World Heritage sites with Sanctuary Retreats
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...
Recently named a World Heritage site in July 2014, this delta in northwest Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that doesn't flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the river Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronised their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango delta is home to some of the world's most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. Sanctuary Baines' Camp, Sanctuary Stanley's Camp and Sanctuary Chief's Camp are all idyllically located to enjoy the area.
Sanctuary Chief's Camp
Ngorongoro Conservation Area 29
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest caldera. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains. Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years. New this year, Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp is located on the edge of the crater rim, providing a grandstand view across the caldera.
Wildlife in the crater
Serengeti National Park
The annual wildebeest migration is one of the most impressive natural events in the world. Here millions of wildebeest, gazelle and zebras migrate in search of new land and water, closely followed by their predators. However, the migration isn't the only movement through the Serengeti - Sanctuary Serengeti Migration Camp follows the herds giving cross season access to the spectacle.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Located in south-western Uganda, at the junction of the plain and mountain forests, Bwindi Park covers 32,000 ha and is known for its exceptional biodiversity, with more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. Many types of birds and butterflies can also be found there, as well as many endangered species, including the mountain gorilla. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is the only luxury camp within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and due to the location is often visited by gorilla families.
These are among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The Zambezi River, which is more than 2 km wide at this point, plunges noisily down a series of basalt gorges and raises an iridescent mist that can be seen more than 20 km away. Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma is located on a quiet bend of the Zambezi River in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, just 12km upstream from the Victoria Falls.
Combine your Sanctuary Retreats Yangtze River cruise with an optional tour of Chongqing, where you can visit the 1999 UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site of the Dazu Grottoes. These series of 75 rock carvings - made of up of some 50,000 statues - date back to the 9th century and depict both secular and religious images including Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism representations.
A trip to China isn't complete without visiting the Great Wall. At over 2,000 years old and stretching 5,500 miles, the wall holds both architectural and historical significance in Chinese culture, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest manmade wonders of the world. Choose either our 8- or 9-night getaway itineraries to take in the manmade monumental site that was named a World Heritage Site in 1987.
During our Nile cruises visit the necropolis of the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens which was given World Heritage Site status in 1979 and is considered a highlight of the cruise by most. The valleys showcase Ancient Egypt at its height, where remains of Pharaoh Tombs (from 16th- 11th century BC) - the most famous being that of King Tutankhamun - are decorated with Egyptian mythology giving us an insight into the beliefs and rituals of the time.
Choose an optional tour to visit the Nubian Monuments at Abu Simbel, some of the most ancient relics of human civilization. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979, this archaeological area is home to the iconic temples which were saved as part of a rescue mission by UNESCO due to the rising water levels of the Nile.