Road Scholar : Home
African Safari: A Close-up on Wildlife

Program Number: 13938RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/17/2013 - 1/30/2013; 4/1/2016 - 4/15/2016; 5/6/2016 - 5/20/2016; 10/21/2016 - 11/4/2016; 10/28/2016 - 11/11/2016; 11/7/2016 - 11/21/2016; 11/25/2016 - 12/9/2016; 1/13/2017 - 1/27/2017; 2/3/2017 - 2/17/2017; 2/24/2017 - 3/10/2017; 3/24/2017 - 4/7/2017; 4/21/2017 - 5/5/2017; 5/12/2017 - 5/26/2017;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: South Africa/Zambia/Botswana/Zimbabwe
Price starting at: $5,229.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 33; 11 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Elephant, lion, blue wildebeest, vervet monkeys — just a few of the thousands of species observable in the national parks and private reserves of sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, encounter an unimaginable diversity of wildlife and meet the people who have dedicated their lives to its protection.


• Ride an elephant on a safari in search of big game and explore the Chobe River by motorboat.
• View the majestic Presidential elephant herd in Hwange.
• See Victoria Falls, explore nearby crafts markets and interact with local artisans.

Activity Particulars

Open-air safari vehicles require stamina, flexibility, stability for long rides, getting in and out.

Please refer to the day to day itinerary on the Road Scholar website or contact the provider if you plan on booking your own flights for correct arrival and departure dates. Group size limited to 18. Following select departures, you can extend your program with Extension: the Best of Cape Town (#13597).

Date Specific Information


Post-program extension #13597 "Extension: The Best of Cape Town" is offered in conjunction with this departure.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Johannesburg (South Africa), 2 nights; Livingstone (Zambia), 2 nights; Upper Zambezi River (Zimbabwe), 3 nights; Hwange National Park, 3 nights; Victoria Falls, 2 nights; fly to Johannesburg for departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Johannesburg (South Africa)
2 nights

With a local expert, visit the award-winning Apartheid Museum and sites in Soweto that played a significant role in the struggle against apartheid.

Flight and coach to Livingstone (Zambia)
2 nights

Walk along Victoria Falls and marvel at the diversity of birdlife and flora in the vicinity. In a local crafts market, meet artisans and learn how the crafts are made and marketed.

Coach to Upper Zambezi River (Zimbabwe)
3 nights

The private reserve, along the banks of the Zambezi River in the corner of Zimbabwe where four countries meet, is one of the most biodiverse regions on the continent and home to a variety of animals including lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and the elusive wild dog. A day excursion into Chobe National Park introduces you to Botswana’s first national park, home to the largest population of elephants in the world.

Coach to Hwange National Park
3 nights
Coach to Victoria Falls
2 nights
Flight to Johannesburg for departure
Departure on overnight flight to the U.S.A.
1 night

Discuss Zimbabwe's history, culture and wildlife with an expert, and search for nocturnal species during a night game drive. A safari riding atop elephants increases your odds of spotting kudu, buffalo, impala, leopard and even the occasional lion, while your guide informs you about the behavior and social structure of your unique mode of transport.

Johannesburg: Modern hotel near greenbelt. Livingstone: Scenic luxury lodge overlooking Zambezi River. Upper Zambezi River: Intimate lodge in a private reserve. Hwange National Park: Classic safari lodge with great views. Victoria Falls: Riverfront lodge with lovely gardens.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Helen Malisan

Helen Malisan’s passion for exploration began in high school when she visited Italy, her ancestral country. After completing her final year at school, she immediately joined South African Airways where she worked for 10 years. In 1993, her love for nature and South Africa inspired her to complete the necessary courses to become a wilderness excursion leader, spurring her career as a safari leader in Namibia and Zambia. Helen says her interest in people, nature and animals inspires her work.
Benson Siyawareva

Benson Siyawareva was born in the remote village of Zaka in southern Zimbabwe. His love of nature began when he joined the Boy Scouts, where he experienced camping, wildlife tracking and viewing. After some years of teaching at the high school level, Benson became a qualified, professional guide and has been leading safaris for over 25 years. Benson loves to delight participants with his tremendous knowledge of African wildlife and local cultures, and he has a keen eye for spotting wildlife of all sizes, as well as identifying birds. He also has a passion for photography and has been known to educate participants on how to get the most out of their pictures while in the bush. Benson has been named one of “The Best 15 Safari Guides” in the Condé Nast Traveler magazine, and in 2004, appeared on live television as the professional guide on “The Today Show: Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” He is also featured in the authoritative book "Licensed to Guide," by Susie Cazenove.
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
  Johannesburg, South Africa 3 nights
   Thorntree River Lodge
  Livingstone (Zambezi River), Zambia 2 nights
   Chobe Safari Lodge
  Chobe National Park, Botswana 3 nights
   Ivory Lodge
  Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe 2 nights
   Victoria Falls Hotel
  Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 1 night
 Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Courtyard Hotel, a beautifully appointed, Tuscan-themed hotel, is located on a small lake only 15 minutes from the Johannesburg International Airport in a very secure area. All studio suites have private, attached bathrooms, and either twin or double beds.
  Contact info: 9 Zulberg Close, Off Ernest Oppenheimer Road,
Bruma Lake
Johannesburg,  2100 South Africa
phone: +27 -(0)11-622-8436
web: /
  Room amenities: Large rooms include full bathrooms, seating/office area, television, patios overlooking the lake as well as coffee/tea making facilities, telephone, radio, hair dryer, TV, AC/heat, safe, fan, safe/lock box, and electrical outlets. Refrigerator, ironing board, and iron are available on request.
  Facility amenities: Amenities include a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, pool (not heated), restaurant serving continental meals, bar, room service, and US currency exchange. Hotel staff can provide laundry service during week-days; guests can also do their laundry for a nominal fee. Guests can get 15 minutes wireless free per day on each of their personal wireless devices. After the 15 minute deal guests can purchase a voucher from the front desk or via credit card on the web link. The purchase will generate a username and password to be entered on screen by the guest. Alternatively, a PC computer and printer is available at the guest office but the 15 minute free wi-fi deal does not apply. The voucher prices vary by time: in summer 2012 30 minutes of wireless costs 30 South African Rand, 1 hour is 50 South African Rand, 2 hours is 90 South African Rand, 4 hours is 145 Rand, and 1 day is 195 Rand.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Contact Program Provider Please phone EXPLORE, Inc. at 888-596-6377 for more information.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Thorntree River Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Thorntree River Lodge is a wonderfully situated camp on the banks of the Zambezi River with comfortable stone and thatch chalets hidden in the tangle of lush riverine bush. All chalets have large private bathrooms and are shaded by a large thatched canopy. The atmosphere is informal and one of classic safari style. The wide sweeping panorama of the river lends a special magic to the location. Thorntree's riverside location and its unique position within the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park allows for a wide choice of activities, including sunset cruises, game-drives, cultural tours, fishing, and visit to Victoria Falls. The esteemed national park is a sanctuary for white rhino as well as a haven for many other species including giraffe, sable, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and a wide variety of birds.
  Contact info: n/a
Livingstone,   Zambia
phone: +260 21 3 327480
  Room amenities: All chalets are built of stone with a thatched-roof and private deck overlooking the river. Chalets include private bath with a bathtub/hand-held shower, outdoor shower, fan, and patio. Rooms have electrical outlets for recharging batteries and mosquito nets on beds. Elephants and hippos are sometimes seen on the lawn.
  Facility amenities: Amenities at the lodge include a swimming pool, bar, and main lounge area with an expansive deck overlooking the Zambezi River. The lodge also offers a laundry service at additional cost. Due to wild animals on the lodge grounds, guests may not walk around at night and are advised to wear neutral colors while game viewing. Wi-fi is not available at the lodge. Breakfast includes fruit, yogurt, cereals, muffins, full English breakfast with tea, coffees and fruit juice. Delicious buffets of salads, pasta, quiche, and other creations are served at lunch. Dinner is a set three course meal (starter, main dish, dessert, served with red or white wine). Bottled water is included. The lodge offers a spacious dining room. For miscellaneous items and activity bookings, the lodge accepts Zambian Kwacha and Credit Cards (Visa, Mastercard). Other services: wake up calls, meeting room, porterage service
  Smoking allowed: No

 Chobe Safari Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The completely renovated Chobe Safari Lodge enjoys a prime location, sharing a border with Chobe National Park on one side and prime river-front property along the Chobe River on another. The open-air floor plan of the main lodge affords beautiful views over the lodge's lush gardens and the river, where you may be able to see an abundance of wildlife including the legendary fish eagle, warthog, mongoose, vervet monkeys, fruit bat and a large variety of birdlife. Enjoy top quality accommodation and fine dining in this beautiful lodge - a true African experience!
  Contact info: Presidents Avenue
Kasane,   Botswana
phone: +267-625-0336
  Room amenities: Each individually decorated room offers large, en-suite bathroom facilities with shower and bath, telephone, plugs (electrical current is 231 volts), television, ceiling fan or air conditioning, hair dryer, in-room safe and private patios with views over the gardens and Chobe River. Ground floor rooms available.
  Facility amenities: Amenities at the lodge include a swimming pool/pool deck, expansive gardens, lounge, restaurant, health & beauty salon, laundry service, entertainment lounge with a viewing deck, US currency exchange facilities, squash court, curio & craft shop, and a full range of concierge services. At breakfast enjoy a Full English and Continental spread. Light lunch a la carte menu or buffet lunch is available to choose from daily. Scrumptious buffet dinners offer a wide variety of meals from exotic game meats, roasts, barbecues, stir-fries, Indian cuisine, or vegetarian dishes. Two bars are located on the property giving guests a choice between the Sedudu Bar famous for beautiful sunsets or the Cocktail Bar overlooking the Caprivi flood plains. Wireless Information: Guests can access the internet by buying a coupon at the reception desk (price is 1 Botswana Pula per minute). The lodge accepts US Dollars, Euros, South African Rand, Namibian Dollar, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express for wireless coupons and other miscellaneous purchases. Your coupon can be used on your personal wireless device or a lodge computer. Wi-fi is available in the reception and bar/lounge area but not in rooms. Safety: There is 24-hour security on site. Due to wild animals, walking around at night is not advised. First aid kit is available on site.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Ivory Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: With a 6,000 acre conservation parcel of Hwange National Park, visitors at Ivory Lodge enjoy unparalled access to wildlife. A large watering hole on-site attracts the famed Presidential elephants for daily drinks. These elephants symbolize Zimbabwe’s commitment to elephant protection. During your game drives and foot safaris at Ivory Lodge witness a diverse range of habitat environments (open savannah, forest, semi-desert) that invites a mix of buffalo, zebra, impala, elephant, giraffe, and sable.
  Contact info: N/A
Hwange National Park,   Zimbabwe
phone: +263-774665458
  Room amenities: Elevated thatched tree houses hover below the beautiful shade of Zimbabwe’s teak forests. Each house has a front porch, en-suite facilities, ceiling fan, mosquito nets in the bedded area, electricity, and hot water.
  Facility amenities: Enjoy meals in an open air thatched dining area with outstanding hospitality. The private library, bar, and lounge are available for your leisure in the main lodge. Daily laundry service and access to a beautiful outside deep pool is included. For wireless connection on your personal device via Ivory's V-Satellite connection, simply purchase airtime for either $5 or $10 (cash only). Wi-fi is available in the main louge, dining room, bar and library, but not in rooms. Please note that only cash (USD) is accepted as payment; the lodge does not have the ability to charge credit cards.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Victoria Falls Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Victoria Falls Hotel, a beautiful hotel designed in the colonial tradition, is an African landmark. Established in 1904, The Victoria Falls Hotel is nicknamed "the grand old lady of the Falls." The elegant lounges offer serenity and seclusion. The corridors reflect all the past glories of the Empire, and the suites and rooms are superbly furnished in Edwardian-style. The courtyard entrance to the hotel overlooks lily ponds, lush flowering shrubs and palm trees. Traditional high tea is served every afternoon on the terrace with a spectacular view of the Victoria Falls Bridge and gorge in the background.
  Contact info: 2 Mallett Drive
Victoria Falls,   Zimbabwe
phone: +263-13-44751
  Room amenities: Full en-suite bathrooms, 24-hour room service, personal room safe, bathrobes, hairdryer, complimentary tea/coffee making facilities, electrical outlets (220 V), direct dial telephone, satellite TV including BBC World and CNN, mini-bars in suites, heat and air-conditioning. Ground floor rooms are available.
  Facility amenities: A breakfast buffet as well as full English breakfasts are served in "The Jungle Junction." "Stanley's Terrace," another hotel restaurant, boasts delicious options for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and drinks. An elegant dinner experience is offered in The Livingstone Room restaurant (dress code- smart casual at this restaurant). Amenities include same-day laundry service, golf course and rentals, chapel, hotel lounge, tennis courts, swimming pool, US Currency exchange, gift shop, doctor on call, hair salon, beauty therapist, as well as library and reading rooms. For miscellaneous purchases, Victoria Falls Hotel accepts US Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, and Visa credit cards. Victoria Falls Hotel is located in a safe neighborhood. There is a first aid kit for guests and the hotel has 24 hour security. A doctor is on-call 24 hours a day. In the case of serious illness or injury, guests will be evacuated to Johannesburg for treatment. Wireless Information:To connect to the internet using one's laptop visit Guest Services for the wireless password. Otherwise, guests can use a computer in the E-lounge and connect to the internet there. As of July 2012 Victoria Falls Hotel does not charge for wireless services, but it is considering charging for it in the future.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program starts with dinner at 7:00pm at the hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. You will be staying at Courtyard Hotel Eastgate that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at approximately 3:30pm at the airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, following arrival of flight from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to Johannesburg, South Africa. You will be staying at Victoria Falls Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. US passports need a minimum of five blank visa pages (not amendment/endorsement pages at the back) given the number of border crossings and country requirements. A visa for Zambia and Zimbabwe will be purchased for you at the border (included in program cost); Canadian citizens please bring US $45 extra for Zimbabwean visa as the visa is $75 and only $30 has been included. No visa needed for South Africa or Botswana. Signed liability waivers required for safari lodges and Program Provider (Explore, Inc).
  Required innoculations:
Yes: A Yellow Fever vaccination is required; medical waivers are accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination. Please carry the certificate of vaccination or medical waiver with you during the program. Malaria precautions are recommended for Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Speak with your healthcare professional about other suggested inoculations (note: only Yellow Fever proof or waiver is required to enter any of the countries visited).
  Parking availability:
None needed.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Johannesburg
  Nearest city or town:  Johannesburg
  Nearest highway: R21 Highway
  Nearest airport:  Johannesburg International
  Transportation to site: The arrival transfer from Johannesburg O.R. Tambo airport to the hotel in Johannesburg is provided by hired coach for participants who booked their flight through Road Scholar; transfer time is approximately 20 minutes. Note that it is not recommended to take taxis in Johannesburg for safety reasons. If you would like help arranging a separate transfer to the Courtyard Hotel Eastgate, please contact Explore.
  From End of Program
  Location:  At Home
  Transportation from site: Group transfer from the last location to the Victoria Falls airport (Zimbabwe) is included for everyone. The flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg is also included in the program price. Upon arrival in Johannesburg you connect to international departures; no further ground transfers are needed unless ongoing travel is planned. Explore can help with ongoing travel arrangements if needed.

Required innoculations:

Yes: A Yellow Fever vaccination is required; medical waivers are accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination. Please carry the certificate of vaccination or medical waiver with you during the program. Malaria precautions are recommended for Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Speak with your healthcare professional about other suggested inoculations (note: only Yellow Fever proof or waiver is required to enter any of the countries visited).

Elevation Note: Johannesburg's altitude is 5575 ft; Livingstone, Chobe and Victoria Falls are around 3300 ft.

Equipment Requirements: Suggested: Binoculars, camera, flashlight
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Depart the U.S.
(Thursday, January 17)
 Evening: Overnight flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Day 2: Arrive Johannesburg
(Friday, January 18)
 Afternoon: Arrive Johannesburg from your international flight. You clear customs and are met and transferred approximately 20 minutes to the Courtyard Hotel. Enjoy the complimentary snacks and beverages in the hotel lounge during happy hour prior to dinner.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Overview of the program and the next couple of days in Johannesburg.
Accommodations: Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Soweto/Apartheid Museum
(Saturday, January 19)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, you have an excursion to Soweto (SOuth WEstern TOwnship), the largest black residential area in South Africa. This “city within a city” consists of 50 suburbs, or sections, and essentially acts as a labor reservoir for the greater metropolitan area of the Witwatersrand. In many ways, the story of Soweto is the story of South Africa. The tour route takes you to all the major points of interest, such as Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Baragwanath taxi rank, Freedom Square and Hector Peterson Memorial. Discussion on the history of South Africa and apartheid.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Soweto.
 Afternoon: After lunch, transfer to the southern edge of Johannesburg where you visit the award winning and internationally acclaimed Apartheid Museum; you walk through the museum with a local guide. This beautiful museum gives a balanced account of 20th century South Africa. It recounts the political upheavals beginning in the last century and moves on to the transition from a racist state into the new era of hope and freedom as a democracy. Transfer back to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site/ De Wildt Cheetah Centre
(Sunday, January 20)

Note: Entering the caves at Sterkfontein requires going up/down about 100 stairs and crouching low to get through some of the passages; alternately, there is a great little museum and coffee shop on site if you are unable to enter the caves. At the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site, you will be able to see other archaeological sites accessed by an easy walk.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa’s most important early man sites. An archaeology specialist guides you through the cave system that is home to the earliest remains of our human ancestors on the Southern Continent. The Sterkfontein area, or “Cradle of Humankind,” has outstanding universal value due to a complex of fossil–bearing caves. These caves contain a superbly preserved record of the stages in evolution of humankind within the past 3.3 million years. Artifacts dating back to the Early, Middle and late Stone and Iron Ages have been found. The 116,000 acre Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site is situated at Mohale’s Gate, three miles from Sterkfontein Caves, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. The designation is due to it currently being the world’s richest hominid fossil–bearing site. Two of the main finds here include Mrs. Ples, the first complete Australopithecus skull, and Little Foot, a 3.3 million–year–old, almost complete, near–human skeleton which is still under excavation. The site not only has hominid and other fossils but a number of other fascinating attractions including Iron and Stone Age fossils, rock art sites, plants and bird species. Sterkfontein, one of the 13 sites that form the Cradle of Humankind, is also world-renowned for the studies that have been carried out there on fossilized fauna, wood and stone tools that were made, used and discarded by hominids in the past.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch provided.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre which has gained international recognition for bringing the cheetah back from the brink of extinction through its captive breeding programs. Here you take a tour with one of the center’s enthusiastic researchers who gives insight into the long term viability of the African cheetah. Transfer back to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Fly to Zambia/Local Orphanage Visit
(Monday, January 21)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport to board your commercial flight to Livingstone, Zambia.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: After arriving in Livingstone, you are transfered to a nearby local orphanage. Here you have a chance to learn about the effects of AIDS, an unfortunately integral part of Zambian life and culture, and interact with the children and foster parents. Afterward, transfer to your lodge and settle-in. Your group leader gives you an overview of Zambia.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
Accommodations: Thorntree River Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Livingstone Museum and Victoria Falls
(Tuesday, January 22)

Note: In order to access all of the viewpoints at Victoria Falls, you need to go up/down around 150 stairs one way; the path may be slick due to the waterfall's mist, too. You can still see the waterfall without climbing all of the stairs, you just won't be able to see the waterfall from all of the viewpoints.

 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: Transfer into Livingstone for a guided excursion of Livingstone town and its colorful produce market, as well as its crafts market. Livingstone is a classic old colonial town of former Northern Rhodesia. You visit the Livingstone Museum, known for its archaeological and ethnographic displays as well as artifacts that belonged to Dr. David Livingstone. Afterward, visit the famed Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is where the Zambezi River opens out into an extravaganza of roaring, spray-tumbled water, known to the locals as “Mosi oa Tunya” (the smoke that thunders). Few sights are as awe-inspiring as this when the ground rumbles with the forces of the water. You view the Falls this morning from the Zambian side. Finish the morning with a visit to the local crafts market.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure, with a variety of local activities to choose from.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
Accommodations: Thorntree River Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Transfer to Botswana/Chobe Game Drive
(Wednesday, January 23)
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: This morning you are transferred by vehicle and boat across the Kazangula Border to Botswana and on to your lodge.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: During tea, your group leader gives you an overview of Botswana's history, culture, wildlife, etc. This afternoon you take a game drive in Chobe National Park. Game drives here are taken in open-air safari vehicles in the early morning and late afternoons, moving through the plains searching for predators and other game. Chobe National Park remains one of Africa's prime game-viewing areas. Here one finds all of the "Big Five," except for rhino. This is elephant country, home to the largest population of elephants in the world - many of these great grey giants can be seen at this time of year. (Note that seasonality makes a big difference in how much game you will see. If it's dry you will see larger herds; if it has recently rained the animals will be more dispersed.) The park forms part of Botswana's northern-most border and is a contrast of desert aridity and flood plains. The Chobe region is best known for its vast magnificent river and floodplains filled with grazing herds of big game. Buffalo, sable, lion, leopard, hippo, hyena, and many species of antelope find safety in this huge national park. Chobe is one of Africa's most pristine ecosystems and greatest wildlife refuges.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
Accommodations: Chobe Safari Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Chobe River Safari Cruise/Lion Social Structure and Behavior
(Thursday, January 24)
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: Depart in 4x4 game-viewing vehicles for a game drive in the park. Afterward, return to the lodge for a chance to freshen up before your group leader gives a lecture on lion social structure and behavior.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: Depart on your private, full-afternoon game viewing cruise. This afternoon you explore the Chobe River by motorboat where you may come face to face with the elephant, buffalo and other wildlife that gather on the banks of the river to drink and bathe. Immerse yourself in the unique environment viewing numerous birds including sacred ibis, blue heron, goliath heron, saddle-billed storks, marabou storks and little egrets. The longer excursion allows you to drive deeper into the park, exploring new areas and seeking out larger herds of animals.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
Accommodations: Chobe Safari Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Game Drive/Elephants
(Friday, January 25)
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: Game drive in search of wildlife that may have eluded you so far.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: Enjoy afternoon tea while your group leader gives a lecture on elephant anatomy, behavior and social structure, as well as elephant overpopulation and its effects on environmental degradation (including possible solutions). After tea, embark on a game viewing cruise on the Chobe River.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
Accommodations: Chobe Safari Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Transfer to Hwange National Park/Overview of Zimbabwe
(Saturday, January 26)
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: You are transferred across the border into Zimbabwe and south to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s premier safari destination. Hwange is legendary for its wonderful array of wildlife, particularly the massive herds of elephant and buffalo. In the summer months, large antelope herds migrate onto the plains, closely followed by large predators. There are a number of shallow pans spread throughout the park, around which wildlife congregates, making for excellent and reliable game viewing. Elephant, Cape buffalo, rhino, sable, roan, southern giraffe, blue wildebeest, impala and sometimes even gemsbok (oryx) can be seen here. This park is one of the best for predators - lion, leopard, wild dog and cheetah are regularly sighted, along with the smaller African wildcat, serval, honey badger, civet and spotted hyena. Bird life in the area is also prolific, with more than 400 species found; the birdlife is incredibly varied, with species that frequent teak woodlands as well as those more typical of the drier Kalahari being present.
 Lunch: In camp.
 Afternoon: Your group leader gives an overview of Zimbabwe’s history, culture, wildlife, etc. before the group departs on a late afternoon game drive in the park.
 Dinner: In camp.
 Evening: A night game drive is offered in search of the nocturnal species active in the area.
Accommodations: Ivory Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Safari in Hwange/Importance of Termites
(Sunday, January 27)
 Breakfast: Light breakfast in camp.
 Morning: An early morning guided bush walk is available for those interested, where you may encounter wildlife but you also explore the little surprises in the bush. Embark on a morning game drive in search of the varied wildlife in the area. Arrive back in camp for a hearty brunch followed by the heat of the day at leisure. The camp’s viewing “blind” provides a great place to safely observe animals coming to drink from the waterhole in the heat of the day.
 Brunch: In camp.
 Afternoon: During tea, you discuss termites and their effect on the environment, followed by a late afternoon game drive.
 Dinner: In camp.
 Evening: A night game drive is offered in search of the nocturnal species active in the area.
Accommodations: Ivory Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner

Day 12: Victoria Falls/Local Village
(Monday, January 28)

Note: In order to see all viewpoints at the Falls, approximate length of walk is two miles. It is possible to walk less and see some, but not all, viewpoints. Paths may be slick from mist, but are mostly flat.

 Breakfast: At camp.
 Morning: You are transferred from Hwange to the town of Victoria Falls.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Following lunch, a noted local historian discusses the story of Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone, who first visited Victoria Falls over 150 years ago, and whose journeys laid the ground work for the Colonial era that followed. Following the lecture, a short vehicle transfer takes you to the magnificent Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Here you see how through the millennia the forces of nature have created this marvelous spectacle, Africa’s greatest waterfall. You view the Falls today from the Zimbabwe side. Afterward, visit Mpisi’ Village, a nearby traditional village. While at the village, you meet the headman, Mr. Mpisi (mpisi means “hyena” in the local language), a highly respected chief and traditional healer as well as an authority on the history of his people, the Matabele. He discusses with you the fascinating history of this proud nation from their origins in Zululand, South Africa to present day Zimbabwe. This fascinating story is related in the setting of Mr. Mpisi’s traditional home; after the discussion you may explore this setting that has remained largely unchanged for generations.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Elephant Back Safari/Departure (start of post-program Cape Town extension #13597)
(Tuesday, January 29)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: You transfer to a nearby location to ride atop elephants. The trail leads through the pristine bush and valley of the Masuwe River, which is home to numerous species of wildlife; here it is possible to see elephant, kudu, buffalo, impala and leopard. There is also excellent birding with over 50 species to be sighted. Each elephant is under the charge of a handler. After the elephant back safari, you are driven back to the hotel and have time to freshen up and pack. You are transferred in the late morning to the Victoria Falls airport, where you board a commercial flight to Johannesburg.
 Lunch: In flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive Johannesburg where you connect to your international return flight or the start of optional post-program extension #13597, "Cape Town Extension."
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Arrive Home
(Wednesday, January 30)
 Morning: Early morning arrival back in the USA and Canada.

Free Time Opportunities
  Livingstone (Zambezi River) Adrenalin activities
The Victoria Falls area is known as an adventure capital, and there are plenty of adrenalin activities offered in the area! Activities include bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls bridge, a gorge swing which swings you out across the Batoka Gorge, abseiling into the Batoka Gorge, and the "flying fox" cable slide which is a zip line across the gorge. For additional information, visit
  Cultural Tours
Cultural Village Tour (Makuni Village): Chief Makuni invites visitors to his village, home to the Leya people. This is a unique opportunity to see how the local people live in a working village, not one built for tourists. Approximately 6000 people live here and a visit is a fascinating insight into their life style. A member of the village shows visitors around and they can see how traditional huts are built and decorated, take a look inside, meet the residents and see the locals at work. Jewish Heritage Tour: In this fascinating walking tour learn about the history of the Jewish community in Zambia, including particular families who were instrumental in the development of the Livingstone town as well as more current civic contributions from Jews in Zambia. For additional information, visit
Your fishing guide on the Upper Zambezi River is also an expert on birding and wildlife, a profusion of which you will see during your excursion. There are no real seasonal variation and fish are caught year round. The very best time for Tiger Fish is during the hot months between August and March when the fish are more active. Generally, a catch and release policy is adopted for all fish caught, although local taxidermy plus package and freight services are available for trophy specimens. For additional information, visit
  Flights over Victoria Falls
Experience a bird’s eye view of the Victoria Falls on a thrilling flight over the Falls and the Zambezi River in a helicopter or Microlight aircraft. The helicopter is designed so all passengers have a good view. The Microlight has an open cockpit for the ultimate ride with the wind in your face. Fifteen-minute flights also go downstream over the Batoka Gorge and upstream over the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, an opportunity to see game in the park below. For additional information, visit
  Water-based activities
There are many different water-based activities offered in the Livingstone area. You can go white water rafting on the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls, and thrill at some of the largest commercially-rafted rapids in the world! Other activities include a relaxing sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi, a raft float or canoe excursion, or jet boating near the base of the Falls. For additional information, visit
  Zambezi Elephant Trail
The walk begins as the elephants head into the bush to naturally browse. Guests follow along and observe as these majestic animals feed, play, socialize and sometimes swim. The elephants wander through riverine bush and the banks of the Zambezi River. There is one guide per elephant to discuss all aspects of the African elephant as well as the bush. Time spent walking with the elephants is approximately 30 minutes. At the end of the walk, guests will have a chance to interact with the elephants. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Adventuring in Southern Afica

Author: Allen Bechky

Description: This comprehensive guide to game parks throughout Southern Africa includes an overview of the region, tips on watching wildlife and good descriptive information on each park or nature reserve.

The Safari Companion

Author: Richard Estes

Description: An encyclopedic guide to the behavior of Africa’s mammals by a noted scientist.

Southern Africa Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide

Author: Mike Unwin

Description: A popular, photographic guide to the mammals, birds, reptiles and habitats south of the Zambezi. With 300 color photographs and illuminating text.

Cry of the Kalahari

Author: Mark Owens, Delia Owens

Description: A thoroughly readable version of Born Free, set in Botswana (and just as weepy about the animals). This is the book that got the Owens family thrown out of Botswana, in part because of their opposition to fencing the land.

Okavango, Africa’s Last Eden

Author: Franz Lanting

Description: In this handsome volume, master wildlife photographer Franz Lanting captures the wildlife and habitats of the Okavango

Lonely Planet Botswana

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: A comprehensive, practical guide in Lonely Planet’s hallmark style with 16 detailed maps and a separate chapter on Victoria Falls.

Cape Town, A Lonely Planet City Guide

Author: John A. Murray

Description: A practical guide to the city and surroundings, featuring suggested walks, excursions and attractions. This surprisingly complete book also includes color photographs and a map.

Bradt Guide to Zambia

Author: Chris McIntyre

Description: A detailed overview of Zambia, its history, culture, attractions and natural history with color photos, maps and travel information.

Exploration of Africa, From Cairo to the Cape

Author: Ann Hugon

Description: This jewel of a book chronicles 19th century exploration of Africa with hundreds of contemporary paintings and prints, brief chapters on the expeditions and a very useful chronology.

The Scramble for Africa

Author: Thomas Pakenham

Description: A well-written, meticulously researched history of the Victorian land grab in Africa. The book includes especially good portraits of the egomaniacal personalities who overran the continent.

Silent Thunder, In the Presence of Elephants

Author: Katy Payne

Description: In this memoir, Katy Payne relates stories of research, discovery and conservation in Africa. An acoustic biologist, Payne has worked on communication among elephant populations at Amboseli National Park, Etosha and Sengwa.

The Ukimwi Road, From Kenya to Zimbabwe

Author: Dervla Murphy

Description: An Irish grandmother and award-winning travel writer, Murphy journeys from Kenya to Zimbabwe, including a sojourn in Zambia.

The Myth of Wild Africa

Author: Jonathan Adams, Thomas McShane

Description: A no-holds-barred attack on old-style conservation in Africa, provocative and dead-on. The authors explore the fallacy of an untouched continent where animals roam freely in sanctuaries.

The Eye of the Elephant

Author: Mark Owens, Delia Owens

Description: Mark and Delia Owens, having set up camp in the Luangwa River Valley in northern Zambia among the elephants, are drawn into an ugly struggle with the local people.

North of South, An African Journey

Author: Shiva Naipaul

Description: This is a great book – engaging and unafraid of controversy. It’s a sharp portrait of contemporary East Africa, as well as Zambia, sensitive to issues black, white and brown.

Long Walk to Freedom

Author: Nelson Mandela

Description: An unpretentious tale of an extraordinary life. Mandela recounts the circumstances of his imprisonment and ultimately his successful drive to end Apartheid.

Lost World of the Kalahari

Author: Laurens van der Post

Description: Originally published in 1958, this poetic book is the story of a quest to find the San people in the desert. It has become a classic romanticized tale of an encounter between a literate European and a “noble savage.”

The Harmless People

Author: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Description: A classic study of the Bushmen of the Kalahari. It’s an account of the author’s fieldwork, strong on the character of the people.

The Collector of Treasures

Author: Bessie Head

Description: Bessie Head produced a number of beautifully drawn novels and stories before her death in 1986. In this collection, she writes eloquently of village life in Botswana.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Author: Alexander McCall Smith

Description: McCall Smith’s detective, Mma Ramotswe, makes her debut. A pleasure in every respect, this novel – not really a mystery – evokes the cultures, customs and diverse landscapes of Botswana.

Running Wild

Author: John McNutt

Description: An authoritative, illustrated account of the behavior, ecology and conservation of wild dogs. Author John mcnutt is a founder of the Botswana Wild Dog Research Project.

Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa

Author: Kenneth Newman

Description: This classic field guide features hundreds of color plates, a comprehensive checklist – and information on habitat and distribution.

Southern, Central, and East African Mammals

Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart

Description: A compact guide to 152 mammals.

The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals

Author: Jonathan Kingdon

Description: The most complete African mammal guide available.

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