19 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 — Cape Town, South Africa
Day 2 — At Sea
Tonight, we invite you to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party where the Captain will introduce his senior officers.
Day 3 — Lüderitz, Namibia
Days 4–5 — Walvis Bay, Namibia
Scenic Dunes Flight
Take advantage of an unparalleled opportunity to see the famous Sossusvlei Dunes from the air, a site very difficult to access by land. Following the (normally dry) Kuiseb River, fly over Sesriem Canyon then along the Tsauchab river valley where the freestanding but static dunes tower up to 250 metres above the plain. The dune belt runs north to south for over 70 km between Sossusvlei and the Atlantic. Upon reaching the coast, head north over deserted mining camps and seal colonies to Conception Bay and the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen (run aground in the early 40s). This optional Silver Shore excursion will operate only if weather/fog conditions permit. Visit Silversea.com/MyVoyage to make reservations in advance of your voyage.
One of your destinations during our two days in Walvis Bay is the Namib Naukluft Park. Passing endless waves of sand dunes, the scene that comes to mind when you think of African deserts, you will finally enter the Welwitschia Drive, where the landscape is dotted with the extraordinary Welwitschia mirabilis. Unique to the Namibe Desert, this prehistoric plant has adapted to its harsh habitat. It only produces two leaves in its lifetime which can be over 500 years. After stopping to view and discuss these amazing and resilient desert plants in their dramatic landscape, the tour continues to what can best be described as ‘lunar landscape’. Enjoy the breathtaking views, before heading onwards to a local community where you will enjoy an orientation tour of the school, having the opportunity to interact by giving some of your time to the children and community.
You will then drive to a pristine location where refreshments await you before returning to Walvis Bay to rejoin the Silver Cloud.
We will also be operating a full day shuttle service to Swakopmund, located 19 miles north of Walvis Bay at the mouth of the Swakop River. Upon arrival you can explore this quaint town, a beach resort area and a fine example of German colonial architecture, on your own. Founded in 1892 as the main harbor for German South-West Africa, a good part of the population still speaks German today. Several buildings, including the Magistrate’s Court, or Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht, the Lutheran Church and the old Railway Station building -now the main reception area of the Swakopmund Hotel- will give an idea of the former splendor.
Another excursion in Walvis Bay will be an early morning boat cruise in the protected outer lagoon area where the water is calm and abundant with birdlife. Enjoy wonderful photographic opportunities as playful Heaviside’s and bottlenose dolphins frolic around the boat and pelicans fly low overhead. Cape fur seals may even come aboard for a fishy snack! Other birds we will see include flamingos and cormorants. If we are very lucky, we may even see leatherback turtles. We will pass fishing factories and foreign ships in the port and conclude our excursion with a taste of fresh Walvis Bay oysters and local ‘champagne’.
Day 7 — Namibe, Angola
Before returning to the ship, we will visit the little town of Namibe to visit the old city with its baroque architecture, old stadium and churches.
Day 8 — Lobito, Angola
Once back at the pier there will be a festival with traditional dances and singing.
During the afternoon we will be on our way sailing north, having time for more lectures and other on-board activities.
Day 9 — Luanda, Angola
This bustling city presents us with many places to explore, including the 1575 Fortress of Sao Miguel de Luanda with its striking blue tiles and collection of weapons used during centuries of conflicts of the region. Another ‘outstanding’ structure is the mausoleum for Angola’s first president, Agostinho Neto. The anthropology museum houses an array of traditional masks along with art, sculptures, tools, and weaponry, as well as jewellery, clothing and musical instruments – the Benfica market seems to have several similar items for barter and sale. We will also drive to Cidade Alta, or “Uptown” – a pleasant, airy and calm suburb with several pink colonial buildings and then head to the Baixa, or “Downtown”, to view the Houses of Parliament – both new and old.
Days 10-11 — At Sea
Take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendour of the vast sea and at night see if you can already notice the stars and constellations of the northern hemisphere’s sky.
Day 12 — São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe
One of the stops will be at the impressive São Nicolãu waterfall, which not only invites to have a swim in its pool, but also is surrounded by mossy rocks, covered in liverworts, ferns, wild raspberries and impatiens that will delight botany lovers. We continue our tour higher into the mountains to the Monte Café coffee plantation, where we will be given a tour of the coffee processing facilities –obviously tasting some of the local coffee as well.
A typical lunch will be served at another plantation before returning to the city centre with its colonial architecture including the pink and white presidential palace, the 16th century Cathedral de São Tome, as well as Faro São Sebastião, which now is the São Tome National Museum. We will stroll through the city streets en route to the local market.
For those who would like to explore other aspects of the island of São Tome on their own, a half day tour of the city of São Tome will be offered, giving time for some independent exploration.
In the evening Silver Cloud will set sail for Principe and Bom Bom Island.
Day 13 — Bom Bom Island, São Tomé and Principe
Our onboard Ornithologist and naturalists will lead walks to explore the island’s wildlife and scenery –others might decide to walk all the way to sleepy Santo Antonio passing small fields of plantain, cacao and manioc and watching the daily life of this tropical island.
If you prefer to stay at the resort you can take kayaks to paddle along the shore or snorkel in the clear waters, looking for colourful fishes.
In the afternoon, Silver Cloud will set sail for Limbe and our onboard Historian might enlighten you about the German influence in Cameroon during the Briefing & Recap.
Day 14 — Limbe, Cameroon
We will also visit the “Jungle Village” for a cultural presentation of various dances from all over Cameroon. Cameroonians are famed for their skilled wood carvings including masks, and Silversea has arranged for various craftsmen to come to display and sell their goods today. This unique opportunity will permit you to purchase some very unusual souvenirs.
We will also visit the Limbe Wildlife Centre. This is home to some critically endangered wildlife species and we will have the opportunity to see a variety of primate species including Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, drill monkeys, western lowland and Cross River gorillas, plus several species of long-tailed monkeys such as the locally endemic Preuss’s guenon. During a short lecture we will learn more about the centre’s work as well as their struggles and successes in educating the local population on the importance of conservation.
For those bent on getting closer to Mount Cameroon, a drive to Buea, the former capital of German Cameroon, and the Mount Cameroon National Park with a hike on its lower slopes through forest and savanna awaits.
Silver Cloud will set sail for Cotonou, Benin in the evening.
Day 15 — At Sea
Day 16 — Cotonou, Benin
The town of Ouidah is known as the religious capital of the country due to the numerous festivals with singing, chanting, drumming and dances that take place here. Historically, Ouidah was also one of the busiest of the West African slave embarkation points. We will walk along the “Route des Esclaves” down to the shoreline where there is an imposing arch with bas-relief sculpture to memorialise the people who were shipped out from here. An unusual feature of Ouidah is the Sacred Forest of Kpasse with its Python Temple and voodoo statues which we will visit, as well as the small local museum.
Birders will be looking for Whiskered Terns, Little Egrets, Yellow-billed Kites and Pied Kingfishers.
Days 17-18 — Lomé, Togo
We start one of our tours driving through the old colonial town with its modern-looking independence square before reaching one of the many museums and one of the markets for a look at the old and modern life of Togo.
Another of the tours will head for Ewe village, where we will be welcomed by traditional dancers and the local school children. This will be one of the best opportunities to learn about village life in Togo and to hand over your contribution of school supplies. Fascinating fabrics will be on sale and you will be able to see how they are prepared locally. Heading further north we will reach Kloto forest and divide into smaller groups to learn about the medicinal and commercial plants found in and near the secondary forest. During lunch local musicians and dancers will entertain us, and souvenirs will be on offer nearby.
You will also have the unique opportunity to partake in a voodoo ceremony –or at least to have a look at how these ceremonies take place when we are invited in one of the suburbs to see this practice.
Our onboard Videographer/Photographer will present the Voyage-DVD recounting the many different sites and encounters of our West African voyage.
Day 19 — Accra, Ghana
All This Included
Experience disparate cultures while travelling from the bleak but beautiful Skeleton Coast to the Gold Coast. Follow the trading routes of Henry the Navigator from the west coast of Africa into the Atlantic to see some of the least visited places on Earth. This is expedition cruising at its source — a unique blend of beauty, nature, culture and history that gives truly one-of-a-kind experiences and lifelong memories.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
Terms and Conditions
For Silversea terms and conditions, please click here.
* 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.