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Into Western Africa: The Gambia River and Dakar

Program Number: 19363RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/12/2014 - 2/23/2014;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Gambia/Senegal
Price starting at: $3,290.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 27; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Sail into the natural beauty, history and day-to-day life of Western Africa on this voyage from the Senegalese capital of Dakar along the Saloum and Gambia Rivers while traveling with world-class birder Peter Alden and top local guides. Unlike East Africa, teh lack of dangerous animals allows uus to walk trails in forests and savannas. Discover the vibrant markets and seaside colonial buildings of Dakar and investigate the legacies of the slave trade on Gorée Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then the Gambia River leads you to lush, wildlife-rich nature reserves and the riverside towns and cities of the country where Kunta Kinte was born.




Activity Particulars

Climbing into and out of small boats. Walking on uneven and unpaved surfaces, particularly in nature reserves.



Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Dakar (Senegal), 2 nights; aboard Harmony V, 7 nights.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.



Day 1:
Overnight flight from the U.S.A.




Days 2-4:
Arrival Dakar (Senegal) / Embark Harmony V:

Discover this coastal city’s mix of colonial and traditional African architecture. Examine colorful works at a sandpainting gallery. Venture to Gorée Island and its House of Slaves, a museum and memorial to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Later on Day 4 you will board the ship.
Lodging: Centrally located hotel.



Days 5-6:
Saloun River / Joal-Fadiout/ Abuko

Make a stop at the traditional Senegalese fishing village of Joal-Fadiout before entering the Gambia River. Set out on an expert-led excursion to Abuko Nature Reserve with its tropical river environment.



Day 7:
Gambia River / Kuntaur

Explore Kiang West National Park, a 28,000-scre park home to many species of birds. Continue to Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, a protected area of mangroves, creeks, and mudflats where birds, reptiles, fish and mammals abound.



Days 8-9:
Kuntaur / River Gambia National Park:

Board small boats, pirogues, to experience River Gambia National Park, looking for primates, hippos and birds. In this small capital city, learn about the country’s culture and people.



Days 10-11:
Banjul / Disembark:

Voyage deeper into the Gambia, where the river narrows and winds through lush forest home to fascinating wildlife. The following morning is disembarkation. Visit Lake Retba, famous for its pink waters, and see how local women harvest salt by the bucket. Relax in the evening followed by dinner at the hotel prior to late night flights back to the USA.



Day 12:
Dakar (Senegal) / Departure




M/Y Harmony V

The Harmony V is a deluxe, three-deck cruising vessel launched in 2009. At 187 feet long, it can accommodate 46 participants. Public areas linked by stairs include a restaurant, lounge and sundeck. All outside cabins have a double or two lower beds, air conditioning, windows or porthole and private bathrooms.


Meals and Lodgings
   Terrou Bi Hotel
  Dakar, Senegal 2 nights
   Harmony V
  Study Cruise, Senegal 7 nights
   Terrou Bi Hotel
  Dakar, Senegal 1 night
 Terrou Bi Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Set in a bay offering views of the Atlantic ocean, 10 minutes away from the international Airport and 5 minutes away from the town center, this new jewel of Dakar hospitality welcomes both leisure and business customers
  Contact info: Blvd Martin Luther King
Dakar,  BP1179 Senegal
phone: +221338399039
  Room amenities: Rooms are furnished with either king size beds or two singles, a shower and a separate bath, a flat screen TV as well as secure WIFI access.
  Facility amenities: The Terrou-Bi includes a private beach and a heated swimming pool, a casino, a marina, a night-club, three restaurants, two lounge-bars, as well as modular and flexible infrastructure for receptions and seminars.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact Program Provider Contact program provider at eh@groupist.com
  Additional nights after: Contact Program Provider Contact program provider at eh@groupist.com

 Harmony V
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Harmony V is a brand new and sleek contemporary yacht designed for your comfort and enjoyment. Explore fascinating destinations while enjoy the comfortable and luxurious cabins, delicious cuisine and friendly service.
  Ship Information: The Harmony V, a motor yacht launched in 2009, is 179 feet long and 27 feet wide with a crew of 17. The vessel has twin stabilizers and and travels at a speed of 11-12 knots.
  Contact info: NA
Athens,   Greece
phone: +NA
  Room amenities: Cabins are fully air-conditioned with en suite bathroom, telephone for internal use, mini-safe, mini-fridge, TV, VCR and central music.
  Facility amenities: The vessel boasts 25 cabins, lounge, bar dining room, sun deck and mini-spa.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00pm You will be staying at Terrou Bi Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
After Breakfast You will be staying at Terrou Bi Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. A passport is required. US passports must be valid for 6 months after travel. For U.S. passport holders, a visa is not required for stays of less than 90 days.
  Required innoculations:
Yes: Current yellow fever vaccination is mandatory to enter Senegal and meningitis vaccination is highly recommended if the traveler is arriving from or has recently traveled to an endemic area.
  Parking availability:
n/a
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Dakar
  From End of Program
  Location: Dakar
    (Additional transportation information same as above)


Required innoculations:

Yes: Current yellow fever vaccination is mandatory to enter Senegal and meningitis vaccination is highly recommended if the traveler is arriving from or has recently traveled to an endemic area.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Flight
(Wednesday, February 12)
   
 Depart From: Depart USA for Overnight Flight

Day 2: Arrive in Dakar, Senegal
(Thursday, February 13)
   
 Morning: Arrive this morning and transfer to the hotel in Dakar, capital of this former French colony and our gateway to the continent. Our rooms will be waiting for our arrival. Check in and take some time to relax.
 Lunch: Take some time for lunch on your own at one of the hotel's restaurants.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some leisure time to rest up or enjoy the hotel amenities.
 Dinner: Gather with our groupleader for an orientation briefing and the chance to greet and get to know fellow-participants. We will begin our introduction to Africa with a festive dinner.
   
Accommodations: Terrou Bi Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Visit historic Goree Island
(Friday, February 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel.
 Morning: Our destination today is Goree Island, where many US Presidents and a Pope hav shed a tear over the Atlantic slave trade. A short ferry ride takes us to this World Heritage Site. Today the island is a tranquil spot. The contrasts in the island's past as we enjoy its careless streets and clusters of pink houses before arriving at the House of Slaves, once a departure point for millions of souls headed to bondage in the Americas. We round out our experience with an examination of slavery and it impact.
 Lunch: After lunch in a typical restaurant, we visit the town square, and church.
 Afternoon: We board the ferry for our return to Dakar. Set on the very western edge of the Africa, Senegal boasts a rich past and vibrant and colorful present. The nation's heritage, rooted in local kingdoms that sprung up as far back as the 7th century, is our focus today. An expert led presentation brings that history and culture to life.
 Dinner: Dinner this evening at our hotel
   
Accommodations: Terrou Bi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Embarkation
(Saturday, February 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel.
 Morning: See Dakar's mix of French Colonial and African architecture. Our excursion takes us past the Independence Square to examine the old colonial buildings and and African inspired architecture. We drive the classic "Corniche" and view the Great Mosque, surrounding Medina and the Cathedral. We have a chance to see the unique gallery displaying images created with colored sand. There is a stop at a traditional craft market before arriving at the Dakar's signature Monument of African Renaissance, a 160 foot bronze statue overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
 Lunch: Lunch a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Enjoy a short drive to the port to board our ship the Harmony V.
 Dinner: After an introductory briefing, enjoy your first dinner onboard as we cruise to the Saloun Delta.
   
Accommodations: Harmony V
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Djiffere -Banjul/the Gambia
(Sunday, February 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Sail up the Saloum River in Senegal and board a bus along a barrier beach through huge baobab trees and abundant birdlife. Spend day walking through Joal Fadiout fishing village where Christians and Muslims live side by side and produce fabulous handicrafts.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, we leave Senegal and the Saloun Delta and sail south to Gambia to reach Banjul, the capital of Gambia and gateway to the 700-mile Gambia River.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard and a presentation by our onboard expert on the river’s eco-system.
   
Accommodations: Harmony V
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Banjul - Abuko Nature Reserves/the Gambia
(Monday, February 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard
 Morning: Arrive in Banjul, The Gambia. Early trip to Abuko National Park, where we walk through forest and visit hides to photograph colorful birds and monkeys. Stop at National Museum before afternoon visit to Kunta Kinte Island of Roots fame.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard. .
 Afternoon: Later on the afternoon, we leave "Kunta Kinteh" and sail upstream to reach Tendaba.
 Dinner: Dinner on board
   
Accommodations: Harmony V
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Tendaba/the Gambia
(Tuesday, February 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: From the ship we take motor pirogues in order to reach Tendaba, located on the South Bank in the Lower River Division. It is a small fishing village of mainly Muslim faith with approximately 600 inhabitants whose main occupation is fishing. From there we will walk through to Batelling, a small village at the entrance to Kiang West National Park. The area boasts of over 250 species of birds; many of which are difficult to observe anywhere else. Other residents include Guinea baboons, bushbuck, warthogs, Senegal bushbaby and marsh mongoose. After a refreshing stop in Batelling, we will board an open safari truck which brings us back to Tendaba. On the way we pass again local villages where you get an impression of local life in The Gambia.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, we are picked-up from the ship by motor pirogues for another optional excursion to the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve. This reserve, lying across from Kiang West National Park features six major bolongs (creeks) that provide great birding and boating opportunities. Numerous rare and migratory birds also reside here including the Pel's fishing owl, African fin foot and brown-necked parrot.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Harmony V
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Gambia River - Kuntaur - River Gambia National Park/the Gambia
(Wednesday, February 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard
 Morning: Early morning we leave Tendaba and sail upstream on the Gambia River all morning to reach Kuntaur.
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: Early afternoon arrival to the bustling Gambian port town of Kuntaur, board a large motor pirogue for an excursion cruise on The Gambia River. First we head to the southernmost tip of Baboon Island, one of the five islands of The Gambia National Park. You will have a lecture on fauna & flora. The motor pirogue sails slowly back to Kuntaur following closely the shores of Baboon Island. This island is home of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project. We return to Kuntaur where we are met by the "Kankurang" and a local dance group on the pier. Believed to have spiritual powers the "Kankurang" dispenses justice and wards off evil spirits.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Harmony V
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Kuntaur - Jangjanbureh- Kaur/the Gambia
(Thursday, February 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: We board the local ferry for a short cruise over The Gambia River to Janjanbureh. We continue our excursion with a visit of one of the oldest towns of The Gambia, formerly called Georgetown. During the walk you get an impression of this laidback town and see the residence of the governor, the market and the Methodist church with its school. Afterwards we take the ferry back and re board the bus to reach Lamin Koto. We stop at the mysterious stone circles in Wassu, a megalithic site believed to be a burial ground thousands of years ago. You will visit the little museum of this archaeological site, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: We sail downstream to Kaur a small fishing village on the banks of the Gambia. You will have the opportunity to walk around this small community and see how Gambians live today..
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Harmony V
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Kaur - Banjul/the Gambia
(Friday, February 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Enjoy the landscape as we cruise down the river towards the port of Banjul
 Lunch: Lunch on board
 Afternoon: Free time to relax, take in the scenery and continue our discussion of Gambia's wildlife
 Dinner: farewell dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Harmony V
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Explore Pink Lake
(Saturday, February 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: We say our good-byes to the Harmony V and its crew as we disembark for the final time. On this morning's excursion explore the nearby Pink Lake, an incredible rose-colored body of water. We will learn about the lake and how local women harvest its salt, wading into the shallow waters and loading it into colorful buckets strung together like a serpent.
 Lunch: Lunch is on your own before checking into the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
   
Accommodations: Terrou Bi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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