Depart the U.S.
Day 2-Johannesburg, South Africa
“A world in one country,” South Africa is perhaps the most diverse, multi-faceted country on Earth. Cosmopolitan Johannesburg, known colloquially as “Joburg,” is home to one of the world’s largest urban forests, where amid some of the tallest buildings on the continent, more than six million trees flourish in the pleasant subtropical highland climate. The city has been a fast-paced center of commerce and opportunity ever since European prospectors settled here upon the discovery of its gold reef in 1886. Upon arrival, check into the Five-Star Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa.
Day 3-Johannesburg for Soweto
Few places reflect South Africa’s history like Johannesburg’s once-infamous South Western Townships, better known as Soweto. No longer a shantytown of segregated goldmine workers, this thriving community, pivotal in the anti‑apartheid movement, endures as a broad cross section of South African daily life—from shack settlements to a rising middle class to millionaires. Its Vilakazi Street even fostered two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Commence your journey in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela in Soweto. Visit Mandela’s house and the Hector Pieterson Memorial, an iconic symbol of the historic 1976 apartheid protests. Tour the evocative exhibits in Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, and visit historic Liliesleaf Farm, once the epicenter of the liberation movement and a refuge for its leaders and today a museum and world‑famous cultural heritage site. Lunch is included in a local restaurant.
This evening, enjoy the Welcome Reception in the hotel. (B,L,R)
North of Johannesburg is the vibrant capital city of Pretoria, known for its diverse architecture, purple-blossomed jacaranda trees and distinctly Afrikaans culture. See the Union Buildings, originally designed with two wings representing the union of the formerly divided English and Afrikaners, and the formal garden where Mandela gave his historic presidential inauguration speech (1994). Visit the Voortrekker Monument, built to honor the mid‑19th-century Dutch Voortrekkers (pioneers), who emigrated from the Cape Colony to the inland highveld. Lunch is included in a restaurant in Pretoria.
Enjoy dinner with special guest speaker Nicholas Wolpe, founder and CEO of the Liliesleaf Farm Trust. Wolpe will share an insider’s perspective on the historic events surrounding Liliesleaf and the African National Congress (ANC). (B,L,D)
Day 5-Johannesburg/ Fly to Cape Town
After breakfast, fly to Cape Town. Check into the historic Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)
Day 6-Cape Town/Robben Island
South Africa’s “Garden City” of Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Founded by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station, Cape Town today is a vibrant, cosmopolitan capital city of meticulously preserved Edwardian and Victorian buildings and outstanding examples of Cape Dutch architecture. Ascend Table Mountain by cable car (weather permitting) for sweeping city and coastal views. See the historic City Hall, where Mandela made his first public speech just hours after his release from prison.
Choose between an afternoon at leisure to explore Cape Town or tour Robben Island prison, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners made strides in attaining equal rights during apartheid despite the inhumane conditions they experienced. Its storied interior provides an invaluable perspective on South Africa’s social and political transformation. (B)
Day 7-Cape Town/Cape of Good Hope
Visit Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town for a rare up-close look at a protected colony of endangered African penguins nesting in sand burrows. Continue to Table Mountain National Park for a panoramic tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Cape Floral Region, which sustains over 4000 plant species, and ride a funicular to lofty Cape Point for lunch and spectacular views over the Cape of Good Hope.
In a private home in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap township, savor the unique aromatic spices of traditional Cape Malay cuisine—a unique fusion of South African, Dutch and Malaysian flavors—during an intimate, specially arranged C’est Bon! CULINARY TRADITIONS™ dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 8-Cape Town/Cape Winelands
Experience the extraordinary Cape Winelands along the world-renowned Stellenbosch Wine Route. During a visit to the historic Vergelegen Cape Dutch Manor House, founded in 1700, enjoy a private tasting of the region’s signature Pinotage red wine. Stroll through its picturesque formal gardens underneath the vast camphor laurel trees, planted in 1705, which constitute a protected provincial heritage site. Then, enjoy a specially arranged lunch with wine pairings at Boschendal, one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, founded in 1685 and once owned by Cecil Rhodes. Located in the picturesque Drakenstein Valley between the Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains, the rolling vineyards at Boschendal are planted with five different types of grape. (B,L)
Day 9-Cape Town/Kasane, Botswana/Embark ship/Chobe River, Namibia
This morning, fly to Kasane, Botswana, for entry into neighboring Namibia. Board the privately chartered, Five-Star m.s. Zambezi Queen for a world-class, uniquely African, intimate and deluxe small river ship experience in one of the most remote locations on Earth, with extraordinary game-viewing opportunities distinctly different from a land safari. The m.s. Zambezi Queen is designed to navigate the Chobe River near exotic Chobe National Park, and to allow one’s eye to be drawn to the constant movement of wildlife on the riverbank—elephant, Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, giraffe, crocodile and a vast array of bird species—while cruising or at anchor. From your stylish “floating lodge,” local guides will lead you on unique game-viewing river safaris aboard small, custom-built, private excursion boats. (B,D)
Days 10 and 11-Chobe River Safari
Visit a Namibian village along the river to experience the local culture firsthand, including a dance performance and artisan crafts. Continue your unique river safari and join local guides on small excursion boats for fishing, game viewing or bird watching. (2B,2L,2D)
Day 12-Chobe River/Disembark ship/Chobe National Park, Botswana/Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Disembark the ship this morning and transfer to northern Botswana’s vast, diverse Chobe National Park for a game drive. Comprised of lush floodplains, marshland and dense mahogany and teak woodland, northern Botswana’s vast, diverse Chobe National Park is one of the last surviving wild areas on the continent, with a landscape reminiscent of the Africa known by explorer David Livingstone, author Karen Blixen and big game hunter Denys Finch Hatton. It is brimming with wildlife and especially so along the Chobe River, with water in plentiful supply year round. This park is home to one of the densest Kalahari elephant populations on the African continent (approximately 120,000) as well as lion, cheetah, leopard, zebra, impala, hyena, wildebeest, warthog, hippopotamus, crocodile, water buffalo and more than 450 bird species, including helmeted guinea fowl and red‑billed wood hoopoes.
After lunch in a local restaurant, transfer to the legendary Victoria Falls Hotel for an evening at leisure. (B,L)
Day 13-Victoria Falls
Walk the trail along the edge of thundering Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and among the largest waterfalls on Earth. Here, the wide Zambezi River, after meandering through a basalt plateau, suddenly plummets into a 355‑foot gorge, creating frothy rapids and vaulting a majestic, rainbow‑hued mist almost 1000 feet high into the air, lending this breathtaking cascade its local name, Mosi‑oa‑Tunya—“the smoke that thunders.” Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone was the first European to witness this extraordinary natural wonder in 1855 and named his discovery after Queen Victoria. See the impressive Victoria Falls Bridge, an engineering marvel that was surveyed; designed and constructed in England; then transported to the Zambezi River gorge; and finally reassembled in only five years, becoming the only rail link between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Enjoy the Farewell Dinner in the hotel. (B,D)
Days 14 and 15-Victoria Falls/Johannesburg, South Africa/U.S.
Check out of the hotel and continue on the Post-Program, or fly to Johannesburg for your return flight to the U.S. Arrive in the U.S. the next day. (B)