West African Archipelago Expedition: Cape Verde & Bissagos Island Cruise

West African Archipelago Expedition: Cape Verde & Bissagos Island Cruise

West African Archipelago Expedition: Cape Verde & Bissagos Island Cruise

West African Archipelago Expedition: Cape Verde & Bissagos Island Cruise

Travel information 13 days MS Spitsbergen
Departures
11 departures between Nov 2023 and Jan 2025
Price from
5090 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

13-day expedition cruise from Dakar and Banjul to Cape Verde and the Bissagos Islands 

West Africa expedition cruise 

Your adventure begins in the colourful streets of Dakar. Next, you’ll travel to two island archipelagos filled with historic sites, contrasting cultures and varied landscapes. Our final stop before returning to Dakar is Banjul, Africa's smallest capital city. 

Island life 

Explore the amazing volcanic landscapes of Cape Verde as we cruise to Santiago, Fogo, Santo Antão and Boa Vista. Watch for hundreds of different bird species as well as rare saltwater hippos, manatees and more in the Bissagos UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We’ll also meet the Bijagós people, who retain their nature-based spiritual beliefs and traditional culture. 

West African Archipelago Expedition: Cape Verde & Bissagos Island Cruise West African Archipelago Expedition: Cape Verde & Bissagos Island Cruise
  • Day 1
    DAKAR

    Delightful Dakar

     Your expedition cruise begins in the kaleidoscopic city of Dakar.  

    If you want to explore Dakar further before your expedition cruise begins, why not join our optional Pre-Programme? It includes an overnight stay and an excursion to the historical UNESCO site of Île de Gorée. The largest slave trading center on the African coast, this island of forts and museums is a tragic memorial to the suffering of the countless enslaved peoples who passed through here.  

    Your expedition ship MS Spitsbergen will be waiting at the dock, ready for your adventure. Attend a mandatory safety meeting and meet your Expedition Team, and then settle into your cabin before we set sail. 

    Day 1
    DAKAR

    Delightful Dakar

  • Day 2
    At sea

    En route to Cape Verde

    Get set for island adventures  

    Today we head west to the Cape Verde Islands. There will be plenty of time to get acquainted with your fellow passengers and Expedition Team.   

    Enjoy the onboard comforts – from delicious meals and drinks in the Explorer Lounge & Bar, to relaxing in the panoramic sauna or a hot tub out on deck. 

    To learn more about what's ahead, join the Expedition Team for fascinating lectures in the Science Center and pick up pointers from our professional photographer as you watch for marine life and seabirds.  

    Day 2
    At sea

    En route to Cape Verde

  • Day 3
    Praia, Cape Verde

    Diverse Santiago

    See Santiago’s eclectic mix of cultural influences 

    Santiago embodies the spirit of the Cape Verde archipelago. Here you can enjoy a little of everything, from historical sites and bustling markets to lush valleys and craggy mountains.  

    The capital of Praia is a dynamic city that attracts immigrants from the rest of Cape Verde and the African continent.  

    Explore Praia’s vibrant culture on a city tour. Visit the museums and buildings around the Plateau, which displays artifacts recovered from the islands’ shipwrecks. Stop by viewpoints, the local market, and more. 

    • Included Praia – Cultural Praia
    Day 3
    Praia, Cape Verde

    Diverse Santiago

  • Day 4
    São Filipe, Cape Verde 

    Volcanic Fogo

    A landscape of lava, craters and calderas 

    Today's expedition day takes you to Fogo, an island dominated by a cone-shaped active volcano. Centuries of eruptions, the last in 2014, have left an incredible landscape for us to explore. 

    Enjoy a tour of São Filipe’s cobbled streets and charming historic centre. Or why not discover the stunning lava fields of Chã das Caldeiras.  

    Fogo doesn’t have any natural harbours, so we’ll only land if conditions allow us to launch our small expedition boats.  

    • Included Sao Filipe – Fogo Island
    Day 4
    São Filipe, Cape Verde 

    Volcanic Fogo

  • Day 5
    Porto Novo, Cape Verde

    Rugged Santo Antão

    Island paradise made for adventure

    Santo Antão's landscapes of peaks, gorges and canyons have benefited from their unsuitability for agriculture. Largely untouched, this wilderness sanctuary is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.  

    We’ll land in Porto Novo, the island’s main port, which has spectacular views across to São Vicente. Enjoy a ride around the island, which takes you on a nature tour through the island’s ribeiras. These are deep, narrow canyons with near vertical walls. 

    Or why not go on a nature walk and take in the local beauty spots up close. Walk along trails through mango and almond groves, punctuated by the delicious aroma of roasting coffee wafting through the villages. 

    • Included Santa Antao – Porto Novo – Island Drive
    Day 5
    Porto Novo, Cape Verde

    Rugged Santo Antão

  • Day 6
    Sal Rei, Cape Verde

    A piece of the Sahara

    Explore an island gem 

    You've now reached Cape Verde’s easternmost island, Boa Vista.  

    You’ll be awed by the rugged beauty of the Sahara-like desert formations and landscapes of this volcanic island. The sand dunes and oases found here are in stark contrast to the other islands we visit on this cruise. 

    Stroll the streets of the island’s capital, Sal Rei, where you can explore its history and traditions, and visit Santa Isabel Church. The Ponta do Sol nature reserve is within hiking distance of the town, and a great way to enjoy the scenery. 

    • Included Sai Rei – Walking Tour & Traditions
    Day 6
    Sal Rei, Cape Verde

    A piece of the Sahara

  • Day 7
    At Sea

    A day of learning at sea

    Prepare to experience the Bissagos Islands  

    We say goodbye to Cape Verde as our expedition cruise continues to Guinea-Bissau. As we sail, your Expedition Team will brief you on what lies ahead.  

    Learn about the extraordinary biodiversity of this tropical region, the traditional culture of the Bijagós people, and the historical impact of Portuguese exploration and the slave trade. 

    You can also participate in our Citizen Science Programme and contribute data to important ongoing research projects. Or why not brush up your photography skills with our onboard photographer in readiness for the sights to come.  

    Day 7
    At Sea

    A day of learning at sea

  • Day 8-11
    Bissagos Islands, Guinea-Bissau

    Bissagos expedition

    Take in the nature and wildlife of this UNESCO wonder  

    Over the next four days, you'll explore a maze of islands and channels, seeking out mangroves, tropical forests, savannah woodlands and coastal lagoons. Our small expedition boats will take us down the smaller channels and on shore landings with the Expedition Team, and we may launch our kayaks. 

    You'll meet and learn more about the local Bijagós people, a tribal society organised in clans. Practising a life that’s in balance with nature, they hold the world around them sacred, and have retained their ancestral traditions. 

    Local conditions will determine when and where we can land and explore, but whatever we do you can be sure you’ll experience the rich diversity of the archipelago up close. 

    Day 8-11
    Bissagos Islands, Guinea-Bissau

    Bissagos expedition

  • Day 12
    Banjul, The Gambia

    The Gambia's tiny capital

    Soak up the past and present in historic Banjul 

    Today we reach The Gambia and its tiny capital Banjul. It may be a small city, but its location at the mouth of the Gambia River means it is an important trading hub.  

    Banjul played a role in ending the slave trade, as its garrison was used by the British Navy to uphold abolition laws. Close by is the birthplace of Kunta Kinte, the protagonist of Alex Haley's famous book Roots. 

    This city is easy to explore on foot. Visit the lively Royal Albert Market and the National Museum, which contains historical documents and displays about the country’s history. Back on board, you'll enjoy a cultural performance, introducing you to The Gambia’s music and traditions. 

    • Included Banjul - Folkloric Show Onboard
    Day 12
    Banjul, The Gambia

    The Gambia's tiny capital

  • Day 13
    Dakar, Senegal

    Return to Dakar

    End your expedition in Senegal’s colourful capital 

    Your expedition cruise ends in Senegal’s kaleidoscopic capital, Dakar. After you disembark MS Spitsbergen, we'll take you on an included city tour to explore this fascinating city.  

    Listen out for the many languages of West Africa, such as Wolof, Pular and Serer. Undoubtedly, seeing the diversity of local cultures here is a wonderful way to round off your trip. 

    With the tour complete, you’ll be taken to a hotel for lunch, and spend the rest of the day relaxing in comfort at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your return journey home. 

    Day 13
    Dakar, Senegal

    Return to Dakar

Departures

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
November:
4.
16.
28.
December:
10.

2024

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
January:
3.
October:
29.
November:
10.
22.
December:
4.
28.

2025

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
January:
9.

What's included

Included in your voyage

Transfers before the Expedition cruise 

  • Transfer from Dakar airport to the ship on day of embarkation 

Post-Programme in Dakar after the cruise  

  • Dakar City Tour, day room at hotel in Dakar, including lunch  

Expedition Cruise 

  • A stay in a cabin of your choice  
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages in restaurant Aune   
  • Complimentary tea and coffee  
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board† 
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board  
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore  
  • Range of included activities  

*House beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water 

†Please note there is very limited Wi-Fi and phone signal in the remote areas we travel to, and streaming is not supported. 

Onboard Activities 

  • In-depth lectures and discussions hosted by experts on the Expedition Team 
  • Full use of our Science Center, extensive library and advanced biological and geological equipment 
  • Citizen Science Programme where you can assist with ongoing scientific research 
  • Photography tips and techniques for capturing landscape and wildlife from our onboard professional photographer 
  • Use of ship's hot tubs, panoramic sauna and gym 
  • Informal gatherings with the crew for daily briefings 

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats 
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles and all equipment for activities 
  • Expedition photographers on hand to assist you 

Notes 

  • All planned activities are subject to weather conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change 
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • Please make sure you meet all vaccination requirements (global health insurance recommended)  
  • No gratuities expected 

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage handling 
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners 
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team 
MS Spitsbergen
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - MS Spitsbergen
Photo: Genna Roland
A group of people posing for the camera
Photo: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten
Your ship

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 180
Beds 243
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7,344
Length 100.54m
Beam 18m
Speed 14.5 knots
MS Spitsbergen

MS Spitsbergen will take you on a voyage beyond the ordinary. She cruises along the Norwegian coast from September to May, and becomes part of our global Expedition sailings during the rest of the year.

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