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South Africa/Zambia/Botswana

Lions, Hippos & Zebras, Oh My! Africa Safari With Your Grandchild

Program No. 14302RJ
Search for animals in their natural habitat, make friends with rescued elephants and learn to track wildlife as you explore South Africa, Botswana and Zambia with your grandchild.

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At a Glance

Picture it: Giraffes quietly grazing on leaves. Zebras basking in the warm sun. Cape buffalo staring at you with curiosity. And a wildlife expert teaching you about it all! Talk about the most amazing classroom of all time!! Alongside your grandchild, you’ll step right into the “Lion King,” as you search for big cats on safaris through protected reserves. From experts, you’ll even learn what it takes to survive in the African wild as you get up close to the largest animal that calls this place home – an elephant!
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles daily over uneven terrain. Game drives in open safari vehicles require stamina, flexibility and stability for entry and exit. Elevations up to 5,575 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Test your tracking skills both on foot and on game drives as you search for lions, rhinos, leopards and more.
  • Grab your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife during a sunset boat ride on the Zambezi River.
  • Fall in love with Victoria Falls – one of the largest waterfalls on Earth!

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 10-13 or 14-17, depending on the date. Please refer to the “Travel Information” section on the Road Scholar website, the start/end time listed in your first informational packet or contact the provider if you plan on booking your own flights for correct arrival and departure dates. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Helen Malisan
Helen Malisan’s passion for exploration began in high school when she visited Italy, her ancestral country. After completing her final year at school, she immediately joined South African Airways where she worked for 10 years. In 1993, her love for nature and South Africa inspired her to complete the necessary courses to become a wilderness excursion leader, spurring her career as a safari leader in Namibia and Zambia. Helen says her interest in people, nature and animals inspires her work.

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

Profile Image of Helen Malisan
Helen Malisan View biography
Helen Malisan’s passion for exploration began in high school when she visited Italy, her ancestral country. After completing her final year at school, she immediately joined South African Airways where she worked for 10 years. In 1993, her love for nature and South Africa inspired her to complete the necessary courses to become a wilderness excursion leader, spurring her career as a safari leader in Namibia and Zambia. Helen says her interest in people, nature and animals inspires her work.
Profile Image of Lisa Reed
Lisa Reed View biography
Lisa Reed was born in Zimbabwe, spent her school years in South Africa, and now lives in Botswana. She has worked or visited most Southern and East African safari destinations, and has managed safari camps on her own and with others since being in Botswana. Lisa has a natural affinity with adults and children, and enjoys passing on her years of experience and knowledge to the next generation. She has been leading safaris for Road Scholar for more than 15 years.
Profile Image of Keith Chisnall
Keith Chisnall View biography
A local of northern Zimbabwe, Keith Chisnall relishes in showing the bush culture to travelers from around the world. As a child, Keith learned the medicinal value of bush plants, how to track animals, tribal customs and the indigenous flora and fauna, and his knowledge has only grown since then. He’s worked as an engineer, salesman and detective, but his most meaningful work has been in leading educational adventures. After over 20 years of experience leading groups in “Big Five” territory, you can rely on Keith to explain every aspect and every detail of the wilderness!
Profile Image of Chris Chiparaushe
Chris Chiparaushe View biography
Chris Chiparaushe was born in Zimbabwe and exposed to the bush from an early age when he herded cattle with his grandfather over school holidays. He learned a lot about animals, birds and plants from his grandfather, and knew from an early age that he wanted to work in hospitality. He studied tourism management in Victoria Falls and has been a professional leader since 1998. He is especially passionate about birding and astronomy and loves teaching travelers about Southern Africa’s rich history and culture.
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You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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14 days
13 nights
33 meals
11 B 11 L 11 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Johannesburg, Check-in, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Johannesburg
D
City Lodge Hotel Eastgate

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our welcome dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Grandparent program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Minors are never to be left unsupervised. Our knowledgeable Group Leader will serve as our primary lecturer for most of the program. We will also have the benefit of local experts who will provide educational content during field trips. Transportation for program-related activities will be via van/minibus and 4x4 safari vehicles. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/current conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Lesedi Cultural Village, African Beading
Johannesburg
B,L,D
City Lodge Hotel Eastgate

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 70 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours total riding time. Walking up to 1 mile and standing during field trips; uneven pathways, slight inclines/declines.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Boarding our motorcoach, we will ride to Lesedi Cultural Village, a multi-cultural African village. Here we will be introduced to several of the local tribes of South Africa, including Xhosa, Zulu, Pedi, Basotho, and Ndebele. Upon arrival at the village, we will be offered a welcome drink, then a local expert will give us an introduction to African beading and traditional jewelry, which have played integral roles in the history of Africa and the world. We will then have an opportunity to bead our own African bracelets to wear throughout our program. Mid-morning, we will be accompanied by our local expert as we explore the grounds of Lesedi, visiting four of the five different, traditional villages: the Xhosa, with their beautiful thatched homes and red blankets; the Zulu, with their fighting sticks and cozy beehive huts; the Pedi, with their courtyards and rhythmic drums; and the conical straw hats and sturdy mountain ponies of the Basotho. We will have an opportunity to learn more about these tribes as we visit each homestead, and will even have the chance to try some local delicacies.

Lunch: At the on-site restaurant with some adventurous choices. We will also enjoy traditional song and dance performances as part of our lunch experience.

Afternoon: Our learning adventure at Lesedi will extend into the mid-afternoon, after which we will return to the hotel. Once back at the hotel, our Group Leader will give us an overview of South Africa, including its tumultuous political history.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for early morning check-out and transfer.

DAY
4
De Wildt Cheetah Centre, Bush Skills Course
Plumari Africa Game Reserve
B,L,D
African Hills Safari Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 100 miles throughout the day, approximately 2.5 hours total riding time. Walking up to a mile; pace according to group abilities, uneven ground.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check-out of the hotel, board a motorcoach, and ride to the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre. It has gained international recognition for bringing the cheetah back from the brink of extinction through its captive breeding programs. Our De Wildt field trip will be with one of the center’s enthusiastic researchers, who will provide insights into the long-term conservation of the African cheetah. We’ll also learn about efforts the center is making towards the conservation and reintroduction of other species, including wild dogs, brown hyena, antelope, and Cape vultures. Next, we’ll board an open-air 4x4 vehicle and ride into some of the large, fenced enclosures, where we will have the opportunity to view some of the cheetah and other endangered animals from the vehicle.

Lunch: At the Centre, we’ll have box lunches.

Afternoon: We will re-board our motorcoach and ride to Plumari Game Reserve to check in to the lodge. We’ll then participate in a beginner bush skills course led by a local expert. This hands-on, interactive course is designed to give a basic understanding of the African bush and the skills needed to survive there. Those who prefer not to take part are welcome to remain at the lodge and enjoy the scenery. The course is designed with safety at the forefront; at no time will we be put in dangerous situations, nor will we come into contact with dangerous animals. During our bush walk, we will learn about and experience how to navigate by day or night; survival skills such as walking techniques and use of terrain; how to interact with dangerous and/or useful animals such as snakes, insects, birds, fish, etc; how to track animals; useful plants and herbs; location and procurement of potable water and edible food; basic first aid; medical dangers such as malaria and bilharzia (schistosomiasis); communication skills needed for survival in the bush; equipment one needs in the bush; and what materials occur naturally in the bush that one can use to survive. Plumari Game Reserve sits beneath the Magaliesberg mountain range near Johannesburg, providing an awe-inspiring wilderness setting nearly 12 square miles in size. This is a pristine African bushveld with an abundance of wildlife including the Big Five — rhino, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard — as well as hippo, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, and wildebeest, to name a few. There are also more than 350 species of bird resident to this area. These are wild animals that go where and when they want; leopard especially may be hard to spot.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Game Drive, Introduction to Predators, Game Drive
Plumari Africa Game Reserve
B,L,D
African Hills Safari Lodge

Activity note: Getting in/out of open-air 4x4 vehicles; riding 3 to 4 hours at a time.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Early in the morning, we will set out on our first interpretive game drive of the program. We will move slowly through the reserve in open-air, 4x4 vehicles in search of the resident wildlife, birds, and unique flora. Each vehicle will have its own local safari expert who will provide insights into the animals and birds spotted during the drive. We’ll return to the lodge for mid-day.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: We’ll gather in the early afternoon with our Group Leader for an introduction to, and overview of, common predators found in southern Africa. We’ll then head out on another game drive in search of elephants, giraffes, zebra, buffalo, impala, and lion. We will return to the lodge at dusk with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Elephant Interaction, Animal Tracking
Plumari Africa Game Reserve
B,L,D
African Hills Safari Lodge

Activity note: Getting in/out of open-air 4x4 vehicles; riding 3 to 4 hours at a time. Walking distances and durations according to group ability; uneven dirt ground, inclines/declines.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: This morning, we will be led by a local ranger on an interactive and interpretive experience with trained elephants. We will view the elephants up close as well as touch and feed them, while the ranger tells us about elephant behavior and social structure.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Next, we will have a choice of taking either another game drive or going on a bush walk that will focus on animal tracks, plants, and insects. Both activities will be led by our expert safari rangers.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Fly to Botswana, Chobe Boat Safari
Chobe National Park
B,L,D
Mobile Tented Camp (Chobe)

Activity note: Getting in/out of a motorcoach, in/out of 4x4 safari vehicles; driving about 95 miles throughout the day, approximately 2.5 hours total riding time. Getting on/off a boat; riding about 2 hours. Flight from Johannesburg to Kasane 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will check out, board our motorcoach, and transfer to the Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, where we will take a commercial flight to Kasane, Botswana.

Lunch: In flight.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Kasane, we will clear Botswana immigration and then meet our local safari experts. We’ll take a short ride in open-air safari vehicles to the boat launch for our Chobe River safari, where we’ll explore by motorboat in the company of a local wildlife expert. We may come face to face with elephant and buffalo that gather on the banks of the river. The Chobe is one of the few rivers in the world that can flow in either direction depending on seasonal floods. We will become immersed in this unique riverine environment, viewing numerous birds such as sacred ibis, blue heron, goliath heron, saddle-billed storks, marabou storks, and little egrets. Upon conclusion of the safari, we will get back into our open-air safari vehicles and ride to the mobile tented camp, located just outside Chobe National Park. After settling into our tents, we’ll join our Group Leader for an overview of the history and culture of Botswana.

Dinner: At the camp.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Chobe National Park Safari
Chobe National Park
B,L,D
Mobile Tented Camp (Chobe)

Activity note: Getting in/out of open-air 4x4 vehicles; riding 3 to 4 hours at a time.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: We will set out early on a game drive in Chobe National Park to search for any lion or leopard kills made during the night. As we ride through the plains in our open-air safari vehicles, we’ll keep eyes out for predators and other game. Chobe National Park remains one of Africa’s prime game-viewing areas. Here are all of the “Big Five” except rhino. Rare antelope also inhabit the region. This is elephant country, home to the largest population of elephants in the world; many of these great grey giants can be seen depending on the season. Seasonality makes a big difference in how much game we will see. If it’s dry, we may 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 thousands of antelope all find safety in this huge national park. This is one of Africa’s most pristine ecosystems and greatest wildlife refuges. We’ll return to the lodge for mid-day.

Lunch: At the camp.

Afternoon: The early afternoon will be free to rest, relax, read, and spend time with new Road Scholar friends. We’ll enjoy afternoon tea, then set out on a game drive in the park with our local safari expert. We’ll search for herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, then return to camp at dusk with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the camp under the stars.

Evening: We will gather together around a campfire. If the skies are clear, our Group Leader will point out constellations of the Southern Hemisphere.

DAY
9
Game Drives, Termites
Chobe National Park
B,L,D
Mobile Tented Camp (Chobe)

Activity note: Getting in/out of open-air 4x4 vehicles; riding 3 to 4 hours at a time.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: We’ll set out on another interpretive game drive in Chobe National Park and keep track of the amazing wildlife we will see with our pocket-sized wildlife checklists. We’ll then return to camp for lunch.

Lunch: At the camp.

Afternoon: We’ll have some “down time” to rest, relax, read, and spend time with new Road Scholar friends on our final day in camp. Later, our Group Leader will give us a lecture on termites and their role in the ecosystem. Then in the late afternoon, we will take one final game drive in search of wildlife that has eluded us thus far, returning to camp at dusk.

Dinner: At the camp under the stars.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Transfer To Livingstone, Free Time
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa

Activity note: Getting in/out of open-air 4x4 vehicles and minibus; driving about 65 miles throughout the day, approximately 2.5 hours riding time including border crossing.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: We will say goodbye to our safari hosts and take open-air safari vehicles across the Kazungula Bridge that spans the Zambezi River. While crossing the bridge, we will be able to see where four countries meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We will clear Zambian immigration, then board a minibus for the remainder of the transfer to Livingstone, arriving at our lodge in time for lunch.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in the town of Livingstone. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Regathering at the lodge in the early evening, our Group Leader will give us an overview of Zambia’s history and culture.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Local School, Victoria Falls-Zambia, Sunset Boat Ride
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa

Activity note: Getting in/out of a minibus; driving about 35 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time. Getting in/out of a boat; riding approximately 2 hours. Climbing/descending approximately 150 steps each way at Falls; pathways may be slippery and wet due to waterfall’s mist.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will hop into a minibus and ride to the nearby Tongabezi Trust School — commonly known as Tujatane — where we will learn about daily life in Zambia. We’ll also have an opportunity to meet local students and teachers. Generations will have an opportunity to interact with peers, whether through conversation or games. Returning to the lodge, we’ll gather with our Group Leader for a lecture on the explorations of Dr. David Livingstone, who is credited with “discovering” Victoria Falls.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Back in our minibus, we will ride to famed Victoria Falls, recognized as one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. This 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). The waterfall spans the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is visible from both countries; we will view the falls from the Zambian side this afternoon. Few sights are as awe-inspiring as when the ground rumbles with the forces of the water. We will wander footpaths through the rainforest to various viewpoints. For those with strength and stamina, several of the viewpoints are at a climb up (and down) approximately 150 steps. Returning to the lodge, we will set out on a private sunset boat ride on the Zambezi River. We will look for game on the banks of the river as we enjoy a spectacular African sunset before returning to the lodge after dusk for dinner.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Art with Elephants, Victoria Falls-Zimbabwe
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa

Activity note: Getting in/out of a minibus; driving about 30 miles, approximately 2.5 hours riding time. Border formalities can cause travel time to be longer. Walking up to 2 miles and standing during field trips; mostly flat paths.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will set out by minibus and ride across the stunning Victoria Falls Bridge that spans the Batoka Gorge just downstream from the waterfall, crossing the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Upon arriving in Zimbabwe, we will continue by minibus to a local wildlife reserve. Here, with a view over the surrounding African bush, we will have an opportunity to learn more about the past, present and future of elephant conservation from local experts. Then, we will make our way to a nearby waterhole where the resident elephant herd awaits us. With provided canvas and paints, we will have an opportunity to create our own masterpieces during an outdoor painting workshop, facilitated by local experts.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Victoria Falls featuring traditional Zimbabwean dishes. As we interact with our hosts, we’ll learn about local ingredients and cooking traditions in this part of Zimbabwe.

Afternoon: Next, we will re-board our minibus and ride to Victoria Falls National Park, where we’ll view the magnificent waterfall from the Zimbabwean side. Upon entering the park, we will walk along the path with commentary from the Group Leader about the formation of the falls, as well as the local flora and birdlife. Since the waterfall spans the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is visible from both countries, but the majority of the water falls on the Zimbabwean side. Viewing the falls from this side will provide numerous overlooks and truly give us a feel for the full majesty of this natural wonder. Later this afternoon, we will re-cross the Victoria Falls Bridge as we return to Zambia and our lodge. We will have time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the lodge. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and flight to Johannesburg in the morning.

DAY
13
Fly to Johannesburg, Program Concludes
In Flight
B,L

Activity note: Getting on/off a minibus; driving about 7 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Boarding aircraft; flight time approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will hop aboard a minibus and ride to the Livingstone Airport where we will board our commercial flight to Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Lunch: In flight.

Afternoon: The flight is scheduled to arrive in Johannesburg in the mid-afternoon for connections to international flights home. 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. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

DAY
14
In Transit From Program
In Flight





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