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Turquoise waters along the shore near Dakar, Senegal

Adventure in the Bijagos Archipelago: Dakar to Dakar

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Le Dumont-d'Urville
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The Bissagos archipelago, located off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, is one of the most preserved and protected on the planet. Classified as an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it is made up of 88 islands, most of which are uninhabited. Nestling in the heart of an environment which often remains untouched by humans, they offer the rare visitors who explore them the opportunity for a unique and authentic experience. Get as close as possible to nature, between pale-sand beaches, mangrove stretching as far as the eye can see, savannahs, palm trees and baobabs. Birds of prey, pelicans, monkeys, sea turtles, crocodiles, saltwater hippos and all kinds of snakes are at home here. Discover their way of life, which has not changed for thousands of years. Theirs is a matriarchal society centered on the sacred. 
 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Dakar, Senegal | Embark
Day 2 : At Sea
Day 3 : Carache Island, Bijagos
Days 4-5 : Joao Vieira Island and Bolama, Bijagos
Days 5-6 : Orango Island, Bijagos
Day 7 : Carache Island, Bijagos
Day 8 : Caravela Island, Bijagos
Day 9 : Dakar, Senegal | Disembark

Highlights

  • Discover the diversity of the fauna: saltwater hippos, crocodiles & dolphins
  • Encounter with the Bidyogo people to learn about its ancestral traditions
  • Explore the mangrove, covering more than a third part of the archipelago
  • Visit Dakar and Gorée Island, both major sites in the history of slavery

Ship

Le Dumont-d'Urville

Places Visited

  • Africa
  • Senegal
  • Carache Island
  • Caravela Island
  • Dakar
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Orango Island
  • West Africa

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Turquoise waters along the shore near Dakar, Senegal A Hippopotamus glides through the swampy waters. Beaches of Cape Verde Islands Panoramic photo of beach in Senegal A dolphin jumps out of the water Colorful African pirogue canoes on the beach
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Day 1 Dakar, Senegal | Embark

On the tip of the African continent, the buzzing capital of Senegal stretches along the narrow peninsula of Cape Verde. You may be overwhelmed by its sheer size, but Dakar wins you over with its richly diverse districts, appealing cultural scene and rich natural surroundings. In the historic center, enjoy the pell-mell of colors and tasty delights in Kermel market. A visit to the island of Gorée is deeply moving; for several hundred years, this island was the largest slave-trading center on the African coast. It is now an UNESCO World Heritage site. If you are looking for pristine and unspoiled nature, the wildlife in the heart of Madeleine Islands' national park will not disappoint. 

Day 2 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude combining comfort, rest and entertainment. 

Day 3 Carache Island, Bijagos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the midst of a rich natural environment, enjoy a fascinating encounter with the Bijagos, who have been successful at taming their environment and preserving their ancestral way of life. Five villages provide a home for the island's few thousand inhabitants who rely on a subsistence economy: they take from nature only what they need, they cultivate rice, breed chickens and pigs, fish on a small scale and use all the parts of the oil palm. Cob huts with thatched roofs are the traditional dwellings. Among other things, enjoy a wonderful show of authentic traditional dancing. 

Day 4-5 Joao Vieira Island and Bolama, Bijagos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the far southeast of the Bissagos Islands, Joao Vieira is a small unspoiled island in the Joao Vieira and Poilao Marine National Park. This park, where a number of sacred sites can be found, is home to a wonderful biodiversity. On the practically uninhabited island of Joao Vieira, the Bijagos have set up temporary camps for fishing or for collecting the fruit of oil palms. Like everywhere else in the archipelago, the local population displays ingenuity to adapt to this incredible environment. 

Bolama, the capital of Portuguese Guinea from the late 19th century to the end of the 1930's, is shrouded in the surreal and poetic atmosphere of a ghost town forgotten by time. Along the streets covered in ochre earth, the vestiges of neoclassical colonial buildings hint at what was once the sumptuous government palace or the governor's residence. Now neglected, this hard-to-reach natural harbor surrounded by mangrove swamps once served as an outpost for keeping a close eye on the Guinean population that had come to seek refuge on these remote islands of the Bissagos archipelago to escape their colonizers. 

Day 5-6 Orango Island, Bijagos

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Some 20 kilometers off the coast of West Africa, the Bissau-Guinean archipelago of Bissagos is famous for its abundant biodiversity. The richness of its marine animal and plant life afforded it the status of Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO: marine hippopotami, dolphins, green tortoises, monkeys, striped antelopes and hundreds of thousands of migrating birds find refuge here. Orango is the archipelago’s largest and most mysterious island. Its national park and marine protected area lie in the heart of the Biosphere Reserve. During your Zodiac® outings, set off to discover this preserved environment, home to the Bijogo people, the true custodians of this sanctuary.

Day 7 Carache Island, Bijagos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Off the west African coast of Guinea-Bissau, the Bissagos archipelago rolls out its 88 islands and islets of black rock and white sand in the heart of the Atlantic. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1996, this string of islets has exceptionally rich land and sea fauna. In the heart of luxuriant nature, you'll meet the Bijago inhabitants, fascinating men, and women who have adapted to and melted in with their natural environment.

Day 8 Caravela Island, Bijagos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dotted with authentic and wild landscapes, the Bissagos archipelago is a constellation of islands covered in savannah, forests or palm trees, mangrove trees, silk-cotton trees, baobabs and, in large part, mangrove swamps. From the island of Caravela, set out in a Zodiac dinghy to explore the mangrove and observe the African grey hornbill, the palm-nut vulture, the kingfisher, the weaverbird and some of the many species that fly to this region each year. It is the second most important site for migratory birds in West Africa, after Banc d'Arguin in Mauritania: herons, curlews, red-chested swallows. In full immersion, far from the beaten track, your discovery of the archipelago will take on an air of adventure. 

Day 9 Dakar, Senegal | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark after breakfast and continue your independent trip back home. 
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Le Dumont-d'Urville

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Per person starting at
$5,480
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² Private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 4m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Deluxe Suite
Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 6m² private balcony
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
8m² private balcony King-size bed or twin beds
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m² Capacity: up to 4 passengers per cabin 8m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m² Capacity: up to 2 passengers per cabin 30m² private balcony; King-size bed or twin beds

Notes

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • All meals while on board the ship 
  • Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • Gratuities to on board crew, local guides and drivers
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Evening entertainment and events
  • 24 hour room service (special selection)
  • English-speaking lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
  • Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
  • Park entry fees into protected areas
  • Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control).
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions mentioned
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry services, hair salon, and à la carte Spa treatments
  • Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
  • Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor
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