Road Scholar : Home
Southern Africa Safari and Train Adventure: From Cape Town to Victoria Falls

Program Number: 21423RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/26/2015 - 3/13/2015; 8/20/2015 - 9/4/2015; 9/17/2015 - 10/2/2015;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: South Africa/Zimbabwe/Botswana
Price starting at: $8,230.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks
Meals: 36; 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Explore Southern Africa in the romantic style of the past on this safari-and-train adventure. Start your journey by experiencing Cape Town's complex history and dramatic natural beauty. Then board Rovos Rail for an evocative train trek to Victoria Falls, making stops along the way to search for magnificent wildlife. In Zimbabwe, witness elephants and Cape buffalo quenching their thirst from the Zambezi River and follow in the footsteps of Dr. Livingstone to marvel at Victoria Falls.




Highlights

• Journey from Cape Town to Victoria Falls on Rovos Rail, a luxurious private train recalling the romance of Victorian era railroad travel.
• Encounter African wildlife during boat excursions on the Zambezi River and safari game drives in national parks and on a private reserve.
• Explore Robben Island, where political prisoners like Nelson Mandela were held during Apartheid, in the company of a former inmate.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on uneven terrain. Game drives in open-air safari vehicles can be bumpy and dusty; stamina and flexibility are required.



Due to the special nature of the program, we regret that we are unable to match solo participants with roommates.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Cape Town (South Africa), 3 nights; board Rovos Rail, 2 nights; detrain in Pretoria, 1 night; board Rovos Rail, 3 nights; detrain in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), 1 night; coach to Upper Zambezi River, 3 nights; fly Victoria Falls to Johannesburg for departure.



Overnight flight from U.S.
1 night
Arrival Cape Town (South Africa)
3 nights

Ride the ferry to Robben Island, where political prisoners including Nelson Mandela were held during Apartheid, and meet a former inmate. Journey into the lovely Cape Winelands to visit a vineyard and admire Cape Dutch architecture. Take a cable car to the top of iconic Table Mountain to absorb splendid views then continue to the dramatic Cape of Good Hope. Encounter the colony of African Penguins that calls Boulders Beach home.



Board Rovos Rail
2 nights
Detrain in Pretoria 1 night
Board Rovos Rail 3 nights
Detrain in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
1 night

Board the Rovos Rail train for an unforgettable journey to Victoria Falls. View spectacular environments from the arid Great Karoo to the soaring mountains of South Africa through huge picture windows; take part in expert presentations on topics like the colonial era and Apartheid; and enjoy outstanding cuisine including customary high tea. Off-train field trips bring you to Kimberley, the historic diamond mining boomtown; Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital; and Hwange National Park, one of the best places in Africa to spot big cats. In Zimbabwe, marvel at Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from various viewpoints and learn the story of the explorer David Livingstone.



Coach to Upper Zambezi River
3 nights
Fly Victoria Falls to Johannesburg for departure
Overnight flight to U.S.
1 night

Drive to a safari lodge on a private 5,000-acre reserve beside the mighty Zambezi River. Explore the reserve during game drives and boat excursions on the Zambezi, searching for the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo) and more. Cross the nearby border into Botswana for a field trip to Chobe National Park, noted for its thriving elephant population.




Accommodations
Luxurious suites with private baths on train. Cape Town: Stylish boutique hotel in historic building. Pretoria: Hotel near train station. Victoria Falls: Riverfront lodge with lovely gardens. Upper Zambezi River: Small, charming safari lodge on private reserve.

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

The natural and cultural wonders of Africa are the inspiration for Andrew Schofield’s work as a national group leader. As an ecologist, Andrew has had the privilege of lecturing to conservation students from all over the world. He has created wildlife reserves in areas that have not had game on them for hundreds of years, has collected and translocated species like elephant, rhino, cheetah and lion, and successfully habituated them to the new reserves. Andrew was the first person in the world to release white lions back into the wild. This was a long and intense project, with the result that there are now free-roaming white lions in Africa due to his and his team’s perseverance. These conservation projects have culminated in a book, "White Lion Back to the Wild," which tells the story of how the animals were returned to their natural habitat and how game reserves are created. He has also done extensive research on the rock art of Southern Africa, which has resulted in a documentary film.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   The Three Boutique Hotel
  Cape Town, South Africa 3 nights
   Rovos Rail
  Rovos Rail, South Africa 2 nights
   Court Classique
  Pretoria, South Africa 1 night
   Rovos Rail
  Rovos Rail, South Africa 3 nights
   A'Zambezi River Lodge
  Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 1 night
   Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
  Upper Zambezi River, Zimbabwe 3 nights
 The Three Boutique Hotel
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of the city, the Three Boutique Hotel’s central location provides easy access to all of Cape Town’s attractions. The hotel is housed in a 275-year old national monument, and new renovations have brought a modern touch to the historic building. Ideally sized with only 15 rooms, the hotel provides personalized service in a trendy part of Cape Town. The hotel’s lovely rooftop sundeck offers unsurpassed, panoramic views of Table Mountain and the city, while the swimming pool and surrounding patio provide a great location to soak in the sun.
  Contact info: 3 Flower Street
Cape Town,  8001 South Africa
phone: +27 (0)83 672 5363
web: www.thethree.co.za
  Room amenities: Each modern and comfortable room boasts king size beds (that can be converted into two twin beds), en-suite bathroom facilities with showers, air conditioning and heating, free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, hairdryer, tea/coffee facilities, writing desk and bathrobes. Rooms also have universal electrical outlets that accept US plugs, and electronic safes.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a breakfast dining area complete with coffee and full bar (operated on an honesty basis), rooftop deck with stunning 360 degree views, swimming pool and patio, and is within easy walking distance to several local restaurants. There is free Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Contact Program Provider Contact Explore, Inc at 888-596-6377 for pricing and more information.

 Rovos Rail
Type: Train
  Description: Rovos Rail hosts a maximum of 72 passengers in the most spacious and luxurious train suites in the world. It is elegantly furnished in period decor that gives a wonderful sense of grandeur throughout. Both the Pullman Suites and the Deluxe Suites offer passengers the opportunity to travel in privacy, comfort and luxury. All rooms are equipped with a writing surface and a personal safe for valuables. There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.
  Contact info: Cape Town to Victoria Falls. Train
South Africa,   South Africa
phone: +27 (0)12 315 8242
web: www.rovos.com
  Room amenities: The Deluxe Suites measure 118 sq feet and can accommodate two passengers in either twin or double beds. The Deluxe Suites all have a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower and hair dryers. The wood-paneled, rebuilt sleeper coaches have been remodeled and refurbished to mint condition and offer every modern convenience and comfort. The en-suite bathrooms offer original fittings combined with the modern conveniences of hot showers and hairdryers. The spacious suites offer passengers the opportunity to travel in privacy, comfort and luxury. The Pullman Suites are equipped with a comfortable sofa-seat during the day with a conversion to double or twin beds for the evening, and also have an en-suite bathroom with shower and hair dryers. At 76 sq feet they are considerably smaller than the Deluxe Suites. We advise all participants to consider upgrading to a Deluxe Suite if concerned about space. Each suite has an individual air-conditioner with its own temperature controls. Windows open allowing for fresh air if desired. Beds are fitted with electric under blankets should temperatures be chilly. Each suite has an electric safe for valuables.
  Facility amenities: General make-up of the train: locomotive, generator car, staff car, guest sleepers, a non-smoking lounge car (26 guest capacity), two non-smoking 42-seat dining cars (if required, plenty of space for the maximum of 72 guests carried), kitchen car, guest sleepers, smoking lounge and Observation Car (32 guests) at the tail. There is an internal telephone system on board; numbers are listed on the guest list. Meals are served in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines. An enthusiastic team of chefs is responsible for overseeing the very important task of ensuring guests’ every need is catered for. There’s an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes such as game are a specialty. Limited laundry service is available; turnaround time is normally 48 hours. In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. The use of mobile phones, laptops and essentially anything that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of the suites only; the reception is poor while the train is moving. There is a small gift shop on the train and at Capital Park Station. Due to the varying exchange rates, credit cards are preferred. The host/ess on duty has a basic First Aid Kit and personal essentials (toothbrushes, razors, earplugs etc.). Stamps are available for sale and postcards may be posted in the post box at the entrance to the Observation Car onboard or at Capital Park Station. For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for the gentlemen a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits. Please include warm clothing for cold mornings and evenings. There are board games, playing cards, a card table (dependent), books and magazines available for your use in the Lounge and Observation Cars whilst on board the train.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Court Classique
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Court Classique is centrally located in the up market diplomatic suburb of Arcadia, Pretoria. Each of the 58 boutique-style suites features a kitchenette, lounge, dining area, writing desk and full en-suite bathroom. The gracious style of the architecture conveys a classic air of elegance. The convenient location of this hotel offers easy access to a host of superb restaurants, shops and cultural attractions.
  Contact info: Francis Baard & Beckett Streets
Arcadia, Pretoria,   South Africa
phone: +27 (0)12 344 4420
web: www.courtclassique.co.za/index.html
  Room amenities: Each room offers a hairdryer and shaver outlet, individually controlled air conditioners, 43-inch plasma screen television and executive writing desks. All rooms at Court Classique contain en-suite bathrooms with shower & bath.
  Facility amenities: Amenities at the hotel include laundry and dry cleaning and free wireless internet throughout the property. There is also a plunge pool available only to hotel guests. Dine in the Orange restaurant and Wine Cellar located within the property.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 A'Zambezi River Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Located in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the A’Zambezi River Lodge is the only hotel in Victoria Falls with a river frontage and jetty site. The imaginative architecture, with its sweeping curve of grass thatch, blends well with the lush green lawns. A'Zambezi is the perfect retreat to relax and unwind in the quiet ambience of the African wildlife and nature, while enjoying renowned service. The majority of the rooms have balconies facing the river and swimming pool whilst the rest face the national park and the gardens.
  Contact info: 308 Parkway Drive
Victoria Falls,   Zimbabwe
phone: +263 4 757 098
web: azambeziriverlodge.com
  Room amenities: Each well appointed room has air conditioning and most have balconies facing the Zambezi River. All rooms also have satellite television and direct dial phones. Guests can also enjoy the minibar as well as coffee and tea. Each room has a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Amenities include an award-winning restaurant situated at the front of the hotel with a wrap-around deck just feet away from the Zambezi River. There are lush tropical gardens that surround the hotel. There is also a reading room where you can immerse yourself in a book, check out friends and family on the internet or catch up with the latest news stories. You can also relax under the glorious African sun, next to the stunning outdoor swimming pool where waiters will serve you the all day snack menu and an array of cocktails and drinks. The A'Zambezi River Lodge features free wifi.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge is a beautiful thatched lodge resting by the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Due to its border with the Chobe Forest Reserve, Imbabala is a regular stop for elephant herds. The lodge features a lounge, dining room, and bar area but meals are often served outside by a hospitable staff. Rooms are stone and thatch mini-lodges with breathtaking views of the Zambezi River and a watering hole where animals often congregate. During the day guests can take advantage of morning and afternoon game drives, river safaris, walking safaris, fishing safaris, and more. Imbabala has an excellent location for those exploring Southern Africa: the lodge is approximately 30 minutes to Chobe National Park (Botswana), 90 minutes to Livingstone (Zambia) Airport, and 60 minutes to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) Airport.
  Contact info: N/A
Imbabala Private Concession,   Zimbabwe
phone: +263 (0)13 44571
web: www.imbabalazambezisafarilodge.com
  Room amenities: Each free standing thatched chalet possesses a front patio looking towards the Zambezi River with a screened front entrance, opening to the bed area (beds include mosquito nets.) Behind the bed area you find a dividing wall with access to your private bathroom as well as an outside shower located at the farthest end of the chalet. All bathrooms are equipped with hair dryers. Electricity is provided in the rooms; recharging of batteries is possible.
  Facility amenities: The lodge includes a tiled swimming pool, open air lounge, bar area, dining room, and an outside dining area. Laundry service is included free of charge. Wireless is available in the common areas free of charge. Simply ask for the password from management and use on your personal device.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Evening arrivals into Cape Town International Airport. Hotel check-in starts at 2:00pm. Meet your Group Leader this evening or at breakfast on Day 3. You will be staying at The Three Boutique Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at approx 3:30pm at the Johannesburg OR Tambo airport, following the arrival of the flight from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. You will be staying at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety 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 Zimbabwe will be purchased for you at the border (included in program cost); Canadian citizens please bring US $105 extra for Zimbabwean visa as the visa is $150 and only $45 has been included. No visa needed for South Africa or Botswana. Signed liability waivers required for safari lodge and Program Provider (Explore, Inc).
  Parking availability:
no parking needed
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Cape Town
  Nearest highway: N2
  Nearest airport:  Cape Town International Airport
  Transportation to site: Arrival transfers from Cape Town International Airport to the hotel in Cape Town are provided by hired coach for participants who booked their flight through Road Scholar; transfer time is approximately 30 minutes. Typically there are only two scheduled group transfers for arrival in Cape Town, which meet the domestic flights from Johannesburg that connect from South African Air #208 from Washington, DC-Dulles, and South African Air #204 from New York-JFK.
  From End of Program
  Location:  At Home
  Transportation from site: A group transfer from Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge to the Victoria Falls airport is included for everyone. The flight from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to Johannesburg is also included for everyone 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, Inc can help with ongoing travel arrangements if needed.
Elevation Note: Pretoria is at 4100 feet; the Victoria Falls area is approx. 3300 feet

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: Departures
(Thursday, February 26)
   
 In Transit Overnight: Depart on an overnight flight to Cape Town, South Africa via Johannesburg.

Day 2: Arrive Cape Town
(Friday, February 27)
   
 Dinner: Due to late evening arrivals in Cape Town, dinner is not included this evening. For anyone arriving earlier in the day, there are a variety of local restaurants within walking distance from the hotel.
 Evening: Arrive Johannesburg from your international flight and clear customs/immigration before boarding a plane bound for Cape Town. In Cape Town, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
   
Accommodations: The Three Boutique Hotel

Day 3: Robben Island / Cape Winelands
(Saturday, February 28)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel. Orientation session and group introductions.
 Morning: You are transferred to the V&A Waterfront to board the Robben Island ferry. Robben Island, just seven miles off the Cape Town coast, was for nearly 400 years a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. During apartheid years, Robben Island became internationally known for its institutional brutality. The duty of those who ran the island and its prison was to isolate opponents of apartheid and to crush their morale. This is where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 years in prison. From the island, enjoy spectacular views of the Cape. Following the end of the tour, you are transferred out to the Cape Winelands.
 Lunch: At Bread & Wine, located on the Moreson wine estate near Franschhoek. Bread & Wine exudes an old world charm, and is a character-filled, rustic restaurant that has won numerous accolades for its honest food. The menu changes seasonally and is inspired by the variety of ingredients available locally.
 Afternoon: Spend the afternoon touring the Cape Winelands. The wine-producing region around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek is not only the most important wine growing region in South Africa, but Stellenbosch is one of the oldest, most beautiful and well-preserved towns in South Africa. The vineyards form a patchwork in the fertile valleys and seem to be overshadowed by dramatic mountains. There is an almost European atmosphere with beautiful Cape Dutch architecture seen everywhere. You partake in a wine tasting and hear a lecture on the area’s architecture, history and viniculture.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: The Three Boutique Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Table Mountain / Cape Peninsula / Boulders Beach
(Sunday, March 1)

Note: At the Cape of Good Hope, you have the option of walking up steep steps to get to the lighthouse at the very top; however, great views can be enjoyed without climbing the steps. At Boulders Beach, the coach must park in a parking lot that requires about a 15-20 minute walk to get to the entrance to Boulders; the walk is on flat, paved surfaces.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, head to Table Mountain where you take a cable car ride up the steep granite slopes (weather permitting) to see the splendid views of the city and peninsula; it is perhaps one of the most magnificent views in the southern hemisphere. Afterwards, depart toward Cape Point via the coastal route passing through Camps Bay (South Africa’s world famous beach resort), past the Twelve Apostle Range, through Hout Bay and along Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most spectacular coastal roads to be found in Africa. Arrive at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Cape Point, where the cold Benguela current and the warm Agulhas current meet, is one of the world’s most beautiful places – a stretch of rocky mountain jutting southward into the sea. Here you find a myriad of pristine beaches, sheltered bays and coves, as well as a rich array of indigenous flora. The fynbos reserve (a unique vegetation type of the Cape Floral Kingdom) is home to a variety of wildlife and bird species. Whales (dependant on season), penguins and seals may be spotted from this point. Lecture: Biodiversity of the Cape.
 Lunch: A picnic lunch is taken at a scenic spot.
 Afternoon: Stop off at Boulders Beach to view the resident African penguin colony. Nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon's Town and Cape Point, Boulders has become world famous for its thriving colony of African penguins and magnificent wind-sheltered beaches. Boulders is one of the few sites where this vulnerable bird (Spheniscus demersus) can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected environment.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant specializing in Cape Malay cuisine.
   
Accommodations: The Three Boutique Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Board the Rovos Rail / Matjiesfontein
(Monday, March 2)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the Cape Town Station where you receive a welcome and safety briefing from the Rovos Rail staff before boarding the train and settling into your suite for a 9:30am departure. Watch the beautiful scenery change from coastlines to majestic mountains and vineyards as the train travels through the Cape Winelands.
 Lunch: The lunch sitting on board the train is at 1:00pm each day, and can be taken in either of the two Victorian-era dining cars. The delicious food is complemented by an array of fine South African wines.
 Afternoon: As the train travels through the barren moonscape of the Great Karoo, your group leader gives an overview on South Africa and Apartheid. High tea is served at 4:00pm each day on board the train. In the early evening, the train pulls into Matjiesfontein for a stop of approximately one hour. Here you have a chance to explore the small, historic village on your own.
 Dinner: The dinner sitting on the train is at 7:30pm each evening, and you again have the choice of dining in either one of the dining cars.
   
Accommodations: Rovos Rail
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Bloemfontein & Cheetah Experience
(Tuesday, March 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is served between 7:00-10:00am each morning.
 Morning: In preparation for this afternoon's excursion, your group leader gives a lecture on cheetahs and the importance of genetic diversity in wildlife populations. Enjoy the ever-changing scenery of the South African countryside as the train continues its north-easterly route. All of the cars on the train have expansive windows, allowing for great viewing, and there is an observation car at the end of the train that is partially open-air.
 Lunch: On the train.
 Afternoon: In the mid-afternoon you arrive in Bloemfontein, where you embark on a city tour and a visit to the Cheetah Experience. Discover the rich history of Bloemfontein, the judicial capital of South Africa and one of the country’s three national capitals. Bloemfontein is known as the "city of roses," a sentiment inspired by the abundance of flora decorating the region. Thousands of rose bushes line the streets and a floral scent lingers in the air, immersing all who visit Bloemfontein in the beauty and peace of the natural surroundings. While in the city, you learn about the history and forming of current-day South Africa, and Bloemfontein’s role in that history, as well as viewing significant sights such as the Queens Fort, the Old Presidency, the Appeal Court, the Fourth Raadsaal (a parliamentary building), and the town hall. Afterwards, visit the Cheetah Experience, a non-profit organization committed to conserving endangered species with a special focus on the conservation and captive breeding of cheetahs. Learn about the organization's conservation efforts while having the opportunity to interact with the cheetahs they passionately care for. You also have the opportunity to view leopards, caracals, wolves, servals, meerkats and the rare blue-eyed white lion, Acinonyx. High tea is served after re-boarding the train.
 Dinner: On the train.
   
Accommodations: Rovos Rail
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Pretoria
(Wednesday, March 4)
   
 Breakfast: On the train.
 Morning: Your group leader gives a lecture on the significant colonial influences in the early development of South Africa.
 Lunch: Packed lunch provided.
 Afternoon: The train arrives at the Capital Park Station in Pretoria at 12:00pm. Upon disembarking, you are shown around the private train station. Once the bustling hub of steam locomotion in the old Transvaal, the colonial-style railway station now serves as the headquarters for Rovos Rail. The eyes of rail enthusiasts are drawn to the vast carriage and locomotive sheds, where teams of dedicated personnel keep the rolling stock in perfect order. This roofed workshop of 10,000 square meters (107,640 square feet) straddles 15 railway lines with concrete inspection pits below, and is the ultimate repair and maintenance facility for any train operation. Following the station visit, you have a chance to explore Pretoria. Although Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, lies only 36 miles north of Johannesburg, it provides a complete contrast to the City of Gold. Pretoria was founded in 1855 and named after the Voortrekker leader, Andries Pretorius. It is often referred to as the “Jacaranda City,” a nickname which derives from the thousands of trees lining the streets, their purple blossoms heralding the approach of summer each October. You visit the Voortrekker Monument, a striking memorial built to honor the early pioneers. Then, continue to Church Square in the center of the city, where the statue of Paul Kruger looks down on the passersby. The imposing Union Building, which houses the office of the State President, provides an impressive view over the city. You are able to explore the beautiful gardens here before being transferred to the Court Classique for an overnight stay.
 Dinner: On your own account to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Court Classique
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Re-board the Rovos Rail / Overview of Botswana
(Thursday, March 5)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the Capital Park Station and re-board the Rovos Rail for a 9:30am departure.
 Lunch: On the train.
 Afternoon: As the train travels through the goldfields of South Africa, heading towards Mafikeng, your group leader gives an overview of Botswana. High tea is served.
 Dinner: On the train.
 Evening: Train arrives in Mafikeng for Botswana border formalities.
   
Accommodations: Rovos Rail
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Travel through Botswana
(Friday, March 6)
   
 Breakfast: On the train.
 Morning: The train passes by Botswana's capital city of Gaborone and then meanders through the countryside heading towards the border with Zimbabwe.
 Lunch: On the train.
 Afternoon: As the train continues its journey through Botswana, your group leader gives an overview on Zimbabwe. High tea is served.
 Dinner: On the train.
 Evening: The train arrives at Plumtree for Zimbabwe border formalities.
   
Accommodations: Rovos Rail
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Hwange National Park
(Saturday, March 7)
   
 Breakfast: On the train.
 Morning: Enjoy the scenery as the train travels through the Zimbabwean countryside, passing by Bulawayo before heading north towards Hwange National Park on one of Africa's longest stretches of straight railway line, running for 114 km (71 miles). In preparation for your first safari activity, your group leader gives a lecture on elephant behavior and social structure.
 Lunch: On the train.
 Afternoon: The train travels along the eastern side of Hwange National Park; wildlife may be spotted from the train. In the mid-afternoon, an off-train field trip takes you into Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's premier safari destination, for a game drive. Hwange is legendary for its wonderful array of wildlife, particularly the massive herds of elephant and buffalo. 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, 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.
 Dinner: On the train.
   
Accommodations: Rovos Rail
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Victoria Falls / David Livingstone's Explorations
(Sunday, March 8)

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: On the train.
 Morning: The train arrives in Victoria Falls at 10:00am, at which point you disembark and are transferred to the lodge for check-in.
 Lunch: At the lodge in Victoria Falls.
 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 Zimbabwean side.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: A'Zambezi River Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Local Village Visit / Safari
(Monday, March 9)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: After breakfast transfer to Intabayengwe Village, a nearby traditional village. Here you have the chance to meet members of the community and see how they live. You help the local women prepare a traditional meal and see what role women play in the village. You also visit a local, illegal “moonshiner’s” distillation facility and learn about this underground industry. Visits to some of the homes and the local pre-school round out the visit. Afterward, transfer approximately one hour to the Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: You have a chance to settle in and enjoy the riverfront scenery before your group leader gives a lecture on lion social structure and behavior. Afterward, embark on a late afternoon game drive in the private reserve surrounding the lodge. The 5,000 acre national park concession has nearly nine miles of private Zambezi River frontage, and it borders the Chobe Forest Reserve which is renowned for its massive elephant population. Game drives here are taken in open-air safari vehicles in the early morning and late afternoons into evening, moving through the plains searching for predators and other game.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Safari Activities / Birds
(Tuesday, March 10)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: Morning game drive in the lodge's private reserve.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: Your group leader gives a lecture on the varied birdlife in the area. Following tea, you embark on a game viewing boat cruise on the Zambezi River. Here you may have the chance to spot wildlife coming to drink and bathe in the river, as well as observe the multitude of birds that gather on the river’s banks.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Chobe National Park, Botswana
(Wednesday, March 11)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: A short transfer takes you over the border into Botswana and Chobe National Park, where you head out on a game drive within the park. 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.
 Lunch: At a local lodge near Chobe National Park.
 Afternoon: After lunch, embark on a game-viewing boat cruise on the Chobe River. 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. After the cruise, you are driven back across the border to Imbabala Lodge.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Departure
(Thursday, March 12)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: You have the morning free to pack before the group is transferred to the Victoria Falls airport for the flight to Johannesburg.
 Afternoon: Board the early-afternoon commercial flight to Johannesburg. Upon arrival in Johannesburg at approximately 3:30pm, connect to international flights home.
 In Transit Overnight: All international flight choices back to North America are overnight flights.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 16: Arrivals
(Friday, March 13)
   
 Morning: Early morning arrivals back in the USA and Canada.
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


A History of South Africa


Author: Leonard Thompson


Description: A succint history of South Africa.



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.



Birds of Southern Africa: The Complete Photographic Guide


Author: Ian Sinclair


Description: This brand new photographic field guide to the birds of southern Africa presents more than 2,500 images showing a wide selection of age and sex plumage variations, perched and in-flight birds, and color morphs where relevant, making it the most comprehensive collection of bird photographs of the region ever produced in a single volume. Accompanying text focuses on identification, call, status, breeding details and diet. Also included for each species is a distribution map and a calendar bar indicating occurrence and breeding months. About the author: IAN SINCLAIR is renowned in African birding circles for his field knowledge and expertise in identifying the region's many bird species. His vast experience has been gained in expeditions to every corner of Africa, as well as to the Himalayas, Antarctica and Marion Island. He has authored or co-authored several successful bird books, including the hugely successful Field Guide to Birds of SA and the equally successful Birds of Southern Africa.



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.



Cape Winelands, A Touring Guide


Author: Theresa Morrison/Lanz von Horsten


Description: An informative, visual tour of 40 favorite wineries, all close to Cape Town. With fold-out maps, color photographs and information on restaurants.



Disgrace


Author: J.M. Coetzee


Description: Set in Cape Town and on a remote farm in the Eastern Cape, Coetzee's Booker Prize-winning novel explores the devastating realities of racial politics in post-apartheid South Africa.



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.



Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa


Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart


Description: Omitting the smaller, seldom-seen mammals, the book provides details on the larger, more common mammals. It will make an invaluable contribution to any collection of books on nature. It is made especially user-friendly with color-coding and habitat symbols, color photographs and maps.



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.



Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage


Author: Richard Stengel


Description: A firsthand account of Nelson Mandela's wisdom from Richard Stengel, a close friend of Mandela and the editor of Time magazine.



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.



Rage


Author: Wilbur A. Smith


Description: Smith mixes romance, politics, and history in this page-turner set in Apartheid-era South Africa.



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.



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 Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates


Author: Richard D. Estes


Description: The Behavior Guide to African Mammals is as different from a conventional field guide as motion pictures are from a snapshot. Whether we are able to look at them face to face, on television, or in the hundreds of illustrations provided here by Daniel Otte, this guide allows us to understand what animals do and what their behavior means. Drawing on his own extensive fieldwork and on the research of many other scientists, Richard Estes describes and explains the behavior of four major groups of mammals. Estes's remarkably informative guide is as up-to-date for the zoologist as it is accessible for the interested onlooker.



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 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.



The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals


Author: Jonathan Kingdon


Description: The most complete African mammal guide available.



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 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.



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.



Time Out Cape Town


Author: Time Out


Description: Travelers will appreciate this lively, informative guide for where to go and what to do in Cape Town.



Tomorrow is Another Country, The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change


Author: Allister Sparks


Description: Essential to understanding South Africa today, this comprehensive account shows the extraordinary developments that led to multiracial democracy in South Africa.





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