Open Heart Safari | Travel to Africa with Awareness, Community, and Heart

ZAMBIA: June 2-14, 2017

What did you do on your summer vacation? Did you…

Lion walks near safari Jeep. All photos copyright © Tom Bennigson/Open Heart Safari.

  • Track lions and leopards on foot?
  • Converse with tribal elders in a traditional African rural village?
  • Practice yoga, surrounded by the calls of hundreds of species of wild birds and the other unique sounds of the African bush?
  • Share the excitement of Africans of all walks of life collaborating for the first time to conceive and enact their own vision for the future of their land?
  • Notice an elephant stroll by your bedroom window?
  • Meet inspiring, award-winning conservationists?
  • Reflect deeply on exciting new experiences with new friends in a conscious, open-hearted community?
  • Drift safely off to sleep to the night music of hippo grunts, hyena whoops, and lion roars?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you probably did not participate in OpenHeart Safari Zambia.

An inspiring, transformational journey.

Soul Touching

I still have a hard time finding words that are powerful and profound enough to describe my experience, though the phrases ‘life changing’ and ‘soul touching’ frequently appear…. I can’t imagine myself traveling any other way after this amazing experience.

— Ling Z., 2014

Elephants. All photos copyright © Tom Bennigson/Open Heart Safari.

Open Heart Safari seeks to offer something different from conventional safaris. We approach the magnificent animals of the African bush in a spirit of reverence; our goal is to allow our souls to be deeply moved by the encounter. And we attempt to pierce the tourist bubble so that we can connect genuinely and respectfully with local people, learn about their lives and the (not always so positive) ways they are impacted by tourism and by foreign conservationists, and explore what we have to offer them in turn.

Emotionally Moving

The most emotionally moving experience I’ve ever had.

— Red B., 2013

 Hippos with Bird. All photos copyright © Tom Bennigson/Open Heart Safari.
We travel in a small, intimate group, regularly reflecting together on our experiences, and restoring ourselves with simple yoga (with instruction for all levels). Our capacity to be moved by the land, wildlife, and people we encounter will be deepened through simple mindfulness practices that expand our awareness, enliven our senses, and open our hearts. Our goal is that you will not just have a wonderful and memorable time, but that you will be profoundly impacted. 

Zambia ¦ The Magnificent Wildlife of Africa Without the Crowds.

Deep and Moving

This was such a deep and moving experience for me. … I treasure the fact that I took the chance on this trip.

—Liz B., 2014

Leopard. All photos copyright © Tom Bennigson/Open Heart Safari.

This year’s trip features a special opportunity to volunteer at a unique, inspiring community visioning and planning conference that will be laying the groundwork for Zambia’s first community-led nature conservancy. The trip also includes 5 days viewing the incredible wildlife of South Luangwa National Park, “one of Africa’s best” (says the Audubon Field Guide to African Wildlife), offering an abundance and diversity of wildlife comparable to the best parks anywhere, but without the crowds encountered at more well known safari destinations. We will end the trip with a heart-opening – often dance-filled – visit with community activists in the urban slums of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city. Learn more.

A Sacred Trip

This trip more than any other is one that I cherish and remember with joy and fullness… It’s a sacred trip. You get to know people deeply quickly, and get to know things from the heart.

— Eleanor D., 2014

Open Heart Safari co-leader Laura at a school in Zambia. All photos copyright © Tom Bennigson/Open Heart Safari.If there is sufficient interest, we will offer an optional 4-day extension to an even more remote location in Kafue National Park, one the largest parks in all Africa, for an incredible taste of the authentic African bush. 


We stay in comfortable, esthetically pleasing accommodations, with all meals (declicious and plentiful) and transportation (comfortable and safe) provided. Included: three domestic Zambian flights. Thanks to careful research and negotiations, our trips are a great value.



1 Audubon Field Guide to African Wildlife