Day 1 Dakar, Senegal
Embark the Harmony V in the late afternoon. After dinner, set sail southward towards the Saloum River Delta. Overnight at sea, south along the coast.
Day 2 Djiffere / Banjul, Gambia
This morning reach the Sine-Saloun Delta in Senegal, an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and also an Important Birding Area, as designated by Birdlife International and natural habitat for many bird species but also for aquatic animals such as marine turtles, dolphins, West African manatees and crocodiles.
An optional excursion starts at the primitive fishing village of Djiffere from where you reach the village of Joal Fadiouth, set on an island of clam shells that also are used in local buildings and crafts. In the afternoon, leave Senegal and the Saloum Delta and sail south to Gambia to reach Banjul, the capital of Gambia and gateway to the 700-mile Gambia river. Fishermen night. Overnight in Banjul.
Day 3 Banjul / Abuko Nature Reserves
The morning in Banjul gives you the opportunity to take the excursion to Bakau with its crocodile "katchikaly", its botanic garden and a short Banjul tour. After lunch, leave Banjul and sail upstream. Stop at St. James island in the middle of the Gambia river. The first settlers on the island arrived in 1651; under British rule it became an important slave trading post in the Gambia. In 1976 James Island became famous for its inclusion in Alex Haley's bestselling book "Roots," the story of a slave, Kunta Kinteh. The island was recently renamed Kunta Kinteh Island and is now a UNESCO world cultural heritage site.
After disembarking by local tenders your local guide offers more information about the history of James Island and afterwards you have some time to explore this island by yourself. Late on the afternoon, leave "Kunta Kinteh" and sail upstream to reach Tendaba. Mediterranean night in Africa. Overnight at dock in Tendaba.
Day 4 Tendaba, Gambia
From the ship take motor pirogues in order to reach Tendaba, located on the South Bank in the lower river division, the starting point of your morning optional excursion. It is a small fishing village of mainly muslim faith with approximately 600 inhabitants whose main occupation is fishing. From there walk through to Batelling, a small village at the entrance to Kiang West national park. The area boasts over 250 species of birds, many of which are difficult to observe anywhere else. Other residents include Guinea baboons, bushbuck, warthogs, Senegal bushbaby and marsh mongoose.
After a refreshing stop in Batelling, board an open safari truck which brings you back to Tendaba. On the way pass again local villages where you get an impression of local life in the Gambia. In the afternoon, you are picked up from the ship by motor pirogues for another optional excursion to the Bao Bolong Wetland reserve. This reserve, lying across from Kiang West National Park, features six major bolongs (creeks) that provide great birding and boating opportunities. Numerous rare and migratory birds also reside here including the Pel’s fishing owl, African fin foot and brown necked parrot. Overnight docked in Tedaba.
Day 5 Kuntaur / River Gambia National Park
Leave Tendaba and sail upstream on the Gambia river all morning to reach Kuntaur. Early in the afternoon, arrive in the bustling Gambian port town of Kuntaur, the last inland stop along the river that is navigable for ocean-going ships. Later in the afternoon board a large motor pirogue for a 3-hour optional excursion cruise on the Gambia river. First head to the southernmost tip of Baboon Island, one of the five islands of the Gambia national park. There a local national park ranger joins you onboard to give more information about the park and its fauna & flora.
Then turn, the motor pirogue slows down and sails slowly back to Kuntaur following closely along the shores of Baboon island. This island is home to the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project. If you are lucky, you can closely observe the chimps with minimal intrusion from your motor pirogue. There is also the possibility of seeing hippos, crocodiles, Red Colobus, Green Vervet monkeys and also The Gambia’s famous birdlife. Return to Kuntaur where you are met by the “Kankurang” and a local dance group on the pier. Believed to have spiritual powers, the “Kankurang” dispenses justice and wards off evil spirits. Overnight docked in Kuntaur.
Day 6 Kuntaur / Jangjanbureh / Kaur
This morning, your optional excursion takes you by bus to the ferry station of Janjanbureh. There board the local ferry for a short cruise over the Gambia river to Janjanbureh. Continue your excursion with a visit to one of the oldest towns of the Gambia, formerly called Georgetown. Your walk gives a broad impression of this laid back town; see the residence of the governor, the market, and the Methodist church with its school. Afterward take the ferry back and re-board the bus to reach Lamin Koto.
Through the generosity of your ship and of many of its clients, a new school building is being built. Later in the morning stop at the mysterious stone circles in Wassu, a megalithic site believed to be a burial ground thousands of years ago. Visit the little museum of this archaeological site, a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. In the afternoon, after lunch, sail downstream to Kaur a small fishing village on the banks of the Gambia. You have the opportunity to walk around this small community and see how Gambians live today. Captains farewell dinner. Overnight in Kaur.
Day 7 Banjul
Leave Kaur early in the morning and sail further downstream towards Banjul. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and other animal life. Arrival in Banjul around 4 pm. Later in the evening after formalities, sail out of the Gambia estuary into the Atlantic Ocean northwards to Dakar. Gambian night with Kora instrument concert. Overnight at sea to Dakar.
Day 8 Dakar, Sengal / Disembark
Arrive in Dakar early this morning. Disembarkation after breakfast.