Journey to Southern Africa
Discover the incredible wildlife and wonders of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. From colorful Cape Town to Victoria Falls, historic Soweto to Robben Island, every moment of this 12-night journey will inspire. Experience famous safari destinations: Chobe National Park, Hwange National Park and Kapama Private Game Reserve. Plus, enjoy three nights aboard the opulent Rovos Rail.
AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Cape Town, South Africa. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: CPT. (Depending on your flight itinerary you might depart on October 4.)
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. (Independent air traveler details will be different.)
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.
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel (R)
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.
Enjoy a lecture on South Africa's 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.
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel (B,L)
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.
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. The rest of the day and evening are free for exploration.
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel (B)
Following breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hoedspruit. Upon arrival, transfer to the Kapama Private Game Reserve and check in to the Kapama River Lodge.
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.
Kapama River Lodge (B,L,D)
Each morning on safari starts with a wake-up call from your ranger at dawn. Meet on the deck for coffee and rusks before climbing into your safari vehicle. 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. F
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.
This afternoon 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. 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.
Kapama River Lodge (B,L,D)
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 and today we head out at dawn. 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.
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.
Head out of an afternoon safari. 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.
Kapama River Lodge (B,L,D)
After breakfast, transfer to Hoedspruit for your flight to Johannesburg.
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.
54 on Bath (B,L)
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 ambiance 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.
Rovos Rail (B,L,D)
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.
Rovos Rail (B,L,D)
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.
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.
Rovos Rail (B,L,D)
Travel to Victoria Falls, disembark the rain and check in to The Victoria Falls Hotel. Enjoy some time at leisure to get settled into your guest room and have lunch on your own.
Visit 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.
Victoria Falls Hotel (B)
Get an early start today and enjoy breakfast before heading out to explore Chobe National Park in nearby Botswana with your safari guide.
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.
Victoria Falls Hotel (B,L,D)
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.
Arrive to your gateway city and onward flights home.
Cost and Details
All prices quoted are based on double occupancy and do not include air transportation costs (unless otherwise stated).
Category Full Price Special Savings (Book by 6/27/23)
B-Pullman Suite $8,545 $250
A-Deluxe Suite $9,745 $250
Single occupancy supplement charges. (Limited due to space on Rovos Rail.)
Applicable taxes are an additional $495 per person.
Accommodations for 12 nights; Extensive Meal Program: 12 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 7 dinners, including Welcome and Farewell Dinners; tea or coffee with all meals, plus wine, beer or soft drinks with dinner. All beverages are complimentary aboard Rovos Rail. Opportunities to sample authentic cuisine and local flavors; Expert-led Enrichment programs enhance your insight into the region; Welcome and Farewell Receptions to mingle with fellow travelers; A personal VOX headset to hear your guide clearly; gratuities for wait staff at any included meals, hotel porters, and Cape Town, Johannesburg, Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls excursion guides and drivers are included in the cost of your program. (They are not included on the Rovos Rail or at Kapama.)
Airport transfer costs for those not participating in AHI's FlexAir. Fees for passports and, if applicable, visas, entry/departure fees; gratuities for lodge housekeeping staff, train staff, and safari rangers and trackers; personal gratuities; laundry and dry cleaning; excursions, wines, liquors, mineral waters and meals not mentioned in this brochure under included features; travel insurance; all items of a strictly personal nature.
Pre-Trip Extension in Cape Town
$1,195 per person, double occupancy
$1,720 single occupancy
Two nights at the Belmond Mount Nelson; daily breakfast and one lunch; guided tour of the Cape Winelands; the services of an AHI Travel Director and AHI Hospitality Desk; guide and driver gratuities; baggage handling to the hotel; and all taxes and service charges.
This active program is designed for people who are in good health and can comfortably participate in a demanding daily schedule of physical activities. The itinerary may feature full days of ongoing activities including long game drives on rough roads. Depending on the excursion, more leisurely alternatives may be available. Excursions on this program require:
- Walking on unpaved paths and/or uneven surfaces
- Getting on/off motor coaches, boats and/or trains
- Walking through train corridors whether the train is in motion or stopped
- Climbing in and out of safari vehicles
Expert guides and onsite lectures illuminate the destinations throughout the program.
Terms and Conditions
Program-specific terms and conditions are available here and below. You can also request a copy from our travel experts. Any payment to AHI Travel constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out therein, including but not limited to the cancellation terms.
NOT INCLUDED - Fees for passports and, if applicable, visas; entry/departure fees; personal gratuities; laundry and dry cleaning; excursions, wines, liquors, mineral waters and meals not mentioned in this brochure under included features; travel insurance; airport transfer costs for those not participating in AHI's FlexAir; all items of a strictly personal nature.
MOBILITY AND FITNESS TO TRAVEL - The right is retained to decline, to accept or to retain any person as a member of this trip who, in the opinion of AHI Travel is unfit for travel or whose physical or mental condition may constitute a danger to themselves or to others on the trip, subject only to the requirement that the portion of the total amount paid which corresponds to the unused services and accommodations be refunded. Passengers requiring special assistance, including without limitation those who permanently or periodically use a wheelchair, must be accompanied by someone who is fit and able to assist them, and who will be totally responsible for providing all required assistance. AHI Travel regrets that some itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs.
SPECIAL COVID-19 NOTICE - During the period of COVID-19 contagion, you should refrain from joining a trip if you are feeling unwell, exhibit fever or other symptoms of contagious disease, or have been in contact with a person exhibiting symptoms of contagious disease within 14 days of trip departure. Affected passengers will receive a full refund in the form of a credit applicable to a future AHI Travel program. All passengers must complete a health questionnaire and execute an Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to Coronavirus/COVID-19 prior to trip departure. If you cannot or will not complete and execute these documents, AHI reserves the right to consider your booking canceled as of that day and assess applicable cancellation fees.
AIR TRANSPORTATION-The price of air transportation offered by AHI Travel is based on Advance Purchase Excursion fares. After tickets are issued, penalties up to 100% of the ticket price may be levied. If connecting flights are requested, special promotional fares may be used, in which case penalties of as much as 100% may be assessed by the airlines if reservations are changed or canceled after ticketing. After departure, if the reservations are changed, you will be charged the higher, all year Economy class fare. VARIATIONS TO THE GROUP ITINERARY MUST BE REQUESTED NO LATER THAN 60 DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. Passengers who choose to make their own airline reservations independently will be wholly responsible for arrival and departure transfers, and any airline fees or penalties incurred as a result of program cancellation and/or change in travel dates, or airline schedule(s).
CANCELLATION-All cancellations must be submitted in writing to AHI Travel.
- Cancellation received up to 90 days prior to trip departure will incur a $300 per person administrative fee.
- Cancellation received 89 to 60 days prior to departure will result in forfeiture of 25% of the entire cost of the trip per person.
- Cancellation received 59-45 days prior to departure will result in forfeiture of 50% of the entire cost of the trip per person.
- Cancellation received 44 days prior to departure to the time of departure (or no show) will result in 100% forfeiture of the entire cost of the trip.
TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE IS AVAILABLE AND RECOMMENDED. AN APPLICATION WILL BE SENT AFTER YOU RESERVE.
If a tour is canceled by AHI Travel before the date of departure for reasons other than Force Majeure and the cancellation is not caused by your fault or negligence, you will have the choice of accepting one of these options from AHI Travel:
i) transfer to another date of the same tour, if available; ii) book another tour of equal or greater value, if available (you will be responsible for paying any difference in price); or iii) book another tour of lesser value, if available (with a refund payable to you for the difference in price); or iv) receive a full refund for the land-only portion of the applicable tour
TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE IS AVAILABLE. AN APPLICATION WILL BE SENT AFTER YOU RESERVE. All cancellations must be submitted in writing to AHI Travel. CANCELLATION OF TRIP OPTIONS-Purchases of optional excursions, trip extensions and additional hotel nights become fully non-refundable 45 days prior to departure. Air transportation and private transfer purchases are subject only to penalties assessed by the airlines and transfer suppliers. PLEASE NOTE - Vouchers for future travel, travel credits and transfers are subject to the Terms and Conditions, including without limitation the cancellation fee schedule, agreed upon at the time of the original reservation.
AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR RESERVATION, YOU AGREE AS FOLLOWS: You have read, and you understand, these terms and conditions of your participation in an AHI Travel program. You recognize and accept any risk associated with the travel program and the conditions, including the Cancellation policy, set forth herein. You acknowledge that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel, including, but not limited to weather, flooding, high/low water levels, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, widespread communicable disease outbreak (e.g., COVID-19, SARS, etc.) or other public health emergency event declared by local, State or Federal government order to be an epidemic, pandemic, public emergency or similar, quarantines, bites from or attacks by animals, insects, or pests, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the travel program, you hereby agree to release, hold harmless and covenant not to sue AHI International Corporation (d/b/a AHI Travel), its officers, employees, representatives or agents, the sponsoring association and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this travel program, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of travel program staff or other related persons or entities.
BAGGAGE-Baggage restrictions vary according to the airline policy and the class of service flown. Details will be provided with your pre-departure information. Baggage allowances are subject to change by the carrier without notice. Excess baggage charges for additional or oversized/overweight pieces are expensive and not included in your trip price; plan your wardrobe accordingly. Transport of baggage and personal effects is at the owner's risk throughout the travel program.
PRICING - All prices quoted are in USD, per person, based on double occupancy and do not include air transportation costs (unless otherwise stated) and are subject to change without notice.
AUTHORITY TO USE IMAGES AND AUDIO RECORDINGS-On occasion, AHI Travel obtains, from its staff, or from trip participants, photographic or video images of passengers and trip activities. By participating in this travel program, you authorize AHI Travel, without providing compensation to you, or obtaining additional approvals from you, to include photographic and video recordings of you, as well as voice recordings included with any videos, in AHI Travel's sales, marketing, advertising, publicity and/or training activities.
ELIGIBILITY: We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a national membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit commonwealthclub.org/membership or call 415-597-6720.
RESPONSIBILITY-AHI Travel and The Commonwealth Club of California do not own or operate any entity which provides goods or services for this program, and act only as agents for the independent suppliers of travel conveyance, transport, accommodations or other services. All such persons or entities are independent contractors. As a result, AHI Travel and the Sponsoring Association are not liable for any negligence or willful act of any such person or entity or any third person. In addition and without limitation, AHI Travel and the Sponsoring Association are not responsible for any delays, delayed departure or arrival, missed carrier connections, loss, death, damage or injury to person or property or accident, mechanical defect, failure or negligence of any nature howsoever caused in connection with any accommodations, transportation or other services or for any substitution of hotels or of common carrier equipment, with or without notice, or for any additional expenses occasioned thereby. Dates, Program Details and Tour costs, although given in good faith and BASED ON TARIFFS, EXCHANGE Rates and other information CURRENT AT THE TIME OF PRINTING, ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT OR BEFORE THE TIME OF DEPARTURE. No revisions of the printed itinerary or its included features are anticipated; however, the right is reserved to make any changes, with or without notice, that might become necessary, with the mutual understanding that any additional expenses will be paid by the individual passenger. In no event shall any party to this contract be liable for incidental or consequential damages. In the event of an act of God, war (whether declared or undeclared), terrorism, accident, natural disaster, outbreak of disease, or other event or circumstance beyond its control that results in the cancellation of all or a portion of a travel program, AHI Travel reserves the right to issue a credit to the passenger in lieu of a money-back refund, applicable to a future AHI Travel program. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. If the entire program is canceled for any reason, participants shall have no claim other than for a full refund. By forwarding the deposit, the passenger certifies that he/she has no physical, mental or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for himself/herself or other passengers and accepts the terms of this contract set out herein and in more specific pre-departure passenger information. The airlines and other transportation companies concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or event, during the time passengers are not on board their conveyances. The passage contract in use, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the company(ies) and the passenger and/or purchaser of this trip.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40