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Tracing the West Coast of Africa

15 days
from
£14,930
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Small Ship Cruises
Suitable for:
Age 17+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
ZVW
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Small Ship Cruises
Activity:
Multi-Country Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
20–100
Min age:
17

Freedom to focus on immersing yourself in the destination and expedition experience

We are thrilled to return to West Africa on a new and improved itinerary that highlights the very best of this dynamic region. Visit Gabon, São Tomé & Príncipe, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, and Senegal to discover their intriguing cultural heritage, storied history, and numerous natural wonders of these lesser-visited African nations.

Highlights

  • Discover island endemics on São Tomé & Príncipe, such as the Príncipe kingfisher and the São Tomé green pigeon.
  • Walk among the treetops on one of the world’s highest, and longest, suspended rope walkways in Ghana’s Kakum National Park.
  • Visit the Bissagos Archipelago, home to rare, saltwater-adapted hippos, African matinees, crocodiles, and five species of marine turtles and learn about the unique matriarchal traditions of the Bijagos people.
  • Search for more than 290 species of birds in the Abuko Nature Reserve—including African paradise flycatchers, palm nut vultures, hammerkops, pygmy kingfishers, violet turacos, little greenbuls, and Abyssinian rollers.
  • Tour Cape Coast Castle, Ghana; Kunta Kinteh Island, The Gambia; and Gorée Island, Senegal—all three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

What's included

  • Daily activity options including nature walks, Zodiac cruises, and cultural tours
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

What's not included

  • Airfare from your home city/Libreville and Dakar/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Itinerary

Libreville, Gabon
to
Dakar, Senegal
  • Day 1

    Libreville, Gabon

    Arrive in Libreville in the late evening and transfer to the Radisson Blu Okoumé Palace Hotel for overnight.

    Accommodation: Radisson Blu Okoumé Palace Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Libreville / Embark the Caledonian Sky

    After breakfast, depart on a city tour, visiting the local market, the lovely seafront boulevard, and stylish Louis Quarter known for its fashionable clubs, restaurants, and bars. Enjoy lunch at a lovely beachside restaurant, before embarking the Caledonian Sky in the early afternoon.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Santo Antonio, Príncipe, São Tomé & Príncipe

    The ship will spend the day anchored off idyllic Bom Bom Resort on Príncipe’s northern tip. Birders and hikers set off for the lush interior to search for several species of endemic birds, including the Príncipe kingfisher, Príncipe sunbird, and endangered Príncipe speirops. The rest of the group will enjoy a tour of photogenic Santo Antonio, home to 1,500 welcoming residents, lovely Portuguese architecture, and colorful produce markets. This afternoon Zodiacs take you to Banana Beach for a swim in the warm waters with the option to snorkel among the ancient volcanic rocks.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    São Tomé

    Set out by Zodiac for the town pier at São Tomé. Drive into the interior for a short walk through picturesque forest to the stunning Sao Nicolau Waterfall. From here continue to the Monte Café Coffee Plantation for a guided tour and tasting of what some consider the world’s best coffee. You may then choose to enjoy lunch at the Bombaim plantation, view and photograph another beautiful waterfall, and continue to tiny, picturesque Trinidade Village. Or, opt for lunch in São Tomé and a tour of the Cathedral, the National Museum, the local artisan’s gallery, and enjoy a folkloric dance performance.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 5-6

    At Sea

    Enjoy two educational days at sea as lecturers recap your experiences in Gabon and São Tomé & Príncipe

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Takoradi, Ghana

    This morning choose a tour of the Cape Coast Castle, a World Heritage Site, built by the Swedes in 1653 and subsequently conquered by the Danes, the Dutch, the local Fanti tribe, and finally the British, who established the seat of the British administration of the Gold Coast here until 1877. Or, elect to travel into the Kakum National Park for a rainforest canopy walk that includes one of the longest and highest suspended rope bridges in the world. Both groups enjoy lunch at a nearby beach resort before setting off to visit the 15th-century Portuguese Elmina Fort—Africa’s oldest permanent building. 

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

    Cosmopolitan Abidjan is the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire and a city tour takes you through the business district of Le Plateau, filled with gleaming sky-scrapers, chic boutiques, and outdoor cafes. Observe interesting colonial architecture and colorful markets as you continue on to Abodo, Africa’s largest outdoor laundry where hundreds of Fanicos (washers) crowd together in a stream to wash their clients’ clothes.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    At Sea

    Spend your day at sea attending lectures on western Africa’s momentous history, diverse cultures, and natural wonders.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Monrovia, Liberia

    Liberia’s capital and most populous city boasts beautiful beaches, a thriving culinary scene, and a fascinating history. Visit the National Museum which traces Liberia’s tumultuous history, and browse the bustling Waterside Market, where you can find colorful textiles, leather goods, and pottery.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Aberdeen, Sierra Leone

    Today arrive in Aberdeen, a suburb of Freetown, with beautiful white-sand beaches lined with lively shops and restaurants. Permission pending, visit the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, set in a spectacular rainforest habitat.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 12-13

    Orango Island Bissagos Islands, Guinea-Bissau

    Just off the coast of Guinea Bissau, the Bissagos Archipelago is protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Today, join naturalists to explore Joao Viera and Poilao Marine National Park, an important nesting site for green, hawksbill, and olive ridley turtles, as well as several species of terns.

    The next day, visit Parque Nacional do Grupo de Ilhas de Orango. Spend the day exploring this unique habitat that is home to rare, saltwater-adapted hippos, crocodiles, five species of marine turtles, and the African manatee. In the afternoon, meet with the lovely Bijagos people to learn about their traditional matriarchal system.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Banjul, The Gambia

    Birders set out this morning for the Abuko Nature Reserve where more than 290 bird species can be seen—including African paradise flycatchers, violet turacos, little greenbuls, and Abyssinian rollers. A second group departs for a tour of the Makasutu Culture Forest showcasing the five ecosystems protected here. Traditional Joal tribal dancing, a pirogue ride, and palm wine tasting are highlights. During lunch, sail upriver to Albreda Village and Kunta Kinteh Island, a World Heritage Site, where The Gambia’s slave history began.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 15

    Dakar, Senegal / Disembark

    Today, visit the infamous slave-trading center, Gorée Island, including the moving 18th-century House of Slaves, the Women’s Museum, and the fortified Le Castel. An afternoon tour of Dakar includes the Great Mosque, French colonial buildings, the President’s Palace, and the impressive new African Renaissance Monument. Check in to the Radisson Blu Dakar Hotel for dinner and a chance to relax before your independent late evening flight.

    Tour ends here.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Ghana

Most nationalities require a visa to enter Ghana, including nationals from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and European countries. For UK nationals this visa must be obtained beforehand and it generally takes 7-10 working days to process the visa. For further information contact the Ghanaian High Commission in London.

Senegal

UK passport holders do not need a visa to enter Senegal for periods of less than three months. Travellers should be aware of reports that European airlines have refused boarding to passengers travelling to Senegal who have not had either a return ticket

Gambia

There are no entry requirements for British citizens visiting for up to 28 days. For visits in excess of 28 days, permission has to be obtained from the Gambian Immigration Department at their offices in Banjul. Extensions cost D250 for each additional month.

Vaccinations

Ghana

Vaccination against Yellow Fever is necessary for this trip, and you must bring a valid certificate of vaccination.

Recommended vaccinations for this trip are: Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Yellow Fever.

Other vaccines to consider: Diphtheria; Hepatitis B; Meningococcal Meningitis; Rabies; Typhoid.

Senegal

Vaccination against Yellow Fever is necessary , and you must bring a valid certificate of vaccination. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Gambia

Yellow Fever vaccine required, recommended vaccines are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Is this trip for you?

 This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Zegrahm Expeditions. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Zegrham Expeditions, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. Zegrahm Expeditions operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

Most activities require a moderate level of exertion. You must be able to walk, unaided, over sometimes rough terrain, such as unpaved roads and uneven trails. Be prepared for high heat and humidity throughout this itinerary. Some of the areas we visit lack modern facilities and the infrastructure can be poorly developed, expect occasional delays.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

The Caledonian Sky

The all-suite, 100-guest Caledonian Sky is a spacious, yet intimate, expedition vessel. Refurbished in 2018, her beautifully designed public spaces include a single-seating dining room, a large lounge with piano, elegant bar, enclosed panoramic viewing deck, sun deck, library, and small gym. All suites have an ocean view and feature a sitting room, en suite bathroom, flat-screen television, spacious wardrobes, and dressing table. The Caledonian Sky carries a fleet of Zodiacs, available for accessing remote shorelines and islands and is equipped to offer scuba diving.

GENERAL 

  • Five decks of guest facilities.  

- Castle Deck – guest suites, dining room, doctor’s office.   - Caledonian Deck – guest suites, bar, lounge, reception.   - Promenade Deck – guest suites with direct deck access, gym, hair salon.   - Bridge Deck – guest suites with private balconies, bridge, outdoor dining.   - Panorama Deck – sun deck, library, Panorama Lounge, and bar.   

  • Stairs and an elevator service all decks.
  • The bridge is available to visit most times throughout the day, contingent upon weather, security, and navigation conditions.   
  • Smoking is permitted only on outside decks.

 SUITES

  • All suites feature ocean views and have two twin beds that can be reconfigured into one queen, a sitting area, a well-appointed en suite bathroom, large closets, vanity table, small refrigerator, television, personal safe, hair dryer, assorted toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, and American style outlets (two flat prongs)at 110 volts.   
  • Castle Deck has Category 1 suites that are 244 square feet and have three portholes.   
  • Caledonian Deck has Category 2 suites that are 232 square feet with large picture windows.   
  • Promenade Deck has Category 3 suites that are 217 square feet with a picture window; Category 4 suites that are 217 square feet with direct deck access via a sliding glass door; and Category 5 suites that are 243 square feet and feature two forward-facing portholes and direct deck access via a sliding glass door.
  • Bridge Deck has Category 6 suites that are 217 square feet and have patio doors leading to private balconies that are 60 square feet.

 DINING   

  • The main restaurant can accommodate all guests at one seating.   
  • Most diets can be catered for on board, but special dietary requests must be made in advance.    
  • Breakfast is served buffet-style and a la carte.
  • Dinner is served in the main restaurant. When weather permits, meals can also be served on deck.   
  • Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and coffee and tea are available 24 hours a day.

 SERVICES

  • Caledonian Sky carries a fleet of Zodiacs and is equipped to offer scuba diving.
  • Public spaces include a large lounge for lectures, Panorama lounge and bar, gym, and library with reference books, novels, DVDs, and computers with Internet access.
  • Free onboard Wi-Fi is available for all guests.
  • Laundry services (no dry cleaning), a hair salon, and a small doctor’s office are available on board. Rates are posted.
  • The U.K. pound is the currency used on board. Traveler’s checks, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted for payment of shipboard accounts.
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]