Road Scholar : Home
Africa’s West Coast: A Grand Voyage from South Africa to Morocco

Program Number: 20963RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/4/2015 - 5/8/2015;
Duration: 34 nights
Location: South Africa/Namibia/Angola/Congo/Sao Tome and Principe/Benin/Togo/Ghana/Sierra Leone/Guinea-Bisseau/Gambia/Senegal
Price starting at: $19,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 91; 31 Breakfasts, 30 Lunches, 30 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Voyage up the beautiful west coast of Africa, go ashore in 12 countries and discover many UNESCO World Heritage Sites on this in-depth expedition. Encounter wildlife up close, discover remote islands by Zodiac boat, interact with locals and much more.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven terrain. Wet landings by Zodiac. Tourism infrastructure of Africa is still developing so facilities may not meet Western standards.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Cape Town (South Africa), 1 night; aboard M/S Expedition, 29 nights; Marrakech (Morocco), 1 night.



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


Days 2-3: Arrival Cape Town (South Africa) / embark M/S Expedition:

Ride a cable car to the top of Table Mountain for spectacular views. Lodging: Four-star hotel.



Days 4-6: At Sea / Luderitz (Namibia) / Walvis Bay:

Explore the German-style town of Luderitz and the stunning Namib Desert.



Days 7-9: At Sea / Lobito (Angola):

Discover the colonial town of Sao Felipe de Benguela and learn its slave trade history.



Days 10-11: At Sea / Pointe-Noire (Congo):

Discover the cliffs of Diosso Gorge and Pointe-Noire’s lively market.



Days 12-14: At Sea / Sao Tome and Principe:

Spend two days exploring this island paradise of rainforests and waterfalls.



Days 15-17: At Sea / Cotonou (Benin) / Lome (Togo):

Walk Benin’s “Route des Esclaves.” In Togo, Ewe people welcome you to their village.



Days 18-19: Accra (Ghana) / Takoradi:

Experience the busy capital and visit a school there. Discover the slave castles of Ghana.



Days 20-22: At Sea / Freetown (Sierra Leone):

A shore excursion includes the capital and Tacagumu Chimpanzee Sanctuary.



Days 23-24: At Sea / Bissagos Islands (Guinea-Bissau):

Zodiac excursions bring you to villages and uninhabited islands in this unspoiled archipelago.



Days 25-28: Banjul (The Gambia) / Dakar (Senegal) At Sea:

Encounter the monkeys, crocodiles and birds of Abuko Nature Reserve. Disembark in energetic Dakar and visit infamous Goree Island.



Days 29-31: Dakhla (Western Sahara) / At Sea / Fuerteventura (Canary Islands):

Journey into the Sahara Desert in a 4x4 vehicle. Experience beautiful Fuerteventura.



Days 32-34: Agadir (Morocco) / disembark / coach to Marrakech / departure:

Visit the famous Djemaa el Fna square in Marrakech. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.



M/S Expedition

Refurbished in 2009, this 345-foot, Finnish-Swedish Ice Class-rated expedition ship has lots of space for 132 passengers. A 360° Observation Deck and large common areas provide panoramic views of the sea and land around you. The ship boasts a fleet of 14 Zodiac boats. Complimentary Wellington boots provided for shore excursions.


Meals and Lodgings
   The Commodore Hotel (or similar)
  Cape Town, South Africa 1 night
   M/S Expedition
  Aboard the M/S Expedition, At Sea 29 nights
   Kenzi Farah Hotel
  Marrakech, Morocco 1 night
 The Commodore Hotel (or similar)
Type: Hotel
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: PortsWood Rd, Portwood Square
V&A Waterfront
Cape Town,   South Africa
phone: +27 (0) 21 415 1000
web: www.thecommodore.co.za
  Room amenities: The Commodore offers 236 elegantly furnished standard rooms and suites. All rooms have individual air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, bathroom with toilet and separate bath and shower, direct dialing phones, electric razor plugs, hair dryers, DStv and 24-hour room service. Our service ethic is one of utmost efficiency, allowing you to leave everything to us so that you can find time to enjoy the beautiful 'Mother City'.
  Facility amenities: 24 hour room service For those who prefer some privacy or to sleep in for a change, you may order breakfast to your room. We also have a 24 hour menu which you may order from at any time. Business centre Our business centre is conveniently located in the foyer. Guests are able to go about their business with the use of wifi available freely in the business centre. DStv With a bouquet of 20 different channels to choose from, our guests can enjoy the privacy and comfort of their rooms as they find their desired programme to watch. Complimentary internet access All our guests are welcome to enjoy complimentary internet access Health & wellness centre - Casuarina Spa Casuarina Spa is a Premier Wellness Centre ideally located on the 1st floor of The Commodore Hotel at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Gymnasium For the fitness fanatics who enjoy a healthy and balanced lifestyle, you may utilise our fully equipped gym open 24 hours a day. Valet service Our efficient valet service will allow you to enjoy a swift check-in with fewer hassles. Enjoy a refreshment as we park your car and bring you your luggage Foreign exchange Should you require such services, we will be happy to assist you at the reception desk Medical service on call In the event of a guest needing medical attention we have access to highly trained medical professionals on call
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact PD for pricing Additional nights are booked by Program Development with G Adventures.

 M/S Expedition
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The M/S Expedition provides an intimate small-ship cruising experience. Completely refurbished in 2009, she boasts spacious cabins, each featuring ocean-facing windows or portholes and private en-suite facilities. Large common areas and observation decks provide panoramic views of the distinctive landscapes of some of the world's most remote regions.
  Ship Information: Built: Helsingr Skibsvaerft, Denmark, 1972 Ice Class: Swedish/Finnish 1B Length: 105m (345ft) Breadth: 18.6m (61ft) Max Draft: 4.7m (15ft) Gross Tonnage: 6334 GRT Cruising Speed: 14.5 knots Stabilizers: Fins, Type Brown/AEG Max Group Size: 132 (Max Passenger Capacity: 140) Crew: 55
  Contact info: 19 Charlotte Street
Toronto, ON M5V 2H5 Canada
phone: 416-260-0999
  Facility amenities: 360° Observation Deck All cabins with private ensuite and outside views Raised Canada Goose Observation Deck Fleet of 14 zodiacs with four stroke engines Complimentary Wellington Boots for duration of your cruise Complimentary destination guides for every passenger Large headed mud room Lonely Planet Library Discovery Lounge Fine dining- international cuisine in one sitting Large aft-deck with barbeque facilities Polar Bear Club Gift Shop Medical Clinic Sauna Computer room with internet where available Gym Mobile phones for rent
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Kenzi Farah Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: A classic venue, typical of the Imperial City, a haven of peace set like a gem in a 3 hectors’ private splendid park of luxuriant greenery and dappling hues and vivid colors, the mythical, iconic KENZI FARAH HOTEL is located in the very heart of the prime, trendy, cosmopolitan district “L’Hivernage”.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Avenue du President Kennedy
Marrakesh,  40000 Morocco
phone: +212(0)524 44 74 00
web: www.kenzi-hotels.com/kenzifarah/default-en.html
  Room amenities: Nestling in the lush palm groves, the 380 rooms, including ten suites, are spread over four buildings on four floors. All rooms are spacious and sound proofed with double glazing. Modern amenities and bathroom facilities LCD satellite TV Wi fi broadband high speed internet connection in all rooms 60 rooms with either terrace or veranda Direct dial telephone Air conditioning Hairdryer Separate toilet Mini bar Personal electronic safe 220 volts power supply
  Facility amenities: The Orangery International Cuisine buffet service Poolside Bar and Italian Cuisine Snack bar The Mediterros: Mediterranean Cuisine The Oriental Restaurant: Traditional, refined Moroccan Cuisine of the regions The Lobby Bar: Lounge bar with a lively and convivial ambience Guest transfer service Private parking and valet service Duty Manager 24-hour concierge service 24-hour security team 24-hour room service Wireless internet in public areas O-Spa by Kenzi Car Hire Fitness room Boutiques Baby sitter on request Laundry service Doctor on request Non-smoking rooms In-room safe and at reception Foreign exchange Conference rooms Business Center Hotel - city center shuttle service Outdoor and indoor pool Fitness center Cultural excursions: the Medina, bustling souks and Jamâa El Fna square, palaces and ancient Koranic school, famous Koutoubia Mosque, les Jardins Majorelle Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens, museums … Golfing session packages Tennis court General sports ground Bowling pitch Table-tennis Playground equipped for child Accepted credit cards: Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Diner’s .
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program starts in the late afternoon on Day 2 at the program hotel in Cape Town, South Africa. You will be staying at The Commodore Hotel (or similar) that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends at the program hotel on Day 34 in Marrakesh, Morocco. Flights can depart at any time. You will be staying at Kenzi Farah Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. IMPORTANT: The MS Expedition will apply for group entry visas for shore excursions during West Coast of Africa cruise. Each passenger is responsible for the costs associated with each visa. We expect the total cost of all visas to range from $600 to $800 USD per passenger. We give a price range because visa costs are at the discretion of each government and in our experience exact costs can change at short notice. Visa costs will be charged to each passenger's shipboard account and settled at the end of the cruise. Passengers should confirm prior to departure that they are eligible to obtain a visa for each of the countries visited. Requirements may be different for non-U.S. citizens. As always all countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). The number of blank pages required (listed above) is an estimate only. You will want to have at least 1 full page for each visa, plus an additional 1/2 page for entry/exit stamps. Countries Visited: • Benin • Gambia • Ghana • Namibia • Sao Tome and Principe • Senegal • Sierra Leone • South Africa • Togo • Angola • Congo • Western Sahara • Spain (Canary Islands) • Morocco
  Required innoculations:
Yes: **A Yellow Fever vaccine is required.** The CDC recommends that routine vaccines such as for influenza, chickenpox, polio, MMR, and DPT are up to date. Routine vaccines are recommended even if you do not travel. Malaria is present in nearly all of the countries that you will be visiting on this itinerary. We recommend visiting the CDC webpage and speaking with your doctor for prophylaxis recommendations.
  Parking availability:
We do not recommend driving to the site
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Cape Town
  Transportation to site: All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transferred from the Cape Town International Airport to the program hotel. If you did not purchase your air through Road Scholar, you may join the designated group transfer as long as your flight arrives before or at the same time as the group flight. The designated group transfer time will be sent with your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of your program. All participants who are joining this program from the Johannesburg Extension (program #20984) will be transferred from the Cape Town airport to the hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Marrakech
  Transportation from site: All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transferred from the hotel to Manara Airport (RAK) in Marrakesh. If you did not purchase your air travel through Road Scholar, you may join the designated group transfer as long as your flight departs at the same time, or after the group flight. The designated group transfer time will be confirmed in your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of the program. If you arrange your air travel through Road Scholar, there will be a long layover in London which will require a hotel overnight. This forced overnight is included in your airfare. If you do not book your flights with Road Scholar, and you choose to make your own flight arrangements, you will be responsible for any hotel overnights upon your return.


Required innoculations:

Yes: **A Yellow Fever vaccine is required.** The CDC recommends that routine vaccines such as for influenza, chickenpox, polio, MMR, and DPT are up to date. Routine vaccines are recommended even if you do not travel. Malaria is present in nearly all of the countries that you will be visiting on this itinerary. We recommend visiting the CDC webpage and speaking with your doctor for prophylaxis recommendations.

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: Depart US for flights to Cape Town
(Saturday, April 4)
   
 In Transit: In Flight

Day 2: En Route
(Sunday, April 5)
   
 In Transit Overnight: In transit

Day 3: Arrivals / Cape Town, South Africa
(Monday, April 6)
   
 Arrive To: Welcome to Cape Town, South Africa, the most cosmopolitan city on the continent and one of the must stunning urban areas on earth. Transfer to the hotel and check-in for one night.
 Dinner: Join your study leader for the program orientation, followed by a welcome dinner.
   
Accommodations: The Commodore Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 4: Cape Town / Embarkation
(Tuesday, April 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: The day starts with the cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain. The plateau at 3km wide has it's highest point over 1,000 meters, and provides spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch,make your way along the famous Chapman's Peak road, a scenic drive like no other, pausing periodically to take in the sea vistas and cozy oceanside settlements, before entering the larger and more ethnically diverse towns of Hout Bay and Kommetjie. You will also have the opportunity to visit the boulders site where a small colony of African, or Jackass penguins cling to viability in a small breeding colony that is heavily protected. Enjoy the drive back to Cape Town, skirting the Constantia Winelands before making your way to the MS Expedition for embarkation at approximately 4pm.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: At Sea
(Wednesday, April 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings. The Expedition has ample public space in the lounge and library, and you can always join new friends in the ship's popular pub. Alternatively, spend time relaxing on the ship's deck or scanning the horizon with binoculars and camera in search of seabirds and marine life. As always, high end dining experiences will be enjoyed in the ship's dining room.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Capping off the day, wine maker David van Neikerk describes his method of making Sparkling Wine in South Africa, and everyone gets to toast with a glass of his very own wine.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Luderitz, Namibia
(Thursday, April 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Spend your morning relaxing onboard the ship as you sail into Luderitz, Namibia.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Within minutes of disembarking from MS Expedition on the southern coast of Namibia, you will encounter ascending blocks of architectural evidence that the seaside town of Luderitz had indeed been founded by German settlers who brought their culture with them to southwest Africa. From the brightly painted houses of Berg Street (1909-11) to the elegant 1910 Goerke House on the hill, it was also evident that a substantial number of the early 20th century newcomers to this remote seaport had achieved financial success from endeavors related to the nearby diamond fields. But the visitors of 2015 will find that these days of colorful European-style buildings repose along sleepy inclined avenues where the era of bustling prosperity that produced them a century ago, has long since been absorbed into the mists of the offshore currents. Just a few miles north, we travel through the dwellings of the mining ghost town of Komannskuppe. Glancing at faded museum photographs, listen for faint echoes of German life from the arduous era of the diamond industry.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Walvis Bay, Namibia
(Friday, April 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: The morning at sea may provide an opportunity to to see fur seals and Cape Gannets. Enjoy the educational programming, or simply relax on board the ship
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Upon arrival in Walvis Bay you will have the opportunity to explore the landscapes of the Namib Desert. We begin by setting off to see the fantastic Welwitschia - a living fossil that has existed since the day of the dinosaur. At first glance it looks like a misshapen dried up dying plant - but upon closer inspection you can see the adaptations that have made it such a successful and long lived plant found only in the Namib Desert. Soon after, we're off to look at the Moon landscape - which is yet another portion of the desert with formations of such unusual peaks and valleys stretching off into tomorrow. Marvel at the vastness of the world's oldest desert.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: At Sea
(Saturday, April 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: At Sea
(Sunday, April 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Lobito (Benguela), Angola
(Monday, April 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today, enjoy a visit to the quaint town of Sao Felipe de Benguela in Angola. Benguela was founded by Portuguese in 1617 and has a big part in the history of the slave trade. The visit today covers the two towns of Lobito and Benguela, both cast in the unique Portuguese/African style, veneered slightly by the fresh paint of modern architecture and construction, and displaying the usual Portuguese national obsession with tree lined avenues and lovely central parkways and public spaces. Pause at the 16th century fort of San Pedro set on a hilltop guarding the old crossing on the Catumbela river. This offers great views of the surrounding city. Also view the 1905 steel bridge that had been responsible for so much congestion, and the governor's residence opposite.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Free time in the afternoon to explore the port of Lobito (if time allows)
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: At Sea
(Tuesday, April 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Pointe Noire, Congo
(Wednesday, April 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today, visit the Congo's Pointe Noire. This morning you will visit the cliffs of Diosso Gorge to look at the red sandstone gulley, created by natural erosion.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Point Noire with a visit to the Diosso Scientific and Cultural Museum where entusiastic museum guides will provide a tour of the collection.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: At Sea
(Thursday, April 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Sao Tome and Principe
(Friday, April 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: This Portuguese colonial island nation is a tropical paradise of beaches, waterfalls, forests and friendly people. You'll visit the capital, Sao Tome- once an important slave-trade post- and explore a nearby plantation. Sao Tome is famous among birders, with over 140 species identified in the surrounding area. On a birding excursion, try to catch a glimpse of the islands' endemic inhabitants.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Explore Principe via Zodiac boat to experience it's beaches, waterfalls and rainforests. A swim in the tropical waters is a great way to relax. Birdlife, including many endemic species, is abundant here and we'll keep our eyes out for African grey parrots. Option to visit the tiny town of Santo Antonio, the world's smallest city.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Sao Tome and Principe
(Saturday, April 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Your day will take you to an old Coffee Station called Monte Cafe, reinvigorated by foreign money.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch move on to the quaint town to explore the fort at the entrance of the harbor. It's like going back in time to the colonial era and the inhabitants had just packed up and left.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: At Sea
(Sunday, April 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues as you sail towards Cotonou, Benin
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Cotonou, Benin
(Monday, April 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: On the surface Cotonou seems like any other noisy and colorful African city, an impression reinforced as you move through the endless labyrinth of dusty streets clogged with informal markets, trading kiosks and roadside industries. The city lacks natural resources, but what it does not appear to lack is entrepreneurial energy. Every conceivable commodity and enterprise is available somewhere not too far from anywhere else. We arrive at our first destination of Gamvie. Described as the Venice of West Africa, it is a little less than that, but nonetheless it is an extraordinary community atop the tidal Lake Nueke where historically, refuge was sought against the predation of the slave catching troops of Dahomey. Today it remains an independent water community reliant on small scale trade and fishing, existing around a small, self contined stilted village. We visited the site in a series of small boats, embarking at a bustling but rather odorous waterside market from where you weave your way through busy fishermen and paddling market ladies.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship or at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: From Gamvie, make your way through the congested countryside to the fascinating town of Ouidah. The sad history of Ouidah is that it once served as the main entrepot for slave embarkation to the New World, and a great deal of local focus and commeroration has been given over to memorializing this shameful trade. Ouidah is also the center of the local Voodoo culture, with colorful and symbolic statuary representing various aspects of the faith to be found everywhere within and around the town.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Lome, Togo
(Tuesday, April 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Following breakfast you will disembark the ship for a day of learning and discovery in and around the city of Lome. Anticipate an action-filled day punctuated with the color and vitality of the Ewe and Akan people, who founded the city in the 18th century. Our first stop is the International Museum of Guinea. This is a small converted residence that holds treasures that will amaze anyone. You will be privileged to see rare, authentic artifacts from across West Africa that span centuries. Following this, visit an artisinal market nearby before returning back to the ship at lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: In the afternoon we will travel out of town to the Akato Viepe village to meet the chief and experience village life. Upon arrival we are met wtih the welcoming face and venture into learning about patrilineal communities, their farming practices and the role of different people in the village. Leave feeling inspired by a day in Togo and return to the ship filled with new knowledge and a burning desire to return.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Accra, Ghana
(Wednesday, April 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today's excursion takes us from the port at Tema to the busy capital of Accra. Our first stop is at a casket-maker's shop where caskets are carved to depict the beliefs, hobbies and life stories of the deceased.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Later, visit a local school to interact with the children and staff before heading off to a local market, the national museum and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. Wildlife enthusiasts may choose to visit the Shai Game Reserve instead to view baboons, green monkeys and antelope as well as an abundance of birdlife: Senegal Parrots, Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters and Vieilot's Barbet. After the reserve, witness local breadmakign and give it a try yourself.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 20: Takoradi, Ghana
(Thursday, April 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: From the dock at the Ghanaian town of Takoradi, we'll explore a region steeped in the sad history of the slave trade. A visit to Elmira Castle and Cape Coast Castle brings us face-to-face with the horrible conditions of the dungeons and quarters slaves inhabited while awaiting their fate. Although this site was established by the Swedes in 1653, it was not until the 1700s when it fell under the control of the British, that it reached its peak of output as a commercial slaving depot. The castle itself, although forbidding from the outside, is surrounded by pleasant aspects of local fishing activity, and the relatively clean and pleasant precincts of Cape Castle village. A visit to the West African Historical Museum is included in our visit to Cape Coast Castle.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship or at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: As an alternative to the Cape Castle visit, you may choose to visit Kakum National Park to witness its 100-foot-high Canopy Walkway. From high above the treetops, the Walkway gets you incredibly close to the flora and fauna of the region.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 21: At Sea
(Friday, April 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational program at sea continues.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 22: At Sea
(Saturday, April 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational program continues as the ship sails towards Sierra Leone.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 23: Freetown, Sierra Leone
(Sunday, April 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today, we disembark in Freetown, Sierra Leone and spend 2 days exploring. Sierra Leone is recovering form a civil war that almost tore the country apart, but today it is a progressive African state with a great future. Tourism is part of the recovery process.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: With so many interesting aspects to the city, what immediately strikes travelers is the combination of bustle, clutter, seething traffic and population, and of course the ever present informal sector industry. Many of the streets retain their old colonial era names, such as Goucester Road, Wilberforce Street, George Street and Regent Street, all very oddly juxtaposed against this swarming West African city. Explore the Sierra Leone National Museum, close to the famous Cotton Tree. A nearby war memorial may also be of considerable interest, rendering a sense of the extent to which this tragedy has been imprinted on the psyche of this city.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 24: Freetown, Sierra Leone
(Monday, April 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Your exploration of Freetown will continue with a visit to the Tacagumu Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Located in the much threatened Western Area Peninsula Forest Reserve, close to Freetown, the sanctuary covers 100 acres of important rainforest and watershed. Tacugama was established in 1995 to house and rehabilitate confiscated, orphaned and abandoned chimps. Much work is also undertaken towards stopping the illegal trade of this endangered species, and supporting the protection and conservation of chimpanzees in the wild through education, communication and legal enforcement.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: The city of Freetown is located at the foot of the Peninsula Mountains, and facing a great natural harbor. The peninsula boasts of having some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa. Visit one of the least visited beaches in the world.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 25: At Sea
(Tuesday, April 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational program at sea continues as you sail towards Guinea-Bissau
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 26: Banjul, The Gambia
(Wednesday, April 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today's a special day for the bird lovers! The Gambia is known for it's abundant birdlife: Over 500 species! Today we'll visit the Abuko Nature Reserve for a walk with our guides. Birds, monkeys and crocodiles inhabit the area. Alternatively, travellers will have the option to visit the museum of a local artist. Before arriving at the museum, we'll visit the Serrekunda market, one of Africa's busiest. At the museum, the artist herself will give us a guided tour of the space and its works while giving us some insight into her life as an African artist.
 Lunch: Participate in a local cooking class with a local woman who will show us how to make traditional Gambian cuisine.
 Afternoon: Visit a fruit distillery to learn about local liqueurs and be treated to a tasting.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 27: Dakar, Senegal
(Thursday, April 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Today we arrive in Dakar, Senegal; a bustling and energetic West African capital. We'll visit the infamous slave-trading post of Goree Island and learn about the history of the region and its importance to the slave trade. The tour includes visits to the dungeons and slave quarters, the traders' opulent homes, the House of Slaves and Le Castel, offering a fascinating look into this dark time. We'll also visit the IFAN Historical Museum to learn more about the history of Senegal.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: After lunch, explore Dakar's incredible markets, Great Mosque and colonial architecture before checking into the hotel for the final night on the African continent.
 Afternoon: Farewell dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 28: At Sea
(Friday, May 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues as you sail towards Western Sahara
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 29: At Sea
(Saturday, May 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues as you sail towards Western Sahara
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 30: Dakhla, Western Sahara
(Sunday, May 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breafkast on board the ship
 Morning: Dakhla is located in the country of West Sahara, although administered by Morocco. This is your opportunity to touch the western edge of the great Sahara Desert. The Western Sahara is a tropical desert. Hot and dry but cooled by the breeze off the Atlantic Ocean. This combination of cool and hot can often create a fog layer out at sea. A pastorial nomadic lifestyle is common here, as most make a living fishing or mining. We are planning a full day here to see the edge of the Sahara and if possible, some of the nomadic people who live here.
 Lunch: Enjoy a local gala lunch in tents set up especially for this occassion.
 Afternoon: Exploration of Dakhla and Western Sahara continues.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 31: At Sea
(Monday, May 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by the expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography, and South African wine tastings
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Educational programming at sea continues as you sail towards Morocco
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 32: Fuerteventurea, Canary Islands
(Tuesday, May 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Fuereventura, in the Canary Islands, is part of the newly designated UNESCO bioreserve. It is believed the first settlers came from North Africa soon to be followed by the Spanish, Portuguese and French! Today it is a meca for those escaping winter colds further in the north. You will see why when we tour the islands beaches.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Like the rest of the Canaries, it is an ancient volcanic island that has eroded. The climate on Fuerteventura is pleasant throughout the year. The island is also often referred to as the island of eternal spring. The sea adjusts the temperature making the hot Sahara winds blow away from the island.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: M/S Expedition
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 33: Agadir / Marrakesh
(Wednesday, May 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: We make our last open sea passage back to the continent, landing in Agadir, near the foot of the famous and wild snow capped Atlas Mountains. In 1960 it was completely destroyed by an earthquake, and has been totally rebuilt into a modern city and a beach destination for many! Transfer 146 miles to Marrakesh.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant en route to Marrakesh.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Marrakesh in time to take a guided walk down the Medina - the ancient central market. Visit the extraordinary Djemaa el Fna square - a human carnival filled with magicians, snake charmers, acrobats, water sellers and food stalls.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Kenzi Farah Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 34: Marrakesh / Departures
(Thursday, May 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Free morning to explore Marrakesh
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Meet back at the hotel and transfer to the airport for flights returning to the U.S.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 35: Flights arrive in the U.S.
(Friday, May 8)
   
 Arrive To: Flights arrive back in the United States.
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.

Suggested Reading List


Africa Map


Author: Collins Maps


Description: This folded, full-color map shows the continent and surrounding islands, including the Arabian Peninsula, on a single sheet at 1:10,000.000.



Africa, A Biography of the Continent


Author: John Reader


Description: With the ease of a practiced journalist, Reader weaves a masterful and lively tale of the continent, from ancient cultures to modern times. Both authoritative and informal, this is a splendid introduction to all of Africa.



Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles


Author: Richard Dowden


Description: Africa editor of The Independent and The Economist, Richard Dowden draws on decades of experience in this multi-faceted, vivid portrait of contemporary Africa -- an Africa that, Dowden effectively argues, can only be developed by its own people.



African Art, An Introduction


Author: Frank Willett


Description: A concise, well illustrated overview of the art and culture of Africa, portraying the range of spectacular art produced throughout the ages.



African Silences


Author: Peter Matthiessen


Description: In this narrative of Equatorial Africa, Matthiessen recounts several trips to The Gambia, Senegal, Zaire and the Congo Basin in search of rhinos, elephants and other endangered wildlife.



African Wildlife


Author: James Kavanaugh


Description: Slip this laminated foldout guide in your pocket for quick reference in the field.



Another Day in the Life


Author: Ryszard Kapuscinski, William R. Brand (Translator), Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand (Translator)


Description: Kapuscinski's visceral eye-witness account of the Portuguese withdrawal from Angola and of the civil war that engulfed the West African nation in the 1960s.



King Leopold's Ghost, A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa


Author: Adam Hochschild


Description: An enthralling narrative of the 19th-century colonization of the Belgian Congo, written by an award-winning journalist. The focus of the book is Belgian King Leopold, who oversaw the colonization.



Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals


Author: Jonathan Kingdon


Description: A convenient compact edition of Kingdon's gloriously illustrated Field Guide to African Mammals. With abbreviated information on identification, distribution, ecology and conservation status and the same 480 outstanding color illustrations and maps as its bigger cousin.



Lonely Planet Southern Africa


Author: Alan Murphy


Description: This hefty practical guide to the nine nations of southern Africa, including Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho, is ideal for independent travelers on a multicountry tour.



Lonely Planet West Africa


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A comprehensive guide to all West Africa, this is the book to carry for travels from Mauritania to Niger, with both a good overview of culture and history and the usual Lonely Planet attention to practical travel information.



Long Walk to Freedom


Author: Nelson Mandela


Description: An unpretentious tale of an extraordinary life, Mandela's autobiography is essential reading for an understanding of South Africa. His grace and his love for his country shine throughout.



My Traitor's Heart


Author: Rian Malan


Description: Afrikaner journalist Malan recounts his journey back to his homeland just before the collapse of Apartheid. He grapples with the black and white heart of South Africa, drawing on the 300-year history of his family in Africa and legends of the Zulu nation, in this beautifully written and brutally honest story of return.



Radcliffe Bailey, Memory As Medicine


Author: Carol Thompson


Description: Carol Thompson, curator of African art at High Museum of Art in Atlanta contribues an essay to this celebration of the work of Radcliffe Bailey, whose paintings, sculptures, installations, and large mixed media works that draw inspiration from African and other sources of visual representation.



Search Sweet Country


Author: Kojo Laing


Description: One of the great novels of Africa presented here in a 25th anniversary edition, it follows the lives of an eclectic and inextricably interconnected group of Ghanaians living in and around the sprawling, chaotic city of Accra in the mid-1970s.



Skeleton Coast


Author: Amy Schoeman


Description: This revised edition of Shoenman's classic, first published in 1971, shows the magnificent landscapes, wildlife and nature of the Namib desert, Skeleton Coast and Northwest Namibia in 160 color essays and accompanying essays on geology, climate, nature and history.



The Scramble for Africa


Author: Thomas Pakenham


Description: Absorbing and meticulously researched, this in-depth history of the Victorian land grab in Africa includes excellent portraits of the egomaniacal personalities who overran the continent.



The Slave Trade


Author: James Walvin


Description: Photographs, paintings and contemporary maps give insight into the reality and global impact of the transatlantic slave trade in this lively entry in the incisive History Files series.



The World and a Very Small Place in Africa


Author: Donald R. Wright


Description: In this fascinating uncovering of the impact of globalization, Wright studies the settlement of Niumi, located at the mouth of the Gambia River in West Africa, considering how global events and history have affected this apparently sleepy backwater.





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