Take part in an extraordinary journey to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia as you take part in thrilling game drives in search of the elusive “Big Five” and witness the largest concentrations of wildlife and birds in Africa.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
This trip far exceeded our lofty expectations. Words alone cannot describe the magic of this experience.”
Boat cruises on the river with animals on either side were exciting, quiet, peaceful and truly spiritual, all at once! My favorite thing about this tour as a whole was the absence of other tourists. It was private and personal. A totally fabulous experience!”
Previous Journeys Traveler
Africa and its wonders must be experienced in person! Nature at its best! A photographer's dream come true.”
Like everyone told me, I returned convinced this was the "Best trip I ever took!"”
If Africa is not on your bucket list, you need a new bucket! This trip should not be missed.”
- A Q&A with Expert Francesca Casertano
- A Tale of Two Monuments (and Three Centuries of Tourists)
- A Magical Tour of the City of Light
- Incredible, unforgettable India!
This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.
Consistently rated among Smithsonian's top 10 tours, our extraordinary African Safari to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia is truly the trip of a lifetime as our travelers enjoy thrilling game drives in search of the elusive "Big Five," accompanied by a top Smithsonian Expert. Join us to see one of the largest concentrations of birds and wildlife in Africa, marvel at extraordinary Victoria Falls, and discover Lower Zambezi National Park by guided canoe trips and sunset river cruises. Plus, enjoy the safari comforts of staying at deluxe lodges.
During two days in Johannesburg, see the homes of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela and visit the Hector Pieterson Museum on Apartheid. Then spend three days at magnificent Victoria Falls, where you’ll stay at a deluxe hotel located in the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve. Botswana’s Chobe National Park boasts one of the largest concentrations of birds and wildlife in all of Africa. Enjoy sensational game drives and boat safaris during three days in the park. Then travel to Zambia for a special highlight — wildlife viewing at Lower Zambezi National Park. Embark on a variety of safari activities, including open-vehicle game drives, guided canoe trips, and sunset river cruises, spending a relaxing three-night stay at the intimate Royal Zambezi Lodge.
Days 1-2 — Depart U.S. for Johannesburg, South Africa
Upon arrival transfer to your hotel.
Day 3 — Johannesburg/Soweto
Embark on a half-day tour of Johannesburg’s renowned district of Soweto. See the home of former Archbishop Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela’s home, now a museum. Next, visit the Hector Pieterson Museum – a monument to the Soweto Uprising which figured prominently in the struggle against apartheid. After lunch, meet a local Sowetan who shares personal stories of the Soweto uprising, and what life is like today in this township. Tonight toast the adventure ahead at a welcome dinner. (B,L,D)
Days 4-5 — Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Travel to Victoria Falls (a World Heritage site) and your deluxe hotel located in the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve. View the falls, first “discovered” by explorer David Livingstone and claimed for Queen Victoria in 1855. With its 300-foot deep gorge and thundering spray, “Vic” Falls is a wonder of the natural world, especially as hippos, elephants, crocodiles, and other animals roam freely in the surrounding jungle. The next morning, enjoy a game drive to spot the elusive Rhino. This experience serves to educate visitors about the increasing threats to Africa's wildlife. Late afternoon, embark on a "sundowner" dinner cruise on the Zambezi. (2B,2D)
Day 6 — Victoria Falls
Take a guided tour of the Victoria Falls bridge and learn about its construction from atop the catwalks. This afternoon is at leisure at the deluxe lodge with its own watering hole and outdoor pool. Tonight hear a fascinating guest speaker on "The Story of David Livingstone". (B,D)
Day 7 — Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, Botswana
This morning travel two hours by motorcoach to Botswana and Chobe National Park, boasting one of the largest concentrations of game in all of Africa. After settling in and enjoying lunch at your lodge, embark this afternoon on a game-viewing boat safari on the Chobe River, where you may see hippo, crocs, some of the park’s 450 species of birds, and perhaps a beautiful Chobe sunset. Dine tonight at your lodge. (B,L,D)
Days 8-9 — Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is known for its diverse terrain, which covers 7,270 square miles of protected parkland, and for an exceptional array of wildlife including the world’s largest elephant population (some 120,000), zebra, lion, giraffe, impala, wildebeest, and buffalo. See a portion of this natural wonder on your early morning game drive and this afternoon’s boat safari. The next day set out on another early morning game drive and afternoon boat safari. In between game viewing activities, you’re at leisure to enjoy the amenities of your lodge on the banks of the Chobe River, adjacent to the park itself. Among the options: fishing, birding, nature walks, or relaxing by the outdoor pool. (2B,2L,2D)
Day 10 — Chobe National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
This morning board a privately chartered plane for the 1½-hour flight to Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia’s newest reserve (since 1983) and, as the former private sanctuary of Zambia’s president, the least developed. Here in one of Africa’s last stretches of pristine wilderness you have the chance to get closer to the animals than anywhere else. This afternoon and evening engage in some of the lodge’s game viewing activities that include open vehicle game drives, night game drives, fly fishing, guided canoe trips, bushwalks, boat safaris, and sunset river cruises. (B,L,D)
Days 11-12 — Lower Zambezi National Park
From your 14-room luxury lodge on the banks of the Zambezi, enjoy two days of game viewing activities in this 1,600 square mile park on the southern end of Zambia known for its 100-strong elephant herds, unusually large prides of lion, plus buffalo, waterbuck, antelope, impala, zebra, crocodile, hippo, kudu, warthog, eland, and leopard, among other wildlife; and where ebonies, leadwoods, figs, and acacias preside over the mineral-rich grassland. With Zimbabwe’s renowned Mana Pools Reserve situated across the river, the Lower Zambezi National Park forms a massive sanctuary where you’re certain to enjoy unparalleled game and bird viewing – rarely seeing another person. With the Zambezi River, abundant game on the valley floor, and the Zambezi Escarpment as a backdrop, the Lower Zambezi National Park offers a dramatic setting for game viewing as does our lodge, where animals roam freely on the grounds. (2B,2L,2D)
Day 13 — Lower Zambezi National Park, Lusaka, Depart for U.S.
Travel by private charter flight today to Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, you'll have a day room to rest before this evening's flight to the United States. (B)
Day 14 — Arrive U.S.
Arrive in the U.S. this morning and connect with your flights home.