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Extension: Victoria Falls and Chobe

Program Number: 19499RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/5/2013 - 2/10/2013; 2/25/2015 - 3/2/2015; 3/25/2015 - 3/30/2015; 9/2/2015 - 9/7/2015; 10/7/2015 - 10/12/2015; 11/4/2015 - 11/9/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Botswana/Zimbabwe
Price starting at: $2,324.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History
Meals: 10; 4 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Explore awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, one of the true wonders of the world. A noted local historian teaches you about David Livingstone’s “discovery” of the falls and the geological forces that shaped them. In Botswana’s renowned Chobe National Park, a game drive and boat excursion allow you to discover a unique ecosystem and the diverse wildlife that inhabits it. A visit to a local village introduces the traditional way of life in the area.




Highlights

• Feel the power of the magnificent Victoria Falls, known as one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World.”
• Explore Botswana’s Chobe National Park and encounter some of its abundant wildlife.
• Visit a local village and learn about its compelling history.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day. Potentially slick paths at Victoria Falls' various viewpoints. Game drive in open-air safari vehicle over bumpy, dusty terrain; getting in and out of vehicle requires stability and flexibility.



This program may only be taken as an extension to Program #19398, South Africa Wildlife Safari and the Garden Route.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Johannesburg (South Africa), 1 night; flight to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), 3 nights; flight to Johannesburg, departure.



Johannesburg (South Africa)
1 night
Flight to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
3 nights
Flight to Johannesburg
Overnight flight to the U.S.A.
1 night

Learn about David Livingstone’s discovery of Victoria Falls from a noted local historian, then visit the falls and absorb its stunning beauty. On a full-day field trip to Botswana’s renowned Chobe National Park, view huge herds of elephant, lion, leopard, giraffe, Cape buffalo, numerous species of antelope and plentiful birdlife on a game drive and boat excursion on the Chobe River. During a local village visit, learn about the traditional way of life in the area.




Accommodations
Johannesburg: Charming guest lodge. Victoria Falls: Thatched-roof lodge overlooking the Zambezi River.

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

Russell Gammon traces his ancestry in Zimbabwe back three generations. A professional guide the last 17 years, he has led canoeing and walking safaris throughout southern Africa. Since moving to Victoria Falls five years ago, he developed his talent as a raconteur and is now recognized as a Master Story Teller who shares his tales with great passion and enthusiasm. He has made a detailed study of the life of David Livingstone, who is a distant relative by marriage.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
  Johannesburg, South Africa 1 night
   Victoria Falls Hotel
  Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 3 nights
 Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Courtyard Hotel, a beautifully appointed, full-service 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: Zulberg Close, off Ernest Oppenheimer Road,
Bruma Lake
Johannesburg,  2100 South Africa
phone: +011-27-11-622-8436
web: www.citylodge.co.za/cy2.htm
  Room amenities: Large rooms include full bathrooms, seating/office area, patios overlooking the lake as well as coffee/tea making facilities, telephone, radio, hair dryer, TV, AC/heat, safe, refrigerator and a clothes iron/board on request.
  Facility amenities: Fluent English-speaking staff Internet service Porterage service Lounge Gym vouchers (nominal fee) available for nearby Virgin Active Gym Golf course is in Kensington (about 10km) called the Kensington or Royal Johannesburg Car rentals can be organized by our reception staff. Pool (unheated) Telephones in bedrooms Concierge Wake up calls Restaurant Bar Laundry service Room service US currency exchange
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Call EXPLORE for current rates Contact EXPLORE, Inc. for reservations- 1-888-596-6377
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 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
web: www.victoriafallshotel.com/
  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 begins at 3:30pm at the Johannesburg airport, following the end of the main South Africa #19398 program. You will be staying at Courtyard Hotel Eastgate that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 3:30pm at the Johannesburg airport, following the flight arrival from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. You will be staying at Victoria Falls Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. U.S. passports need a minimum of 4 blank visa pages total for both the 19398 and 19499 programs (NOTE: blank pages must be visa pages, not amendment/endorsement pages at the back of the passport); Canadian citizens need a minimum of 6 blank visa pages total for both programs. US and Canadian citizens do not need visas for South Africa or Botswana. A visa for Zimbabwe is required and can be obtained at the border during the program. Signed liability waiver for Explore, Inc. is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: N/A
To Start of Program
  Location:  Johannesburg
  Nearest city or town:  Johannesburg
  Nearest highway: R21
  Nearest airport:  Johannesburg International Airport
  Transportation to site: Minivan transport from airport to hotel provided; entire extension group is transferred together as everyone arrives on the same flight at the end of program #19398.
  From End of Program
  Location:  At Home
  Transportation from site: Entire extension group is transferred together in minivans to the Victoria Falls Airport; the flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg is also included in the extension program cost. Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you connect to your international flight home; no further ground transfers are needed unless ongoing travel is planned.
Elevation Note: Johannesburg is at 5,575 feet; Victoria Falls is around 3,300 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: End of Main Program #19398/ Overview of Zimbabwe
(Tuesday, February 5)
   
 Afternoon: Fly from Hoedspruit, South Africa to Johannesburg at the end of main program #19398, South Africa Wildlife Safari and the Garden Route. Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you are met and transferred to the Courtyard Hotel for an overnight stay. Enjoy the complimentary beverages and snacks during happy hour in the main lounge of the hotel. As a precursor to tomorrow, your group leader gives an overview on Zimbabwe’s history, cultures, wildlife, etc.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Courtyard Hotel Eastgate
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Fly to Victoria Falls/ Local Village Visit
(Wednesday, February 6)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast you are transferred back to the Johannesburg airport to board your commercial flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
 Lunch: On board the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive Victoria Falls where you clear Customs and are met and transferred approximately 30 minutes to the Victoria Falls Hotel. After settling into your room, you transfer to Mpisi Village, a nearby traditional village. Here 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. Mr. Mpisi 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: At one of the hotel's restaurants.
   
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Chobe National Park
(Thursday, February 7)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning you are transferred across the border to Chobe National Park, Botswana for a full-day excursion. After crossing the Botswana border, you are taken directly to the river to board your motorboat for a game-viewing cruise on the Chobe River. Immerse yourself in the unique environment viewing numerous birds including sacred ibis, blue heron, goliath heron, saddle-billed storks, marabou storks and little egrets; plentiful wildlife is also visible as they come to drink from the river. Your group leader gives a lecture on the immense birdlife in the area. Tea/coffee and light snacks are served on the boat.
 Lunch: At one of the local lodges, located on the banks of the Chobe River.
 Afternoon: Following lunch, you take a game drive in open-air, 4x4 vehicles within Chobe National Park, 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. This is one of Africa’s most pristine ecosystems and greatest wildlife refuges. Once the game drive is done, you are transferred back across the border into Zimbabwe and driven back to your hotel.
 Dinner: At one of the hotel's restaurants.
   
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Free Time/ Victoria Falls and Dr. David Livingstone
(Friday, February 8)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning you have free time to explore Victoria Falls on your own or participate in one of the many optional activities offered in the area.
 Lunch: On your own account to explore local fare.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, you hear a presentation on David Livingstone's "discovery" of the Falls by a noted local historian, given over tea at the hotel. Afterward, he leads you on a walk to the magnificent Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. 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.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Departure
(Saturday, February 9)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, you have time to pack before you are transferred to the Victoria Falls airport to board your commercial flight to Johannesburg.
 Afternoon: Arrive Johannesburg where you connect to your international flight home or ongoing travel.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Arrive Home
(Sunday, February 10)
   
 Morning: Early morning arrivals back in the U.S.

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Victoria Falls Bungee Jumping
Bungee jumping off of the Victoria Falls Bridge. If you are interested, please contact the Program Provider for more information and advance booking help. Bookings can be made on site, too. For additional information, visit www.wildhorizons.co.za/moreactivitiesZIM/#bungi
  Elephant Back Safari
Ride atop elephants on a unique safari through Victoria Falls National Park. 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. If you are interested, please contact the Program Provider for more information and advance booking help. Advanced booking is recommended as space is limited. For additional information, visit www.wildhorizons.co.za/elephants/
  Guided Canoeing
Guided canoeing on the Zambezi River. If you are interested, please contact the Program Provider for more information and advance booking help. Bookings can be made on site, too. For additional information, visit www.wildhorizons.co.za/canoeing/
  Helicopter Flight
See Victoria Falls from a bird's eye view in a 12 or 25 minute helicopter flight. If you are interested, please contact the Program Provider for more information and advance booking help. Bookings can be made on site, too. For additional information, visit www.wildhorizons.co.za/moreactivitiesZIM/#helicopter
  Horseback Riding
Horseback riding along the Zambezi River. If you are interested, please contact the Program Provider for more information and advance booking help. Bookings can be made on site, too. For additional information, visit www.wildhorizons.co.za/moreactivitiesZIM/#horse_rides
  Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River through Batoka Gorge, downstream from the Victoria Falls. This section of river has been classified as one of the world's top-ten paddling rivers by kayak and rafting enthusiasts. Please note that the rapids are large and rafts often flip. If you are interested, please contact the Program Provider for more information and advance booking help. Bookings can be made on site, too. For additional information, visit www.wildhorizons.co.za/rafting/
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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



Southern, Central, and East African Mammals


Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart


Description: A compact guide to 152 mammals.



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 Safari Companion


Author: Richard Estes


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



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.



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.





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