Tema (Accra) to Lisbon
17 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 — Accra, Ghana
Day 2 — Takoradi, Ghana
We continue to the notorious Cape Coast Castle which was built in 1653 for the trade in timber and gold. The Castle was later used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. We will visit the museum and view the dungeons that once held hundreds of men and women as they awaited deportation across the Atlantic as slaves.
Alternatively, travel inland to visit the Kakum National Park, a 357-square-km park comprising undisturbed virgin rainforest. Join our natural history staff and local guides for a walking tour through the forest and on a canopy walkway, offering an opportunity to see much of Ghana’s indigenous plant life, as well as rare butterflies, birds and game.
Day 3 — Abidjan, Ivory Coast
If conditions permit we will try to get to the “Parc National Iles Ehotilé” east of Abidjan. This area encompasses 6 islands in a large lagoon fed by several mayor rivers. It was declared a RAMSAR site in 2005. Some 128 species of birds have been recorded. One of the islands has thousands of straw–coloured fruit bats which the local population sees as a sign of their ancestor’s presence.
Day 4 — At Sea
Day 5 — Tokeh, Sierra Leone
Our first glimpse of Sierra Leone will be the area south of Freetown. Once the ship has been cleared into the country, we will be able to go ashore by special permission and spend the afternoon at the foot of the Western Area National Park and the private beach of Tokeh. The use is exclusively for Silversea guests and we will have a cultural performance to welcome us into the country. In the evening we will have local meals on the beach.
Day 6 — Freetown, Sierra Leone
During our tour we anticipate visiting a local community clinic where we will see the work of volunteers and the Greatest Goal Ministries, a US non-profit organisation. In addition, we hope to attend a soccer match arranged by the Greatest Goal Ministries, played on the beach near Lumley. All soccer team members were affected by the horrible civil war and have lost one or both of their legs and form part of an amazing amputee soccer club! Sierra Leone is a member of the World Amputee Football Association and our presence will help promote self-esteem and self-confidence of the participants.
We might also visit the Western Area Forest Reserve (accepted by UNESCO as a tentative World heritage Site) to see the Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary, south of Freetown and close to the Congo Dam, to learn more about these primates and their struggle to survive in a country where the bush meat trade is still a very serious problem.
Day 7 — At Sea
Day 8 — Banjul, The Gambia
Our drive through Banjul will take us to the National Museum where we will see displays of historical and cultural artefacts, including musical instruments. A visit to Banjul’s main urban market –Royal Albert Market- will show the typical hustle and bustle of a lively market offering a large selection of nearly everything you expect, including wooden masks.
Ornithologists all over the world consider The Gambia to be a birdwatchers’ paradise where over 500 species can be seen. This morning we head to the Tanji Bird Reserve where our guides lead us on a forest walk. The reserve is an important stop for European migrants and more than 250 bird species live in the reserve, which includes the Bijol Islands.
Alternatively, visit the Makasutu cultural forest situated on the banks of a beautiful meandering tributary of the River Gambia, and encompassing many different ecosystems including dense forest, savannah and mangrove regions. The forest is home to hundreds of varieties of birds, three species of monkeys, monitor lizards, pygmy deer, and mongoose.
Day 9 — Dakar, Senegal
Just off Dakar’s western shore is the small group Îles de la Madeleine. Not only is this group a National Park, it has also been placed on the Tentative List as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We intend to do a Zodiac cruise around the islands to see dolphins, sea turtles, and the only colony of Red-Billed Tropicbirds known in Africa. Permission pending, we might even land for some hikes.
This small island Goree is notable in history as a major centre in the slave trade and has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our primary focus will be the Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves) built by the Dutch in 1776 as a holding point for slaves. Now a museum, we will tour through the dungeons where slaves were held, and hear of how they were sold and shipped. Goree also houses the IFAN Historical Museum to learn more about the history of Senegal, the Musee de la Femme (The Women’s Museum) to look at the role of Senegalese women in traditional and modern West African culture, and the Maritime Museum to better understand Senegal’s seafaring history.
A special highlight of the visit will be a lantern lit Senegalese dinner on Goree Island with traditional music as entertainment.
Day 10 – Joal-Fadiouth and Saly, Senegal
Saly is a well-known resort area with nice beaches –just the right place to relax before heading to Morocco and its desert.
Day 11 – At Sea
Day 12 —Dakhla, Morocco
Disembark the ship and depart on 4×4 vehicles across the modern part of Dakhla toward the mainland. We will drive along the Laguna of Dakhla, a paradise for migratory birds, especially flamingos. We will venture into incredible scenery until we reach a Sahraoui camp set up overlooking the Laguna and a beautiful white sand dune.
Discover for a few hours the Sahraoui culture, exclusively nomadic and centred on dromedaries, with a tea ceremony, ride a camel, visit the replica of a Sahraoui family encampment and discover the breath-taking view from the top of the White Dune. 4x4s will be available to go birding from the campsite with the onboard Ornithologist (depending on the tide and bird presence in the area). There will also be the opportunity to swim in the Laguna.
Return to Silver Cloud with a new appreciation of the remoteness of this region and the nomadic nature of the local culture.
Day 13 – Laayoune, Morocco
Day 14 – At Sea
Day 15 —Safi, Morocco
Once we reach Marrakech our local hosts will lead us to a village of tents set up especially for us. The whole surrounding, the delicious food and the music, in short the atmosphere, will have you believe Rudolph Valentino might just be around the corner.
After lunch will visit the tranquil Majorelle Gardens, designed by the French artist Louis Majorelle with lush greenery, palm trees, cacti, still pools and shady nooks, before strolling through the labyrinth of alleyways in the ancient, 12th century Medina. Not only will we visit the Medersa Ben Youssef, built in 1570 it is the biggest Koran School of the whole Maghreb (West), but will then discover the labyrinth of souks. You can browse through the antique, spices, textile and carpet shops. The many colourful souks have local and Berber handicrafts in leather, brass, copper, silver, and gold for you. Not only souvenir hunters will have a wonderful time experiencing local life. Our guided tour ends with a visit to the famous Djemâa el Fna Square, where we will find a permanent theatre of musicians, acrobats, snake charmers, food stalls and storytellers -truly out of “1001 Arabian Nights”.
After an exciting and eventful day we return to Safi.
Day 16 – At Sea
Today the onboard Videographer will show his/her “Voyage-DVD”, reminding you of the many varied impressions you will have had during the last two weeks.
The Captain will invite to his Farewell Cocktail and the Executive Chef will want to surprise you with a special Farewell Dinner.
Day 17 — Lisbon, Portugal
All This Included
From the deserts of the Sahara, to the mountains of Morocco, the contrasts you will experience are vast. Characteristic and noble, the countries are almost untouched by tourism and offer a rare look at a complex continent. With Zodiac cruises in Mangrove, stunning birdlife, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and desert excursions, this African adventure is much more than it may appear.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
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