August 12-25, 2012
Faculty: David E. Smith, Professor of Environmental Science
Price: $6,995 per person, double occupancy, Land Program Only
$2,595 per person, single supplement
Post extension: $2,895 per person, double occupancy
$695 single supplement
Our Operator can quote air from your gateway city.
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Charming, elegant and mysterious, Southern Africa awaits you on an exciting safari of cultural and natural treasures. Feel the warmth of the African sun while exploring Cape Town's immense cache of unrivaled beauty, from Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope, to vineyards, exotic gardens and endearing penguins. Venture off to Grootbos, in Hermanus, a pristine botanical reserve before exploring Walker Bay, one of the best vantage points for whale-watching in the world. Feel the rush of seeing distinctive African wildlife up-close at Mashatu Game Reserve, in the Tuli Reserve, before visiting the famed Kruger National Park. Revisit South Africa's tumultuous past at the Nelson Mandela House and Apartheid Museum.
For those still seeking adventure, go on the optional extension to hear the thundering roar of Victoria Falls – Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders,) derived from the towering column of spray when the Zambezi River runs high. Enjoy luxury accommodations, exceptional dining and some of the best wildlife viewing in the world as you explore Southern Africa at its finest. Leading the journey will be Graham Johansson, an avid naturalist and accomplished wildlife photographer, who will share his experience, knowledge and passion for this beautiful destination.
- See Devil's Peak, Lion's Head, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles at Cape Point.
- Get up close and personal with African penguins at Boulders Beach!
- Walk among thousands of species of indigenous South African flora at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
- Hike up Table Mountain and take in breathtaking scenery while cute guinea like creatures known as rock dassies scuttle around you seeking to be fed.
- Go whale watching at Hermanus, known as the whale watching capital of the world.
- Explore the university town of Stellenbosch, the oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town and undoubtedly the most scenic and historically-preserved town in South Africa.
- Get in touch with your wild side and visit the Mashatu Game Reserve, refuge to the largest, single population of elephant on privately owned land in Africa.
- Interact with the ethnic vhaVenda people at the Pafuri Camp and barter for traditional crafts such as baskets, mats or pots from the homes of the villagers.
- Travel though history as you visit the Mandela Family Museum, the Apartheid Museum and the Hector Peterson Square in Johannesburg and Soweto.
The Tai Cape Town Hotel
The perfect blend of heritage and modern luxury epitomizes the Taj Cape Town. Located in the city center, the hotel is steps from the popular area of St George's Mall which is a vibrant pedestrian precinct with wonderful pavement cafés and bars and is surrounded by significant historic buildings which include the St. George's Cathedral, the House of Parliament, the Castle of Good Hope, the Company's Gardens and many of Cape Town's national museums. All rooms are beautifully decorated and complete with every exclusive amenity. The Taj Cape Town has two spectacular restaurants - Mint and The Bombay Brasserie - and an unforgettable seafood, champagne and oyster bar known as The Twankey. The Jiva Grand Spa combines the wisdom and heritage of the respected Asian and Indian philosophies, surrounding wellness and wellbeing, to create an unrivaled treatment experience. The hotel prides itself on providing unobtrusive and efficient service from a staff that genuinely delights in making guests feel at home.
The Marine Hotel
The Marine Hotel is located in the picturesque coastal village of Hermanus and overlooks Walker Bay and its various hues of blue. Everything about it is marine, clear and luminous - from the tables of The Orangery to the spacious rooms decorated in a contemporary style. This luxurious boutique hotel has 45 bedrooms and suites, encompassing views that extend across Walker Bay or over the beautiful internal courtyard and manicured gardens and the Overberg mountains. Each well-appointed room is individually decorated and comes with its own private facilities. The hotel boasts two award-winning restaurants: The Seafood, with its open theatre kitchen, and the contemporary Pavilion with its floating wine cellar. Hermanus offers some of the best land-based whale watching in the world and at The Marine you don't even have to get out of bed to experience these amazing creatures!
The Grande Roche of Paarl and Bosman’s Restaurant on the premises have become legendary on the local hospitality scene for having won a formidable array of awards and culinary accolades since its opening in January 1992. This gem of South Africa is set on a gentle slope overlooking vineyards and rugged mountains. The manor house and its sprawl of individually decorated suites are a gentle alternative to the hurly-burly of big city life. It is the hotel’s subtle attention to detail that sets it apart from the rest. All suites are equipped with air-conditioning, heating facilities, mini bar, radio, television, and direct dial telephone. Bathrooms are en suite and offer all amenities. The estate also offers a Kraal pool, fitness pool, massage room, sauna and steam bath, and pool with quiet suntan area.
Mashatu Main Camp
Mashatu Main Camp offers 14 authentically decorated suites. Each suite is furnished with two three-quarter beds, a day bed, expansive en suite bathroom with shower, bath, his and hers basins, and a second W.C. A private lounge area overlooks the unfenced surrounding bush and 24 hour temperature control completes the comfort of each suite. Mashatu Main Camp is elevated around a waterhole and offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities from within the camp itself. The dining area, stunning day lounge and "Gin Trap" bar provide diverse lookouts from which to enjoy and appreciate the environment. Facilities within the camp include a swimming pool, an air-conditioned lounge and dining room and a lala-palm enclosed African boma, in which sumptuous dinners are savored under the magnificent African night sky and around a blazing fire.
This camp is situated on the northern bank of the Luvuvhu River within lush riverine forest. The camp consists of twenty luxurious thatched tents that are raised off the ground on wooden walkways. The camp has two plunge pools, a dining room and lounge. There are six family tents, which are able to sleep families of up to four under one roof. The interiors are stylish, with a Makuleke influence. Each tented room has wonderful views onto the Luvuvhu River. The rooms are comfortably furnished and have en-suite bathrooms with hot and cold running water and an additional “outside” shower for those who want to enjoy being closer to nature. While here, you can take full or half-day tours to the Big Tree (estimated to be 5,000 years old!), Bushman paintings, and the Venda forests.
Fairlawns Sandton Hotel
The Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa in Sandton is situated in the heart of Sandton, the exclusive residential and business area north of Johannesburg. Set in an attractive, landscaped garden with an outdoor swimming pool, the hotel provides an informal atmosphere which is combined with efficient service. There are 40 opulent, world-class suites, individually decorated with beautiful hand-painted techniques, high corniced ceilings, sumptuous fabrics and custom designed period furniture. A large, fully equipped gym and a newly built Balinese spa promotes the principles of holistic healing in a pampering environment. A large crystalline swimming pool is set in the expansive tree-lined garden.
Victoria Falls Hotel
The Victoria Falls Hotel is the 'Grand Dame' of Victoria Falls. For almost 100 years, visiting members of the royal families, international and local statesmen, and celebrities worldwide, have flocked to the Victoria Falls Hotel, where they are assured of privacy and care in an atmosphere steeped in history, combining the charm of the old with all the comfort and convenience of today. It is one hotel that can truly claim to be unique. Through the years, the 'Vic Falls Hotel' has enjoyed various renovations, but has lost none of its earlier charm. In fact, much of the hotel has been meticulously brought back to its former grandeur using original photos and plans. The architecture reflects Edwardian style at its height with numerous corridors, archways, and columns, and extensive wood paneling. The hotel is set on verdant lawns, adorned with beautiful flowers, shrubs and indigenous trees. There is a lovely brick terrace at the top of the garden from where guests can relax in deep wicker chairs and look out to the famous railway bridge enveloped in the mist of the falls. The en-suite bedrooms are also constructed in the style of the Edwardian era, many with period antiques. Well decorated and very comfortable, they are a welcome reward after a full-day of sightseeing. The Edwardian theme is further reflected in the bathroom's black and white tiling, and claw foot bathtub.^ back to top
11 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 4 Dinners
3 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
David E. Smith
Dave is a Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia and Associate Chair of the department. Dave is an expert in biological oceanography, marine ecology and invertebrate zoology. He teaches about everything from the biology of coastal communities and coral reefs to the science of predator-prey relationships. Every summer, Dave takes U.Va. students to a research island in the Bahamas to study coral reefs and most years he takes a group to Belize to study the jungle and marshes. During the journey, he will speak on topics including the jungles of Costa Rica, cloud forests, coastal environments of the Pacific rim, the science behind the development of coral islands and will teach about the organisms to be seen on the trip. Dave earned his Ph.D. at Texas A&M.^ back to top
Day 1 -- Sunday (8/12)
New York or Washington D.C/En route
Your adventure begins as you board your overnight flight to Johannesburg. (Meals aloft)
Day 2 -- Monday (8/13)
This afternoon arrive in Johannesburg where you connect with your flight to Cape Town, South Africa's "Mother City." Upon arrival, you will be met by your specialist and escorted to your hotel. The provincial capital, Cape Town, is a sophisticated city with plenty to see and do, particularly around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area, where delighted buildings of the Cape Dutch and Victorian-era architecture have been restored as shops, restaurants, museums and pubs, while the busy water traffic of the docks goes on unabated.
Accommodation: The Taj Cape Town Hotel
Day 3 -- Tuesday (8/14)
Cape Town: Cape Peninsula/Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
After breakfast this morning, board your motorcoach for a coastal drive to the Cape of Good Hope. Pass seaside towns and see Devil's Peak, Lion's Head, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles. At Cape Point, you can climb the steps or ride a funicular to the top. Take a close look at the ocean—many a times you may see southern right whales in the spring and early summer, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds.
Covering over 19,000 acres, the reserve houses an astonishing variety of plant species. About 1,200 different plant species have been identified in the reserve. It is said that this area contains more floral species than the whole of the British Isles. Although it is regarded as a botanical reserve, there is an extensive network of roads allowing visitors to view animals such as grey rhebok, Cape grysbok, Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, and porcupine. One can find 250 species of birds in the reserve, ranging from ostriches to minuscule sunbirds. At Olifants Bay, look for Oystercatchers, and enjoy some superb birding. One of the reserve's most interesting creatures is the endangered sago-belly frog which lives in a few shallow, freshwater pools in a specially protected area.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and continue to Boulders Beach. This beautiful spot is framed by white beaches that are protected by granite boulders. It is also where the African (Jackass) Penguins can be seen – also known as the black-footed penguins. Take a walk on a specially-built platform onto the sheltered beach where they nest among the rocks, and "waddle" up and down into and out of the sea. Since they're used to human presence, you can get within a few feet of them in safety to the birds as you're on the platform, and it is sometimes possible to view them nesting as they tend to hide themselves behind rocks and bushes.
Later you'll have a chance to take a guided tour of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Founded in 1913, Kirstenbosch lies on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and consists of landscaped gardens of indigenous plants and trees, watered by the Liesbeek River, as well as natural forest that extend up to the lower slopes. Kirstenbosch covers an area of 1,383 acres, 148 of which are cultivated; the remainder is a natural flora reserve. It is a living display featuring 9,000 of the estimated 20,000 species of indigenous South African flora, and close to 50% of the peninsula's floral wealth. Of historical interest is an avenue of camphor trees and fig trees planted by Cecil Rhodes in 1898, and a small section of wild almond (Brabejum stellatifolium) hedge planted by Dutch settler Jan van Riebeeck in 1660. Birds of all sorts can be seen here as well. Return to your hotel in the evening to enjoy dinner on your own at one of Cape Town's many wonderful restaurants.
Accommodations: The Taj Cape Town Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 -- Wednesday (8/15)
Cape Town: Day at Leisure/Robben Island/Khayelitsha (New Hope Township) Optional Tour ($225 PP Additional)
Today you will visit one of the most symbolically significant and moving sights in South Africa, Robben Island. For nearly 400 years, Robben Island was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. During the apartheid years Robben Island became internationally known for its institutional brutality. Those imprisoned on the Island succeeded on a psychological and political level in turning a prison 'hell-hole' into a symbol of freedom and personal liberation. In 1997 Robben Island became a National Museum and National Monument. It was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Tours are conducted by former prisoners of Robben Island.
Return to the mainland and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, sampling typical African food and hospitality in an authentic setting.
Proceed to the settlement of Khayelitsha, on the Cape Flats. Khayelitsha means "new hope" and was established in 1984 during the tribal war outbreak in informal settlements. Like many other townships, it was created during the apartheid era as a dormitory area for the working class. Today residents continue to face challenges of HIV/AIDS and poverty in post-apartheid South Africa.
You will meet your guide, founder Vivian Zilo, and spend time with her gaining a personal insight into her work in the community and learning more about the area in which they live. Vivian established the Iliso Care Society in June 2005 when she solicited the help of four other women to begin providing services to her community. The mission of the Iliso Care Society is to fight poverty, encourage community empowerment, organize workshops for youth, provide safety and care for orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly and school children. Today, Vivian brings new hope to the people of Khayelitsha and you will get a chance to experience this first hand.
Accommodations: Taj Cape Town Hotel
Day 5 -- Thursday (8/16)
Cape Town~Table Mountain/Hermanus
Get a feel of what Cape Town is all about by taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, the signature of this city, easily one of the most recognizable mountains. For centuries Table Mountain has been a guiding beacon to mariners rounding the Cape of Southern Africa. Sir Francis Drake described it as "the most stately thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth." Despite its formidable appearance, it is possible to hike up Table Mountain. For nature lovers, the birding is awesome, and the wild flowers include agapanthus, watsonias and red nerines which poke out from rock crevices amid a scrub of ericas and gnarled proteas. Cute guinea pig-like creatures known as rock dassies, or hyraxes, (genetically, the closest living relatives to elephants) scuttle everywhere. They are not afraid and scamper among the tourists seeking to be fed.
Continue with your drive along the coast to Hermanus - known as the whale-watching capital of the world. Famous for its 'champagne air' and down-to-earth hospitality, Hermanus is an idyllic seaside holiday village, resting in one of the Cape's most glorious settings. With breathtaking scenery that unfolds along miles of cliff and mountain paths, this historic Cape fishing village is one of South Africa's best loved destinations.
Hermanus is one of the world's foremost land-based whale watching destinations in the world. The coastal paths along the high cliffs offer views of these giants of the deep as they winter in the Walker Bay area. From July to December, the Southern Right Whale migrates from the Antarctic into Walker Bay. Here, the whales go through the breeding cycle which culminates in the birth of their young.
Accommodations: The Marine Hotel
Day 6 -- Friday (8/17)
Venture off to Grootbos, a botanical reserve that has some of the most beautiful wild flowers and landscapes to be seen. Your guide will explain fynbos in better detail, the seasonal fluctuations, what effect fire has on the plants and animals and why fynbos requires fire for succession.
This area of coast is prime whale breeding and calving grounds and every year between July and November (even mid-December); many Southern Right whales come here. It is a sight to behold especially when they are so close into shore that you can smell their fishy breath! Late afternoon you will enjoy a sun set over Walker Bay, casting orange hues over all in its path. Sunrise is no less spectacular and makes for magnificent landscape or floral photography. Explore the reserve on foot, horseback or in an open 4x4 vehicle taking in the different eco-zones and Table Mountain sandstone geological structures. Take a stroll through one of the cool afro-montane forests, south facing fire resistant plant communities similar to tall tropical rain forests living in pockets on steep hills. Walker Bay provides the most spectacular vantage points for whale-watching in the world. Just a short drive from Grootbos lies 19 miles of superb coastline. Here you are able to enjoy stretches of white sand, collect sea shells, have a swim in crystal clear water or simply relax. The coastline is a treasure trove of bird and sea life. The Cape Fur seal can be found on Dyer's island, 20 minutes away by boat. This is also hunting ground for the great white shark.
Accommodations: The Marine Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 -- Saturday (8/18)
Today you leave Hermanus and travel into the Winelands region of the Cape. Discover the internationally acclaimed vineyards of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek on the Western Cape, along a most scenic route. A stop at the historic estate of Boschendal will introduce you to some of the most brilliantly preserved Cape Dutch buildings in the Cape and its collection of priceless period furniture. At Franschhoek, discover antique shops and gardens, nestled in the "Valley of the Huguenots" where the French first settled in 1688. You will also explore the university town of Stellenbosch, the oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town, undoubtedly the most scenic and historically-preserved town in Southern Africa. Oak-lined streets next to water furrows compliment the many fine examples of elegant Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture – all part of this unique "Town of Oaks". You will have lunch in Stellenbosch.
Accommodations: Grand Roche
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Days 8 and 9 -- Sunday and Monday (8/19 and 8/20)
Tuli Reserve/Mashatu Game Reserve
Return to Cape Town and board your flight to Polokwane. Cross the border into Botswana, where you arrive at your luxury tented camp located in the Northern Tuli Reserve. Spend the next two days experiencing the African bush on day and night wildlife drives in 4x4 vehicles and on-foot accompanied by experienced rangers and trackers. In the remote eastern corner of Botswana, at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers, lies an area known historically as the Tuli enclave – a diverse wilderness of savannah, riverine forests, marshland, open plains and sandstone outcrops. It is here that the largest of the Rattray Reserves is situated – Mashatu Reserve. The name is derived from the magnificent Mashatu trees, which occur throughout this immense tract of privately owned land. Mashatu is also the home of no less than seven of Africa's giants: the African elephant, the lion, giraffe, the baobab tree, the eland, the ostrich, and the kori bustard. Some 366 species of birds may be seen. Mashatu Reserve proudly provides a refuge for the largest, single population of elephant on privately owned land in Africa. Known as the relic herds of Shashe, these elephants are the last living testament to the great herds that once populated the Limpopo valley.
Here you are offered some of the most exciting wildlife viewing in Africa. It is a place of exceptional beauty where one can explore the unspoiled African landscapes either in the comfort of open 4-wheel drive vehicles, on a walking safari, on mountain bicycles, or horse back, guided by expert rangers and experienced trackers. In addition to the drives the reserve is also able to offer activities conducted by research scientists and concessionaires based here. Home to the largest free-roaming elephant population on South Africa private land, join the resident elephant specialist, Jeanetta Selier, on a morning drive to learn to identify and approximate the age and sex of the different herds. The resident leopard researcher will take you on a predator drive to track and follow these solitary creatures with advanced telemetry equipment. On one of your days, join a resident expert on a visit to the Mmamagwa ruins to explore ancient civilizations, including Solomon's Wall and Mmamakwa Hill.
Accommodations: Mashatu Main Camp
Meals: All meals daily
Days 10 and 11 -- Tuesday and Wednesday (8/21 and 8/22)
Kruger National Park~Pafuri Camp
Transfer by vehicle to Pafuri Camp, located on the northwest edge of Kruger National Park. The park is home to an unparalleled diversity of wildlife and is maintained by one of the world's most sophisticated management systems. Five rivers cross the park from west to east. There are 300 different types of trees, 49 species of fish, 34 types of amphibian, 116 different reptilian species, 505 species of birds and 147 species of mammals in the park. It is also frequented by browsers and grazers such as giraffe, kudu, impala, zebra, wildebeest and buffalo. Elephant and white rhino also inhabit Kruger. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and side-striped jackal, as well as wild dog.
Pafuri Camp is situated at the top end of the former homeland Venda, now part of the Limpopo province. Although it has now been incorporated into the new South Africa, Venda remains a unique area, with an intriguing culture and a diverse landscape. Most of the land around is communal, so one is free to explore without the fear of trespassing.
This region has had virtually no exposure to tourism; as a result you will not find your typical tourist markets, township tours or artificial ethnic scenes. The vhaVenda are peaceful people for whom ancient tradition is still very much a part of everyday life. Visits to the local villages still cause much excitement. One can barter for traditional crafts such as baskets, mats or pots from the homes of the villagers or you can join the queue to see the Sangoma (a traditional Zulu healer and respected elder). The vhaVenda however, were not the first people to inhabit this region. There are many caves dotted through the sandstone outcrops with evidence of the Bushmans presence. New rock art sites have recently been discovered in the Dambale and Domboni hills and bits of pottery can be found throughout the area. Stone Age tools up to 2 million years old lie scattered between the Mutale and Limpopo rivers.
Accommodations: Pafuri Camp
Meals: All meals daily
Day 12 -- Thursday (8/23)
Transfer to Polokwane airport for your flight to Johannesburg. Often called Jo'burg, Johannesburg is the country's largest city and financial center with ultra modern skyscrapers and a bustling way of life. It is the city of gold, as its claim to fame is the gold that was discovered close-by. There are many things to do in Johannesburg – relax, shop, sightsee and take in the local flavor.
Accommodations: Fairlawns Sandton Hotel
Day 13 -- Friday (8/24)
Johannesburg~Soweto and Apartheid Museum/En Route
Get ready for an exciting day as you travel back in time to revisit South Africa's history with a trip to the Mandela Family Museum, the Apartheid Museum and Hector Peterson Square in Soweto. Once the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, the Mandela Family Museum is now comprised of memorabilia from world leaders and scholars, paintings and photographs of the Mandela family. The Apartheid Museum reflects on segregation and the birth of the democratic country that rose out of this dark period while the memorial to slain 12-year-old, Hector Peterson, for resisting police and the Apartheid government reminds us of those brave and innocent souls lost in the fight for equality.
For anyone wanting to understand and experience what South Africa was really like, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is fundamental. The museum is a beacon of hope showing the world how South Africa is coming to terms with the past and working towards a future that all South African's can call their own. This museum illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid. Visitors walk through the 22 exhibition areas, which contain film footage, photographs, text panels and artifacts illustrating the events and human stories behind apartheid. The Apartheid Museum is the story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
This afternoon, visit the black suburb of Soweto (the name is an abbreviation of Southwestern Townships) for a look at all types of neighborhoods, ranging from shanty towns and worker's hostels to the modern home of Nelson Mandela (he lived there for only a short while upon his release from prison, and it's where Winnie, his ex-wife, now lives.) You can also see Mandela's earlier and more humble home, where he lived when he was arrested all those years ago.
This evening you will are transferred to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport where you will board your South African Airways overnight flight to the USA.
If you are going on the optional post extension to Victoria Falls, you will stay and depart for Zimbabwe the next day.
Accommodations: Fairlawns Sandton Hotel (if going on extension)
Meals: Breakfast, meals aloft
Day 14 -- Saturday (8/25)
New York or Washington D.C.
This morning you land in New York or Washington D.C. bringing with you the memories of all the wonderful sights of Southern Africa.
Optional Post Extension to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Day 14 -- Saturday (8/25)
Your flight this morning takes you to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and the mighty Victoria Falls. At more than twice the size of Niagara Falls it's no surprise that Victoria Falls are among the Seven Wonders of the World. Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke that Thunders, derived from the towering column of spray when the Zambezi River runs high, is the name that Zimbabwe's local people have given to this awesome natural phenomenon. The name is probably more appropriate and descriptive than "Victoria", which has a far too calm and composed ring to it to do justice to the masses of thundering, swirling water of these spectacular Falls. But all Dr. David Livingstone probably thought of when he named the Falls after his Queen in 1855 was his royal duty. Five separate falls make up this incredible spectacle that plunges more than 328 feet into a sheer-sided chasm which separates Zimbabwe from Zambia. The awe-inspiring abyss is spanned by a 1905 Edwardian bridge which links the two countries and many adventurers now use to bungee jump. The masses of water plunging down the Falls and into the gorge below originate from the mighty Zambezi River that meanders through more than 1,677 miles of African countryside.
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15 -- Sunday (8/26)
Victoria Falls/Chobe National Park, Botswana, Excursion
Today enjoy an excursion into Chobe National Park, known as a symbol for so many of the things that are unusual, exciting and interesting in Botswana. It is the second largest park in Botswana, and the first declared national park. It can be divided into four main focal points. Chobe River front with floodplains and teak forest, Savuti Marsh in the west, the Linyanti swamps in the northwest, and the hot, dry hinterland in between. The park covers a wide variety of country; riverine forest, floodplain, periodic marsh, mopane and miombo woodland and a few rocky outcrops. Such a diversity of habitats implies a wide variety of wildlife, which ranges from water animals such as hippo, crocodile, otter and fish, to forest and dryland species such as elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and eland. In all areas predators abound – lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena are plentiful. In the open grasslands of the pans, one can find the rare oribi and occasional reedbuck. Puku, an antelope associated with this park, can often be seen in herds around the edge of the river. The Chobe River is also well known for its magnificent bird viewing, with over 400 different species, ranging from eagles to kingfishers and from Marabou Storks to bee-eaters. Occasionally, Carmine Bee-eaters build colonies in the sand banks of the floodplains where they nest in their thousands.
A major feature of Chobe National Park is its overabundance of elephant often seen at the river front bathing in the water. Vast numbers of elephant come down to drink in the late afternoons and it is possible to see as many as one thousand of these magnificent animals in a two-hour game drive. The Chobe elephant comprise part of what is probably the largest surviving continuous elephant population, covering most of northern Botswana and northwestern Zimbabwe. Botswana's elephant population is currently estimated at around 120,000, which has built up steadily from a few thousand in the early 1900s and has escaped the massive illegal off take that has decimated other populations in the 1970s and 1980s. These elephants are migratory, making seasonal movements of up to 124 miles from the Chobe and Linyanti Rivers, where they concentrate in the dry season, to the pans in the southeast of the park, to which they disperse in the rains. The elephants in this area have the distinction of being the largest in body size of all living elephants though the ivory is brittle and you will not see many huge tuskers among these gentle giants. Return to your hotel in the evening in time for dinner.
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 16 -- Monday (8/27)
Spend the morning touring the Falls on the Zimbabwean side. An afternoon sundowner cruise on a private boat will be a highlight as you glide along the Zambezi River, watching hippos snort, elephants drink on the riverbank, monkeys jump from branch to branch, birds fly overhead or pose for a photograph on the branches, and much more. Enjoy your gin and tonic, cool beer, or drink of choice, and see a panoramic sunset as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the whole area in unbelievable colors of brilliant reds, yellows, purples and mauves.
You'll also get a chance to visit an authentic native village to see how the local people live. You will be escorted by your English-speaking village guide, seeing a culture and ways of life that remains virtually unchanged through the ages. View their daily rituals, from the women cooking and mending their huts, to the artistic woodcarvings created right in front of you by the village artisans. Smiling children scatter about and you are welcome to mingle and take photographs. Long after you've left, this cultural visit will remain with you, as you'll feel as though you've experienced a different part of Africa, quite essential if you're to understand the complexity of this continent.
Your farewell dinner tonight will be at the Boma which provides a unique cultural experience that bombards the senses with the tastes, sights, sounds and smells of Africa – together with the warmth and hospitality of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and its people.
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17 -- Tuesday (8/28)
Victoria Falls/Johannesburg/En Route
Your morning is at leisure to enjoy the Falls on your own, before transferring to the airport for you flight to Johannesburg and home.
Meals: Breakfast, meals aloft
Day 18 -- Wednesday (8/29)
New York or Washington D.C.
This morning you land in the USA and connect with your flight home, bringing with you the memories of all the wonderful sights of Southern Africa.
Meals aloft^ back to top
$6,995 per person, double occupancy, land only. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $2,595 per person, double occupancy rates.
Suggested gratuities for drivers and specialist guide to be collected prior to departure from the U.S: $325 per person additional
Estimated international air from Washington D.C. or New York roundtrip including departure taxes: $2,800 per person, economy
Flight between Cape Town/Polokwane/Johannesburg if international air is not purchased through Classic Escapes: $900 per person, additional
Post extension price:
$2,895 per person, double occupancy including flights from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, round trip
$695 per person, single supplement
Suggested gratuities for drivers and specialist guide to be collected prior to departure from the U.S: $100 per person, additional
• Superior accommodations throughout at hotels, lodges and tented camps as listed in the itinerary, or similar.
• Breakfasts daily, all meals while on safari and other meals as
indicated in itinerary. (11 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 4 Dinners)
• All wildlife viewing by 4x4 open-air vehicles.
• Complimentary bottled water in safari vehicle.
• All applicable hotel/lodge gratuities and taxes.
• Specialist guide with a minimum of 10 travelers on the main program.
• Enrichment lecturer with a minimum of 15 travelers on the main
program and on the extension.
• All park entry fees.
• Roundtrip flight between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls on the post
Does not include:
- U.S. and foreign airport taxes;
- Cost of passport and visa fees, and service charges for obtaining visa fees;No
visas are required for South Africa. Visas are required for Zimbabwe.
- beverages and meals not specified in itinerary;
- laundry and other items of a personal nature;
- gratuities not imposed by hotels and/or restaurants for included services;
- optional personal, baggage and tour cancellation insurance policy at special low cost group rates; excess baggage charges levied by airlines;
- tips to driver/guides and naturalist on both main trip and extension;
- cost for anything not specifically included in listing above.
- Round-trip air from New York or Washington D.C. including U.S. and
foreign airport taxes (Quoted separately)
- Flight between Cape Town/Polokwane/Johannesburg on the main program.
(Quoted separately or booked in conjunction with international airfare)
How To Register
Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail email@example.com with your contact information and the best time to reach you.
A deposit of $750 per person is required to reserve your spot for the main trip and $250 for the extension as well as your insurance payment if you wish to take advantage of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion. Final invoicing will be done approximately three months prior to departure. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure (May 9, 2012). Final documents will be sent to you approximately two weeks prior to departure.
Deposits can be made via American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa.
Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.^ back to top
General Terms & Conditions
OPTIONAL AIR TRANSPORTATION: Round-trip economy-class jet transportation from WASHINGTON D.C or NEW YORK via SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS. Rates based on special promotional group fares and are subject to cancellation fees once tickets are issued. Business and First class upgrades are possible and will be quoted upon request. This is for international flights only. Domestic flights within USA and Africa will be on economy. For Business Class, domestic flights within USA are not included and cost is lowest available at time of ticketing.
AIRLINE SEATING: For South African Airways, we request seats together for the group. All planes are non-smoking. We can request a seating preference on your behalf, however this is only a request and not guaranteed. Requests should be made in writing no later than 60 days prior to departure. Bulkhead and/or emergency row seats can only be requested at airport check-in on the day of departure. Boarding passes will only be issued at the airport on the day of departure. You may inquire during check-in to have a seating change made, however this change is based on availability and is at the sole discretion of airport staff.
FREQUENT FLYER MILEAGE: At time of publication, South African Airways is partners with BMI British Midland, Delta Air Lines, El Al, Emirates, Lufthansa, Qantas, South African Airlink, Airlink Swaziland, South African Express Airways, SAS, Sri Lankan Airlines, Thai Airways, Varig Brasil. Therefore you may obtain frequent flyer mileage. Present your frequent flyer card for all flight check-ins and keep the boarding passes until you receive a statement with the mileage credit.
BAGGAGE: International flights from the U.S. allow two pieces of checked luggage, each not exceeding 50 lbs. However we recommend you travel as light as you can manage. The baggage limit on domestic flights is 44 lbs. per person total weight. Also, the size and the structure of the bag is limited. Soft duffel bags are ideal. Large suitcases are virtually impossible to stow on smaller aircraft and vehicles and therefore should not be used. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU OBTAIN THE OPTIONAL INSURANCE POLICY.
ACCOMMODATIONS: You will marvel at the wonderful accommodations provided throughout your tour. All rooms have private facilities, and all rates are based on double occupancy. Most rooms are twin-bedded, but king size beds are occasionally available and should be requested in advance. Accommodations listed in this itinerary are correct at time of writing, but on rare occasions can change for similar lodging.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: Rate quoted is valid for first two single rooms booked. If more than two single rooms, additional supplement will apply. Singles are assigned on a first come/first serve basis. Single accommodations are not guaranteed, but will be provided at additional cost if available (see reservation form for cost.) The single room supplement pays for privacy, not better accommodations. On occasion, in smaller hotels, you may be required to share with other members of your tour group if single rooms/cabins are not available upon check-in. If this is the situation, appropriate per diem refunds are made to passengers in the event they paid for a single room but had to share during any portion of their trip. For passengers who are traveling alone and wish to share a room with another tour member, we will do our best to provide a roommate. However, if this is not possible, you will be required to pay the single room supplement prior to your departure from the USA.
MEALS: All meals while on safari. Bottled water and soft drinks during touring in cities.
WILDLIFE VIEWING: Your tour will be conducted by 4X4 open vehicles, driven by professional driver/guides.
TRANSFERS: Round-trip transfer of travelers between airports and hotels are included in the tour when arriving on group flights. If travelers make their own air arrangements, they will be subject to extra transfer fees.
TIPS AND TAXES: Gratuities for baggage handling, service charges and taxes imposed by hotels, lodges and tented camps, and entrance fees to all reserves as outlined in the itinerary are included. U.S. and foreign airport taxes are also not included. Tips to driver/guides and naturalist on both main trip and extension are not included.
INOCULATIONS: We would suggest you contact your personal physician or local health department for their recommendations as to inoculations. At the time of printing, no vaccinations are required for entry into Southern Africa. However, it is a sensible precaution for visitors to take one of the preventive pills that are in common use against malaria. Water is NOT safe to drink throughout and it is always advisable to drink bottled water which will be provided for you free of charge in the vehicles and during safari.
RATES: All rates quoted are based on tariffs and value of foreign currencies in relation to the U.S. dollar in effect as of August 4, 2011, and are subject to change. Rates are based on a minimum of 15 passengers traveling together. The right is reserved to levy a surcharge if minimum is not met, but that is rarely done. The minimum on the extension is 10 passengers. We will do our utmost to keep to the prices as published. Should increases be forced on us by airlines, exchange rates, etc., we reserve the right to surcharge.
ESCORT: Group will be accompanied by an enrichment lecturer with a minimum of 15 passengers on both main and extension program.
TRIP INFORMATION: Upon receipt of your application, instructions will be sent to you concerning all aspects of your trip, such as itinerary, photographic equipment, documents, clothing, insurance, etc.
INVOICING: Final invoicing of your trip will be done approximately three months prior to departure. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure (May 9, 2012).
FINAL DOCUMENTS: Final documents and tickets will be sent to you approximately two weeks prior to departure. We regret to advise that no documents can be released if final payments are not received.
PAYMENT SCHEDULE: A deposit of $750 per person must be submitted with each application, plus an additional deposit of $250 per person if you wish to take the extension. Deposits may be paid by check or charged to American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa. Final payment is payable by check or money order ONLY and is due no later than 95 days prior to departure (May 9, 2012).
CANCELLATIONS: Cancellations are only effective on receipt of written notification. The following per person fees are applicable on this safari:
- Up to 95 days prior to departure, less $250 handling fee.
- 94-80 days prior to departure, deposit is forfeited.
- 79-65 days prior to departure, less 50% of tour cost on both the main trip and the extensions.
- Less than 65 days prior to departure, refund is dependent on amount recoverable from overseas suppliers.
These cancellation fees are also in addition to any imposed by airlines. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU OBTAIN THE OPTIONAL INSURANCE POLICY. INFORMATION WILL BE SENT TO YOU UPON RECEIPT OF RESERVATION FORM.
DEVIATIONS: Should additional reservations be required, including extensions in Europe or in Africa, we will be happy to make all the arrangements. However, there will be an extra charge of $150 per person for such deviations, over and above the cost of the services required.
CHANGE FEES: Once you reserve your tour, changes are possible subject to availability of air or land space at the time of request. Should there be any change fees imposed by airlines or ground operators, or additional costs incurred due to availability of any space, this cost will be invoiced to you.
LATE BOOKING FEE: Classic Escapes reserves the right to impose a late booking fee to offset additional administrative costs for any reservations received 60 days (or closer) to the program’s departure date. This fee is $250 per person, over and above any costs incurred by airlines and suppliers
NOT INCLUDED: Cost of passport and visa fees, and service charges for obtaining visa fees; excess baggage charges levied by airlines; meals other than specified; beverages and meals not specified in itinerary; laundry and other items of a personal nature; gratuities not imposed by hotels and/or restaurants for included services; optional personal, baggage and tour cancellation insurance policy; U.S. and foreign airport taxes; Tips to driver/guides and naturalist on both main trip and extension; cost for anything not specifically included in listing above.
WILD ANIMALS: Please be aware that this safari may take you into close contact with wild animals. Attacks by wild animals are rare, but no safari into the African wilderness can guarantee that this will not occur. Neither the company, nor their employees, nor agents can be held responsible for any injury or incident on the safari. Please note that not all camps are fenced.
PASSPORT & VISAS: The onus is upon the guest to ensure that passports and visas are valid for the countries visited. The company, their staff and their agents cannot be held liable for any visas, etc. not held by the guests, nor the cost of visas. Visa information will be forwarded upon receipt of reservation.
RESPONSIBILITY: Neither Classic Escapes (the Company) nor any person or agent acting for, through or on behalf of the Company shall be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising from any cause whatsoever and without restricting the generality of the aforegoing shall particularly not be responsible for loss or damage arising from any errors or omissions contained in its brochure or other literature, loss or damage caused by delays, sickness, theft, injury or death. In addition the Company shall have the right at any time at its discretion to cancel any safari or the remainder thereof or make any alteration in route, accommodation, price or other details and, in the event of any safari being rendered impossible, illegal or inadvisable by weather, strike, war, government or interference or any other cause whatsoever, the extra expenses incurred as a result thereof shall be the responsibility of the passenger. The Company may at its discretion and without liability or cost to itself at any time cancel or terminate the guest’s booking and in particular without limiting the generality of the aforegoing it shall be entitled to do so in the event of the illness or the illegal or incompatible behavior of the guest, who shall in such circumstances not be entitled to any refund. The person making any booking will, by the making of such booking, warrant that he or she has authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the other person included in such a booking and in the event of the failure of any or all of the other persons so included to make payment, the person making the booking shall by his/her signature thereof assume personal liability for the total price of all bookings made by him/her.
PHOTOGRAPHY: The Company reserves the right without further notice to make use of any photograph or film taken on the safari by our photographers without payment or permission. We guarantee that no photographs of a compromising nature will be used.
CHANGES TO SCHEDULES: Although every effort is made to adhere to schedules it should be borne in mind that the Company reserves the right and in fact is obliged to occasionally change routes and camps on safaris as dictated by changing conditions. Such conditions may be brought about by seasonal rainfall on bush tracks, airfields and in wildlife areas, by wildlife migrations from one region to another, or airline or other booking problems, etc.
REFUNDS: While the company uses its best endeavors to ensure that all anticipated accommodation is available as planned, there shall be no claim of any nature whatsoever against the Company for a refund either in the whole or part, if any accommodation or excursion is unavailable and a reasonable alternative is not found. If the guest is unable to use any service provided in the itinerary, then there are no refunds due.
AIRLINE CLAUSE: The airlines concerned are not to be held liable for any act, omission or event during the time the passengers are not on board their planes or conveyance. The passengers’ tickets in use by the airline or by other carriers concerned when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the airlines and the purchaser of these tickets and/or passengers.
DELAYS: We cannot be held liable for any delays or additional costs incurred as a result of airlines not running to schedule.
If one of our guides is unable to take a safari due to illness, etc. we reserve the right to substitute with another guide.
This agreement is made subject to and shall be governed by and construed according to the laws of the country in which the safari takes place. Classic Escapes act merely as an agent for the operating companies.
To the best of our knowledge the itinerary is correct at the time of printing. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or changes that may occur after printing.
CONSENT: The payment of the deposit OR any other partial payment for a reservation on a safari constitutes consent by all guests covered by that payment to all provisions of the conditions and general information contained in this brochure whether the guest has signed the booking form or not. The terms, under which you agree to take this safari, cannot be changed or amended except in writing signed by an authorized director of the Company.
INSURANCE PACKAGE: Classic Escapes offers a comprehensive insurance package, which allows the Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion to be waived if purchased within 7 days of the initial trip payment. Details can be found on our website at http://www.classicescapes.com/insurance.html. or call our office for more details (800-627-1244). If obtaining this pre-existing condition waiver is not of importance to you, you may opt to wait until you receive your pre-departure packet of information which will include details on the insurance package.
INSURANCE PREMIUM: See premium schedule below, or call us for the exact amount and information on the policy. This is applicable to all coverage contained in the policy. You must be medically able to travel when you pay your premium. In the event that a claim is filed, the injury or illness must be substantiated to the Claims Department.
The cost of your insurance premium is based on the TOTAL cost of your trip including: the main itinerary, airfare, airline taxes, single supplements, optional excursions and optional extensions. The premium for your tour will be calculated as follows:
TOTAL TOUR COST PREMIUM PER PERSON
$5,501 - $6,000 $445
$6,001 - $6,500 $483
$6,501 - $7,000 $517
$7,001 - $8,000 $579
$8,001 - $9,000 $655
$9,001 - $10,000 $731
$10,001 - $11,000 $805
$11,001 - $12,000 $884
Please contact Classic Escapes if you have any questions or need assistance calculating your premium.
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