This course will explore indigenous cultures and flora and fauna of Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia in context. Students will explore Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, and — in all three countries — nature conservancies where students can observe and learn about animals and vegetations found in Southern Africa, and the strategies used to protect and preserve them.

We will also set up camp outside remote villages in the bush where students will have direct interactions with individuals from the distinct cultures found in this region of the African continent, including the Basubiya, Hambukushu, Ovambo, and San peoples. These groups will share their dances, songs, arts, and other cultural traditions with us. The tour will culminate in a visit to one of the seven natural wonders of the world — Victoria Falls.

The course will investigate the role of colonialism in Southern Africa’s history and explore ways in which postcolonial political and social structures — including the Namibian apartheid era and independence — and the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 epidemics complicate the art, music, and cultural identities of citizens of Southern Africa.

Aside from the first and last nights of the tour, when we will stay in guest lodges, our nights will be spent camping in tents. This safari experience is designed for the adventurous student: one who enjoys pitching in to help, conversing with nature, and does not mind the challenges of bush camping. Participation involves setting up and taking down your tent, chopping of veggies and assisting with other meal prep, washing dishes, assisting our guides and drivers in loading and unloading of equipment, long drives on unpaved roads, and completing a day-long service- learning project.

On every day of this study tour, you will see, touch, taste, smell, and/or hear something you have never seen, touched, tasted, smelled, and/or heard before. If that’s an exciting thought, this trip is for you.

This course is limited to 15 participants, and it fulfills the International Perspectives (ITL) general education requirement and is under consideration for Social Interactions (SI) general education requirement.

Course code and title

MUS 675C Southern Africa: A Sociocultural Journey


Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe


Estimated travel dates

Jan. 5-26, 2025

Estimated costs

$4,000 + optional campus meals

Information sessions

  • 4 p.m. Monday, March 25, JAC 131
  • 11 a.m. Thursday, March 28, JAC 131
  • Noon Friday, April 5, JAC 131