West Africa Cruise - Accra to Marrakech
Day 1 Accra, Ghana
Arrive at any time and check into the hotel.
Day 2 Accra, Ghana (1B,1D)
Today's excursion takes us from the port at Tema to the busy capital of Accra. Our first stop is at a casket-maker’s shop where caskets are carved to depict the beliefs, hobbies and life stories of the deceased. Later, we’ll visit a local school to interact with the children and staff before heading off to a local market, the national museum and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. Wildlife enthusiasts may choose to visit the Shai Game Reserve instead to view baboons, green monkeys and antelope as well as an abundance of birdlife: Senegal Parrots, Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters and Vieilot's Barbet. After the reserve, we'll witness local bead-making and give it a try ourselves.
Day 3 Takoradi, Ghana (1B,1L,1D)
From the dock at the Ghanaian town of Takoradi, we’ll explore a region steeped in the sad history of the slave trade. A visit to Elmira Castle and Cape Coast Castle brings us face-to-face with the horrible conditions of the dungeons and quarters slaves inhabited while awaiting their fate. Although this site was established by the Swedes in 1653, it was not until the 1700s, when it fell under the control of the British, that it reached its peak of output as a commercial slaving depot. The castle itself, although forbidding from the outside, is surrounded by the pleasant aspects of local fishing activity, and the relatively clean and pleasant precincts of Cape Castle village. A visit to the West African Historical Museum is included in our visit to Cape Coast Castle. Alternatively, travellers may visit Kakum National Park to witness its 100-foot-high Canopy Walkway. From high above the treetops, the Walkway gets us incredibly close to the flora and fauna of the region.
Day 4-5 At Sea (2B,2L,2D)
Day 6-7 Freetown, Sierra Leone (1B,1L,1D)
Today, we disembark in Freetown, Sierra Leone and spend two days exploring. Sierra Leone is recovering from a civil war that almost tore the country apart, but today it is a progressive African state with a great future. Tourism is part of the recovery process. We’ll explore the city, the Tacagumu Chimpanzee Sanctuary and visit one of least visited beaches in the world. With so many interesting aspects to the city tour what immediately strikes travelers is the combination of bustle, clutter, seething traffic and population, and of course the ever present informal sector industry. Many of the streets retain their old colonial era names, such as Gloucester Road, Wilberforce Street, George Street and Regent Street, all very oddly juxtaposed against this swarming West African city. Our first stop is the Sierra Leone National Museum, close to the famous Cotton Tree. A nearby war memorial may also be of considerable interest, rendering a sense of the extent to which this tragedy has been imprinted on the psyche of this city.
Day 8 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)
Day 9 Banjul, The Gambia (1B,1L,1D)
Today’s a special day for the bird lovers among us! The Gambia is known for its abundant birdlife: Over 500 species! Today, we’ll visit the Abuko Nature Reserve for a walk with our guides. Birds, monkeys and crocodiles inhabit the area. Alternatively, travellers also have the option to visit the museum of a local artist. Before arriving at the museum, we’ll visit the Serrekunda market, one of Africa’s busiest. At the museum, the artist herself will give us a guided tour of the space and its works while giving us some insight into her life as an African artist. For lunch, we’ll participate in a cooking class with a local woman who will show us how to make traditional Gambian cuisine. Later, we’ll visit a fruit distillery to learn about local liqueurs and be treated to a tasting.
Day 10 Dakar, Senegal (1B,1L,1D)
Today we disembark in Dakar, Senegal; a bustling and energetic West African capital. We’ll visit the infamous slave-trading post of Gorée Island and learn about the history of the region and its importance to the slave trade. The tour includes visits to the dungeons and slave quarters, the traders’ opulent homes, the House of Slaves and Le Castel, offering a fascinating look into this dark time. We’ll also visit the IFAN Historical Museum to learn more about the history of Senegal. After lunch, we’ll explore Dakar’s incredible markets, Great Mosque and colonial architecture before returning to the ship.
Day 11-12 At Sea (2B,2L,2D)
Day 13 Dakhla, Western Sahara (1B,1L,1D)
Tranquil Dakhla is where the Sahara meets the sea. Venture into the desert across the beautiful desert landscape to the White Dune, look for flamingoes and enjoy a gala local lunch in tents set up especially for the occasion. Dakhla in the country of West Sahara – altho administered by Morocco -- Is our opportunity to touch the western edge of the great Sahara Desert . The Western Sahara is a tropical desert! Hot and dry but cooled by the breeze off the Atlantic Ocean. This combination of cool and hot can often create a fog layer out at sea. A pastoral nomadic life style is common here, as most make a living fishing and or mining. We are planning a full day tour here to see this edge of the saraha and if possible some of the nomadic peoples who live there.
Day 14 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)
Day 15 Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (1B,1L,1D)
Today of course it is a meca for those escaping winter colds further to the north. You will see why when we tour the islands beaches. Like the rest of the canaries, it is an ancient volcanic island – that has eroded. The climate on Fuerteventura is pleasant throughout the year. The island is also often referred to as the island of eternal spring. The sea adjusts the temperature making the hot Sahara winds blow away from the island.
Day 16 Agadir to Marrakech (1B,1L,1D)
We then making our last open sea passage back to the continent landing in Agadir, near the foot of the famous and wildly snow capped Atlas Mountains. (30 degrees north similar to the Florida Georgia border or central texas) 146 miles to Marrakech. In 1960 it was completely destroyed by earth quake – now totally rebuilt it is a modern city and the beach destination of choice for many! We transfer to Marrakesh stopping along the way for lunch and arriving into Marrakech in time to take a guided walk down the Medina – the ancient central market, with shopping stalls, Visit the extraordinary Djemaa el Fna square—a human carnival filled with magicians, snake charmers, acrobats, water sellers and food stalls.
Day 17 Marrakech (1B)
After breakfast, depart for the airport and flights homeward.