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Banjul - Gambia

Crucibles of West Africa

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard SH Diana
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Embark on this15-day Crucibles of West Africa cruise from Ghana to Senegal aboard SH Diana. Immerse yourself in vibrant cultures, fascinating history, and wildlife as you cruise along the West African coast. Depart from Tema, with its busy streets and complex past, and visit colorful cities, including Takoradi – with its famous bustling Market Circle – and Freetown, home to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Next, head to the stunning Bijagós Islands with lush mangroves, saltwater hippos, and pygmy cows. Then sail to the beautiful Banjul before reaching Senegal’s capital, Dakar, a cultural destination to end the trip.
Freetown and The Place - Sierra LeoneElmina Castle Kakum National ParkKere Island - Bijagos - Guinea BissauMeio Island - Bijagos - Guinea BissauFreetownFreetownElmina Castle Kakum National ParkBanjul - Gambia
Highlights
  • Explore the British built Fort William, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Discover the historic Elmina Castle, built by the Portuguese in 1482
  • Immerse in Abidjan's thriving arts and music scene
  • Experience Freetown's vibrant Krio architecture and rich heritage
Places Visited
  • Africa
  • West Africa
  • Gambia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Abidjan
  • Banjul
  • Cape Coast
  • Dakar
  • Freetown
  • Ghana
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Monrovia
  • Takoradi
  • Tema
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Tema (Accra)

Arrive in Tema, relax, and spend the overnight here preparing for your adventure.

*specific hotel and location to be announced

Day 2: Tema (Accra) | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
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 3-4: Cape Coast (Fort William) | Elmina Point | Takoradi

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The British built Fort William in the 17th century as a trading post for gold and ivory. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction. The fort has been restored and now houses a museum that tells the story of the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on Ghana and the world.

Elmina is a town in Ghana known for its historic castle, Elmina Castle. The Portuguese built the castle in 1482, and it was used as a trading post for gold and ivory. It was later used as a prison and a slave fort. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction.

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 5: Abidjan

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 6: Day At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 the library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of your onboard lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from your onboard professional photographers.

Day 7: Monrovia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Liberia’s coastal capital was founded in the 1800s as a settlement for formerly enslaved people from North America. The National Museum offers an introduction to the region’s history and art. Today’s bustling city is a mix of architectural styles, lively beaches, and street markets. For a taste of local flavor, explore the jumbled Waterside Market, filled with colorful fabric and crafts, and sample a hearty meat stew with rice.

Day 8: Day At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 9: Freetown

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 10: Day At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 11-12: Bijagos Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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 13: Banjul

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 tell you about their heritage as you sip on herbal tea and sample traditional snacks.

Day 14: Dakar

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 15: Dakar | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
 Bid farewell to your fellow travelers as you disembark in Dakar today.

Ship/Hotel

SH Diana

SH Diana
SH Diana Observation Lounge
SH Diana Swan Nest

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$9,180
Rates are subject to change without notice. Book early to get the best rate.
SH Diana Oceanview D4
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Oceanview D4
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
SH Diana Oceanview M4
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Oceanview M4
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
SH Diana Balcony D5
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Balcony D5
Located on decks 5, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or a double bed, distinct bedroom and living room areas, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6 sq. m balcony.
SH Diana Balcony M5
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Balcony M5
Located on decks 5, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or a double bed, distinct bedroom and living room areas, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6 sq. m balcony.
SH Diana Balcony D6
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Balcony D6
Located on decks 6, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or a double bed, distinct bedroom and living room areas, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6 sq. m balcony.
SH Diana Junior Suite
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Junior Suite
SH Diana’s Junior Suites features a Super King Size bed, separate living room area with homely flame-effect fireplace, private kitchen, luxurious en-suite bathroom and a 7 sq. m private balcony.
SH Diana Suite
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Suite
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
SH Diana Premium Suite
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Premium Suite
SH Diana’s Premium Suites feature a Super King Size bed, separate living room with homely flame-effect fireplace, luxurious en-suite bathroom, spacious walk-in wardrobe and a 12 sq. m private balcony.
Included
  • 14 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
  • 14 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
Excluded
  • 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

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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