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Turquoise waters along the shore near Dakar, Senegal

Cultural Crucibles of West Africa

Accra to Dakar - Example 14 Day Cruise aboard SH Vega
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Explore the captivating coast of West Africa and experience a combination of intriguing cultures, colorful history and beautiful wildlife. Embark SH Vega on this 13-night West Coast of Africa - Ghana to Senegal cruise and visit destinations and remote locations in a wildly fascinating part of the world. Begin the journey in Accra, Ghana, where you can sample local culture and delve deeper into the harsh history of this diverse part of the world. The journey continues to the bustling cities of Liberia and Sierra Leone with their notable histories as settlements for freed American slaves, before heading to the Gambia via far-flung islands covered in mangroves where hippos and pygmy cows are at home. 
Turquoise waters along the shore near Dakar, Senegal
  • Visit Tacugama Chimpanzee and the rehabilitation of western chimpanzees
  • Enjoy Ghanaian foods in Takoradi Market Circle
  • Look for uncommon saltwater hippos in the inaccessible Bijagos archipelago
  • Watch traditional ways of life continue on Ile Carabane in Senegal
Places Visited
  • Africa
  • West Africa
  • Gambia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Accra
  • Banjul
  • Dakar
  • Freetown
  • Ghana
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Liberia
  • Monrovia
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Accra, Ghana

Arrive in Accra, relax, and spend the overnight in Labadi Beach Hotel or similar.

Day 2: Tema, Ghana | Embark

Sail into the coastal city of Tema, a short drive from Ghana’s buzzing capital, Accra. Once named ‘Africa’s Capital of Cool’ by the New York Times, Accra has become one of West Africa’s top destination cities. Marvel at the towering statues in the city’s Black Star Square, wander through Kwame Nkrumah National Park, the resting place of Ghana’s first prime minister and president, or shop for locally made arts and crafts in the Centre for National Culture.

Day 3: Takoradi, Ghana

The twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi, often called Tadi, are a major commercial hub on Ghana’s deepwater port. There’s a low-key beachfront, a 17th-century Dutch fort, and inland, a frenetic commercial center dominated by Market Circle, the largest market circle in Africa, where you can indulge in everything from coconuts to dried fish and a staple local dish – tangy jollof rice. Further afield, you can see fishing boats in the harbor or watch a traditional drumming ceremony.

Day 4: Abidjan

A city pulsing with energy, this former capital of Côte D’Ivoire is a hub of creativity and innovation. The thriving arts and music scene intertwines with the intoxicating blend of cultures, cuisines and traditions that define Abidjan. A window into West Africa, the tropical mood that permeates Abidjan is infectious and unforgettable in equal measure. Immerse yourself in the city’s distinct atmosphere, browse the many galleries and markets, and stop at the fascinating National Museum of Abidjan.

Day 5-6: At sea

You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of the knowledgeable on-board experts.

Day 7: Tokeh Beach

Founded by a Sherbo fisherman in Sierra Leone's colonial era, Tokeh's humble beginnings have given way to one of the most attractive collections of beach resorts in Western Africa; Tokeh Beach is a little slice of paradise tucked away on Sierra Leone's Freetown Peninsula. Lush forests and incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean surround the long stretches of golden sands and clear blue waters. Stop in at the charming beachfront bars and restaurants for some local seafood, unwind on the paradisical beach or head out for a relaxing swim in the sea.

Day 8: Freetown | Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s portside capital city occupies a major position in history as the home of formerly enslaved people from North America and Britain. Sites like Cotton Tree and the King’s Yard Gate symbolize the town’s sombre past. Freetown today is a diverse city with a rich heritage – colorful Krio architecture, hearty, rice-based cuisine, and lively beaches. Stop by the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary to visit rescued, endangered primates in a rainforest.

Day 9: At sea

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Day 10-11: Bijagos archipelago | Guinea-Bissau

Off the coast of Guinea-Bissau lie 88 islands – most of them uninhabited – covered in mangroves and mudflats, savannah and palm forests. The remote Bijagos archipelago is a protected biosphere reserve, known as the home of the rare saltwater hippo, as well as migratory birds and pygmy cows. The islands remained largely unaffected by colonial influence, resulting in a strong cultural identity with traditional coming-of-age ceremonies like difuntu and fanado still in practice.

Day 12: Karabane Island | Senegal

The far-flung island in Senegal’s extreme southwest, Carabane is a tiny tropical idyll covered with mangroves, baobabs, and palms at the mouth of the Casamance River. As a former French trading post, the island retains much of its 19th-century architecture, and villagers continue a traditional way of life fishing, cultivating rice and producing palm wine. Round off your trip, by relaxing on a palm-lined, white-sand beach.

Day 13: Banjul | Gambia

At the meeting point of the Gambia River and the Atlantic Ocean, Gambia’s relaxed capital city sits on a little island filled with colonial buildings and vibrant markets. At the 19th-century Albert Market, you can browse souvenirs and the vibrant traditional clothing of The Gambia’s diverse ethnic groups. For a true taste of local culture, sign up to visit a typical Gambian home or ‘compound’, where local hosts will tell you about their heritage as you sip on herbal tea and sample traditional snacks.

Day 14: Dakar, Senegal | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
With fabulous museums, a thriving art scene and elegant seaside dining, the capital city showcases a rich Senegalese culture and a forward-looking spirit. Discover the city’s traditional side in Medina, a bustling quarter of mosques, tea shops, and street markets. French influences remain in many aspects of city life, from architecture to food. Local mbalax music dominates a vibrant nightlife scene. Traditional crafts like wood carvings and glass paintings are easily found at the Soumbédioune market – the best place to shop for souvenirs.


SH Vega

SH Vega
SH Vega Club Lounge
SH Vega Club Lounge

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
SH Vega Suite OceanViewOceanview
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Oceanview D4
19 m2, Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
SH Vega Suite OceanViewOceanview
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Oceanview M4
19 m2, Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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Balcony D5
28 m2, Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedrooms with a living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony M5
28 m2, Located at the center of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedrooms with a living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony D6
28 m2, Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
SH Vega SuitePremium suitePremium Suite
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44 m2, Our Suites features a super king bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
SH Vega Suite PremiumSH Vega Suite PremiumPremium suitePremium Suite
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Premium Suite
49 m2, Our grandest suites feature a super king bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, a spacious walk-in wardrobe, and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
  • 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 13 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Room Service 
  • Wifi
  • Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
  • Lecture programs by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
  • Onboard gratuities & port taxes
  • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions.
  • Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
  • One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
  • One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call (Kayak not included, bookable for a fee on board)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • We recommend every traveler to take out a travel cancellation insurance, travel interruption insurance and a travel health insurance policy with an assumption of the return transport costs of repatriation


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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