Never before have the hot slices of color that make up Southern Africa been so eloquently displayed. From Zanzibar, the historic seat of sultans and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to the wildlife of Richards Bay, South Africa, expect a spectrum of experience both on and off shore as you cruise aboard the 120-guest Silver Discoverer. Six new destinations, including exclusive visiting rights to a private property and Madagascar's legendary Avenue of the Baobabs, complete this defining voyage.
Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.
Day 1, Nov 27, 2018
Arrive in Zanzibar and embark the ship in the afternoon, with a departure set for 4:30 pm. This ancient isle once ruled by sultans and slave traders served as the stepping stone into the African continent for missionaries and explorers. Today it attracts visitors intent on discovering sandy beaches, pristine rainforests, or colorful coral reefs. Once known as the Spice Island for its export of cloves, Zanzibar has become one of the most exotic flavors in travel—its beauty will make your jaw drop.
Day 2, Nov 28, 2018
Kilwa Kisiwani, on the Indian Ocean, dates back to the 9th century as one of the most famous trading posts in East Africa. From the 11th century to early 15th century this island community off the southern coast of present-day Tanzania was a powerful city, political force, and major trading center with close links to the interior of Africa as well as distant Asian ports. Goods exchanged here included gold, iron, ivory, slaves, textiles, jewelry, porcelain, and spices. Today, Kilwa Kisiwani is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose ancient ruins can be explored on foot.
Day 3, Nov 29, 2018
Ibo Island, Mozambique
Ibo Island is situated in the Quirimbas Archipelago offshore of Tanzania. One of the largest mangrove forests in Africa grows firmly rooted in front of the island. The streets of the remote island feel lost in time and were almost completely forgotten by the outside world for nearly a century. Ibo Island is one of the most ancient settlements in Mozambique with a history dating back to early 600AD Arab merchant days. Forts once serving as military bastions and slave trading houses line the shores. Some of the grand, majestic structures have been lovingly restored to former glory, while others have fallen into crumbling, marvelous ruins.
Day 4, Nov 30, 2018
Densely populated Mozambique Island is small at only 1.9 miles long and less than 650 yards across. The Portuguese had already settled here by 1507, and the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere is found on Mozambique Island: the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte. Fort São Sebastião also dates back to the 16th century. Historical buildings on the northern side of the island include the Palace and Chapel of São Paulo, built in 1610 as a Jesuit College, later converted to be the Governor’s Residence, and now a museum. As a result of its rich history and architectural remains, the Island of Mozambique is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 5, Dec 1, 2018
While at sea, enjoy wine tastings, designer boutiques, and language and dance classes. Take in a matinee movie, check the market or your e-mail in the Internet Point, slip away with a novel from the library to a sunny chaise or with a movie to your suite. Or just take in the sun pool side. The choice is yours.
Days 6-7, Dec 2- 3, 2018
Mahajanga / At Sea
Madagascar’s second city, also an important port, is an ethnically diverse urban center with the appearance of a big resort town. It's surrounded by beautiful beaches and offers a wide, seafront boulevard lined by coconut trees, running along its western side. Much of the population is Indian. Colorful shops, lively bars, good restaurants, and nice accommodations make the city a great place to stay in its own right, or as a good base for exploring nearby attractions. The following day is at sea en route to Morondava.
Day 8, Dec 4, 2018
Morondava is a coastal town in the west of Madagascar. The city is most known for its picturesque Avenue of the Baobabs, one of the most accessible places to see baobab trees in Africa. It's also said to be the most beautiful road in Madagascar. The experience of passing along this road is impressive as a row of imposing baobab trees stretches along the roadside for close to one-fifth of a mile. The avenue has been a center of local conservation efforts and was granted protected status, which is the first step toward making it Madagascar's first natural monument.
Day 9, Dec 5, 2018
Belo Sur Mer
Belo Sur Mer is a lovely, rarely-visited Vezo fishing village located about 50 miles south of Morondava, Madagascar. The town is referred to as a commune, with a population of 8,000 that consists primarily of the Vezo people. The Vezo have an ocean-oriented, semi-nomadic culture but call southern Madagascar their home. Visitors to Belo Sur Mer will be welcomed by pristine long stretches of bright white sandy beaches and stunning turquoise waters. Take in the relaxed atmosphere and the bold red sunsets, and learn from the locals who preserve their traditional ways of living.
Day 10, Dec 6, 2018
Andavadoaka / Nosy Hao
Andavadoaka is a small fishing community in Madagascar full of biodiversity, natural beauty, and the unique culture of the indigenous population, the Vezo. The village lies on the edge of a shallow lagoon protected from the open ocean by a series of fringing and submerged barrier reefs that support substantial coral growth. The reefs around Andavadoaka represent some of the most well-developed coral reef systems in the Indian Ocean, and owing to the remote setting and geographic isolation, they are thought to possess a significantly higher abundance and diversity of species than other reefs in southwest Madagascar.
Nosy Hao is a lovely, scenic little slip of an island off the west-southwestern coast of Madagascar that offers white-sand beaches and clear aquamarine water. Also known as Had Island, the atoll has a complex underwater topography of reefs that offer excellent snorkeling due to the wide biodiversity of coral and fish living there. Locals living here are either working on the island’s resort or involved in fishing trades, where they use traditionally constructed wooden fishing boats. Visitors to this island recommend stargazing on a clear night.
Days 11-1210, Dec 7, 2018-Mar 20, 2022
A younger city than many others in Madagascar, Tulear (or Toliara) was created in 1895. Much of the cityscape was planned by a French architect who foresaw the value and beauty of planting a plenitude of trees around the city that now provide shade from the extreme heat and sun. The city of over 156,000 has an important local university, which cares for the main museums of the city (and the main attractions in town), the Museum of Arts and Traditions, and the Museum of the Sea. Within reach of Tulear is Isalo National Park in the Ihorombe Region of Madagascar.
Days 13-15, Dec 9-11, 2018
At Sea / Maputo, Mozambique
After two days at sea, arrive in Maputo, formerly Portuguese-ruled Lourenço Marques. The capital city of Mozambique is an incongruous mix of palm-lined streets, an elegant promenade with ritzy villas, and once-grand colonial buildings—which often sit side-by-side with shanties and concrete, Soviet-style buildings dating back to the 1950s, when Russia and Cuba had a finger in the political pie here. An economic upturn since the end of the civil war in the late '90s has brought new investment in infrastructure, and buildings are rising at a fast pace, especially near the port. From night markets and busy bars to informal eateries and classy restaurants, Maputo is known for its vibrant nightlife.
Day 16, Dec 12, 2018
Richards Bay, South Africa
Founded in the 1880s, during the Anglo-Zulu colonial wars, Richards Bay was named after British Rear Admiral Sir Frederick William Richards, who landed a naval force here. An early claim to fame came in 1891, when colonial adventurer John Dunn killed a 22-foot crocodile in the estuary (still one of the largest ever documented), but the town remained a backwater with a population of less than 200 people until as recently as 1968. Today, Richards Bay is the major port in the region and is adjacent to significant mineral deposits that have contributed to the town's massive growth. Visitors may be more interested in what awaits beyond in the hinterland.
Day 17, Dec 13, 2018
Durban has the pulse, the look, and the complex face of Africa. If you wander into the Indian District or drive through the Warwick Triangle—an area away from the sea around Julius Nyerere (Warwick) Avenue—the pulsating city rises up to meet you. Traditional healers tout animal organs, vegetable and spice vendors crowd the sidewalks, and minibus taxis hoot incessantly as they trawl for business. It is by turns colorful, stimulating, and hypnotic. It's also a place steeped in history and culture. Gandhi lived and practiced law here, and Winston Churchill visited as a young man. Disembark the ship and depart on homeward-bound flights.