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


ZIMBABWE: July 17–29, 2016

Botswana Extension: July 29–Aug. 1

ZAMBIA & BOTSWANA: August 2–14, 2016

Northern Extension: Aug. 14–22

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 joy of African youth as you volunteered at a community center?
  • Notice an elephant stroll by your bedroom window?
  • Meet inspiring, award-winning conservationists?
  • Float lazily downstream past exotic shorebirds, hippos, crocodiles, elephants and more.
  • 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. We believe 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. Enjoy daily close encounters with elephants at South Luangwa National Park — “one of Africa’s best”1; an early morning visit to Victoria Falls, one of the “seven natural wonders of the world”; a night in a rural village; a visit to an urban slum as guests of the community; and meetings with inspiring activists for conservation and social change. Also includes three days in world-famous Chobe National Park, Botswana.

We are particularly excited about the optional extension: Get a taste of the relatively untouched African bush at a remote (but more than comfortable) bush camp in North Luangwa National Park, specializing in walking safaris. No other people around. (We’re chartering a plane to fly in). Then a fascinating opportunity to volunteer at a unique national planning summit to establish Zambia’s first community-led nature conservancy near the border of the park. Learn more.

Zimbabwe ¦ Immerse Yourself in Village Life.

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 you want to take time to experience a little more of the challenging, yet joy-filled life of a rural African village, spend time getting to know villagers, participate in their everyday routines, discuss cultural differences, sing, dance, play … , this is the trip for you. After four days in the village, we have four days of incredible wildlife viewing from vehicle, on foot, and from your balcony, at Hwange National Park–one of the largest in Africa (home of Cecil the lion). And finally a visit to magnificent Victoria Falls. For those for who want a bit more wildlife, there is a further 3-day extension to Chobe National Park, Botswana. This is our most budget-friendly trip. Learn more.

On both trips we stay in comfortable, esthetically pleasing accommodations, with all meals (delicious and plentiful) and transportation (comfortable and safe, including domestic flights in Zambia) provided. Thanks to careful research and negotiations, these trips are a great value.

1 Audubon Field Guide to African Wildlife