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.”
- The Forbidden City: Official Spaces and Private Quarters
- Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Following the Spirits
- Haydn Seek
- Smithsonian Journeys to Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
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.
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. Robyn's 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 Africa's 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.
Patty Hostiuck has roamed the globe as a naturalist for nearly three decades, seeking out wildlife-rich niches, investigating breathtaking landscapes, and sharing her insights with thoughtful travelers. Her academic background in Biology and Geography shape a perspective that spotlights the importance of place, the abiding interdependence of living things, and the critical influence of nature on human cultures. She has served as a National Forest Ranger and National Park Ranger, worked extensively leading eco-travel and expedition trips from the tropics to both polar regions, and has led, on 7 continents, over 100 Smithsonian Journeys from Antarctica to Zimbabwe. Patty has an amazing breadth of knowledge and her passion to untangle nature’s secrets through her engaging presentations and informal commentary make her a favorite among Smithsonian travelers.
Kirt Kempter is a Fulbright Fellow and Ph.D. graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where he conducted his dissertation research on Rincón de la Vieja volcano in Costa Rica. For the past 11 years, Kirt has worked for the New Mexico STATEMAP program, studying the geologic history of northern New Mexico. Kirt is also an instructor for the NASA astronaut training program, teaching NASA's 2009 astronaut candidates geologic mapping techniques in northern New Mexico. Since 1993, Kirt has led numerous journeys for the Smithsonian Institution, from Iceland to Antarctica.
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 Master’s 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.
Conservation Biologist Francisco Dallmeier has been a conservation biologist with the Smithsonian Institution for the past 26 years. Dr. Dallmeier has developed many training programs in biodiversity research, monitoring, and conservation and has taught several hundred university students and professionals. He represents the Smithsonian Institution on advisory boards for both conservation and governmental organizations and has worked with UNESCO, Environment Canada, and regional partners to develop forest biodiversity monitoring programs and capacity building for sites around the world. Together with Environment Canada in 2008, he led the International Symposium on Climate Change and Biodiversity in the Americas.
Dr. Dallmeier is the director of Smithsonian's Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability (CCES), part of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). CCES provides research and conservation approaches for sustainable development and world-class professional and academic programs for conservation practitioners.
For nearly 15 years Francisco has been instrumental in forging strategic partnerships between the Smithsonian and the energy industry so that biodiversity conservation is integrated into mainstream development. Other projects include working with NZP colleagues to formalize a multi-million dollar partnership with the World Bank to implement the Global Tiger Initiative/Conservation and Development Network. This long-term project will integrate biodiversity conservation into sustainable development in 13 tiger range countries and provide resources for trainers, practitioners, and regional leaders. Dr. Dallmeier also led and coordinated the successful nomination of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal as a core site for the Mid-Atlantic National Science Foundation/ National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Francisco received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Management from Colorado State University.