Funchal Madeira to Dakar
10 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Funchal Madeira
Departure 5:00 PM
Bedecked with dramatic cliffs, fertile mountains and sun-gorged beaches, Madeira is a lush, colourful island of plants, paradise and Portuguese-flavoured pleasures. Bathing in year-round sunshine, Funchal - the lowkey capital of Madeira - is perfect for slowing the pace, and toasting the thrilling scenery with a bottle of the island's famous wine. Narrow, cobblestone streets line the old town, where whitewash buildings, iron-wrought balconies, and tiled patterns carry echoes of Lisbon. Rua de Santa Maria is the city's oldest street, and the doors have been vividly painted by local artists. Sit for a drink, to sample your choice of Madeira's renowned wines - Boal is the ideal option for those with a sweeter tooth. You'll also find Corpo Santo Chapel here, one of the few remaining buildings to have survived from the 15th century. Blossoming parks and gardens splash colour around, and the sweet smell of pollen lingers in Parque de Santa Catarina. Look out over Funchal harbour between the fountains and blooming flower beds, as ducks and swans enjoy leisurely days on the lake. Madeira Botanical Garden waits in the hills over the city, along with Palhero Garden – a sophisticated and elegantly landscaped English garden, 500 meters above sea level. For an even more dramatic view of this gorgeous setting, head up to Cap Girao – a rusty-red cliff with a cable car strung up to its sheer drop. The cliff falls away vertically to the vivid blue waters below. Or head down to the sea, to enjoy Funchal's gorgeous pebble beaches rustling, framed by colossal, craggy cliffs.
Day 2 Santa Cruz De Tenerife (Canary Islands)
Although this busy port city is smaller, quieter and less attractive than Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz has its own share of elegant monuments. Until 1837, the island's capital was La Laguna, not Santa Cruz, so there are only a few of the buildings in the city center that are any older than that. At the busy Plaza de España, there are several pedestrian streets leading north and to the area west of the port, where you'll find the city's stunning auditorium and maritime park. A real highlight of the city are its ramblas, long tree-lined boulevards that fall steeply from the north end of the city to the sea.
Day 3 San Sebastian (La Gomera)
Unspoiled, green and lush, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has many secrets to reveal. A Canary Island capital like no other, life is lived at a refreshingly lackadaisical pace here. Wander between San Sebastian's faded pastel hues, which spill across the coastline, and bathe in this seaside city's warm sunshine, as waves splash onto sunny beaches. A sleepy capital city, travellers have been resting, relaxing and rejuvenating here for centuries – including Christopher Columbus, whose presence remains in museums dedicated to his visit. He called in to restock water supplies while voyaging to discover the new world. Silbo, an extraordinary whistling language, used to communicate over great distances, adds even more cultural fascination to this luscious island’s mountain scenery, crafts and traditions. Head to beaches like Playa de San Sebastian to revel in the black volcanic sand that the Canaries are known for, and Playa de la Cueva, where you can look across to Tenerife’s soaring cone. Or explore this island's own natural wonders, at the verdant terraced landscapes of La Gomera’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, Garajonay National Park. Trek through the trails of Laurisilva forests, laurel plants and heather trees. La Laguna Grande is another elegant location of colourful natural beauty, where island legends of witchcraft swirl. Discover ceramic traditions - handed down through generations - at El Cercado, where glazed jugs used to store chestnuts are moulded by hand. Squeeze more local charms into your bulging suitcase along San Sebastian’s pretty Calle Real street - where everything from palm honey to woven baskets and local snacks are up for grabs. Or settle into city squares, where life plays out in palm tree shade and café gatherings.
Day 4 Ad Dakhla
Dakhla is located at the end of a 40km narrow peninsula on the Atlantic Coast about 340 miles south of Laayoune, in Morocco’s Western Sahara. Unlike most of Morocco, this part of the Sahara was founded by Papal bull in 1502, and travellers to Dakhla will find a village that is closer to the Canary Island experience than North Africa. This is visible in the lovely white houses that line the labyrinthine streets, fascinating architecture that is a mix of Spanish colonialism and Berber history and – less tangible but no less important – the warm welcomes that are so familiar in North Africa. The city is fairly remote – over 1,300 km west from Essaouira. This remoteness, along with the abundantly rich waters made Dakhla covetable for takeover. This came officially in 1884 when Spain formally founded the (then) fishing village and named it Villa Cisneros. Dakhla was declared the capital of one of the two Spanish Saharan regions, and a military fortress and a Catholic cathedral were built (both of which remain as tourist attractions to this day). The fortress was also home to a prison camp during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939, where politically active Republican writers including Pedro Garcia Cabrera were imprisoned. Home to the desert, ocean waves, diverse wildlife, Dakla is also home to a Sahraoui camp in the desert, which is exclusively nomadic and centred on dromedaries. In recent years, the city has restyled itself as a mecca for kitsesurfers, in order to attract a younger demographic.
Days 5-6 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 7 Porto Novo
Porto Novo is found on Sao Antonio, the northwesternmost of the Cape Verde Islands, and is the island’s largest town with approximately 17,400 inhabitants. Located on Sao Antonio’s southeastern and arid side, Porto Novo began as a fishing village and only in 2005 it was recognized as a city. Since the island has no airport and Porto Novo faces the town of Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente, this harbor is the main link to the other islands in Cape Verde and the outside world. A monument above the port shows a woman waving goodbye to those emigrating from the Cape Verde Islands. Roads leading out of Porto Novo have to either go along the impressive northeast coast or cross the island’s mountains through a rugged and even more spectacular landscape. The third highest peak of the Cape Verde islands at 1,979 meters is the Tope de Coroa to the west of Porto Novo.
Day 8 Fogo Island
Fogo and neighboring Ilha Brava are the southernmost islands of Cape Verde and at the western end of the Sotavento group. Unlike some of the other islands in the archipelago which were named after saints, Fogo’s name goes back to the volcanic activity of its dominant feature Pico do Fogo, at 2,829 meters the highest elevation of Cape Verde and also its largest volcano. The third Cape Verde island to be settled by Portuguese –there is no indication of human activity before the Portuguese voyages of exploration - the discovery of Fogo is celebrated with horse races and the “Festas do São Filipe” on May 1. Sao Filipe is Fogo’s largest city with 20,000 inhabitants and the fourth-largest of Cape Verde. Sao Filipe lies on the western flank of a giant volcano which in his 9 kilometer wide caldera has the Pico do Fogo, an active stratovolcano which last erupted in 2014-15 and still today emits sulphur vapor through its fumaroles.
Day 9 Day At Sea
Day 10 Dakar
Arrive 7:00 AM
Capital of Senegal, and a major gateway to Western Africa, the former colonial trading post of Dakar stamps the Cap-Vert peninsular with glorious surf-fringed beaches. Enjoy the thrum of markets - where colourful textiles are exchanged - and wander streets where jazz, sambar and mbalax spill from every ajar door. Offering tropical island-style beaches in an incongruous urban setting, Dakar is a wild and urgent experience for the senses. Watch on as surfers revel in consistent rollers on this, the most westerly peninsula of continental Africa. Scuba divers can explore worlds below the surface in Dakar's diving areas, or you can head to sandy beaches like Plage des Mamelles' cove, which provide endless options for cooling off. Looking for a little more activity, loosen up and play on golf courses that unroll along the sun-kissed Senegalese coastline, or visit startling natural sites like the vivid pink water of the salty pink Lake Retba. Cultural relevance abounds in Dakar - those wanting to delve a little deeper into the dark history of Senegal should visit the House of Slaves on the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed Goree Island, or duck into the Theodore Monod Museum to pour over an incredible collection of masks, artefacts, and treasures. Sandaga Market is a full-on experience of choreographed chaos, sound and flavours. Tear into fish fresh off the boat, and don't be afraid to get your hands a little greasy while handling Dibi - the national street food - soft mutton, simmered with onions and zesty orange spice.
All This Included
Be transported to the times of swashbuckling adventures aboard this voyage of spicy discovery. Visit nomadic encampments, and explore desert culture. Scan the skies and shores for rare and wonderful wildlife. Explore Fire Island, Cape Verde’s most fiery destination. With days at sea and little coastal ports woven in between the excitement, we think this voyage will ignite the explorer within, while taking ample care of your need for R&R.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Wind
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.