B.C. Archaeology

Study Tours of the Ancient World


Elephant in Kruger National Park

So hushed, so hot, the broad Zambesi lies
Above the Falls, and on her weedy isles
Swing antic monkeys swarm malignant flies,
And seeming-lazy lurk long crocodiles.
But somewhere down the river does the hush
Become a sibilance that hints a sigh,
A murmur, mounting as the currents rush
Faster, and while the murmur is a cry
The cry becomes a shout, the shout a thunder
Until the whole Zambesi waters pour
Into the earth’s side, agitating under
Infinite spray mists, pounding the world’s floor.
Wrapped in this liquid turmoil who can say
Which is the mighty echo, which the spray?

Muriel Spark, Victoria Falls, 1948


This 3-week tour explores the wild life and archaeology of Africa with a visit to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The tour begins in Johannesburg where we visit the Sterkfontein Caves, find spot of a remarkable collection of early hominid skeletons including many Australopithecus. We also visit the Maropeng Cradle of Humankind which has a fascinating display of early hominids. In Johannesburg we explore the recent history of South Africa by visiting the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill.

We then head north to Pretoria where we visit the impressive Vortrekker Monument which commemorates Boer settlement in the Transvaal. We then see the National Museums of Cultural history which has a fascinating collection of artefacts and examples of San rock art. We also see the gold artefacts from Mapungubwe in the University of Pretoria.

We then drive NE towards Kruger National park. We have an afternoon and the following day on safari exploring the park and spot many animals including water buffalo, zebra and elephants. We then travel through stunning natural scenery including the Blyde River Canyon. We then explore the ruins and stunning landscapes of the ancient site of Mapungubwe.

We cross the border into Zimbabwe and head to the Great Zimbabwe ruins. These medieval structures were part of the royal complex from the 13th and 14th Century. From here we travel to the 'ntelope Park' near Gweru. Here we have an amazing 'walk with lions'. A free day in the park gives an opportunity to feed the lions, go for a horse ride, walk with elephants or do some bird spotting.

We next travel to Bulawayo where we visit the Bulawayo Natural History Museum - this has a fascinating overview of the cultural history of the region, including the role of Cecil Rhodes. We take a walk with rhinos, and explore the medieval ruins of the ancient city of Khami. The next day is spent in Matapo National park where we visit the grave of Cecil Rhodes and explore stunning San rock art. The landscape is superb and including monumental granite outcroppings.

From Bulawayo we head north to Victoria Falls. This awe-inspiring curtain of water is 1700m wide and 100m high. We visit the falls twice so that we can see them at different times of day and there is a chance to go for an optional helicopter ride (not to be missed!). We take a cruise on the Zambesi River where we are sure to see hippos and elephants.

We enter Botswana and spend time exploring the Chobe National Park. This magnificent natural reserve is home to huge herds of elephants and many other game including prides of wild roaming lions. We then fly back to Johannesburg for our onward journey home.

The ruins of ‘Great Zimbabwe’


Day 1: Fly from Australia to Johannesburg
We fly from Australia to Johannesburg, arriving in the late afternoon. We are transferred to our hotel where we freshen up and enjoy a welcome drink. Overnight Johannesburg.

Day 2: Sterkfontein Caves - Maropeng Cradle of Humankind Centre
This day trip from Johannesburg takes us a short drive to the Sterkfontein Caves. The site is famous for its numerous Australopithecus skeletons dating back more than 2 million years. We explore the cave and see the on-site display of early hominids. In the afternoon we visit the Maropeng Centre with its fascinating displays of early hominids including a replica of 'Lucy', our Australopithecine ancestor. Overnight Johannesburg.

Day 3: Apartheid Museum - Constitution Hill
In the morning we visit the Johannesburg Apartheid Museum which has a remarkable display of objects and displays relating to this difficult time in South Africa's history. In the afternoon we visit Constitution Hill where we see the cells used for political prisoners such as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Overnight Johannesburg.

Day 4: Pretoria
The day is set aside to explore Pretoria. We visit the impressive Vortrekker Monument which commemorates the Boer settlement of the Transvaal. We then see the National Museum of Cultural History which has a display of artefacts and examples of early San rock art. In the afternoon we take a walk in the colonial heart of Pretoria and see the gold artefacts from Mapungubwe in the University of Pretoria. Overnight Johannesburg.

Day 5: Drive to Hazyview - afternoon game drive in Kruger
We leave Johannesburg and head towards the Lowveld. On our way we pass through a section of the picturesque Panorama Route - famous for its breathtaking vistas. We have an afternoon visit to Kruger National Park to experience the wildlife of the region. Overnight Hazyview.

Australopithecus remains – 'Little Foot'
Views of the Blyde River Canyon

Day 6: Kruger National Park
Today we explore more of the remarkable Kruger National Park. Covering 21,000 square km, this conservation area has more than 146 mammals including elephants, hippos, lions, and impala, 500 birds, 114 reptiles, 33 amphibians & 49 fish species. We spend the day in an open sided vehicle enjoying animal spotting in the park. Overnight Hazyview.

Day 7: Blyde River Canyon and God's Window
Today we leave the Lowveld and head on a scenic drive to Polokwane. Along the way we stop off at some of the best scenery in South Africa, including the stunning Blyde River Canyon and God's Window. The views of the Canyon afford excellent photo opportunities. Overnight Polokwane.

Day safari in Kruger
The ruins of Great Zimbabwe

Day 8: Mapungubwe
We head north towards the Zimbabwe border and enjoy the ever changing scenery. We visit the historic site of Mapungubwe, an important early medieval political centre (12th Century) and forerunner of Great Zimbabwe. In the afternoon we travel to Musina. Overnight Musina.

Day 9: Great Zimbabwe ruins
Today we enter Zimbabwe - a beautiful country which is rich in culture and tradition. We head to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. This was the greatest city in sub-Saharan Africa, and was built by an ancient highly skilled civilization. The name Zimbabwe is derived from this ancient city and means 'great stone houses' in the Shona language. We explore these amazing ruins, and see the small local museum before checking in to our hotel nearby. Overnight Great Zimbabwe.

Day 10: Gweru
We continue our journey north to Gweru, in Zimbabwe's Midlands. Here we head to The Antelope Park where we will stay for 3 nights. A wide variety of game viewing opportunities are available in this area which is inhabited by lion, elephant, giraffe and numerous antelope! Overnight Gweru.

Walking with lions
The San rock art in Matapos

Day 11: Gweru
In the morning we have the unique experience of 'walking with lions'. These young animals have been reared in captivity and are being kept so that their offspring can be released into wilderness areas. The afternoon is free to do some of the many optional activities in the reserve. Overnight Gweru.

Day 12: Gweru - free day
The day is set aside to relax at the Antelope Park. There are many optional activities including: going for an early morning walk with elephants, watching the feeding of the lions, or patting the lion cubs. A relaxing sunset cruise on the lake is a must for bird spotters or you can watch the wild monkeys and mongooses. Overnight Gweru.

Day 13: Travel to Bulawayo - Bulawayo Natural History Museum
This morning we head north to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city. The city is noted for its wide streets and retains much of its British Colonial character. We visit the Bulawayo Natural History Museum. Overnight Bulawayo.

Day 14: Rhinoceros Reserve - Khami ruins
Today we visit a Rhinoceros Reserve just outside Matabo National Park, one of the last strongholds of both the black and the white rhino. This area is also well known for its high concentration of the elusive leopard and majestic black eagle. We take a walk with white rhino and see them up-close. In the afternoon we explore the stunning ruins of Khami, a fortified medieval citadel. Overnight Bulawayo.

Day 15: Matabo National Park
Matabo national Park is famous for its spectacular landscape and its many rock paintings, providing evidence of the ancient San inhabitants of this area. We visit the tomb of Cecil John Rhodes (after whom Rhodesia was named) which is located at the top of one of the sacred hills. In the afternoon we explore some of the magnificent San rock art in the park. Overnight Bulawayo.

Day 16: Bulawayo to Victoria Falls
This morning we head north to Victoria Falls which is situated on the Zambezi River and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park. We visit Victoria Falls, or Mosioa Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), which was named by David Livingstone, and is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. At 1700m wide and around 100m high, this is the world's largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight. Overnight Victoria Falls.

Cruise on the Zambesi River
Spectacular Victoria Falls

Day 17: Victoria Falls - cruise on the Zambesi
We make another visit to Victoria Falls in the morning. The walk through the forest at the edge of the waterfalls is spectacular with constant glimpses of the rushing water. In the afternoon we go for a sunset cruise on the Zambesi River where we will spot hippos, elephants, crocodiles and many bird species. Overnight Victoria Falls.

Day 18: Victoria Falls - free day
This day is set aside for relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. A helicopter ride over the falls is highly recommended as one of the greatest travel experiences in Africa. The really adventurous could also go bungy jumping near the falls or do a white water rafting experience. Overnight Victoria Falls.

Day 19: Chobe National Park
We head from Victoria Falls to the border crossing into Botswana. Once we've completed the border formalities we continue to the town of Kasane, situated on the banks of the Chobe River. In the afternoon we take a sunset cruise along the Chobe river where we see spectacular vistas of elephants and hippos and much other wildlife. Overnight Kasane.

Magnificent Chobe National Park

Day 20: Chobe National Park
We spend a day in Chobe National park, one of Botswana's premier game parks. The park is renowned for its large numbers of elephants, hippos and giraffe. We head out early for a game drive, spending the day in search of wildlife. Highlights might include the rare Sable and Roan Antelopes, or a pride of lions on the hunt! Overnight Kasane.

Day 21: Fly Kasane to Johannesburg
We head to Kasane airport for our early afternoon flight to Johannesburg. We transfer for our onward flight to Australia.

Day 22: Arrive in Australia
We arrive back into Australia in the early morning.

* Please note that the Company reserves the right to make alterations to the itinerary in the period up to 60 days prior to a tour departure. The itinerary may also be subject to minor re-arrangement due to the scheduling of the operators and availability of access. If this occurs, the Company will endeavour to provide a comparable alternative.


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