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  • Search for elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and cape buffalo in the greater Kruger National Park.
  • Revel in the scenic beauty of the Cape Winelands and sample some of the region’s wines.
  • Learn about the unique fynbos environment of the Cape Floristic Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This trip has been discontinued. Instead see

South Africa & Victoria Falls

Cycle South Africa

South Africa & Swazi Quest

Learn about the diverse beauty, turbulent past, dynamic present and hopeful future of South Africa on a journey from its capital to its coastlines. Search for the Big Five and more on game drives and walking safaris. Experience the cultures of Johannesburg and Cape Town. Journey along the coast and through fertile vineyards on the magnificent Garden Route.

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Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
93% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 0
4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.8 Lodging
4.5 Transportation
4.6 Meals
South Africa Wildlife Safari and the Garden Route

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Does Not Recommend


  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
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Operator Road Scholar


Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar



Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
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Operator Road Scholar



A peaceful and green country with lots of history revealed by motor coach travel. January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0
The trip was a good overview of the country. The Road Scholar guide was very knowledgeable. The motorcoach was very comfortable. The accommodations and meals were fine. Couldn't ask for a better overview of the place.
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Operator Road Scholar



Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism. January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Operator Road Scholar


Day 1: Depart the U.S.            

Afternoon: Overnight flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Day 2: Arrivals            

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Melrose Place Guest Lodge

Afternoon: Arrive Johannesburg where you clear Customs and are met and transferred 30 minutes to Melrose Place Guest Lodge.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Orientation session.

Day 3: Soweto/ Apartheid Museum             

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Melrose Place Guest Lodge

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: This morning, you have a tour of 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 tour route takes you to all the major points of interest, such as Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Baragwanath taxi rank, Freedom Square, and Hector Peterson Memorial. Overview of South Africa and Apartheid.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Soweto.

Afternoon: After lunch, transfer to the award winning and internationally acclaimed Apartheid Museum, where you walk through the museum with a local guide. 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.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Day 4: Fly to Garden Route/ Tsitsikamma National Park        

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Knysna Log Inn

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Transfer to the Johannesburg airport where you board a commercial flight to Port Elizabeth, along the southern coast. In Port Elizabeth, board your coach and head west along the coast.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en-route.

Afternoon: A stop in Tsitsikamma National Park allows the chance to take a walk in this beautiful area of the Garden Route, known to the early San inhabitants as the “place of sparkling waters.” Here the high mountains, deep gorges and rugged coastline are covered with tall indigenous forests and vast, unspoiled stands of the Cape’s unique fynbos vegetation. During the walk, you learn about the forestry industry in South Africa, and about the early forestry families who settled the area. Additionally, your group leader shares information about the flora and fauna present in the unique African Montane Forest. An optional walk down to Storms River Mouth is possible, to see the suspension bridge across the river; please note that there are numerous stairs en-route to the bridge. After the walk, continue west to the town of Knysna.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Knysna.

Evening: Stroll through the streets of Knysna or take a walk down to the Knysna Quays.

Day 5: Featherbed Nature Reserve/ Exploring Knysna            

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Knysna Log Inn

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The Featherbed Nature Reserve, a unique 370 acre private reserve which encompasses the Western Head of Knysna, is also one of South Africa's premier Natural Heritage Sites. The reserve is accessed by a ferry ride across the Knysna Lagoon. Once there, you are driven up to the overlook as your guide discusses the unique ecology of the reserve (20 minute drive); magnificent views over the coastline and estuary are seen from here. From the overlook, an optional 1.5 mile guided walk through the forest, onto the cliffs, and into the caves and along the spectacular coastline is available (note: this hike is strenuous and on uneven terrain with no handholds; you must be agile and wear shoes with good gripping soles). As another option, you can be driven back down to the jetty and walk along the last part of the trail where it is flat and not strenuous.

Lunch: Buffet picnic lunch under the milkwood trees.

Afternoon: This afternoon you are introduced to the history of the greater Knysna area, as well as have a chance to explore the local flora and fauna. At a local museum, learn about the history of the town and the Knysna Forests, including the story of the mysterious Knysna Elephants. Walk a short distance to Millwood Town, now a ghost town, where you hear the history of sites such as the Millwood House, Parkes Shop, Pitt Street House and Parkes Cottage. Afterward, venture to the Pledge Nature Reserve where you embark on a plant walk with a local specialist; here you are exposed to an abundant array of trees, birdlife, small mammals, and magnificent plant diversity. If time permits, you have the chance to take a walk around some of the oldest Knysna houses, which are now classified as Historical Monuments. Later this afternoon, your group leader discusses elephant behavior, anatomy and social structure. You also have the chance to discuss the plight of the nearby Knysna Forest Elephants, and how they relate to elephants in other parts of Africa.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare. Many restaurants are within an easy and safe walking distance from the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure to relax or explore the streets of Knysna on your own.

Day 6: Mossel Bay/ Klein Karoo            

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Mooiplaas Guesthouse

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Depart Knysna early in the morning and continue west through the scenic natural environment of the Wilderness Lakes area to historic Mossel Bay. Here you visit the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, named for the Portuguese man who was the first explorer to set foot on South African soil on February 3, 1488 in what is now Mossel Bay. The museum holds a wealth of information, and provides interesting insight into the Portuguese contribution to the early development of South Africa. You have the opportunity to board its central exhibit, a replica of an original Caravel sailing ship. On these same grounds are historic sites such as the famous “Post Office Tree,” which has been declared a national monument since it is South Africa’s first post office and first site of Christian worship, as well as early slave graves. Your group leader discusses Significant Colonial Influences in the Early Development of South Africa.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Following lunch, head to Cape St. Blaize Cave, an important archaeological site that was first excavated in the late 1800s, making it one of South Africa’s earliest archaeological excavations. Early San (also known as Khoi-khoi or Khoisan) people inhabited the cave, and findings within the cave have helped archaeologists piece together early human life in the region. The cave also provides great views over the ocean, and is a popular viewpoint for whale (in season) and dolphin watching. Depart Mossel Bay in the mid-afternoon and head over the nearby Outeniqua Mountains to the contrastingly different Garden Route environment of the Klein (Little) Karoo. You spend the night in Oudtshoorn, the “ostrich capital” of the world, at Mooiplaas Guesthouse, a working ostrich farm with a beautiful view of the nearby Swartberg Mountain range.

Dinner: At the guesthouse's restaurant which serves typical country fare.

Day 7: Grootbos Nature Reserve/ Fynbos 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Harbour House

Breakfast: At the guesthouse.

Morning: Depart Oudtshoorn traveling through the scenic Klein Karoo via the "country route," negotiating the Huis River Pass before taking a rest break at one of the many charming little towns along the way. After traversing the impressive Tradouw Pass over the Langeberg Mountains, spend the remainder of the morning traveling through the rolling farm lands of the Overberg, arriving at Grootbos Reserve in time for lunch.

Lunch: At Grootbos, you enjoy fresh fish, succulent meats, and home-grown vegetables, all enhanced with flavors from the flourishing herb garden. Prepared with innovative flair, presented with brilliance and color, and served in a restaurant with unbeatable views, a Grootbos meal is an unbeatable experience.

Afternoon: You take a walk through Grootbos’ ancient milkwood forest, where thousand-year old trees send exploratory branches in search of sunlight, before continuing on to visit the Green Futures Horticulture and Life Skills College. The Green Futures College was founded by Grootbos in order to conserve the unique biodiversity of the area. The college trains unemployed and unskilled people from the surrounding villages in the science of horticulture, specifically in the preservation of fynbos vegetation. You meet some of these students and plant a tree with the group before departing. Lecture on the unique fynbos given by your group leader. Afterward, you transfer a short distance to Hermanus for your overnight stay.

Dinner: On your own account to explore local fare. There are numerous restaurant choices within a short and safe walking distance from the hotel.

Day 8: Cape Winelands        

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, Waterfront

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Head through the scenic Winelands countryside to Stellenbosch. A short city tour orients you to Stellenbosch and its history, after which you have time to explore this small town on your own. Many of the town's historical landmarks are within easy walking distance of the town center. An interesting stop is the Village Museum, where four restored historical houses trace the history of Stellenbosch and its famous architecture. Discover some of the region’s tasty products during a wine tasting at a local winery. Hear a lecture on the area’s architecture, history and viniculture.

Lunch: At a local winery.

Afternoon: Depart towards Cape Town. En-route to the hotel, you have a city orientation tour which takes you to the historic Company Gardens, the colorful Bo Kaap community, and the District 6 area which remains a poignant example of the forced-removal era of apartheid. Continue on to your hotel in the heart of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Day 9: Table Mountain/ Cape Peninsula/ Boulders Beach    

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, Waterfront

Note: At the Cape of Good Hope, you have the option of walking up steep steps to get to the lighthouse at the very top; however, great views can be enjoyed without climbing the steps. 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 at the hotel, head straight to Table Mountain. Take a cable car ride up the steep granite slopes of Table Mountain (weather permitting) to see the splendid views of the city and peninsula; it is perhaps one of the most magnificent views in the southern hemisphere. After descending the mountain, depart toward Cape Point via the coastal route passing through Camps Bay (South Africa’s world famous beach resort), 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. Arrive at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Cape Point, the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, is one of the world’s most beautiful places – a stretch of rocky mountain jutting southward into the sea. Here you 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 (dependant on season), penguins and seals may be spotted from this point.

Lunch: A picnic lunch is taken at a scenic spot.

Afternoon: Stop off at Boulders Beach to view the resident African penguin colony. Nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon's Town and Cape Point, 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. Lecture: African (Jackass) Penguins. Head back to the hotel for the late afternoon at leisure.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Day 10: Interaction with Township Locals/ Free Time 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, Waterfront

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Visit several grassroots, community-based projects through Uthando South Africa, a non-profit organization that gives back to the community. Visits to these projects are done on a non-commercialized, authentic and interactive basis with a view to a genuine and meaningful interaction. Projects visited may include (but are not limited to): Volcano Arts Project, founded by Mandlesizwe Lufele and other concerned community youths who are committed to community development and empowerment through arts, culture and life skills training; Hout Bay Music Project or Jikeleza Dance Project, both of which aim to develop self-confidence, life skills and performance skills in the children within the projects; Abalimi Bezekhaya (the Planters of the Home), a non-profit organization working to improve sustainable food production and environmental greening amongst the poor in Cape Town; Neighbourhood Old Age Home (NOAH), where you spend some time with a vibrant group of “oldies” during one of their social gatherings; Home from Home, which provides foster care for orphans, abandoned and vulnerable children; or Mandela Park Mosaics, T-Bag Designs, and Iziko Lo Lwazi, community-based initiatives where beauty is created out of every day objects. Exact projects visited to be determined.

Lunch: On your own account to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Free time with many optional activities to choose from.

Dinner: At a local restaurant specializing in Cape Malay cuisine.

Day 11: Transfer to Manyeleti Game Reserve/ Game Drive               

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Honeyguide Camp

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the Cape Town airport where you board your commercial flight to Hoedspruit Airport.

Lunch: Light snack in flight.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in the early afternoon, you are met and transferred by minivan approximately one hour to Honeyguide Mantobeni Camp in Manyeleti Game Reserve. Manyeleti Game Reserve occupies a prime position on the western border of the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Manyeleti may be explored in open game viewing vehicles, or on foot under the guidance of armed and experienced guides. The reserve boasts a large number of lion, buffalo, rhino, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, zebra, giraffe, a healthy elephant and hippo population, and a variety of antelope species as well as prolific bird life. Arrive Mantobeni Camp where you have time to settle in before tea and snacks are served. During tea time, your group leader gives a lecture on lion social structure and behavior. Afterwards, embark on your first game drive within Manyeleti in search of the "Big Five" and other wildlife resident in the reserve. Sundowner drinks and snacks are served at a scenic spot as you watch the sunset.

Dinner: Enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the resident chef.

Evening: Spend the evening stargazing in Manyeleti, which means "place of the stars" in Shangaan.

Day 12: Game Drive/ Termites       

Meals: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Honeyguide Camp

Breakfast: Wake to the sound of beating drums followed by early morning coffee/tea served in the tents.

Morning: Morning game drive in search of the Big Five.

Brunch: A delicious and filling brunch is served following the morning game drive. Afterwards, you can relax at the pool, participate in a short foot safari with one of the guides or view passing game at the waterhole next to the camp. On the foot safari you learn to identify tracks, spoor, and other signs to discern the small things of the bush.

Afternoon: Afternoon tea and snacks are served, during which time your group leader gives a lecture on termites and their importance to the ecology of the area. Following tea, the evening safari departs; explore the area with in-depth interpretation from your guides. Sundowners at a scenic spot.

Dinner: Dinner taken in the open-air dining area at the lodge.

Evening: Spend the evening in the boma around the fire, in discussion with your fellow participants.

Day 13: Game Drive/ Rhinoceros

Meals: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Honeyguide Camp

Breakfast: Wake to the sound of beating drums followed by early morning coffee/tea served in the tents.

Morning: Morning game drive in search of animals that may have eluded you so far.

Brunch: Following the morning game drive, a filling brunch is served back at camp. After brunch, you have time at leisure during the heat of the day. A short foot safari with one of the local guides is offered today, too, where you can learn to identify the smaller things of the bush.

Afternoon: Over afternoon tea, your group leader gives a lecture on rhinoceros. Following tea time, you embark on the last evening safari of the program. Cherish your last sundowners at a scenic spot.

Dinner: Dinner at camp.

Evening: Spend the evening recounting tales from the program with your fellow participants.

Day 14: Game Drive/ Departure/ Start of optional #19499 "...      

Meals: Breakfast, Brunch

Game Drive/ Departure/ Start of optional #19499 "Victoria Falls and Chobe" extension

Breakfast: Wake to the sound of beating drums followed by early morning coffee/tea served in the tents.

Morning: One last game drive within the reserve in search of animals you may not have seen thus far.

Brunch: A filling brunch is served, after which you have time to pack.

Afternoon: You are transferred approximately one hour to Hoedspruit airport, where you board your commercial flight to Johannesburg. In Johannesburg, you connect to your international, overnight flight home or the start of optional extension program #19499, "Extension: Victoria Falls and Chobe."

Day 15: Arrive Home           

Morning: Early morning arrivals back in the USA and Canada.

Dates & Pricing

Price From


Price Per Day:

NA per person
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Trip Includes
  • 12 nights of accommodations
  • 33 meals: 12 breakfasts, 3 brunches, 8 lunches, 10 dinners
  • 9 Expert-led lectures
  • 17 Field trips
  • 2 Hands-on experiences
  • 3 Flights during the program
  • Learning led by expert instructors who are authorities in the field of study.
  • An experienced Group Leader attuned to the needs of Road Scholar participants.
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program that you would normally pay yourself.
  • The Road Scholar Travel Assistance Plan, which is purchased on behalf of every participant and provides 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance services coverage.
  • Taxes
  • State-of-the-art QUIETVOX listening devices
Trip Excludes
  • International Transportation
  • Passport and visa charges
  • Personal Expenses
Meals Included:

33 meals: 12 breakfasts, 3 brunches, 8 lunches, 10 dinners

Flights & Transport
Internal airfare and ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Maximum Number of People in Group: 18
Start City
End City

Trip ID#: SouWilRoa


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