in the south of the Serengeti...

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Top 6 Luxury River Cruise Suites

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Sanctuary Retreats is proud to announce that we have been awarded with the prestigious Cruise Critic UK Editors’ Picks Award for Best River Cruise Line Cabins. This award recognises our fleet of luxury river cruise ships as having “some of the most beautiful and sprawling cabins in the industry”. To celebrate, we have put together a list of our very best luxury suites.

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Uyoba Classroom Construction in Zambia

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Last year we identified a desperate need at Uyoba Community School in South Luangwa for additional classroom space. The school, which is located just outside the Game Management Area (GMA) nearby to Sanctuary Puku Ridge and Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge, was operating with only four classrooms to accommodate the 700 pupil body.

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Christmas with Sanctuary Retreats: Guest Reviews

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Choosing where to spend your Christmas break can be a daunting experience; ‘will the kids enjoy it?’, ‘will the food be up to scratch?’, and ‘will I feel homesick?’ are common thoughts which might race through your head. To help you decide whether to book with us, we have put together a selection of reviews from guests who have stayed with us over the Christmas period.

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5 Reasons to Spend Christmas with Sanctuary Retreats

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Christmas. For some it will evoke visions of home comforts, bubbly beverages and pine needles covering the living room floor. For others, Christmas is a time to travel. Whether that means travelling to warmer or colder climes, Christmas is the perfect opportunity to take a much needed vacation.

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Meet Ben Lubega: Expert Guide at Gorilla Forest Camp

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Ben has been part of the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp team for almost seven years now. Guests always comment on how friendly, helpful and professional he is on their Uganda safari. As in any job there have been challenges. Ben recalls once having to make a stretcher out of trees and branches for a guest who had collapsed during gorilla tracking, fulfilling his passion for making the guest happy and comfortable, no matter what.

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Top Five ‘Under the Stars’ Experiences

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When you think of a luxury safari holiday, the term ‘under the stars’ is never the first thing that springs to mind. However, what could be more luxurious than sitting under a glorious canopy of stars with a G&T in hand? At Sanctuary Retreats we know that your holiday doesn’t stop when the sundowners run out which is why we’ve put together a selection of the best activities to do ‘under the stars’:

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Operation Phoenix: Madikwe Game Reserve

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When planning a luxury safari, South Africa will no doubt be one of the top destinations in your mind. However, choosing which park or reserve to spend your time in can be a daunting prospect. At Sanctuary Retreats, we think Madikwe Game Reserve is the greatest private game reserve South Africa has to offer.

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Sanctuary Ananda gets a Makeover

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After an immensely exciting and successful first year in operation, Sanctuary Ananda has surpassed all that was hoped and expected of her. Cruising along one of the world’s more exotic rivers, she has seamlessly entertained and enthralled guests, taking them to some of Myanmar’s hot spots and hidden gems along the way.

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Dr Goodall, I presume?

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We are delighted that Dr Jane Goodall was a recent guest of Sanctuary Retreats. She is a famed primatologist, conservationist, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, and United Nations Messenger of Peace.

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The beautiful cold - Winter in the Serengeti

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Baridi Nzuri is a Swahili phrase that means the beautiful cold or beautiful winter and since the June Solstice winter and its magic has illuminated the southern Serengeti. Water is very scarce. Cold wind blows the dried golden grass and the pastel colours of the sky give light to majestic days.

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Meet Teddy and George on Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

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The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer has introduced a new standard of cruising for the discerning traveller looking for China tours. With the largest cabins and the highest crew to passenger ratio on the river, this is a cruise unlike any other. Life aboard the spacious Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is tranquil and unhurried. And with only 62 cabins, and fewer passengers than other boats, the journey is more relaxed.

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A Sanctuary Retreats Guide to Beijing

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Sanctuary Retreats has teamed up with Aman Resorts to offer guests a free night’s stay in the sensational Aman at Summer Palace in Beijing. This award winning hotel, situated just a few metres away from the East Gate at Beijing’s Summer Palace, is the perfect setting to relax and enjoy one of the most exciting cities in China. Combined with a stay aboard the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, prepare for an intoxicating mix of traditional China and city chic luxury.

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Migration - Sign Up for Greatest Wildlife Show in Africa

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The Masai Mara and Serengeti are the most famous national parks in Africa, and are best known for the annual great migration and are popular destinations for luxury safaris. The key wildlife in this 1,200-mile adventure are the wildebeest, about 1.5 million of them joined by 200,000 or so zebras. For them, it’s a never ending journey and following the rains is a matter of life and death.

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Sanctuary Retreats Helps Boost Rhino Population

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As part of Africa-wide efforts to protect the continent’s dwindling rhino population, Sanctuary Retreats is participating in a significant relocation project to transport black and white rhino to the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana.

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Sanctuary Kusini Reopens After The Long Rains

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Upon our return to the camp, after the rainy season, we were in awe thanks to the lush vegetation and amount of water still present in the plains. In effect, the plains are full of animals: huge herds of both zebra and eland, many groups of wildebeests, gazelles. The birdlife is also out of this world!

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Top 5 Elephant Encounters with Sanctuary Retreats

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"Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing." - John Donne

Once you have stood in the presence of a wild elephant, nothing is ever quite the same again. There is something about these gentle giants that brings out the child in all of us. Maybe it's their enormous size or their wise demeanour but whatever it is, no African safari is complete without encountering these magnificent beasts.

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Into Africa

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African safaris are usually top of most people’s bucket list when it comes to wildlife viewing and it’s no wonder why when you consider the richness of this type of travel experience. However, people often struggle when deciding the timing and destination of their safari, as there are many exciting wildlife experiences to be had at different times of the year. This article takes a look at one of the best game viewing seasons – June to October – and highlights what is on offer at the key locations during this period.

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Venerating the Golden Buddha at Mahamuni Pagoda

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Myanmar is known as the Golden Land, and for good reason: everywhere you look, you are greeted with golden sunshets, stupas and smiles. The Irrawaddy River glistens gold as you pass small villages filled with shining temples, and at sunset the sun’s rays shimmer along the water’s surface. There is no better way to discover Myanmar’s nickname than on an Irrawaddy River Cruise.

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Meet Luckson Situmbeko: Expert Guide at Sussi & Chuma

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Meet Luckson Situmbeko, one of our expert guides at Sussi & Chuma in Zambia. Having fallen in love with nature as a child, he is now one of the top guides in the lodge, and never fails to deliver on his promises to our guests. We spoke to Luckson to find out what makes him tick, and why he is so good at what he does.

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Ten TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015 Awards

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Sanctuary Retreats is delighted to have been awarded ten 2015 TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence, plus inauguration into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for Sanctuary Olonana. We have been recognised as a top performing luxury lodge and camp business as reviewed by travellers on the world’s largest travel site.

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Five Reasons to Cruise the Nile with sanctuary Retretats

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Cruising the Nile has long been seen as the most romantic way of visiting the sites of Ancient Egypt and what better way to do it than on one of Sanctuary Retreats’ own boats. The standard of service, quality of food and our private docks are all part of our boats' recipe for success.

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Expert Insights from Saadani National Park

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Saadani National Park is one of the only remaining protected coastal areas in Africa. The park covers 1100 square kilometres and is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania which borders the sea. This is a recent update from Sean Matthewson, the General Manager at Sanctuary Saadani River Lodge.

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Swap Shop - Cleaning up Nakatindi

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Sanctuary Retreats recently initiated a big environmental clean-up campaign with the Nakatindi Community. The Zambian Government takes little responsibility for litter collection and it is down to the discretion of the individual how they choose to deal with their waste. Some may dig a pit and bury it, others will burn it, whilst some will simply leave it to pile up in the streets.

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Ten Breathtaking Views..... Right From Your Room

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From the Irrawaddy River to the Masai Mara National Park, these ten breathtaking room views have been hand-picked by the experts at Sanctuary Retreats. The stunning sights take in the spectacle of the Okavango Delta from a luxurious tented camp and a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean right from the suites that open on to the beach.

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Boating activities resume at Sanctuary Baines' Camp

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We are pleased to say we have resumed boating activities at Sanctuary Baines' Camp again – the water has risen enough to offer this activity from the camp. Generally mokoros (locally made dugout canoes) are available from March to October and motorised boating from March to September.

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Meet Dominic Elirehemia – Senior Guide Swala Camp

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Dominic joined Sanctuary Retreats in May 2000 where he proved his capability in many different areas, beginning to work for Sanctuary Kusini Camp as a waiter and then as trainee guide. He moved to Sanctuary Swala camp as assistant guide in 2004. Dominic attended guide training courses and this resulted in him achieving the status as a senior guide.

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The Fight - Sergeant versus The Matriach

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Have you ever wondered what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Well, this was put to the test recently in the African bush and Sanctuary Retreats was there to witness the event. A veteran white rhino called Sergeant took on a herd of elephants. See our slideshow to find out who wins...

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Ten Unique Experiences with Sanctuary Retreats

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At Sanctuary Retreats we are committed to being innovators, pushing the boundaries and being the creators of the most inspirational travel experiences to the most remote, exclusive and exotic destinations on Earth. This brings the culture and traditions of local people and the natural beauty of our amazing locations alive for our guests.

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African Artwork at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

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Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is a luxurious riverside retreat in the heart of the bush on the edge of Chobe National Park, home to the world's largest remaining population of elephants. The lodge also has a large collection of African artwork and here is a overview of some of the items they have on display and also some insights into the origin and history of these beautiful items.

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Did You Know...?

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'Askari' is the Swahili word for guard. Who are the guardians of Sanctuary Kusini? This is an insight into the daily life of the askaris as they patrol the camp for wildlife throughout the night. Meet the Serengeti which does not sleep.

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Tarangire National Park - Sanctuary Swala

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Tarangire National Park is home of the elephants and Sanctuary Swala has a constant presence of elephants around camp, writes Chris Rippon, General Manager at Sanctuary Swala,Tanzania.

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Meet Abdul Karim - Head Guide at Sanctuary Olonana

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Abdul leads a team of six dedicated guides in the Masai Mara. After working as a naturalist for many years he joined Sanctuary Olonana seven years ago.

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Easter Retreats

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With the festive season well behind us for another year and the days beginning to get a little longer in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to put a spring in your step as you plan for an Easter escape.

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ROMANTIC RETREATS

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As Valentine’s Day approaches, we pick our top five romantic experiences at Sanctuary Retreats...

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Green Season

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Yolandi Scanes of Sanctuary Retreats travelled to Botswana and Zambia in the Green Season and this is her account of the journey...

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Did You Know..?

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is not only internationally famous for the endangered mountain gorillas....it is also a haven for bird watchers.

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Hunting for the right spot

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Finding an ideal location for a mobile migration camp is both interesting and challenging. Many factors have to be considered: logistics, transport, layout and of course the view...

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World Heritage sites with Sanctuary Retreats

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The UNESCO World Heritage List highlights the planet’s most fascinating places and we're lucky enough to have some of them on our doorstep...

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Final touches perfected on Sanctuary Ananda

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Sanctuary Ananda, our new luxurious new boutique river cruiser In Myanmar (Burma), has been delivered ahead of schedule and is now undergoing its final touches before its maiden cruise in November 2014.

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Top luxury experiences in Africa

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World Elephant Day 2014

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Migration update from the Mara

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5 things you didn’t know about the flapneck Chameleon

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10 reasons to visit Botswana and Zambia in Green Season

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Olonana beadwork group

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The latest updates from our Maasai beadwork project in Kenya...

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Two new camps in East Africa

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We are delighted to announce that our portfolio of luxury boutique safari camps and lodges will offer two additional properties from June...

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Updates from Nakatindi

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New water tank for Nakatindi school, plus improvements to the garden...

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Nakatindi clinic in operation

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We're delighted to share with you that Nakatindi clinic is now in operation and has had it's first patients through the doors...

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King of the jungle

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"In a child's eyes, with all that wonder and imagination, the first time you see 'The King of the jungle' is a completely magical and mystical experience..." Ernest, our guide at Chichele Presidential Lodge, shares his stories about two of our junior guests...

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An ode to Saadani

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In honour of the bedtime stories that greet our guests when they return to their suites at Saadani Safari Lodge, Myra and Wil guests from Amsterdam decided to write one of their own...

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The great migration at Kusini

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Chris and Debbie, camp managers at Sanctuary Kusini, update us on their first sightings of the annual migration...

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Walking safaris at Swala

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Chris, manager at Swala, gives us an insight into our newly launched walking safaris in the Tarangire National Park

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Selecting your chinese tea

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Are you a tea fanatic? Our Yangzi Explorer team share their top tips for selecting the best chinese tea...

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Olonana undergoes authentic Maasai refurbishment

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Olonana has recently had an authentic Maasai refurbishment, with the help of the local Maasai ladies.

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Nakatindi clinic opening ceremony

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Last week Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy celebrated the handover of a new clinic which we have built in Nakatindi Village in Zambia, located close to Sussi & Chuma lodge

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Ananda's first entry into the Myanmar waters

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Last Thursday a Buddhist Blessing Ceremony was held to celebrate the Ananda’s first entry into the Myanmar waters...

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A sneak preview of the Ananda

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Whilst construction work continues, the Sanctuary team have also been busy fine tuning the smaller touches to the Ananda. We're pleased to now share with you a sneak preview of our mock up cabin…

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Ananda model testing

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A model version of the Ananda has been created and tested at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Model Testing Laboratory in China, in the lead up to first sailing of the Ananda, in late 2014.

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Nature Photographer of the Year 2013

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The votes are in and have been counted... find out who has been crowned Sanctuary Retreats' Nature Photographer of the Year and is now the proud owner of a Go-Pro Hero 3...

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Surprise visitors at Swala

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Chris and Mina, camp managers at Swala camp in Tarangire National Park, experience at night to remember thanks to some surprise visitors around camp

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New cheetah identified

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As a result of our close work with the Serengeti Cheetah Project, Sanctuary Kusini has recently identified 4 new cheetah cubs...

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Virtual suitcase challenge

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We challenged five renowned fashion bloggers to pack for a virtual safari or Galapagos cruise, with the luxury of having a ‘bottomless Mary-Poppins style bag’. Find out what they packed and get inspiration for your own trip...

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Elephant Charge 2013

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Congratulations to our Southern Africa team who took part in Elephant Charge 2013, let's see how they got on...

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Migration update

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Abdul, head guide at Olonana, shares his October update on the great migration

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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

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Today we celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival - the second largest annual festival in China...

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Giraffe newborn

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This month, guests at Sanctuary Kusini were lucky enough to witness a newborn giraffe take its first steps...

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The new 'royal cubs'

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Our team at Chichele Presidential Lodge are celebrating the arrival of 3 lion cubs, nicknamed the 'royal cubs' after sharing their birthday month with Prince George.

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Kenya Olonana | 2013 Migration | Zebra Migration | Sanctuary Retreats

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A continuous circle of life, the great wildebeest migration is currently making its way past Sanctuary Olonana in Kenya. Head guide at Olonana, Abdul Karim, has been following the action...

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Saadani engagment

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Friendship, promises and fairy tale endings at Saadani Safari Lodge

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Tanzania | Saadani River Lodge | Resident Hippo | Babis | Sanctuary Retreats

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We are delighted to share with you that we now stock Rhino Force bracelets at Stanley's Camp, Chief's Camp and Chobe Chilwero in Botswana.

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Botswana Giraffe Rescue | Anti-Poaching | Sanctuary Retreats

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Last week our teams at Stanley's and Baines' helped rescue a giraffe in Botswana, alongside the Anti-Poaching Unit.

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The man behind the paintbrush

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Let us introduce you to Maung Thiha, the man behind the creation of our beautiful watercolours...

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Summer salmon salad

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Ackim, our head chef, at Puku Ridge Camp, has shared his mouthwatering summer salmon salad recipe for you to try at home on these warm summer evenings...

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Meet Babis, Our Resident Hippo at Saadani River Lodge

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It is our pleasure to introduce to you Babis, our resident hippo at Sanctuary Saadani River Lodge...

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