Highlights
  • Wonder at myriad birdlife present in Southern Africa, up to 400+ different species in some locations.
  • Marvel at the beauty of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
  • Search for the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo) while on safari in Hwange and Chobe National Park and a private concession in Zimbabwe.

Embark on the birding adventure of a lifetime in some of Southern Africa’s most renowned national parks. Search for beautiful and exotic species such as carmine bee-eaters, rock pratincoles, western banded snake eagles, African jacanas, sacred ibis and countless more. Be there at the optimal time of year, as migratory birds are in the area, and learn from local experts who speak in-depth about the birdlife, wildlife, flora and cultures you encounter.

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30
Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
87% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 2
Value
4.5 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.5 Lodging
4.3 Transportation
4.4 Meals
4.3
Southern Africa Birding Safari: South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Botswana

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K

Does Not Recommend

Road Scholar Owes My Mom A Huge Apology and Refund. Highly advise AGAINST using them. May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
Let me preface this story with some background about myself: I backpacked through most of Europe by myself when I was studying abroad in Ireland. I suffered through horrendous bus rides, getting kicked out of seats on trains, sleeping in questionable hostels, and going weeks without being able to really do laundry. I know how crappy it can be to actually get from one place to another, and how worth it is to suffer through all of that just to lay eyes on something magnificent.

And yet, Road Scholar has, without a doubt, managed to give me the single worst travel experience I've ever had in my entire life, and we didn't even make it off the ground. I would never, ever, EVER recommend them to anyone looking to go anywhere, and as far as I'm concerned, Road Scholar needs to seriously reconsider their travel-making procedures and give my mother a huge apology and refund. (Also, I'm only in my twenties, so I have a lot of years ahead of me to make referrals.)

It all started with Road Scholar not getting us flights. We claimed our spot on a trip to the Lake region in Northern Italy, but no one ever called us back about any travel arrangements. It appeared we were on the trip IN Italy, but no one had bothered to make any arrangements to get us there. My mother called and left messages, emailed people, and the only response we got was that our flight should be booked at some point in early May (when our trip was set to start on May 22). Road Scholar urges people to book their flights through their preferred travel agency, which is who didn't call us back. Road Scholar, to market themselves as educational tourism rather than shallow "I just want to see things" tourism, partners up with different educational institutions, and ours was through Trinity College. The director of the Italian programs called us asking for our travel information, since she didn't have it yet. Interesting news to us. We were then told that we could make travel arrangements of our own (even though we were paying Road Scholar to do it for us) and then inform the program of our travel plans and how we were getting to our hotel. So we started to investigate making our own plans, when someone finally called us back saying that they were taking care of our travel arrangements, and they "didn't know why we hadn't had them made for us already." The director of the program was happy to hear this, because the Lake region of Italy is not as easily accessible as other areas.

We asked for upgraded seats because my mom has had both of her knees replaced, and while that doesn't inhibit her in the slightest from being active, it limits where she can sit on planes. In a cramped regular economy seat with no leg room on an international flight that was going to last 8-10 hours, she wouldn't have been able to walk off the plane because of how her knees would cramp up. But they said they could make the arrangements (which is also advertised on their website) so that was that. We got our itinerary, accommodations, and were all set. We were booked through United and Lufthansa (neither of which either of us will EVER book through again), so I downloaded the United app onto my iPhone so I could check us in and make sure we had mobile copies of our boarding passes in addition to the paper ones my mom printed out. We were all set to fly from Cincinnati to Washington D.C., from D.C. to Frankfurt, and from Frankfurt down to Verona where we would be meeting up with the group -- which, by the way, we never received any information regarding where the group was meeting, the transportation to the lake resort, etc. Nothing. Just "after you get there" stuff.

Then this morning, I woke up to a notification from United Airlines (and a text message alert that I had set up) saying that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled due to weather. Obviously I'm not blaming Road Scholar for that. What I am holding Road Scholar accountable for is what happened next: my mom called the Emergency Hotline (which is a recording -- and I HIGHLY recommend that they change this, because when I studied abroad, we had two emergency hotlines, both of which were always answered by real human beings, one for anything happening in the United States, and the other for the program, which was a different number for each location and a direct line to one of the program directors on the ground in the country you were actually in). We left a voicemail, someone named Mike called us back, and he was an absolute asshole. When you book your flight through a travel agency/group travel organization, if anything happens to your flight, it is the THEIR responsibility to take care of it. We were told by Road Scholar, and it's available on their website: "When you book your airfare through Road Scholar, we're there to help you in case of any emergencies." When Mike called us back and we told him that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled, he told us that he couldn't look up any other flights (on both United and any other airlines) for us to potentially get on to get to D.C for our transatlantic flight. Instead, he told us to call United ourselves and to go to the airport and talk to the desk agent. I then ended up on the phone (and on hold) the entire drive to the airport, which resulted in nothing because tons of flights had been cancelled due to airline politics and weather. We finally got to the desk agent at the airport, had a hell of a time getting rebooked on another flight, and weren't able to get the upgraded seats that we paid extra money for. When we called Road Scholar and Mike back to ask if during the course of our day when we would be traveling (and unable to make phone calls) he would call Lufthansa to at least make the airline aware of our need for better seating due to my mother's knee replacements, he was unhelpful and rude, at first attempting to refuse calling on our behalf and finally agreeing to, but only after repeatedly telling us "there's no guarantee of those seats" (something we definitely understood because we're not stupid).

Our rebooked flight wasn't set to leave until 7:45 PM tonight, putting us in Verona at 4:05 PM the next day (4 hours after the group transfer to the hotel), so we returned home instead of waiting around the airport for 12 hours. We got on both United and Lufthansa's websites and discovered that not only had our original itineraries not been removed, we had been double booked, one for a flight out of North Carolina to Munich through Delta, and another out of D.C. (the 7:45 PM flight) which had a 23 hour layover in Munich. A call to Road Scholar resulted in us being told that we had to contact the airlines. My mother was on the phone, talking to either United representatives or Lufthansa representatives, from about 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM. We were told we had reservations but no tickets, told we had tickets but couldn't see the numbers, told there were seats available for us to get upgraded to but we would have to try to get the desk agent in D.C. to arrange that for us, told that there was no guarantee we could get those seats, and more. It was incredible the amount of bureaucratic bullshit we had to put up with, especially since each airline wouldn't take any responsibility for us getting the seats we paid for and on a new flight, telling us "we'd have to talk to the other company about that." We finally called Road Scholar to see if there was anything more they could do, who encountered the same mess we already had, and all they did was eventually advise us to go back to the airport (a 45 minute drive) and talk to the desk agent to see IF they could put us in the upgraded seats -- ones we had already paid for and my mom couldn't make the trip without!

Then when asked how they would be getting us to our destination in the Lake region (which is not an easy place to get to, as I looked up the train and bus schedules myself, because - remember - I have tons of experience at this point traveling on the ground across Europe), they wouldn't outright say what our plans would be, which could've been anything from picking us up in the airport in a car, giving us a damn rental to drive ourselves, or simply paying for tickets and expecting us to haul all our luggage from the airport to the shuttle to the train station in Verona, take the 2+ hour train to a town an hour away from our destination, have to catch a bus to the actual town we were supposed to be in, and then walk the rest of the way there. Seeing what all happened, I would bet it would've been the latter, which isn't a problem for someone like me, but is an issue for someone like my mom.

The moral of the story here is that my mom and I shouldn't have had to be on the phone with anyone other than Road Scholar, PERIOD. Seeing as we paid well over $10,000 for this trip, the minute the flight was cancelled, Road Scholar should've called us to let us know that they would be making other arrangements for us to get to our trip in the Lake region of Italy. THEY should've been the ones on the phone, dealing with the airline bureaucrats, working their hardest to get us any combination of flights to get us to Italy in the seats that we paid for. Or, if it really came down to it, they should've made arrangements for us to be on this trip at another point in time, offered us another excursion in its place, or simply given us a refund. Instead, they didn't want to do the jobs that we paid them to do, and we were the ones that had to take time out of our day, which was already scheduled to be a hectic and stressful time because traveling is simply just that, to do Road Scholar's job. They didn't look out for us one single bit and completely and utterly RUINED what was supposed to have been a wonderful trip for me and my mom.

My mother has an adventurous and curious soul and hasn't gotten to go to Europe the way she always wanted to. Since I graduated college, my mother suggested taking a mother-daughter trip. This was supposed to be incredibly special for the both of us, getting to go somewhere new together (I hadn't explored Northern Italy much and that's where we decided to go), learning about the food and the culture, and bonding over all the amazing things we were going to be able to do. I think my mom was even more excited about this trip than I was, voraciously reading all the required/recommended reading, practicing Italian in her room so she could order correctly at restaurants, not giving up when we hit little bumps in the road along the way. Instead, we have been nothing but doubtful at best in the entire planning of this trip, and deeply disappointed and angered at worst. I will never again recommend Road Scholars to anyone looking to go on group trips. Instead, I will steer people away and recommend that they either find a better travel agency, book the trip themselves, or go through Rick Steve's program.

Road Scholar should issue my mother a refund and an apology or risk being sued.
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Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

They take advantage of the elderly May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I had high hopes for Road scholar. However, when I was diagnosed with cancer I got no sympathy from Road Scholar. The agents and management kept saying you should have purchased insurance. But the insurance was extremely expensive and would not have covered the cancellation fee either. I ended up attending anyways because I didn't want to lose my money. I felt sick the entire time and could barely complete the activities. The group leader was wonderful. But the program was very strict and I felt that they over charged for everything. They demonstrated shocking behavior for a non profit that is supposed to be all about education and supporting the elderly. Yet they constantly are sending catalogs and pushing expensive programs. I highly recommend taking your money elsewhere. They do not respect their customers and only care about money. They took advantage of a cancer patient and according to the others on my trip this is common.
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Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT August 2017

3.0
  • 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
WOULD NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING! WOW! A WAKEUP CALL FROM HELL. I WILL BE SHOUTING THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS SO NO ONE ELSE
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE. DO NOT PURCHASE ROAD SCHOLAR INSURANCE -- IT IS A BOONDOGGLE!
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Operator Road Scholar

LG

Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

2.0
  • 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

TCtssvawmc

Recommends

Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

5.0
  • 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

Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrive Johannesburg, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Johannesburg

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Courtyard Hotel Eastgate

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

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

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

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. We have set aside 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. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Day 3: Birding in Johannesburg

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Courtyard Hotel Eastgate

Activity note: The birding today is done on foot; total distance covered may be up to 3 miles on paved walkways.

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

Morning: Transfer by motorcoach east of Johannesburg to the Marievale Bird Sanctuary, a provincial nature reserve that has been designated an Important Bird Area in South Africa. Marievale has been shaped by the gold mining activities in the area; much of the water that fills the floodplain has been pumped up from underground, creating a body of water that attracts an extraordinary number of birds. Habitats within the sanctuary include shallow open water, reedbeds and grassland, so the variety of birds is impressive with some 280 species having been recorded in the area. Here one can often see specials like little bittern, slaty egrets, black and squacco herons, and handsome red-knobbed coots along with the usual aquatic species such as African rails, crakes, moorhens, cormorants and snipes. Additionally, it may well be the only place in the Gauteng region where it is relatively easy to see fulvous duck and South African shelduck. The wetland sanctuary does have a history of attracting extremely rare vagrants, with past sightings including buff-spotted flufftails, buff-breasted sandpiper, and a black-tailed godwit. In the company of our Group Leader, we will bird the varied environments in Marievale.

Lunch: Picnic lunch provided.

Afternoon: Continued birding in Marievale. In the mid-afternoon, we will return to the hotel with time to rest and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 4: Fly to Zambia, Victoria Falls from Zambian side

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Thorntree River Lodge

Activity note: Flight time is 1 hour 45 minutes. In order to access all of the viewpoints at Victoria Falls, one must go up and down around 150 stairs one way; the path may be slick due to the waterfall's mist, too. It is possible to still see the waterfall without climbing all of the stairs, but only from one viewpoint.

Breakfast: Taken at the hotel.

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

Lunch: Lunch in flight.

Afternoon: Early afternoon arrival in Livingstone. After settling into our rooms, our group leader will give us an overview of Zambia. Afterward, we will visit the famed Victoria Falls, where the Zambezi River opens out into an extravaganza of roaring, spray-tumbled water, known to the locals as “Mosi oa Tunya” (the smoke that thunders). Few sights are as awe-inspiring as this, when the ground rumbles with the forces of the water. We will view the Falls this afternoon from the Zambian side, followed by a visit to the local crafts market.

Dinner: Dinners at the lodge will vary each night between set menu plated choices and buffet options. There will always be a starter, main meat or vegetarian entree with assorted vegetable or starch side dishes, and a dessert. Bottled water and table wine provided, with additional drinks available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 5: Birding along the Zambezi River, Livingstone Museum

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Thorntree River Lodge

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

Morning: In the early morning, we will embark on a boat cruise on the Zambezi River for birding along the river banks. Interesting species sighted may include the half-collared kingfisher, Schalow’s turaco, red-chested flufftail and African skimmer. Light, Continental breakfast snacks will be served on board the boat, and a full breakfast will be available at the lodge upon our return. In the late morning, we will transfer into Livingstone for a guided excursion of the town and its colorful produce market. Livingstone is a classic old colonial town of former Northern Rhodesia, which can still be seen in some of its architecture. We will also visit the Livingstone Museum, known for its archaeological and ethnographic displays, but most notably for its artifacts that belonged to Dr. David Livingstone. We will return to the lodge in time for lunch.

Lunch: Lunches at the lodge will vary each day between set menu plated choices and buffet options. There will always be a starter, main meat or vegetarian entree with assorted vegetable or starch side dishes, and a dessert. Water, tea and coffee provided, with additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 6: Victoria Falls from Zimbabwean Side, Game Drive, Upper Zambezi River

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

Activity note: In order to see all viewpoints at the Falls, approximate length of walk is two miles. It is possible to walk less and see some, but not all, viewpoints. Paths may be slick from mist, but are mostly flat. Drive time between Livingstone and Victoria Falls is approximately 1 hour including border crossing. Drive time between Victoria Falls and Imbabala Lodge is 1 hour. All transfers done in enclosed minibuses.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Our Group Leader leads an early morning bird walk on the lodge grounds for those interested; keep an eye out for the pied kingfisher, scimitar-billed hoopoe, white fronted lapwing and pearl spotted owl. After breakfast, we will transfer over the border into Zimbabwe, where we will see Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side. Since the waterfall spans the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is visible from both countries, but viewing from the Zimbabwean side is preferred as more of the waterfall falls on this side. Here our Group Leader will show us how, through the millennia, the forces of nature have created this marvelous spectacle, Africa’s greatest waterfall. The rainforest around the Falls also offers a great birding opportunity, with species such as Livingstone's turaco, carmine bee-eaters, rock pratincole, European storks and Lilian's lovebird being spotted. Afterward, we will continue on to Imbabala Lodge to settle in and enjoy the riverfront scenery.

Lunch: Lunches at the lodge will be a small buffet with starter salad, main entree and side dish, and dessert. All beverages, excluding premium-brand alcohol, will be included.

Afternoon: Over afternoon tea, our Group Leader will give a lecture, "Overview of Zimbabwe." Then, we will embark on a late afternoon game drive in the private reserve surrounding the lodge. The 5,000 acre national park concession has nearly nine miles of private Zambezi River frontage. The reserve also borders the Chobe Forest Reserve, which is renowned for its massive elephant population. Game drives will be in open-air safari vehicles in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the animals are most active. Each game drive lasts for approximately three hours, with a rest break half-way through. Game drives consist of moving slowly through the reserve searching for birds, predators and other animals.

Dinner: Dinners at the lodge will be a small buffet with starter salad, main entree, side dish, and dessert. All beverages, excluding premium-brand alcohol, will be included.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 7: Safari Activities, Upper Zambezi River

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge will consist of various bread and cereal options, fresh fruit and hot items such as eggs, sausage and bacon cooked to order.

Morning: We will begin our morning with a game drive in the lodge’s private reserve. In addition to the multitude of mammals resident in the area, there is an immense amount of birdlife present, with over 400 species being recorded in Imbabala's private reserve. Bird species spotted may include: long-toed plover, western banded snake eagle and swamp boubou, as well as red-winged pratincole, purple heron, green-backed heron, and spotted thick-knee.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: The early afternoon will be at leisure. Following tea, we will embark on a game viewing boat cruise on the Zambezi River. Here we may have the chance to spot wildlife coming to drink and bathe in the river, as well as observe the multitude of birds that gather on the river’s banks. Species seen here can include the African spoonbill, African skimmer, squacco heron, water thick-knee, southern red bishop and all species of southern African bee-eaters.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 8: Chobe National Park, Botswana, Upper Zambezi River

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

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

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: A short drive this morning will take us over the border into Botswana and Chobe National Park, where we will go on a game drive within the park. Chobe National Park remains one of Africa’s prime game-viewing areas. Here, one finds all of the “Big Five,” except for rhino. This is elephant country, home to the largest population of elephants in the world…many of these great grey giants can be seen at this time of year. (Note that seasonality makes a big difference in how much game one will see. If it’s dry, larger herds gather; if it has recently rained, the animals will be more dispersed.) The park forms part of Botswana’s northern-most border and is a contrast of desert aridity and flood plains. The Chobe region is best known for its vast magnificent river and floodplains filled with grazing herds of big game. Buffalo, sable, lion, leopard, hippo, hyena, and many species of antelope find safety in this huge national park. Chobe is one of Africa’s most pristine ecosystems and greatest wildlife refuges.

Lunch: Taken at a lodge near Chobe National Park, with a beautiful view over the Chobe River, lunch will be an expansive buffet with numerous salad, main dish and dessert options.

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

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9: Hwange National Park, Elephant Behavior

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Ivory Lodge

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

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: This morning, we will head south to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s premier safari destination. Hwange is legendary for its wonderful array of wildlife, particularly the massive herds of elephant and buffalo. Birdlife 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. In the summer months, large antelope herds migrate onto the plains, closely followed by large predators. Shallow pans are spread throughout the park, around which wildlife 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.

Lunch: Lunches at Ivory Lodge will be small buffets with a starter, main dish, side dish, and dessert. Dishes often vary between brunch and lunch offerings. Bottled water, tea and coffee provided, with additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Before departing on a late afternoon game drive, our Group Leader will give a lecture on elephant social structure, behavior and culling issues. During the game drive, we will search for a variety of bird species including the Kalahari robin, lilac-breasted roller, ground hornbill, eastern red-footed kestrel, Lanner falcon, hobby falcon, and the Steppe eagle, which migrates to southern Africa all the way from the Central Asian steppes.

Dinner: Dinner tonight will be a plated meal at the lodge consisting of a salad or starter, main course with side, and dessert. Water, tea and coffee provided, with additional beverages available for purchase.

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

Day 10: Game Drives, Importance of Termites, Hwange National Park

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Ivory Lodge

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

Morning: On an early morning game drive, we will search for the varied wildlife in the area. Upon our arrival back in camp, a hearty brunch will await us, followed by the heat of the day at leisure. The camp’s viewing “blind” provides a great place to safely observe animals coming to drink from the waterhole in the heat of the day. A guided bush walk will also be available for those interested, where we may encounter wildlife and birdlife as we explore the little surprises in the bush.

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

Afternoon: During tea, our Group Leader will give a lecture on termites, followed by a late afternoon game drive. Keep an eye out for the Whalberg's eagle, swallow-tailed bee-eater, crested guinea fowl and Bradfield's hornbill.

Dinner: At the lodge.

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

Day 11: Game Drives, Lion Social Structure and Behavior, Hwange National Park

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Ivory Lodge

Breakfast: Light breakfast in camp.

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

Brunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: This afternoon's tea-time lecture, given by the Group Leader, will focus on lion social structure and behavior. Afterwards, we will depart on our final afternoon game drive. Search for species such as the Steppe buzzard, harrier hawk, Cape vulture and secretary bird.

Dinner: At the lodge.

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

Day 12: Local Village Visit, Victoria Falls

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: A'Zambezi River Lodge

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

Breakfast: At the lodge.

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

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

Afternoon: After lunch, we will be driven directly to Intabayengwe Village, a nearby traditional village. Here, we will have the chance to meet members of the community and see how they live. We will help the local women prepare a traditional meal and see what role women play in the village. The visit will also take us to a local, illegal “moonshiner’s” distillation facility where we will learn about this underground industry. Visits to some of the homes and the local pre-school will round out our afternoon. From the village, we will transfer to our lodge for check-in and the late afternoon at leisure.

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

Evening: At leisure.

Day 13: Birding Drive, Livingstone Class, Free Time, Victoria Falls

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: A'Zambezi River Lodge

Breakfast: Packed breakfast with homemade muffin, fruit, yogurt, oat cookies, water and tea/coffee will be provided during the morning drive. Full breakfast buffet will be available upon our return to the lodge after the drive, should additional breakfast be desired.

Morning: This morning we will start out at sunrise for a birding-focused drive to several local hot spots in the Victoria Falls area. In open-air, 4x4 safari vehicles, we will start in town, driving along the Zambezi River and stopping at the golf course, as well as the water treatment plant; at both locations, we will have a chance to get out of the vehicle and walk a short distance searching for birds. Our drive will continue into Zambezi National Park, moving slowly through prime areas for birding from the vehicle. Species sighted today may include the black eagle, African skimmer, Taita falcon and half-collared kingfisher. Big game animals such as elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, waterbuck and sable antelope may also be spotted inside the park. We will return to the lodge with time to rest and freshen-up before a mid-morning class. Over coffee/tea and refreshments at the lodge, a noted local historian will discuss the story of Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone, who first visited Victoria Falls over 150 years ago, and whose journeys laid the ground work for the Colonial era that followed.

Lunch: On your own account.

Afternoon: Free time with a variety of local activities to choose from. Our Group Leader will lead a birding walk in the area for those of us who are interested.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 14: Program Concludes

Meals: Breakfast

In Flight

Activity note: Flight time is 1 hour 40 minutes.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Following breakfast, we will have time to pack. Mid-morning, we will transfer to the Victoria Falls airport to board a commercial flight to Johannesburg.

Lunch: In flight.

Afternoon: Arrive Johannesburg in the mid-afternoon, where we will connect to our international return flights. 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.

Day 15: In Transit From Program

In Flight

Morning: Early morning arrivals in North America.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 6,198

Price Per Day:

$ 413 per day
 
  • Select Custom Arrangements to get to and from Road Scholar-provided airfare for your program
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.
Details
Trip Includes
  • 12 nights of accommodations
  • 6 expert-led lectures
  • 19 expert-led field trips
  • 2 flights during the program
  • 1 hands-on experience
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes
Meals Included:

12 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches and 12 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Internal airfare and ground transport
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 24
Accomodations

Courtyard Hotel Eastgate: 2 nights  Johannesburg

The Courtyard Hotel, a beautifully appointed, Tuscan-themed hotel, is located only 15 minutes from the Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport in a very secure area. The hotel overlooks a landscaped greenbelt with walking path. The Eastgate Shopping Centre is nearby, hosting many shops and restaurants. There is a complimentary shuttle to the shopping center offered between 7:00pm to 10:00pm each evening.

 

Thorntree River Lodge: 2 nights  Livingstone

Thorntree River Lodge is a wonderfully situated lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River. The newly built fabric-covered chalets, hidden in the bush, are raised on elevated structures to enhance guests' connection with their surroundings. With a refreshing modern look and soft, traditional elements, Thorntree provides a balanced, relaxing atmosphere. The wide sweeping panorama of the river lends a special magic to the location. Thorntree's riverside location and its unique position within the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park allow for a wide choice of activities, including sunset cruises, game-drives, cultural tours, fishing, and visit to Victoria Falls. The esteemed national park is a sanctuary for white rhino as well as a haven for many other species including giraffe, sable, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and a wide variety of birds.

 

Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge: 3 nights  Imbabala Private Concession

The Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge is a beautiful thatched lodge resting by the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Due to its border with the Chobe Forest Reserve, Imbabala is a regular stop for elephant herds. The lodge features a lounge, dining room, and bar area but meals are often served outside by a hospitable staff. Rooms are stone and thatch mini-lodges with breathtaking views of the Zambezi River and a watering hole where animals often congregate. During the day guests can take advantage of morning and afternoon game drives, river safaris, walking safaris, fishing safaris, and more. Imbabala has an excellent location for those exploring Southern Africa: the lodge is approximately 30 minutes to Chobe National Park (Botswana), 90 minutes to Livingstone (Zambia) Airport, and 60 minutes to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) Airport.

 

Ivory Lodge: 3 nights  Hwange National Park

With a 6,000 acre conservation parcel of Hwange National Park, visitors at Ivory Lodge enjoy unparalleled access to wildlife. A large watering hole on-site attracts the famed Presidential elephants for daily drinks. These elephants symbolize Zimbabwe’s commitment to elephant protection. During your game drives and foot safaris at Ivory Lodge witness a diverse range of habitat environments (open savannah, forest, semi-desert) that invites a mix of buffalo, zebra, impala, elephant, giraffe, and sable.

 

A'Zambezi River Lodge: 2 nights  Victoria Falls

Located in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the A’Zambezi River Lodge is the only hotel in Victoria Falls with a river frontage and jetty site. The imaginative architecture, with its sweeping curve of grass thatch, blends well with the lush green lawns. A'Zambezi is the perfect retreat to relax and unwind in the quiet ambience of the African wildlife and nature, while enjoying renowned service. The majority of the rooms have balconies facing the river and swimming pool whilst the rest face the national park and the gardens.

Start City
Johannesburg
End City
Johannesburg
Guides

Sam Mushandu

Sam was born in a small village in southeast Zimbabwe. Growing up in the village gave him an appreciation for nature, particularly during holidays when he would herd his family’s cattle in the bush. Sam attended Bulawayo Commercial College and is an award-winning safari educator. He has lead learning safaris throughout southern Africa, including top destinations like Hwange and Kafue National Parks. Sam lives with his wife and family in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and enjoys history and fishing. (Be prepared to hear some fishing stories!)

Trip ID#: SpeSouRoa

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