Encounter the legendary wildlife of southern Africa on safari in the national parks and game reserves of Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana on a popular journey that also includes Johannesburg’s historic sites and magnificent Victoria Falls.

Starting at: $8,984 * Price includes special offer * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Lion on watch
 Elephants on the savanna
 The powerful and dramatic Victoria Falls
 Seeing giraffes on safari
 Lion pride. Credit: Smithsonian Journeys Expert Kirt Kempter
 Lone cheetah on the watch
 African rhino on the savannah. Credit: Smithsonian Journeys Expert Grant Nel
 African Buffalo
 Elephant viewing from the canoe. Credit: Smithsonian Journeys Expert Don Wilson
 Elephant calf with mother. Credit: Smithsonian Journeys Expert Grant Nel
 Giraffes on the savanna
 Lilac-breasted roller
 Flight of an African Fish Eagle in Zambia. Credit: Richard Sooy
 Victoria Falls
 On safari

African Safari: A Wildlife Adventure

South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Victoria Falls

14 days from $8,984 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Encounter the legendary wildlife of southern Africa on safari in the national parks and game reserves of Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana on a popular journey that also includes Johannesburg’s historic sites and magnificent Victoria Falls.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This trip far exceeded our lofty expectations. Words alone cannot describe the magic of this experience. 

- Mark S.

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. 

- Allen S.

Like everyone told me, I returned convinced this was the "Best trip I ever took!" 

- Gwendolyn S.

If Africa is not on your bucket list, you need a new bucket! This trip should not be missed.

- Stewart G.

This journey was a lifetime experience we will always treasure. It was fun, relaxing, elegant, and educational. Our expert, guides, and hotel staff were so wonderful! They made it special.

- Carmen & Tony C.

"The African Safari with Smithsonian Journeys was the trip of a lifetime. Every detail was attended to, before and during the trip - an exceptional experience!"

- Beatrice, C.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

SPECIAL OFFER

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.

Overview

Embark on thrilling wildlife drives in search of the “Big Five” the “Elusive Eleven” and much more, marvel at magnificent Victoria Falls, and trace the lives of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu in Johannesburg on one of our “top 10” tours. Observe elephants and hippos on the banks of Botswana’s Chobe River on afternoon wildlife cruises and explore a private game reserve known for its black rhino conservation program in Zimbabwe. Then head to Zambia for a visit to South Luangwa National Park, a remote jewel of a unspoiled wilderness that harbors one of Africa’s highest concentrations of wildlife. You’ll stay in stylish boutique hotels and stunning safari lodges, and learn from local experts about the history, ecology, and culture that define southern Africa.

Highlights Include

  • Victoria Falls: Spend three days on the Zimbabwe side of this World Heritage site, taking in views of the thundering falls from different perspectives. Set out on wildlife drives in Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, on the lookout for hippos, elephants, crocodiles, and the elusive black rhino. Learn about the region’s history as you stroll the catwalks of Victoria Falls Bridge, and cap off your stay on a “sundowner” dinner cruise on the Zambezi River.
  • Botswana’s Chobe National Park:  During your three-day stay, take early morning drives and boat safaris that provide abundant opportunities to view wildlife, including the world's largest elephant population (120,000), along with zebras, lions, giraffes, impalas, and some of the park's 450 species of birds
  • Zambia, South Luangwa National Park: From your stylish lodge located inside the 3,500-square-mile park, enjoy two days of exceptional wildlife viewing on open-vehicle drives and bushwalks. The remote park boasts one of Africa’s highest concentrations of wildlife, from Cape buffalo and leopard to wild dogs and the endemic Crawshay’s zebra. Get acquainted with everyday life on a visit to the local community.
  • South Africa: Delve into South Africa’s turbulent 20th-century history during a special tour of Johannesburg’s Soweto district. See the home of revered peacemaker Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela’s home.  At the Hector Pieterson Museum, learn about the pivotal Soweto youth uprising, and meet a local resident to hear stories of contemporary life in this township. 
  • See a special photo gallery of safari images captured by Smithsonian Journeys Experts. 

This trip far exceeded our lofty expectations. Words alone cannot describe the magic of this experience. 

- Mark S.

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. 

- Allen S.

Like everyone told me, I returned convinced this was the "Best trip I ever took!" 

- Gwendolyn S.

If Africa is not on your bucket list, you need a new bucket! This trip should not be missed.

- Stewart G.

This journey was a lifetime experience we will always treasure. It was fun, relaxing, elegant, and educational. Our expert, guides, and hotel staff were so wonderful! They made it special.

- Carmen & Tony C.

"The African Safari with Smithsonian Journeys was the trip of a lifetime. Every detail was attended to, before and during the trip - an exceptional experience!"

- Beatrice, C.

2023 Itinerary

Map - African Safari: A Wildlife Adventure

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Johannesburg, South Africa

Day 2 — Johannesburg

Arrive in Johannesburg and transfer to the leafy Rosebank suburb, where you’ll check in early to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, breakfast will be available for you. The remainder of the day is unscheduled so that you can rest and relax and get to know some of the trendy neighborhoods within this diverse metropolis known as the “City of Gold.” (B)

Day 3 — Johannesburg and Soweto

Meet your fellow travelers this morning and embark on a full-day tour of Soweto, the district of Johannesburg. See the home of Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and tour the Mandela House, the Soweto home where Nelson Mandela lived during his rise as an anti-apartheid activist. At the moving Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, learn more about the struggle against apartheid and the Soweto youth uprising of 1976. Then hear stories from a Soweto resident who was present during the uprising. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Johannesburg and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Fly to Livingstone, Zambia, then cross into Zimbabwe and settle into your deluxe hotel in the town of Victoria Falls. Set on the border of the two countries, the falls were first documented in 1855 by explorer David Livingstone, who promptly claimed them for Queen Victoria. Experience the power of this tremendous waterfall, created as the Zambezi River drops more than 350 feet into a narrow chasm. (B,D)

Day 5 — Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve

Set off on a morning wildlife drive in Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, home to the “Big Five” and many other species. This former hunting concession is now known for its conservation programs. Learn about the successes of its black rhino breeding program—and the challenges of fighting poaching—as you search out these endangered and elusive animals. Late this afternoon, embark on a sundowner” dinner cruise on the Zambezi River. (B,D)

Day 6 — Victoria Falls

Take in views of the waterfall on a guided tour of the Victoria Falls Bridge, a steel bridge opened in 1905. Walk the catwalks and learn about the construction and significance of the bridge, which was intended by Cecil Rhodes to be part of a larger Cape Town to Cairo railway line. The afternoon is yours to relax at the lodge and enjoy its pool and gardens. Tonight, gather for a lecture by a guest speaker on "The Story of David Livingstone." (B,D)

Day 7 — Chobe National Park, Botswana

Journey by motorcoach to Botswana this morning, and head toward Chobe National Park, which boasts one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in all of Africa. After a leisurely lunch at your lodge, set sail on the Chobe River on a wildlife cruise, watching for elephants, hippos, crocodiles, some of the park’s 450 species of birds (including sacred ibis, carmine bee-eaters, fish eagles, and kingfishers). Enjoy the sunset on the river and return to the lodge for dinner tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 8-9 — Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park covers 7,270 square miles of diverse terrain that harbors an exceptional array of wildlife, including the world’s largest elephant population (some 120,000), as well as zebras, lions, giraffes, impalas, wildebeests, and buffalo. Spend two full days discovering the park and its biodiversity on early morning wildlife drives and afternoon boat safaris. During your downtime between wildlife outings, enjoy the amenities of the lodge. (B,L,D daily)

Day 10 — South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

A morning flight brings you to Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, a vast and unspoiled stretch of woodlands and plains along the Luangwa River. Settle into your stunning lodge, nestled amid mahogany and ebony trees within the park, and encounter the area’s abundant wildlife on an afternoon open-vehicle wildlife drive or a walking safari—or from the lodge’s deck, which overlooks two lagoons that draw a steady stream of animals. (B,L,D)

Day 11-12 — South Luangwa National Park

Covering some 3,500 square miles, South Luangwa National Park was established in 1972 but long overlooked thanks to its remote location. Today it boasts one of Africa’s highest concentrations of wildlife, including unusual finds like Zambia’s endemic Crawshay’s zebra, the elusive bushbuck, and the spiral-horned kudu; as well as some 400 bird species, wild dogs, giraffes, lions, leopards and much more. Enjoy two full days to discover the park and its inhabitants on morning, daytime, and nocturnal safaris with seasoned rangers.

You’ll also have the opportunity to go on guided walking safaris—an intimate and exhilarating experience that spotlights lesser-known flora and fauna; meet children at a local school; and visit a borehole project that provides water for the community. On your final evening, gather for a festive farewell dinner at the lodge. (B,L,D, daily)

Day 13-14 — Lusaka/Depart for home

Travel by light aircraft today to Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, where you'll have a day room to rest before your overnight flight back to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

Related Tours