Kenya to Madagascar and South Africa

Aboard the Diana

Overview

Sail across the Indian Ocean from Mombasa to Cape Town on a fascinating voyage to some of the most far-flung tropical isles in the world. In the Seychelles, explore the Aldabra Atoll, with its UNESCO-listed sea turtle sanctuary, then contour the coast of Madagascar, calling at the “lemur island” of Nosy Komba, Ankarafantsika National Park, and the famous Avenue of the Baobabs. Arriving at South Africa’s Richards Bay, enjoy a game drive at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park, and on South Africa’s famed Garden Route, explore Botlierskop Private Game Reserve before disembarking in Cape Town.

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, Nov 3, 2023
Nairobi, Kenya

Arrive in Nairobi and transfer to the Hotel Villa Rosa Kempinski for overnight.

Days 2-3, Nov 4- 5, 2023
Nairobi / Mombasa / Embark / At Sea

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for a flight to Mombasa, where you will board Diana and set sail in the late afternoon. The following day is at sea, heading toward Aldabra. You can treat yourself to the amenities aboard and attend informative lectures and briefings from expedition staff and guest lecturers.  You may also want simply to enjoy being in the middle of the ocean, looking over vast horizons under open skies, with the sun and wind and a few adventurous seabirds to keep you company.

Day 4, Nov 6, 2023
Aldabra, Seychelles

Located in the very heart of the Seychelles archipelago, the Aldabra Atoll is one of the last virtually untouched sanctuaries on earth, where a large population of sea turtles has found refuge. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this vast tract of land is formed by four small reef islands separated by narrow passes and containing an emerald-water lagoon lined with mangrove and fine-sand beaches.

Day 5, Nov 7, 2023
Glorioso, Scattered Islands

The Scattered Islands are like confetti sprinkled around Madagascar and form an archipelago of unrivalled beauty. Their geographic isolation and their very limited human settlement make them a true geological sanctuary. Regularly used as the “zero point” in scientific studies, they offer their rare visitors almost pristine vegetation consisting mainly of mangrove, as well as long beaches of shimmering sand stretching out behind turquoise lagoons, and coral reefs that are home to the world’s highest concentration of sea turtles.

Day 6, Nov 8, 2023
Nosy Be, Madagascar

The Nosy Be Archipelago is a collection of small islands with magnificent white-sand beaches and an exceptional diversity of marine and terrestrial life. The "lemur island" of Nosy Komba is covered in dense tropical rainforest that is the ideal habitat for these iconic small mammals that have become emblematic of Madagascar. Because the lemurs here have long been protected by a ban against harming them, they are easily approachable and willing to interact with humans.

Days 7-8, Nov 9-10, 2023
Mahajanga / At Sea

Because of its role as the center of Madagascar's trade with East Africa, Majunga (Mahajanga) is quite cosmopolitan, its cuisine and culture influenced by a diverse population of Malagasy, Comorian, and South Asian peoples. From here, you have the opportunity to discover Ankarafantsika National Park, home to many endemic species that testify to Madagascar's rich diversity of flora and fauna. The following day is at sea.

Day 9, Nov 11, 2023
Morondava

Situated at the mouth of the Morondava River on the Mozambique Channel, Morondava is the gateway to the famous "Avenue of the Baobabs," where massive baobab trees tower over the landscape. Nearby Kirindy National Park is home to lemurs as well as carnivorous, catlike fossas.

Days 10-11, Nov 12-13, 2023
Toliara / At Sea

Toliara provides easy access to a number of fascinating sites, including Antsokay Arboretum, a botanical garden of some 1,000 Malagasy species, 90% of which are indigenous. There is also a nearby private reserve dedicated to sustaining a spiny forest of baobab trees populated by grey mouse lemurs and spiny chameleons. The following day is at sea as the Diana crosses the Mozambique Channel on the way to Maputo.

Day 12, Nov 14, 2023
Maputo, Mozambique

Established by the Dutch in 1721, then briefly ruled by the British, Maputo was under Portuguese control from 1781 until Mozambique's independence in 1974. The city's Mediterranean-style architecture and wide avenues make it one of East Africa's most attractive capitals. The commercial and economic center of the country, Maputo is also home to important cultural institutions, including a university, a Natural History Museum, and the Museum of the Revolution.

Day 13, Nov 15, 2023
Ilha dos Portugueses

Portuguese Island, historically known as Elephant Island, is the place where European traders in the 16th and 17th centuries met their African counterparts and exchanged trinkets for ivory. Today the island is a marine reserve with a small lagoon and beautiful protected coral reefs.

Day 14, Nov 16, 2023
Richards Bay, South Africa

From the port city of Richards Bay, drive to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park, the oldest national park in South Africa and certainly one of the country’s most outstanding game reserves. A pristine wilderness, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi is known for its rich wildlife, including black and white rhinos, lion, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, hippo, and others.

Day 15, Nov 17, 2023
Durban

Durban is home to the busiest container port in sub-Sharan Africa, handling about 32 million tons of cargo each year, and as the largest coastal city in KwaZulu-Natal province, it brings together African, Indian, and colonial influences. Durban's waterfront was extensively rebuilt for the 2010 World Cup and boasts a five-mile-long promenade of shops and restaurants that connects the modernistic Moses Mabhida Stadium to an enormous marine theme park.

Days 16-17, Nov 18-19, 2023
At Sea / Port Elizabeth

After a day at sea, arrive in Port Elizabeth, now officially known as Gqeberha. Founded in 1820 by British settlers, it became and remains a prosperous port and trading center. From Gqeberha, travel to the Kariega Game Reserve, a family-owned Big 5 safari reserve. In addition to the big five—lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard—be on the lookout for multitudes of other South African wildlife from open 4X4 vehicles.

Day 18, Nov 20, 2023
Mossel Bay

From Mossel Bay on South Africa's famed Garden Route, travel to Botlierskop Private Game Reserve for a final day of wildlife viewing. You will drive through this 10,000-acre park in search of the rhinoceros, lions, elephants, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, and zebra that are among the 26 different species of animals who live here in the company of over 200 resident species of birds.

Day 19, Nov 21, 2023
Cape Town / Disembark

After breakfast aboard, transfer to the airport for flights homeward.

Highlights

Highlights

Explore the Seychelles' Aldabra Atoll, a refuge for sea turtles
Search for lemurs on Madagascar's Nosy Komba
Visit the Avenue of the Baobabs and Kirindy National Park
Game drives in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park, the oldest national park in South Africa

Details

Length: 19 days
Cost From: $14,590  
Arrive: Nairobi, Kenya
Depart: Cape Town, South Africa
Lodging: 17 nights aboard a 192-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, Photography, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

17-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, game drives