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Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime, Adult-Exclusive South African adventure celebrating the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park—a celebration of the magic of nature and all living things. Join our very special guests, Imagineer Joe Rohde and Dr. Mark Penning as they share their stories, expertise and passion through special activities and presentations that true Disney fans will treasure.
Joe Rohde, Portfolio Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering

Meet Joe Rohde

Get a peek behind-the-magic as Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde shares stories about the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and other iconic Disney locations and attractions.

As a Portfolio Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, Mr. Rohde and his team are responsible for projects that include the conception and building of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, the creative design and content for Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i and the thrilling attraction, “Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission: Escape” at Disney’s California Adventure Park, as well as many other projects at Disney parks and resorts all over the world.

Recently, Mr. Rohde returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park where he led the team that designed the spectacular new land, “Pandora - The World of Avatar.”

While working on the park, which has a strong wildlife conservation message, Mr. Rohde’s extensive research included meeting with members of the scientific community, experts in the world of zoos and representatives of indigenous communities—all of whose stories are woven into the park. The unique content and collaborations of these projects has led to an intensive exploration of storytelling, which unites a diverse group of partners through the common stories they share.

Mr. Rohde is a Fellow of the renowned Explorer’s Club and has taken expeditions into the Himalayas and Mongolia. He is easily recognized by his signature earrings he wears in his now very large left ear.

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Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment

Meet Dr. Mark Penning

Join Dr. Mark Penning for a fascinating look at what it takes to oversee the animal care and environmental initiatives for the Walt Disney Company’s parks and resorts around the world.

As Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Dr. Penning leads his team in the care for animals and the environment while connecting people to nature and conserving our natural resources. Beyond the wide-range of Disney parks and resorts, Dr. Penning and his team also oversee the welfare of animals in film and television projects.

A veterinarian by training and a native South African, he has owned and operated a wildlife immobilization and relocation business as well as served as CEO of the South African Association for Marine Biology Research which is dedicated to marine research and conservation. Dr. Penning was also the president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an organization that helps guide, encourage and support the zoos, aquariums and like-minded organizations of the world in animal care and welfare, in addition to environmental education and conservation on a global level.

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Two adult and 2 young elephants walk down a dusty path

Trip Highlights

Guests on this one-time, Adult-Exclusive departure will have the opportunity to take part in once-in-a-lifetime activities with special guests Joe Rohde and Dr. Mark Penning.

Sketching Sessions with Joe Rohde

Get your imagination fired up as Mr. Rohde leads sketching sessions with Guests at South African locations throughout the trip. No prior artistic experience is required, as these sessions will embody Mr. Rohde’s philosophy that sketching what you see captures more detail and helps you to remember these amazing experiences better than a photograph.

Animal Kingdom: Storytelling with Joe Rohde

Hear about Mr. Rohde’s adventures and experiences in Africa that served as inspiration in the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This unique opportunity to get insight into the architecture, plants, wildlife and storytelling of the iconic Disney Theme Park from the revered Disney Imagineer is one that Disney fans will treasure.

South African Wildlife & Culture with Dr. Mark Penning

Discover fascinating facts and insights into the natural history, culture and wildlife of South Africa with Dr. Penning, who as both a native of the country and a trained veterinarian, offers a unique perspective on the area’s robust wildlife.

South African Viniculture & Wine Tasting

Learn about the country’s incredible viniculture and the ideal conditions for a wide range of noble wine varieties. Then, enjoy tasting the rich flavors of South African wines.

Additional Day at Kapama Game Reserve

This special departure includes one additional day and night at Kapama Game Reserve in order to truly celebrate the wildlife of this amazing country. See important details

In addition to the special activities of this departure, Guests will also experience an array of amazing activities that are a part of the South Africa itinerary. Activity highlights include:

Knysna Elephant Park: Experience a rare opportunity to get up close to the denizens of South Africa’s first elephant orphanage.

Boulders Beach: Waddle around with the African penguins that call this cove on the waters of the Indian Ocean home.

Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary: Swing in for a safari of the world’s first primate sanctuary that features 18 primate species.

Table Mountain: Take in the breathtaking views on the cable car ride to the summit, then tour the beautiful surroundings.

Cape of Good Hope: Take in the scenic beauty of the Atlantic coast at the southernmost point of Africa’s Cape Peninsula.

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The entrance to Kapama River Lodge at dusk

Departure Information

See trip information for this one-time Adult-Exclusive South Africa vacation itinerary, including departure date, accommodations and more.




2018 Departure

  • Arrive: Cape Town International Airport (CPT)
  • Return: O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)



  • 9 Breakfasts
  • 9 Lunches
  • 8 Dinners


  • Minimum Age is: 18+: This is an Adult-Exclusive trip
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A penguin waddles on a sandy beach near the ocean

Make Reservations

Learn more and book the one-time Adult-Exclusive South Africa: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park’s 20th Anniversary Safari by calling (800) 543-0865 and speak with a Vacationista or contact your travel agent.

PLEASE NOTE: At this time, all bookings for this vacation itinerary will be waistlisted. For more information, please call a Vacationista at (800) 543-0865.
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Important Details

AIRFARE TO AND FROM DESTINATION IS NOT INCLUDED IN OUR LAND PACKAGE PRICES. All prices are in U.S. dollars. All prices are subject to change without notice. Your land package pricing will be confirmed and guaranteed once we receive your 10% of the vacation package price per person deposit, except where price increases may result from increases in government taxes or fees. Guests added to your party after the booking are priced at the prevaililng rate at the time they are added. The child rate applies to Guests under 12 years of age at the time of travel when accompanied by an adult in the same room. Guest under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If you are traveling with children, check this trip’s minimum eligibility age and recommended minimum age, which you can find in the Trip At-a-Glance and FAQs. Room configurations are subject to availability. Please see “Notes on Accommodations” for room configurations.