African Safari: A Close-up on Wildlife

Take the adventure of a lifetime as you explore parks and reserves on a southern Africa safari, spotting some of the world’s most iconic animals and learning about conservation efforts.
Rating (5)
Program No. 13938RJ
15 days
Starts at
Flights start at

At a Glance

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.

Extend Your Adventure

This program offers an optional program extension.

Extension: The Best of Cape Town

Gain a deeper understanding of South Africa as you explore Cape Town with experts, learning about apartheid, exploring historic sites and enjoying local wine and cuisine.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to two miles at a time; some stairs and slick paths. Open-air safari vehicles require stamina, stability for long rides, getting in and out.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Explore national parks and a private reserve in search of iconic wildlife.
  • Search for the majestic Presidential elephant herd in Hwange.
  • See Victoria Falls, discover nearby crafts markets and interact with local artisans.

General Notes

Please refer to the "Getting There" section on the Road Scholar website or contact the provider if you plan on booking your own flights for correct arrival and departure dates. Following select departures, you can extend your program with "Extension: The Best of Cape Town (#13597)". Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available. The summer months of November-March are considered the green season in southern Africa; quick rain showers in the afternoon are common, and game viewing may be more difficult due to the lush vegetation and more plentiful water, which causes the wildlife to be more dispersed. Seasonal advantages this time of year: the vegetation is beautiful and green; the flowering plants are in bloom; many animals give birth at this time of year; and there are more bird species in the area due to migratory birds.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Sam Mushandu
Sam was born in a small village in southeast Zimbabwe. Growing up in the village gave him an appreciation for nature, particularly during holidays when he would herd his family’s cattle in the bush. Sam attended Bulawayo Commercial College and is an award-winning safari educator. He has lead learning safaris throughout southern Africa, including top destinations like Hwange and Kafue National Parks. Sam lives with his wife and family in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and enjoys history and fishing. (Be prepared to hear some fishing stories!)

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Mark Geraghty
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Victoria Falls Heritage Tours, David Livingstone Presentation
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Lisa Reed
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Chris Chiparaushe
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Helen Malisan
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Honest Siyawareva
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Keith Chisnall
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Sisa Moyo
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Sam Mushandu
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
North of South, An African Journey
by Shiva Naipaul
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.
The Ukimwi Road, From Kenya to Zimbabwe
by Dervla Murphy
An Irish grandmother and award-winning travel writer, Murphy journeys from Kenya to Zimbabwe, including a sojourn in Zambia.
Okavango, Africa’s Last Eden
by Franz Lanting
In this handsome volume, master wildlife photographer Franz Lanting captures the wildlife and habitats of the Okavango
Cape Town, A Lonely Planet City Guide
by John A. Murray
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.
Adventuring in Southern Africa
by Allen Bechky
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.
Southern Africa Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide
by Mike Unwin
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
by Mark Owens, Delia Owens
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.
The Safari Companion
by Richard Estes
An encyclopedic guide to the behavior of Africa’s mammals by a noted scientist.
Lonely Planet Botswana
by Lonely Planet
A comprehensive, practical guide in Lonely Planet’s hallmark style with 16 detailed maps and a separate chapter on Victoria Falls.
Silent Thunder, In the Presence of Elephants
by Katy Payne
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 Myth of Wild Africa
by Jonathan Adams, Thomas McShane
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.
Bradt Guide to Zambia
by Chris McIntyre
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
by Ann Hugon
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
by Thomas Pakenham
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 Eye of the Elephant
by Mark Owens, Delia Owens
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.

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