Embark on this 12-day exploration of Madagascar and its Eastern Islands cruise from Mombasa to Maputo aboard SH Diana. Depart Mombasa and head towards the landscapes of the Seychelles. Come across stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and gardens teeming with wildlife, including dolphins, whales, turtles, giant tortoises, pink flamingos, rainbow chameleons, and various species of lemurs. Dive among these pristine waters or visit market stalls for local spices. Your cruise ends in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.
Savor the aromatic delights of Mombasa's spice-filled market stalls
See the world's largest tortoise colony with over 100,000 giant tortoises
Head to Kirindy Mitea National Park to see several species of lemur
Learn about exotic local plants from the guides at the Arboretum d’Antsokay
A dynamic coastal metropolis, Mombasa draws you in with its rich history and beguiling blend of cultures. For centuries, Arabs, Portuguese, Asians, and British settlers have lived side by side in the enchanting old town, whose buildings meld African, European, and African styles. Perched above the sea, Fort Jesus was built by the Portuguese in the 1590s to protect the city, while the bustling spice market is packed with fragrant stalls selling pepper, ginger, and cardamom.
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.
A tranquil white-sand beach stretches for miles alongside brilliantly turquoise water on the west coast of Assumption Island. Part of the Aldabra Group, the kidney-shaped island lies more than 1,000 km southwest of Mahé and is known for its colorful butterfly species, including the belenois aldabrensis. You may bump into sauntering giant tortoises or catch a flash of green as an Assumption day gecko scampers past. Keep an eye out for evidence of nesting sea turtles near the shoreline.
Comprising 13 islands around a lagoon, this massive raised coral atoll is home to the world’s largest tortoise colony. More than 100,000 lumbering giant tortoises inch their way around the isolated archipelago’s protected landscape, which features hundreds of flowering plant and fern species. You might be lucky enough to spot swooping Aldabra drongos - endemic to the islands - or wading pink flamingos. Look out too for scavenging white-throated rails, the only flightless bird remaining in the Indian Ocean.
Sandy swimming beaches, biodiverse jungle, and vividly blue crater lakes are among the highlights of this verdant island off Madagascar’s northern coast. After exploring the French colonial buildings in the port of Hell-Ville, head to nearby Lokobe Reserve, accessed via guided pirogue canoe. Black lemurs clamber up the park’s centuries-old trees, and you might also catch a glimpse of a vibrantly hued panther chameleon, which typically grows to around a foot and a half long.
The lively northern port of Mahajanga (Majunga) is known for its charming French colonial and Arabian architecture as well as a broad seafront promenade lined with coconut palms. Be sure to look for the gigantic landmark baobab tree towering near the water. Long sandy beaches stretch north towards Cirque Rouge, a remarkable natural amphitheater whose crumbling rocks are a blend of red, ochre, and pale pink. The colors are at their most dramatic at sunset.
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.
The relaxed west coast town of Morondava is the gateway to the iconic Avenue of the Baobabs. Lining a bumpy track, this striking grove of centuries-old giants - often nicknamed upside-down trees - is especially popular at sunset, when the trunks cast long shadows on the ground, creating spectacular photo effects. To the south, Kirindy Mitea National Park is a protected coastal reserve home to several species of lemur along with the rare fossa, a close relation to the mongoose.
Mangroves, beaches, and an offshore coral reef surround Toliara (Tuléar), near the mouth of the Onilahy River. Just southeast of the city, you can explore the Arboretum d’Antsokay, created by a Swiss botanist in 1980 amid a swathe of spiny forests. Garden guides lead you past more than 900 mostly endemic plant species, and you might spy flitting butterflies or lemurs tucked into branches. Within the port, there’s also a fascinating small museum dedicated to local marine life.
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 12: Maputo | Disembark
Mozambique’s capital city has an intriguing mix of Portuguese colonial and Soviet-style buildings on broad boulevards lined with jacaranda and palm trees. Architectural standouts include the early-20th-century domed railway station, painted in green and white, and the Smiling Lion, a distinctive post-modernist apartment block designed by Pancho Guedes. Exploring Maputo is also simply about wandering the historic district of Baixa and taking in the vibrant street scene of bustling pavement cafes, live music, and busy markets.
For full cancellation policy details, please contact us for a quote.
11 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
11 Nights Accommodations
Accommodations as listed
Ground transportation as listed
Activities as listed
Meals as listed
Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
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.
All transfers between Airport, Hotel and Ship
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
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.
We have received reports about this form not submitting, if this occurs, please wait a minute and try resubmitting. If you continue to experience an issue please call our office at 406-541-2677. We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
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!