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West African Odyssey

From Luanda to Tema aboard the Vega

Overview

Experience the myriad cultures and fascinating wildlife reserves of Africa’s West Coast. Call at Gabon to explore the biodiversity of lagoons around Cape Lopez, and visit picturesque São Tomé, capital of São Tomé and Principe. In Benin, explore by boat in the stilt village of Ganvié. Explore traditional villages on Lake Togo, then head to Accra, Ghana, to disembark.

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.

Itinerary

Day 1
Luanda, Angola

Arrive in Luanda and transfer to your hotel for overnight.

Day 2
Luanda / Embarkation

Your tour of Luanda, Angola's capital, includes the Museum of Anthropology, with interesting exhibits on traditional folklore; the Church of Remedios, built in 1628; and the 16th-century Fortaleza de Sao Miguel that guards the port where you will embark Vega in the late afternoon and sail.

Days 3-4
At Sea / Pointe-Noire

During days at sea, you may treat yourself to the amenities aboard and attend informative lectures and briefings from expedition staff and guest lecturers. You may also simply relax and enjoy cruising along the African coastline with vast horizons under open skies. The Republic of Congo's second city offers up a slice of French Africa with two distinct quarters, European and African. Explore lively La Cité on foot, sampling traditional cuisine and stopping in at the vibrant Grand Marché for a glimpse of local life. Relax at a waterfront restaurant at Côté Sauvage, a laid-back city beach. Just outside the city, the Diosso Gorge offers tropical rainforest and sweeping views of red canyons.

Days 5-6
Conkouati Reserve

The vast and varied terrain, where the forest meets the sea, of this biodiverse national park offers safe haven to free-roaming elephants, lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. In this untouched coastal forest, where beaches give way to mangroves and grasslands, canoes glide silently down rivers, allowing close up views of the jungle. Spend the day learning about the Republic of Congo's incredible natural history and conservation efforts in the heart of one of its most protected areas.

Days 7-8
South Loango National Park

Discover an untamed wilderness in Equatorial Africa - a place where forest and coast collide, offering a home to lowland gorillas and hippos, elephants and leopards. The landscape changes dramatically from mangrove forest to savannah grassland to shimmering lagoons, each providing habitat to terrestrial and avian species. When migratory whales and dolphins arrive, the waters of the Atlantic churn with marine activity. Welcome to the wild west coast of Gabon, there's a reason it's called Africa's last Eden.

Day 9
At Sea

Today as you sail, you'll bask in the endless comforts of your ship. From the deck, marvel at the dramatic sea views. Relax with a nurturing facial treatment or massage in the spa or delve into the ship's learning resources. Or, simply take refuge in your cabin and enjoy the opportunity to rest.

Day 10-11
Bom Bom Island, São Tomé & Principe 

Bom Bom Island Resort sits at the northern tip of Principe, the smaller of the two-island nation of São Tomé and Principe. Here you will encounter an impressive landscape of soaring volcanic peaks covered with dense forest and beautiful clear-water beaches that line the shore of this tropical paradise. Wander in the charming colonial town of Santo Antonio, walk through the abandoned plantation of Porto Real, watch villagers make palm oil, and hike through the pristine rainforest.

Day 12
At Sea

Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship's observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert's view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.

Day 13
Cotonou, Benin

The small country of Benin, home to an ancient and sophisticated culture, is emerging as a popular travel destination. From the port of Cotonou, drive to the nearby capital, Porto-Novo, set on green hills surrounding a large lagoon. Formerly the center of a prosperous African kingdom, it later became the capital of the French colony of Dahomey. Explore this pleasant city, including visits to the Ethnography Museum, the restored palace of King Toffa, and the Handicraft Center. After lunch, board local motorboats for a ride across Lake Nokou to the picturesque fishing village of Ganvie.

Day 14
Lome, Togo

For centuries Togo was claimed by successive African empires, later becoming part of the French and German colonial empires. Today, Togo’s capital of Lome, famous for its palm-lined waterfront, is among West Africa’s most exciting and friendly cities. From Lome, drive a few miles up the coast to Agbodrafo, set on the shores of Lake Togo, from where you will explore the lake’s traditional villages aboard local pirogues. Returning to Lome proper, visit its bustling handicraft markets selling traditional goods from all over West Africa, and noted especially for sculpture and batiks.

Day 15
Disembark / Accra

After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport in Accra for flights homeward.

2024 Itinerary-in-Brief

Day 1 Overnight Luanda
Day 2 Tour Kissama National Park. Transfer to ship.
Day 3 at sea
Day 4 Pointe-Noire, Congo
Day 5-6 Explore Congo’s Conkuati Reserve
Day 7-8 Explore Gabon’s South Loango National Park
Day 9 at sea
Day 8 Cotonou, Benin
Day 9 Lome, Togo
Day 10 Disembark Tema, Ghana. Transfer to Accra airport for departure

Highlights

Highlights

Visit the Tchimpounga Sanctuary, the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa
Explore the rich biodiversity of lagoons and wetlands along the coast of Gabon
Tour the two-island nation of São Tomé and Principe, with their soaring volcanic peaks and beautiful beaches
Call at picturesque and traditional villages aboard local pirogues

Details

Length: 15 days
Cost From: $12,490  
Arrive: Luanda, Angola
Depart: Tema, Ghana
Lodging: 13 nights aboard a 152-passenger vessel, 1 night hotel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship, including wine, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking, Special Interest, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

13-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, wildlife viewing