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Extension: Victoria Falls and Chobe

Program Number: 19499RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/4/2015 - 2/9/2015; 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: $2,395.00 - 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.
 
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
   A'Zambezi River Lodge
  Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 3 nights
 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
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program begins at approximately 3:30pm at the Johannesburg airport, following the end of the main South Africa program #19398. You are staying at the hotel in Johannesburg this evening. You will be staying at A'Zambezi River Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at approximately 3:30pm, following the flight arrival in Johannesburg from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. You will be staying at A'Zambezi River Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. U.S. passports need a minimum of four 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 for both US and Canadians and will be obtained when you arrive at the Victoria Falls airport; US citizens need US$45 for the visa and Canadians need US$150 for the visa. Please be advised that long lines at Victoria Falls Airport can sometimes cause delays while obtaining a visa. 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
(Wednesday, March 25)
   
 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 Melrose Place Guest Lodge.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Fly to Victoria Falls/ Local Village Visit
(Thursday, March 26)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 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/immigration; please be advised that long lines at Victoria Falls airport can sometimes cause delays while obtaining a visa. You are met at the airport by your group leader and transferred approximately 15 minutes 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 to the A’Zambezi River Lodge, where you check-in and settle into your rooms before your group leader gives an overview on Zimbabwe’s history, cultures and wildlife.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: A'Zambezi River Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Chobe National Park
(Friday, March 27)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 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 for 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 one of the local lodges, located on the banks of the Chobe River.
 Afternoon: Following lunch, head out 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. Your group leader gives a lecture on the immense birdlife in the area. Once the safari boat cruise is done, you are transferred back across the border into Zimbabwe and driven back to your lodge.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
   
Accommodations: A'Zambezi River Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Free Time/ Victoria Falls and Dr. David Livingstone
(Saturday, March 28)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 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, your group leader 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 lodge.
   
Accommodations: A'Zambezi River Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Departure
(Sunday, March 29)
   
 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
(Monday, March 30)
   
 Morning: Early morning arrivals back in the U.S.

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Victoria Falls 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/
  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
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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