13938
Africa
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
Length
15 days
Starts at
5,999
Flights start at
1,325
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15 days
14 nights
33 meals
12 B 2BR 7 L 12 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Johannesburg, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Johannesburg
D
Courtyard Hotel Eastgate

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 pm

Afternoon: After clearing customs and immigration, you will be met and transferred approximately 15 minutes to Courtyard Hotel Eastgate. Check in at the hotel and relax before the welcome dinner.

Dinner: Our welcome dinner at the hotel will be a buffet featuring a starter and entrée with side dishes. A welcome drink, bottled water and coffee/tea will be provided; additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. We have set aside free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We are fortunate to have as our Group Leader a knowledgeable expert who will also serve as our primary lecturer for most of the program. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Soweto, Apartheid Museum
Johannesburg
B,L,D
Courtyard Hotel Eastgate

Breakfast: Taken at the hotel, breakfast will be an expansive buffet featuring a variety of cold cereals, fresh fruit, cold meats and cheeses, pastries and hot items such as bacon, sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms. Omelettes, eggs and waffles can be cooked on demand. Fruit juices, coffee, tea and water provided.

Morning: Our morning excursion will bring us 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 visit includes major points of interest, such as Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Baragwanath taxi rank, Freedom Square and Hector Peterson Memorial. Discussion: History of South Africa and apartheid.

Lunch: Lunch will be a buffet at a local restaurant in Soweto featuring a variety of meat and vegetable dishes, soup, salads, desserts and typical local dishes such as pap (ground and cooked mealie meal) and samp (mealie corn mixed with beans).

Afternoon: After lunch, we will transfer to the southern edge of Johannesburg to visit the award winning and internationally acclaimed Apartheid Museum; a local guide will join us here. 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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Fly to Zambia, Local Orphanage Visit
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
B,D
Thorntree River Lodge

Activity note: Flight time 1 hour 45 minutes.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we will transfer to the Johannesburg airport to board our commercial flight to Livingstone, Zambia.

Lunch: Lunch in flight.

Afternoon: After arriving in Livingstone, we will visit a nearby local orphanage. Here, we will have a chance to learn about the effects of AIDS, an unfortunate, integral part of Zambian life and culture. We will also interact with local children and foster parents. Afterward, we will transfer to our lodge and settle-in. In the late afternoon, our group leader will give us an overview of Zambia.

Dinner: Dinners at the lodge vary each night between plated a la carte choices and buffet options. There will always be a starter, main meat or vegetarian entree with assorted vegetable or starch side dishes, and a dessert.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Victoria Falls from Zambian Side, Livingstone Museum
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
Thorntree River Lodge

Activity note: In order to access all of the viewpoints at Victoria Falls, one must go up and down around 150 stairs one way; the path may be slick due to the waterfall's mist, too. It is possible to still see the waterfall without climbing all of the stairs, but only from one viewpoint.

Breakfast: Breakfasts at the lodge will be an expansive buffet consisting of many bread, cereal and fruit choices in addition to various hot English-style breakfast dishes.

Morning: We will visit the famed Victoria Falls, 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. We will view the Falls this morning from the Zambian side, with a visit to the local crafts market. After the Falls, we will transfer into Livingstone for a guided excursion of the town and its colorful produce market. Livingstone is a classic old colonial town of former Northern Rhodesia, which can still be seen in some of its architecture. We will also visit the Livingstone Museum, known for its archaeological and ethnographic displays, but most notably for its artifacts that belonged to Dr. David Livingstone. In the late morning, we will return to the lodge.

Lunch: Lunches at the lodge vary each day between plated a la carte choices and buffet options. There will always be a starter, main meat or vegetarian entree with assorted vegetable or starch side dishes, and a dessert.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure, with a variety of local activities to choose from.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Victoria Falls from Zimbabwean Side, Game Drive
Upper Zambezi River
B,L,D
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

Activity 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. Drive time between Livingstone and Victoria Falls is approximately 1 hour including border crossing. Drive time between Victoria Falls and Imbabala Lodge is 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: To start our day, we will transfer over the border into Zimbabwe, where we will see Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side. Because the waterfall spans the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is visible from both countries. However, viewing from the Zimbabwean side is preferred as more of the waterfall falls on this side. Here, our group leader will show us how, through the millennia, the forces of nature have created this marvelous spectacle, Africa’s greatest waterfall. Afterward, we will continue on to Imbabala Lodge to settle in and enjoy the riverfront scenery.

Lunch: Lunches at the lodge will consist of a small buffet with starter salad, main entree and side dish, and dessert. Vegetarian choices will be provided if known in advance.

Afternoon: Over afternoon tea, our group leader will give a lecture, "Overview of Zimbabwe." Then, we will 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. The reserve also borders the Chobe Forest Reserve, which is renowned for its massive elephant population. Game drives will be in open-air safari vehicles in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the animals are most active. Each game drive lasts for approximately three hours, with a rest break half-way through. Game drives consist of moving slowly through the reserve searching for predators and other animals.

Dinner: Dinners at the lodge will be a small buffet with starter salad, main entree and side dish, and dessert. Vegetarian choices will be provided if known in advance.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Safari Activities
Upper Zambezi River
B,L,D
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge will consist of various bread and cereal options, with fresh fruit and hot items cooked to order.

Morning: Morning game drive in the lodge’s private reserve.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: The early afternoon is at leisure. Following tea, we will enjoy a game-viewing safari by boat on the Zambezi River. Here, we 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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Chobe National Park
Upper Zambezi River
B,L,D
Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

Activity note: The transfer from Imbabala to Chobe National Park takes approximately 30-45 minutes, including the border crossing.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: A short drive this morning takes us over the border into Botswana and Chobe National Park, where we will go 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 one will see. If it’s dry, larger herds gather; 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: We will enjoy lunch at a lodge near Chobe National Park, with a beautiful view over the Chobe River, lunch will be an expansive buffet with numerous salad, main dish and dessert options.

Afternoon: During our game-viewing boat safari this afternoon, we will explore the Chobe River by motorboat, potentially coming face to face with elephant, buffalo and other wildlife that gather on the banks of the river to drink and bathe. Immersed in this unique environment, we will view numerous birds including sacred ibis, blue heron, goliath heron, saddle-billed storks, marabou storks and little egrets. After the boat cruise, we will drive back across the border to Imbabala Lodge.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Hwange National Park, Elephant Behavior
Hwange National Park
B,L,D
Ivory Lodge

Activity note: Total transfer time to Hwange National Park is 3.5 hours, done in an enclosed minibus.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: This morning, we will head 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. Shallow pans are spread throughout the park, around which wildlife congregate, 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.

Lunch: Lunches at Ivory Lodge will be small buffets with a starter, main dish with side, and dessert. Dishes often vary between brunch and lunch offerings. Vegetarian options will be provided if known in advance.

Afternoon: Before departing on a late afternoon game drive, our group leader will give a lecture on elephant social structure, behavior and culling issues.

Dinner: Dinner tonight will be a plated meal at the lodge consisting of a salad or starter, main course with side and dessert. Vegetarian options are provided if known in advance.

Evening: A short night game drive will be offered in search of the nocturnal species active in the area.

DAY
10
Game Drives, Importance of Termites
Hwange National Park
B,BR,D
Ivory Lodge

Breakfast: Coffee/tea and light breakfast items, such as cold cereal and rusks, will be served before the game drive.

Morning: On an early morning game drive, we will search for the varied wildlife in the area. Upon our arrival back in camp, a hearty brunch will await us, 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. A guided bush walk is also available for those interested, where we may encounter wildlife and explore the little surprises in the bush.

Brunch: At the lodge, brunch will be a small buffet consisting of hot and cold breakfast and lunch dishes.

Afternoon: During tea, our group leader will give a lecture on termites, followed by a late afternoon game drive.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: A short night game drive will be offered in search of the nocturnal species active in the area.

DAY
11
Game Drives, Lion Social Structure & Behavior
Hwange National Park
B,BR,D
Ivory Lodge

Breakfast: Light breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: On our morning game drive, we will search for wildlife that may have eluded us thus far. Then, we will return to camp for a hearty mid-day meal and the heat of the day at leisure. A guided bush walk is also offered this morning.

Brunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: This afternoon's tea-time lecture will focus on lion social structure and behavior. Afterwards, we will depart on our final afternoon game drive.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: A short night game drive will be offered in search of the nocturnal species active in the area.

DAY
12
Return to Victoria Falls, Free Time
Victoria Falls
B,L,D
A'Zambezi River Lodge

Activity note: Transfer time to Victoria Falls is 2.5 hours in an enclosed minibus.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will embark on our last early morning game drive of the program. In the late morning, we will transfer from Hwange to the Victoria Falls restaurant where we will enjoy lunch today.

Lunch: Taken at a local restaurant with scenic views, our lunch will be a 3-course, plated, set menu offering; bottled water is included with additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will transfer to our lodge for check-in. We will have a free afternoon at leisure with a variety of local activities to choose from.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge will consist of a buffet with starter, choice of main dishes, variety of side dishes, and desserts. Bottled water, tea and coffee will be provided with additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Local Village, Sunset Boat Ride on the Zambezi
Victoria Falls
B,D
A'Zambezi River Lodge

Breakfast: Taken at the lodge, breakfast will consist of an expansive buffet with many cereal, fruit, bread, and cold meat and cheese options, with hot items including eggs, sausage and bacon.

Morning: This morning, we will be driven to Intabayengwe Village, a nearby traditional village, where we will have the chance to meet members of the community and see how they live. Visits to some of the homes and the local pre-school will begin our morning. We will also help the local women prepare a traditional meal and see what role women play in the village. The visit will also take us to a local, illegal “moonshiner’s” distillation facility where we learn about this underground industry.

Lunch: On your own account.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will transfer to the waterfront for our private sunset boat ride on the Zambezi River. We will search for wildlife on the banks of the river as we enjoy a spectacular African sunset. Light snacks and drinks will be served on board.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Flight time is 1 hour 40 minutes.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Following breakfast, a noted local historian will discuss 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. Mid-morning, we will transfer to the Victoria Falls airport to board a commercial flight to Johannesburg.

Lunch: In flight.

Afternoon: Arrive in Johannesburg and connect to your international return flight. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

DAY
15
In Transit From Program
In Flight

Morning: Early morning arrivals in North America.