Journey to Southern Africa

Journey to Southern Africa

Join an exceptional adventure that reveals the raw beauty, wildlife and unparalleled wonders of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. From vibrant Cape Town, follow a compelling route to Robben Island, majestic Victoria Falls and fascinating towns that hold powerful history lessons. Traverse untamed landscapes on a bespoke train journey steeped in elegant refinement aboard Rovos Rail. And, with expert guides leading the way, discover the density and diversity of exotic animals in southern Africa’s most incredible safari destinations.

Trip Itinerary:

February 13 Depart gateway city

February 14 In Transit | London, England

If you are on an AHI FlexAir flight transiting through Heathrow Airport, you will arrive at Heathrow today.

Day rooms at the Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel, which is connected to Terminal 5, will be provided for AHI FlexAir passengers who have layovers longer than four hours and arrive in London at 2 p.m. or earlier today. Day rooms are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. You will not have access to your checked baggage. Please pack any necessary items in your carry-on bag.

February 15 Cape Town, South Africa

Please note that some passengers will be arriving in O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg before flying onward to Cape Town. After arriving at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, these passengers will need to collect their baggage and proceed through immigration and customs prior to boarding their flight to Cape Town.

Other passengers will fly directly to Cape Town International Airport

Arrive at Cape Town Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is a Cape Town landmark located across the street from the Company’s Garden. Built in 1652 by The Dutch East India Company, the garden provided fruit and vegetables for the Dutch ships that stopped here on their way to Asia. Today, it is a beautiful park lined with museums and historic buildings.

This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception.

February 16 Cape Town | Cape Point

Cape Peninsula. Explore the Cape Peninsula and Cape Point Nature Reserve today. Delight in the pretty panoramas along Marine Drive, and pass the unique mountain landscape featuring Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles. Admire the coastal scenery on the way to Cape Point, where you can take a funicular to the top for a spectacular view. On you return to Cape Town, visit Boulders Beach to see the African penguin colony. Stroll on the boardwalks that run through the penguins’ protected area and observe daily life among the 3,000 birds that live here.

Stop at a restaurant on the Cape Peninsula for lunch.

Enrichment: South African History. Discover the events that have shaped modern South Africa: Dutch and British colonization, the introduction of Indonesian slaves, the plight of indigenous peoples and the discovery of rich lodes of minerals, gemstones and precious metals. Learn more about brutal apartheid rule, which oppressed the country’s nonwhite citizens for most of the 20th century, and how democracy finally prevailed.

February 17 Cape Town | Robben Island

Robben Island and Cape Town. At the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the gateway to Robben Island, board a ferry for a short ride to the island, home to the jail that held South Africa’s most famous prisoner, Nelson Mandela. This is a very special experience to hear firsthand the poignant story of a former Robben Island prisoner, your guide through the prison buildings and grounds. After the tour, you will have an opportunity to ask your guide questions about his personal experiences. Return to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a bustling working harbor before discovering the wonders and highlights of South Africa’s Mother City. Begin your excursion with a drive pass the Castle of Good Hope, the 17th-century star fort built to defend the Dutch trading settlement from English attack. Admire the brightly painted homes that line the cobblestone streets of the Bo-Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarter. See the Company’s Garden district surrounded by the city’s numerous world-class museums. If weather permits, take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain for spectacular views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

Free Time: At the V&A Waterfront, enjoy lunch on your own at one of the many restaurants. Browse through the shops, listen to the street musicians and admire the view of the harbor with Table Mountain in the distance.

February 18 Hoedspruit | Kapama Private Game Reserve

Following breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hoedspruit. Upon arrival, transfer to the Kapama Private Game Reserve.

Introduction to Kapama. This afternoon, get the lay of the African bushveld during your first game drive in Kapama Private Game Reserve, home to myriad species of mammals, including the Big Five: lion, elephant, leopard, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros. Get to know your ranger and tracker, a hard-working team that will accompany you on each game drive. During your game drive, stop for refreshments and stretch your legs before resuming the hunt!

Return to the lodge for dinner and catch up on the day’s adventures.

February 19 Kapama Private Game Reserve

Each morning on safari starts with a wakeup call from your ranger at dawn. Meet on the deck for coffee and rusks before climbing into your safari vehicle.

Sunrise Safari. It may seem quiet as the sun starts its journey across the sky, but there is plenty of animal activity. Many of them are just waking up and preparing to search for breakfast! Others are winding down after a night on the prowl and looking for a place to sleep during the day. See how many of the Big Five you can spot this morning.

Return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast.

Free Time: Spend the rest of the morning at your leisure. Visit the spa for a massage, take a swim in the pool or relax with a book on your sunny deck.

Enrichment: The Animals of Kapama. The reserve’s naturalist leads a discussion about the animals, birds and reptiles that live in the park.

Afternoon tea is served before the afternoon game drive.

Sunset Safari. Gain a different perspective as you see diurnal animals settling down for the evening and nocturnal animals beginning theirs. As the sun sets, stop for a round of sundowners, drinks enjoyed at sunset.

Being on safari builds one’s appetite! Return to the lodge and dig into a sumptuous dinner.

February 20 Kapama Private Game Reserve

Kapama at Dawn. Each game drive is a unique experience forged by the time of day, the weather and the locale. Your tracker and ranger are experts in finding animals on the reserve. They know the thickets where giraffes nibble at the treetops, the open veld where zebra like to graze and much more.

Tuck into a delicious breakfast back at the lodge.

Free Time: The morning and afternoon are at leisure. Gather for conversation at the bar, lounge by the pool or enjoy a spa treatment.

Enjoy lunch on the deck and later, afternoon tea.

Safari Afternoon. Your ranger and tracker are very knowledgeable about both the wildlife and plants in the park. Feel free to ask questions about your surroundings. This afternoon, you may scout out popular watering holes, where four-legged and feathered residents gather for a drink.

A delicious dinner awaits you at the lodge.

February 21 Hoedspruit | Johannesburg

After breakfast, transfer to Hoedspruit for your flight to Johannesburg.

Soweto. Visit the townships of Soweto. The townships were built in the early 20th century to keep the black community, including the miners who toiled in the dark and dangerous conditions of the gold mines, out of the city center. When it was founded, Soweto was on the outskirts of Johannesburg. It was incorporated into the city of Johannesburg in 2002. Though life has improved for many people, you will still see corrugated tin shacks and homes without indoor plumbing. Several entrepreneurs have built successful businesses, and though many are millionaires, they have chosen to remain part of the Soweto community. Many people in Soweto run microbusinesses in their homes. They sell everything from fruit to auto parts, and they run hair salons and restaurants. During your tour, see the homes of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Winnie Mandela. In historic Kliptown, one of the oldest townships, learn about a youth program that offers tutoring and opportunities to play sports and participate in the arts. See a youth dance performance during your visit.

Check in to 54 on Bath in Johannesburg’s Rosebank neighborhood.

February 22 Pretoria | Rovos Rail | Zimbabwe

This morning, depart for the train station in Pretoria to board Rovos Rail, one of the world’s most luxurious trains, and embark on your journey to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

As the train heads north to Zimbabwe, settle into your suite, and enjoy the ambience of a train journey recapturing the Golden Age of Travel.

A gong calls you to lunch in the Dining Car. Enjoy a delicious meal as the train passes through Bela-Bela, the hot springs resort once known as Warmbaths, and Modimolle, a town once known as Nylstroom. Modimolle sits in the verdant bushveld, which owes its greenery to the Nyl (Nile) River.

Enjoy the view of the passing countryside from the Observation Car, and enjoy a classic afternoon tea. Before the dinner gong sounds, return to your cabin to change for dinner. Tonight, your evening meal is accompanied by a selection of excellent South African wines. Meals aboard Rovos Rail always are a treat!

Tonight, travel to Musina (formerly Messina) to cross the border into the Zimbabwean town of Beitbridge.

February 23 Zimbabwe

Gather with your fellow adventurers for breakfast and journey through the small towns of Rutenga and Somabhula on your way to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city.Take in the scenes of daily life as you continue through the city. There are books and magazines, as well as board games, in the Lounge and Observation cars.

Today’s rail adventure includes lunch, afternoon tea in the Observation Car and a sumptuous dinner with South African wines.

This evening, the train reaches Mpopoma, where it stops overnight.

February 24 Hwange National Park

Start another beautiful morning with a hearty breakfast and continue your journey as the train departs Mpopoma.

Gather for lunch as the train travels along 71 miles (114 kilometers) of straight railway track, one of the longest stretches of straight track in the world, and the eastern edge of Hwange National Park.

Hwange National Park. Disembark the train this afternoon at Kennedy Siding, and go for a game drive at The Hide, a private concession in Hwange National Park. This park, Zimbabwe’s largest park and home to more than 100 mammal and 400 bird species, is known for its natural beauty. Visit one of the most popular watering holes to see some of the local residents!

Enjoy dinner on the train. Tonight, the train remains at Thompsons Junction.

February 25 Victoria Falls

Travel to Victoria Falls, disembark the rain and check in to The Victoria Falls Hotel.

Free Time: Enjoy some time at leisure to get settled into your guest room and have lunch on your own.

Victoria Falls. Until the 19th century, the Zambezi River’s great cascade was called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “the smoke that thunders,” by the region’s Kololo tribe. “Discovered” on November 16, 1855, by Dr. David Livingstone and renamed for England’s queen, Victoria Falls is the planet’s largest curtain of water — spanning more than a mile — as it crashes some 328 feet into the raging Batoka Gorge below. Twice the height of Niagara Falls, mighty Victoria Falls casts a veil of spray that can be seen up to 50 miles away!

Dinner is at leisure tonight.

February 26 Chobe National Park, Botswana

Get an early start today and enjoy breakfast before heading out to explore Chobe National Park in nearby Botswana with your safari guide.

Chobe National Park. As the sun rises, watch the park spring to life. You never know what the day will bring. You may see a herd of buffalo lumbering to the water for a drink or beautiful sable antelope grazing on the floodplains. You may come across lions sprawled out and content after the hunt or see a leopard draped over a branch high in a tree. You will be amazed by the number of elephants who make their home here! You are likely to see several herds of elephants wandering the plains or stopping by the river for a drink or a bath. With a large bird population of more than 450 species, Chobe also is a spectacular destination for birdwatchers. If conditions permit, take a safari cruise on the Chobe River for game viewing from a perspective you just can’t get on land. The Chobe River gives life to the many animals, birds and reptiles that call the park home. Watch elephants frolicking in the water, hippos swimming and birds swooping down to catch a fish. Enjoy lunch during your excursion.

Tonight, gather at the hotel for a festive Farewell Dinner, a sumptuous meal seasoned with tales of your wild animal sightings and other adventures.

February 27 Victoria Falls | Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, bid farewell to Victoria Falls.

AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Victoria Falls Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

AHI FlexAir passengers continue to Johannesburg for their international flights. Day rooms at the Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel are not included for AHI FlexAir passengers transiting through Heathrow today. If you have a long layover in London and wish to reserve a room, please contact your Passenger Service Representative.

Important Information for Land Program Passengers: If you are booking your own international flights on this program, please note that your return itinerary should begin in Victoria Falls. However, if you choose to book your return flight from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), you may purchase a ticket for the flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg from AHI Travel. Please contact your Passenger Service Representative for details.

February 28 In Transit

Arrive in your gateway city.


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