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21423
South Africa/Zimbabwe/Botswana

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

Journey through iconic countryside by train, and spot an abundance of wildlife while on safari. Plus, enjoy expert lectures on the region’s cultural traditions and natural wonders.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 21423RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
8,499
Flights start at
1,550
South Africa/Zimbabwe/Botswana

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

Journey through iconic countryside by train, and spot an abundance of wildlife while on safari. Plus, enjoy expert lectures on the region’s cultural traditions and natural wonders.
Length
16 days
Starts at
8,499
Flights start at
1,550
Length
16 days
Rating (4.96)
Starts at
8,499
Flights start at
1,550
Program No. 21423RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Pullman Train Suite Deluxe Train Suite
Accommodation Details

Pullman Suites are equipped with a comfortable sofa-seat that converts into a double bed or twin-sized bunk beds for sleeping, as well as an en-suite bathroom with shower.

Accommodation Details

Private and spacious, deluxe train accommodations offering either a double bed or twin beds; includes a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower.

Feb 10 - Feb 25, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Mar 3 - Mar 18, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Mar 17 - Apr 1, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Mar 24 - Apr 8, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Apr 21 - May 6, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Aug 18 - Sep 2, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Sep 1 - Sep 16, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Sep 8 - Sep 23, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Itinerary Note

This departure will visit the Upper Zambezi River in Zimbabwe first before staying in Victoria Falls; all program content remains the same.

Sep 15 - Sep 30, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Oct 20 - Nov 4, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199
Nov 3 - Nov 18, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 8,499
Deluxe Train Suite 10,199

DATES & PRICES

Pullman Train Suite Deluxe Train Suite
Accommodation Details

Pullman Suites are equipped with a comfortable sofa-seat that converts into a double bed or twin-sized bunk beds for sleeping, as well as an en-suite bathroom with shower.

Accommodation Details

Private and spacious, deluxe train accommodations offering either a double bed or twin beds; includes a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower.

Feb 10 - Feb 25, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Mar 3 - Mar 18, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Mar 17 - Apr 1, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Mar 24 - Apr 8, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Apr 21 - May 6, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Aug 18 - Sep 2, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Sep 1 - Sep 16, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Sep 8 - Sep 23, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Itinerary Note

This departure will visit the Upper Zambezi River in Zimbabwe first before staying in Victoria Falls; all program content remains the same.

Sep 15 - Sep 30, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Oct 20 - Nov 4, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199
Nov 3 - Nov 18, 2023
Pullman Train Suite 10,089
Deluxe Train Suite 12,199

At a Glance

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 a stop 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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles daily on uneven terrain. Game drives in open-air safari vehicles can be bumpy and dusty; stamina and flexibility are required. Elevations up to 4,100 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.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Journey from Pretoria 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.
  • Explore Cape Town's colorful and historic sites including District Six, where a local resident speaks about the forced removals experienced during the apartheid era.

General Notes

Due to the special nature of the program, we regret that we are unable to match solo participants with roommates. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Mark Geraghty
Mark Geraghty was born in Ndola, Northern Zambia where his father was stationed in the British Army. He grew up in Zambia, until his family moved to Harare, Zimbabwe. Not only has Mark traveled extensively throughout Southern Africa, but he has also spent time in Kenya and the Congo. His marriage into a prominent Zimbabwean family sparked an interest in Africa’s early history, specifically the “Scramble for Africa.” Mark is a passionate storyteller with a piercing insight and great sense of humor.

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 Johann Roscher
Johann Roscher View biography
Johann Röscher was born in South Africa and grew up on State Forestry stations along the coastal belt of the Cape Province. He joined the military and studied at the North West University, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science. After traveling through the Middle East and Eastern Europe, he returned to South Africa to work as a socio-political researcher. Disillusioned with city life, Johann decided to change careers and lead safaris. He’s been taking groups on safaris in Kalahari and Okavango Delta for 17 years, and he’s never been more content with his choice to move to that beautiful and remote region.
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 Sisa Moyo
Sisa is Ndebele by tribe and grew up in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s beautiful wilderness and wildlife inspired him to begin leading overland trips. In 2011, Sisa served as an Ambassador for Zimbabwe at Walt Disney World, raising awareness about conservation issues. He currently lives in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe with his wife and family. In his "office," covering thousands of miles in Southern Africa, Sisa shares his passion for the bush and his country with travelers from around the world.
Profile Image of Mark Geraghty
Mark Geraghty View biography
Mark Geraghty was born in Ndola, Northern Zambia where his father was stationed in the British Army. He grew up in Zambia, until his family moved to Harare, Zimbabwe. Not only has Mark traveled extensively throughout Southern Africa, but he has also spent time in Kenya and the Congo. His marriage into a prominent Zimbabwean family sparked an interest in Africa’s early history, specifically the “Scramble for Africa.” Mark is a passionate storyteller with a piercing insight and great sense of humor.
Profile Image of Victoria Falls Heritage Tours, David Livingstone Presentation
Victoria Falls Heritage Tours, David Livingstone Presentation View biography
A dynamic storyteller from Victoria Falls Heritage Tours will join your group to discuss David Livingstone's fascinating life and his explorations, which covered more than 28,000 miles of uncharted territory. Dr. Livingstone's unparalleled story is truly an inspiration and will offer new-found perspectives on the African continent.
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.
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.
Long Walk to Freedom
by Nelson Mandela
An unpretentious tale of an extraordinary life. Mandela recounts the circumstances of his imprisonment and ultimately his successful drive to end Apartheid.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah
A harrowing look at life in South Africa under apartheid and country's lurching entry into a post-apartheid reality told through the prism of Trevor Noah and his family. Noah is the most successful comedian in Africa and is the current host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show on Comedy Central.
Out of Darkness, Shining Light
by Petina Gappah
So begins Petina Gappah's powerful novel of exploration and adventure in nineteenth-century Africa—the captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone's body, his papers and maps, fifteen hundred miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there.
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.
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.
Lonely Planet Southern Africa
by Anthony Ham
This hefty practical guide to the nine nations of southern Africa, including Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland (Eswatini), Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho, is ideal for independent travelers on a multi-country tour.
The Last Elephants
by Colin Bell & Don Pinnock
African savanna elephants--among the most magnificent and beloved of our fellow mammals--are an extraordinary, social, and intelligent species. The Last Elephants, an homage to these animals and a clarion call for their preservation, is based upon a shocking finding: savanna elephant populations across Africa are being decimated, with two to three murdered every hour for their ivory. Without action, these elephants soon will vanish from our world. They are a species in imminent danger of extinction, and it is up to us to save them.
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.
Disgrace
by J.M. Coetzee
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.
Tomorrow is Another Country, The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change
by Allister Sparks
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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16 days
15 nights
37 meals
13 B 12 L 12 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Cape Town and Check-in
Cape Town
Vineyard Hotel

Activity note: Check-in at the hotel starts from 2:00pm.

Dinner: Due to late evening arrivals in Cape Town, dinner is not included this evening. For anyone arriving earlier in the day, the hotel has a restaurant on site and there are also 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 will be met at the airport and transferred to the program hotel for check-in. The Group Leader will be on hand to greet you and assist with the check-in process.

DAY
3
Orientation, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Winelands
Cape Town
B,L,D
Vineyard Hotel

Activity note: Walk around the botanical garden can be up to 1.5 miles in length on paved paths, with small inclines/declines encountered. Drive time to the Winelands is 1 hour each direction; 35 miles.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be an expansive buffet at the hotel, with a variety of cereals, breads, fruits and hot breakfast items like eggs, ham and sausage. Coffee, tea, fruit juice, water, milk provided. 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 some 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.

Morning: We will visit Kirstenbosch Gardens, one of the world's leading botanical gardens. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of its setting, against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of southern Africa, and it was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. On display in the gardens is a wide variety of the unique Cape Floristic Region plant life, as well as plants from all the diverse regions of southern Africa; there are over 7,000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many that are rare and threatened. In 2004, the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will walk around the garden in the company of our Group Leader and a local specialist, who will talk about the different plants seen. In the late morning, we will transfer out to the Winelands for our afternoon field trip.

Lunch: We will enjoy lunch today at a wine estate near Stellenbosch. Our gourmet picnic will consist of dishes curated by the executive chef, made with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and artisanal suppliers. Lunch will include 1 glass of wine per person and water; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will spend the afternoon exploring 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 also 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. We will partake in a wine tasting and hear a lecture on the area’s architecture, history and viniculture from our Group Leader.

Dinner: Dinner will be a 3-course set menu taken at a local restaurant, including starter, main dish with vegetable side, and dessert. Water provided with additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Table Mountain, Cape Peninsula, Boulders Beach
Cape Town
B,L,D
Vineyard Hotel

Activity note: Choice of different length paths to follow on top of Table Mountain, however minimal walking is required. Getting on/off funicular at Cape Point, with set of steep stairs to reach the Cape Point lighthouse; spectacular views can still be had without climbing to the lighthouse. 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, we will head to Table Mountain where a cable car ride up the steep granite slopes (weather permitting) will give us splendid views of the city and peninsula; it is perhaps one of the most magnificent views in the southern hemisphere. Afterwards, we will depart toward Cape Point via the coastal route passing through South Africa’s famous beach resort town of Camps Bay, 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, finally arriving at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Cape Point, the southwestern-most point of the African continent, is one of the world’s most beautiful places – a stretch of rocky mountain jutting southward into the sea. We will board the Flying Dutchman funicular, which will bring us up to a viewpoint walkway on the peak, the lower station; the upper station, where the lighthouse is located, is accessible by stairs from here. At Cape Point we will 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 (dependent on season), penguins and seals may be spotted from this point. Lecture: Biodiversity of the Cape.

Lunch: At a local restaurant specializing in seafood, enjoy a 3-course plated meal, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will continue to Boulders Beach to view the resident African penguin colony. Our Group Leader will lead us to the beach, which is nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon's Town and Cape Point, and introduce us to the penguins. 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. In the late afternoon, we will return to the hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant featuring traditional African dishes. Water, coffee, tea will be provided with additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
City Exploration, Free Time
Cape Town
B,D
Vineyard Hotel

Activity note: City exploration will be done on motorcoach with chance to explore on foot in certain locations; walking up to 1 mile on paved paths, some inclines/declines encountered. Periods of standing at the museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will explore prominent sites around the city. Sites visited include: the Bo Kaap, a colorful and predominantly Muslim neighborhood; the Company Gardens, a lovely garden in the heart of city center that is surrounded by the Houses of Parliament; the Anglican Cathedral of South Africa, where Desmond Tutu was bishop; Greenmarket Square, an historic, and vibrant, meeting place in the business district; the Castle of Good Hope, a former fort that is the oldest building in South Africa; and District Six, which serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of apartheid. The District Six museum contains exhibits that invite a very visual and interactive understanding of what life was like in the area, and of apartheid’s impacts on the residents in the neighborhood.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and will be on your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in the city of Cape Town. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There is a multitude of activities offered in the area, or you may wish to explore the hotel's walking trails through their expansive gardens. Transportation will be provided to the V&A Waterfront for self-exploration.

Dinner: Taken at the hotel, dinner tonight will be a 3-course set menu with starter, main dish with vegetable side, and dessert. Water will be provided, with other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Pretoria, Rovos Rail Station, Board the Rovos Rail
Rovos Rail (Pretoria-Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
Rovos Rail

Activity note: Flight time Cape Town to Johannesburg is 2 hours. Drive Johannesburg to Pretoria is 1 hour; 35 miles. Visit to Pretoria done by motorcoach with chance to get off and explore on foot at some locations. Walking up to 1/2 mile on paved paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we will transfer to the Cape Town airport, where we will board our commercial flight to Johannesburg. From the Johannesburg airport, we will be driven to Pretoria for our afternoon exploration of the city.

Lunch: Packed lunch provided.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will have a chance to explore Pretoria in the company of a local expert. 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. During our exploration of the city, we will visit the Voortrekker Monument, a striking memorial built to honor the early pioneers, as well as the imposing Union Building, which houses the office of the State President and provides an impressive view over the city. Following our visit of Pretoria, we will be driven to Capital Park Station, the private Rovos Rail train station, where we will enjoy snacks and refreshments while checking-in for the train. Prior to boarding, we will be shown around the grounds by a member of the Rovos Rail staff. The massive locomotive carriage sheds and workshops command about 10,000 square meters (107,640 square feet) and spread across 15 railway lines. Complete with inspection pits and a diligent repair and maintenance staff to keep things moving with precision, this facility in the old Transvaal (the land north of the Vaal River) holds true to its legacy as a once lively hub for steam trains. We will be shown to our suites onboard the train and have a chance to settle-in prior to departure at 6:00pm.

Dinner: The dinner sitting on the train will be at 7:30pm each evening, and can be taken in either of the two Victorian-era dining cars. Dinners will be a 4-course, plated meal consisting of a starter, main entree with side dishes, cheese and fruit, and dessert; each course will be paired with a complementary South African wine. Local brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, water, coffee/tea included; premium brand beverages available for purchase.

Evening: The train will make its way towards Polokwane, where it will pull onto a siding to sit for the night.

DAY
7
Travel Northern Limpopo Province, Enter Zimbabwe
Rovos Rail (Pretoria-Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
Rovos Rail

Activity note: Full day aboard the train.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served between 7:00-10:00am each morning and consist of a cold cereal, yogurt and fruit buffet, with hot breakfast items ordered off of an a la carte menu. Coffee, tea, fruit juices, milk and water provided.

Morning: On this full day of travel aboard the train, take some time to relax, take in the beautiful changing scenery of the Limpopo Province and appreciate the amenities of the Rovos Rail. The train will journey across the Tropic of Capricorn on its way north towards the Zimbabwe border. In the mid-morning, we’ll gather with our Group Leader for a lecture on the significant colonial influences in the early development of South Africa.

Lunch: The lunch sitting on board the train will be at 1:00pm each day and can be taken in either of the dining cars. Lunches will be a 4-course offering with starter, main entree with sides, cheese and fruit course, and dessert; the delicious food will be complemented by an array of fine South African wines. Local brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, water, coffee/tea included; premium brand beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: As the train continues the journey north, we will join our Group Leader for an overview of Zimbabwe including its history and current political situation. High tea will be served at 4:30pm each day on board the train, consisting of tea/coffee, scones, cakes and other delicious offerings. After arriving in Messina, the train will travel slowly over the Limpopo River via the Beit Bridge into Zimbabwe, where border formalities take place.

Dinner: On the train.

Evening: The train will journey towards Gwanda, where it will pull onto a siding for the night.

DAY
8
Matobo National Park, Cecil Rhodes' Grave, Cave Paintings
Rovos Rail (Pretoria-Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
Rovos Rail

Activity note: Transfers by motorcoach approx. 45 minutes each direction; 25 miles. Game drive in open-air 4x4 vehicles lasting approximately 4 hours. Total off-train excursion lasting 5.5 hours. Walking about 2 miles total throughout the day; approx. 1 mile from the parking lot to the grave site; rocky, dirt paths uneven terrain with inclines/declines; periods of standing.

Breakfast: On the train, served earlier than usual from 6:00am-9:00am.

Morning: We will enjoy the scenery as the train travels through the beautiful, baobab-filled countryside of Zimbabwe towards Bulawayo. 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. Our Group Leader will give an overview of Botswana.

Lunch: On the train, served earlier than usual at 12:00pm.

Afternoon: After lunch we will disembark the train and travel to Matobo National Park via motorcoach, then board our 4x4 safari vehicles for the afternoon. In the stunning park, also known as “Matopos,” we will explore the dramatic hills and rocky, granite formations that lead to the summit of Malindidzimu, the 'hill of benevolent spirits,' where Cecil Rhodes is buried. His grave is masterfully carved into the solid granite hill and is surrounded by massive boulders. We will stretch our eyes out to the horizon from atop the hill and consider how Rhodes and his explorations impacted the history of the African continent. Our expert local rangers will provide commentary on Cecil Rhodes, Zimbabwean history and Matobo Park. As time allows, we will visit one or more caves, formerly home to Zimbabwe's earliest inhabitants, the San "Bushmen." The caves serve as art galleries, showcasing the early wall paintings of the Bushmen, which date back thousands of years. Our local experts will provide information on the historical and cultural context of the Bushmen. In the late afternoon, we will return by motorcoach to the train.

Dinner: On the train.

Evening: The train will arrive at Sawmills for its overnight stop.

DAY
9
Hwange National Park
Rovos Rail (Pretoria-Victoria Falls)
B,L,D
Rovos Rail

Activity note: Safari game drive lasts 3-4 hours in open-air, 4x4 safari vehicles. Minimal walking.

Breakfast: On the train.

Morning: Enjoy the scenery as the train travels through the Zimbabwean countryside, 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 our safari activity, our Group Leader will give a lecture on elephant behavior and social structure.

Lunch: On the train.

Afternoon: The train will travel along the eastern side of Hwange National Park; wildlife may be spotted from the train. In the mid-afternoon, an off-train field trip will take us into Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's premier safari destination, for a game drive in the company of a local safari expert. 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. At the end of the game drive, we will re-board the train with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: On the train.

Evening: The train will continue the journey to Thompsons Junction for tonight's overnight stop.

DAY
10
Arrive in Victoria Falls, Victoria Falls the Waterfall
Victoria Falls
B,L,D
Ilala Lodge

Activity note: In order to see all viewpoints at the Falls, approximate length of walk is 2 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 will arrive in the town of Victoria Falls at 10:00am. Upon disembarking, we will transfer to our lodge and have a chance to settle-in and enjoy the views.

Lunch: Taken at a local restaurant with scenic views, lunch will be a 2-course, set menu offering; bottled water included with additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will be transferred a short distance to the magnificent Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Here, our Group Leader will lead us on a walk to the Falls, where we will see how through the millennia the forces of nature have created this marvelous spectacle, Africa’s greatest waterfall. We will view the Falls today from the Zimbabwean side. After our visit, we will return to the lodge with time to freshen-up before dinner.

Dinner: At the lodge’s restaurant, dinner will be a 3-course, set menu meal including bottled water, coffee, tea; additional beverages will be available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Elephant Encounter, Local Community Visit, Free Time
Victoria Falls
B,L,D
Ilala Lodge

Activity note: Transfer time to the elephant encounter site is about 30 minutes. Walk at the elephant encounter site is along flat, uneven, dirt pathways for about 1 mile. The transfer time to the community visit from the elephant encounter is approximately 15 minutes. Return transfer to the lodge is about 15 minutes. Periods of standing at the Trust and community visit.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the elephant encounter site will be a plated, full English breakfast consisting of eggs to order, grilled bacon, grilled tomato, baked beans, sausage and toast. Fruit juices, tea, coffee and water are included.

Morning: We will have an early start for the morning’s field trip. By motorcoach, we will be driven to a nearby location for our elephant interaction. Here, we will have an opportunity to learn more about the past, present and future of elephant conservation from local experts. We will also gain insight into these gentle giants through up close, personal time with the elephants that reside here. In the company of our local experts, we will be escorted on a walk alongside the elephants through the pristine bush and valley of the Masuwe River. Upon conclusion of the encounter, we will enjoy breakfast on site. Following breakfast, we will re-board our motorcoach for a very short drive to the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, where we will learn about how the Trust’s local conservation efforts are making a major impact in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA). The Trust has four main areas of operation: Rescue and Rehabilitation; Wildlife Research; Wildlife Disease and Forensics Laboratory; and Community Outreach. In the company of a local expert, our hour-long visit will incorporate an overview of the Trust and its facilities, including the wildlife rehabilitation area. Then, we will transfer to visit two community projects in Victoria Falls. Here, we will have the chance to meet members of the community and see how they live. Visits to these projects are done on a non-commercialized, authentic and interactive basis with a view to a genuine and meaningful interaction. From the community visit, we will be driven to a local restaurant for lunch.

Lunch: At a nearby restaurant in Victoria Falls, we will have a buffet meal featuring traditional Zimbabwean dishes, plus water, tea and coffee. As we interact with our hosts, we’ll learn about local ingredients and cooking traditions in this part of Zimbabwe. Other beverages are available for purchase. Following lunch, we will return to the lodge.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in the town of Victoria Falls. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In the early evening, we will regroup at the lodge and be driven a short distance to our dinner location.

Dinner: Our dinner will be taken at a neighboring lodge and consist of a 3-course, set menu meal including bottled water, coffee, tea; additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
David Livingstone's Explorations, Chobe National Park
Chobe Riverfront
B,L,D
Chobe Savanna Lodge

Activity note: Transfer from Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park is 2 hours including border crossing; 55 miles. Game drive lasts 1.5 hours. Transfer from national park to Chobe Lodge approximately 1.5 hours, including border crossings; transfer done in 4x4 vehicle and then motorboat. Getting on/off safari vehicle and small boats.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: After breakfast, we will be joined at the lodge by a noted local historian who 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. Following the presentation, we will be transferred by minibus to the Kazungula border, where we clear Botswana entry formalities then board open-air 4x4 vehicles which will take us into Chobe National Park for a game drive. Each safari vehicle will have its own local safari expert who provides insight on the flora and fauna seen. 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: 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. Our game drive will take us to a lodge inside the park, where we will take our lunch today.

Lunch: We will enjoy a set menu lunch at a lodge inside Chobe National Park. Water, soft drinks and coffee/tea included.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will re-board our safari vehicles for the drive back through Chobe National Park to the Kasane Immigration Center, where we will clear Botswana exit formalities. Then, we will board our motorboats and ride across the Chobe River to the Namibian Immigration Center, to clear entry formalities. From there, our motorboats will transfer us along the Chobe River to the lodge, which is located on the Namibian side of the river; wildlife may be seen en-route. After settling into our rooms, we will gather on the flood plain in front of the lodge to enjoy our sundowners around a campfire.

Dinner: Dinners at the lodge will be a 3-course, plated meal. All local brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, water and coffee/tea included; premium-brand alcohol available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Boat Safaris, Lion Behavior
Chobe Riverfront
B,L,D
Chobe Savanna Lodge

Activity note: Boat safaris last approximately 3 hours in the early morning and late afternoon.

Breakfast: At the lodge prior to the morning boat safari, early morning tea/coffee and light breakfast items will be served, such as fresh fruit, rusks, muffins, and cereals. Upon return from the morning activity, hot breakfast items such as eggs cooked to order, sausage, bacon and toast will be provided at the lodge.

Morning: We will walk the short distance down to the dock to board our pontoon boat for a morning boat safari along the Chobe River. Our local safari expert will seek out the local fauna, big and small, and provide commentary on the wildlife seen. Morning refreshments such as coffee, tea and biscuits (cookies) will be provided on the boat. At the conclusion of our morning safari, we will return to the lodge for some time at leisure in the heat of the day.

Lunch: Lunches at the lodge will consist of a small buffet with several salad options, main entree, and dessert. All local brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, water and coffee/tea included; premium-brand alcohol available for purchase.

Afternoon: Over afternoon tea, our Group Leader will give a lecture on lion social structure and behavior. Following tea, we will embark on another game viewing boat safari on the Chobe River, where we may come face to face with the elephant, buffalo and other wildlife that gather on the banks of the river to drink and bathe. We'll find ourselves immersed in the unique environment, viewing numerous birds including sacred ibis, blue heron, goliath heron, saddle-billed storks, marabou storks and little egrets. Refreshments will be served on the boat as we watch one of Africa's stunning sunsets. We return to the lodge after dusk, with a chance to freshen-up before dinner.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Safari Activities
Chobe Riverfront
B,L,D
Chobe Savanna Lodge

Activity note: Boat safaris last approximately 3 hours in the early morning and late afternoon.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will explore the riverine environment by boat seeking out wildlife not yet seen, returning to the lodge in the mid-morning. The heat of the day will be at leisure.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Enjoy afternoon tea at the lodge. In the late afternoon, we will embark on our last boat safari on the Chobe River, returning to the lodge just after dusk.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Program Concludes
In Flight
B,L

Activity note: Transfer from Chobe Lodge to Kasane airport is 1.5 hours including border crossings; transfer conducted by motorboat then minibus. Flight time from Kasane to Johannesburg is 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will have time to pack this morning before being transferred to the airport. Transferring by motorboat to the Namibian Immigration Center, we complete Namibia exit formalities then proceed by boat to the Kasane Immigration Center to enter Botswana. From there, a minibus will take us to the Kasane airport for our flight to Johannesburg.

Lunch: Snack in flight.

Afternoon: Board the early afternoon commercial flight to Johannesburg. 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
16
In Transit From Program
In Flight

Morning: Early morning arrivals back in North America.






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If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.