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.”
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Don Wilson is Curator Emeritus of Mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and was named senior scientist in January 2000. Don was director of the Smithsonian's Biodiversity Programs for ten years. A distinguished mammalogist and an internationally recognized authority on bats, he earned his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of New Mexico. He is the author of over 240 scientific publications and 25 books, including the highly acclaimed Series Handbook of Mammals of the World. For the last 40 years, his work has taken him around the world conducting field work and research. He has led tours for Smithsonian Journeys to most of the world's greatest natural history destinations, from Antarctica to Africa. Don loves to share his passion for the natural world, and his easygoing nature, sense of humor, and excellent presentations have earned him much praise and a loyal following from Smithsonian travelers.
Innately curious about the natural world, Molly McDonough spends a great deal of her time observing and studying wildlife. Her interest in mammals has brought her to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the National Zoological Parks’ Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics as a postdoctoral Fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in Biology from Texas Tech University and her current research focuses on documenting biodiversity of lesser-known small mammals, including rodents and bats. She has conducted field research in various countries including Borneo, Mexico, Ecuador, and more recently to Eastern and southern Africa with one trip to Kenya and several to Botswana and South Africa. She is a passionate birder as well, and is well versed in the mammalian fauna of southern Africa, especially the smaller and often overlooked species such as elephant shrews and gerbils.
Grant Nel holds a BSc (Hon) degree in Zoology, has worked in the African wild for 2 decades and has also travelled widely internationally. For the past 12 years Grant has lived a few hundred meters from the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers (both of which feature prominently in your itinerary). The Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park are virtually his back yard. He is a highly respected professional guide and conservationist in the region. He is a former CEO of The Selinda Reserve, and sits on the boards of two local environmental organizations.
A popular and respected naturalist, Patty Hostiuck is well-versed in tropical as well as polar ecosystems. Patty leads trips to the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Honduras, the Caribbean, and Baja California, as well as Australia, and Borneo. Patty's high-latitude work has taken her to every northerly nation from the Canadian High Arctic, Greenland, and Iceland to Svalbard, Norway, and Russia. Over 20 trips to Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego, and Patagonia make for a nearly pole-to-pole career!
Patty has led over 50 trips with Smithsonian Journeys. Fun to travel with, she has shared her expertise in mammals, birds, insects, and plants aboard ships and on the trail with thousands of fellow explorers in dozens of remote areas.
Bob Szaro grew up fascinated by nature and started bird-watching while in grade school. He has an enthusiastic passion for different cultures, architecture, art, natural history, and photography. His extensive travels and studies have taken him to more than 100 countries. From the warmth of African plains to the frigid Arctic he has had the opportunity to enjoy and study an incredible variety of animals and plants and their interaction with the human cultures dependent upon them. His research has included , biodiversity conservation, bird community dynamics, climate change, forest stresses on mountain ecosystems, ecological approaches to natural resource management, desert and riparian plant ecosystems, and fish, wildlife, and forest resources throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Bob retired in 2008 as Chief Scientist for Biology for the US Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia. Bob received a Dual Bachelors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Texas A&M University (1970), a Masters Degree in Zoology from the University of Florida (1972), and a Doctoral Degree in Ecology from Northern Arizona University (1976). He also completed the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard University (1993). Bob currently serves as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution on biodiversity, climate change, and tiger conservation.
David Clapp is a respected naturalist and teacher who worked extensively in land conservation and habitat management. David has taught at Northeastern University, lectured on strategies for land protection in the United States, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and consulted for an array of governmental and conservation agencies. He spent his professional career working for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and has led Smithsonian Journeys adventures for about thirty years. His research has included studies in avian populations and breeding birds of various species. Although natural history is his primary focus, David is interested in cultural history, geology, and evolution. He has been involved in ecotourism for more than thirty years and has led tours throughout the world. Especially through his involvement with ecotourism he has been able to train naturalists, provide natural history materials, and work with conservation organizations worldwide. His lectures run the gamut from plate tectonics and the history of the world to flight and migration as it relates to sites being visited. A naturalist of unusual breadth and depth, he has led Smithsonian Journeys practically from pole to pole. David is also an extremely gifted photographer. He is a popular expert and our travelers consistently express their appreciation for his efforts and enthusiasm.
Nearly two decades ago, Zimbabwean-born Robyn Keene-Young left her job as an attorney to live in a tent and document the African wild with her photographer husband. Since then, operating out of remote wilderness, she has shared her intimate moments with some of the continent's wildest animals. Her travel and nature writing has taken her from the deserts of Namibia to the forests of Uganda, the plains of the Serengeti, and the shores of the mighty Zambezi. Robyns work has been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide and she is the author of five books on Africa, including Backseat Safari and Africa Unplugged. In 2008 she spent eight months on foot with a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta, making her Emmy-nominated documentary Swamp of the Baboons. Her latest show, Great Zebra Exodus, about southern Africas largest mammal migration, is currently being aired on PBS Nature. To read a story written by Robyn for Smithsonian magazine click here.
Briana Pobiner holds a B.A. in Evolutionary Studies from Bryn Mawr College, where she created her own major, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Rutgers University. Her research centers on the evolution of human diet. She has nearly two decades of fieldwork experience at prehistoric sites and wildlife reserves in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Indonesia. Her research has received support from the Fulbright-Hays program, the Leakey Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Rutgers University, the Society for American Archaeology, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Since joining the Smithsonian in 2005, in addition to continuing her active field, laboratory, and experimental archaeology research programs, she leads the Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts and manages the Human Origins Program's public programs, website content, social media, and exhibition volunteer training. Briana has been featured on NPR and Fox5 DC and is also an Associate Research Professor of Anthropology at the George Washington University.