People have been exchanging customs and ideas in Western Africa as long as there have been people. Now, it’s your turn. From the MS Expedition, you’ll get the chance to explore one of Africa’s most vibrant (and curiously underexplored) regions from a hotel that goes wherever you do. A solid combination of activity and leisure, you’ll have ample time to spot rare birds and endemic wildlife with skilled naturalists, mingle in local markets and learn about the region from our experienced expedition staff, including naturalists, historians, anthropologists, and ornithologists. While at sea we’ll also enjoy South African wine tastings from our very own sommelier and enjoy daily lectures from experts. Africa by sea? We didn’t believe it was possible either.
Small-ship adventures on the world's great seas and rivers The poles of the Earth, the wonders of the Galápagos, the mysteries of the Amazon, out-of-the-way Greek Islands and other great places are best (and sometimes only) accessed by boat. Marine trips get you there aboard small ships, exclusive yachts and catamarans.
- 15 nights on board the M/S Expedition
- Airport transfers (arrival and departure)
- 2 night hotel accommodation (Cape Town and Accra)
- Shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary
- Zodiac excursions with our expert expedition team
- Lecture and educational programs with expedition team
- Onboard Wine tastings with David van Niekerk, Vintner, High Constantia Winery, Capetown, South Africa
Learn the history of voodoo and the slave trade, visit multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Explore bustling local markets and colonial architecture in historic West African ports, Gain insight into the region's modern history, Interact with our expert expedition team, wine taste while enjoying the comfort and cuisine of the MS Expedition.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
As a service to our passengers, the MS Expedition will apply for group entry visas for shore excursions during West Coast of Africa Cruise. Passengers are responsible for the costs associated with obtaining these visas. Please see Visa section for more information.
The Expedition is an adventure Expedition ship and does not offer an elevator
Traveling West Africa is an opportunity to help developing nations embrace tourism. Do not expect tourism / public works infrastructure to be up to par with other areas of the world.
The port cites that are open to us are often a great distance from cultural points of interest and there may be shore excursions with extended bus trips to access sites of interest.
A carefully chosen team will lead our voyage. Our expedition ships boast an international team of professional naturalists and lecturers. Their goal is to provide an informed and balanced interpretation of the destination, accomplished through stimulating lectures, day-to-day briefings, and informal discussions. Your lecturers and Expedition Leader will cover all aspects of the voyage including ornithology, marine biology, geography, geology, history and the environment, as well as practical things like photography. The expedition staff work conscientiously with you on deck and in the field, improving your observational skills to allow you to experience all that the destination has to offer. Their strong sense of ethics and ecological knowledge make for stimulating and mindful conversation whether onshore or at the dinner table. The Expedition Staff will pilot the Zodiac landing craft used for shore landings and Zodiac cruises; they are experienced drivers who operate the Zodiacs in a responsible manner.
All meals included on board the ship. Breakfast included at the hotel.
Onboard our expedition ships you’ll find a diversity of gourmet international cuisines prepared and catered by professional chefs; all meals are included in the price of your expedition. Dining is casual, tables are unassigned and the dining room is capable of seating the entire passenger complement at one time. There is always a selection of different meals available, and vegetarians will find plenty of options. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice, please advise us at time of confirmation. Coffee and tea are all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic are not included and can be purchased in the dining room, pub or the lounge.
MS Expedition, Bus, and Zodiac.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Twin-share hotel (2 nights), MS Expedition quad, triple, twin-share cabins, or suites (all with en suite bathrooms and porthole or window) (15 nights). Please note that all cabins consist of twin-sized berths and are ocean-facing. Suites have one queen size bed.
The Commodore Hotel
PortsWood Rd, Portwood Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
+ 27 (0) 21 415 1000
Upon arrival into Cape Town, A G represntative will be at the airport to meet you. Upon leaving the baggage claim area you will see a large open area with sign boards all around. Look for a G Adventures sign board with your name.
In the event that you do not meet up with your transfer, please contact the emergency contact listed.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
G Adventures Local Representative, Capetown, South Africa
Main Emergency Phone: +27 72 352 1645
Mobile Phone: +27 83 751 7428
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
In the worlds most remote destinations that the G Expedition travels to we cannot offload our plastics, glass or tin waste for recycling. Therefore, we try to reduce what single use items that we use. You will see on the ship that every effort is being used to stop the use of single use plastic containers, bags and other items. In an effort to prevent plastic waste for entering the waste stream, we are asking for your help. We offer exceptional drinking water on the ship with refilling stations for your re-useable water containers. So bring your favorite water bottle! Plastic Items such as single use shampoo/conditioner plastic containers cannot be recycled, so please plan to bring any plastics back to your home countries for recycling. Please do not bring single use items that you intend to leave behind such plastic bags and throw away razors. Your participating in helping to prevent pollution and promote recycling is greatly appreciated.
Dress on board is informal. Plan to bring comfortable, casual clothing for all activities. Always pack one water proof layer in the event there is rain. However, it's important to note that the weather will be hot and lightweight clothing is strongly suggested.
It's helpful to note that we may have multiple visits to local schools in some of the villages visited. You may wish to bring donations in the form of school and art supplies. Our team will help facilitate with contributing these items directly to the head master of the school. Below is a suggested list
- Art supplies
- Pencils, pens and paper
- Deflated soccer ball
- 5 separate postcards of iconic places from your town, city or home country. These will be used for a piece of art we would like to create for the students.
- Camera and Accessories
- Memory card
- Extra battery
- Something to protect your camera from water
- Onboard is 220AC electrical outlets with European 2 pin round holes as well as 110 volt shaving sockets for electric razors only
At sea distractions
- Personal entertainment
- Laptop computer
- Personal toiletries
- Personal medication, vitamins
( If you are prone to seasickness please consult your doc and bring medication )
- Homeopathic and natural options
- Reusable water bottle ( On board water may be consumed)
- Money (cash/travelers checks)
- Credit Card
- Passport (with a minimum 6 months validity and 15 blank pages for Visas)
- Airline tickets
- Travel insurance documents
- Trip details information
- Comfortable and informal clothing onboard
- Non-slip footwear for wet decks
- Light sweater ( the AC on the ship may make some rooms cooler then others)
** Be prepared for mild to hot temperatures. It's important to note that we are traveling in desert climates.
- Light weight pants
- Light wind resistant jacket
- Short and long sleeve shorts
- Swim suit
Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart, 1958.
Akeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku. Themes in West Africa’s History, 2006.
Bay, Edna. Wives of the Leopard: Gender, Politics, and Culture in the Kingdom of Dahomey, 1998.
Bender, Gerald. Angola Under the Portuguese: The Myth and the Reality, 1978.
Biddlecombe, Peter. French Lessons in Africa: Travels with my briefcase through French Africa, 1993 (reprinted 2009).
Bowen, Elenore Smith. Return to Laughter, 1954.
Conrad, David C. Empires of Medieval West Africa (Revised Edition), 2010.
Erdman, Sarah. Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village (Ivory Coast 1998-2000), 2003.
Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, 1998.
Kingsley, Mary. Travels in West Africa 1897 (3rd. Ed. 1965.
Kryza, Frank T. The Race for Timbuktu: In Search of Africa’s City of Gold, 2006.
Meredith, Martin. The Fate of Africa From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair: A History of 50 Years of Independence,
Meredith, Martin. Diamonds, Gold and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa, 2007.
Pakenham, Thomas. The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912, 1991.
Riley, Captain James. Sufferings in Africa: The Astonishing Account of a New England Sea Captain Enslaved by North African Arabs, 1965 (New Edition 2000).
Shostak, Marjorie. Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman, 1983.
Spindel, Carol. In the Shade of the Sacred Grove, 1989.
Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall. The Harmless People, 1959.
Van der Post, Laurens. The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958.
Wright, Donald R. The World and a Very Small Place in Africa: A History of Globalization in Niumi, the Gambia, 2009.
Aboard the M/S Expedition laundry facilities are provided at a nominal charge.
Important Information Regarding Visas
As a service to our passengers, the MS Expedition will apply for group entry visas for shore excursions during West Coast of Africa Cruise. Each passenger is responsible for the costs associated with each visa. We expect the total cost of all Visas to range from $500 to $600 USD per passenger. Estimated Visa costs at time of sailing will be charged to each passengers shipboard account upon embarkation and reconciled at the end of the cruise if need be. Note that visa costs are at the discretion of each government and in our experience exact costs can change at short notice.
Passengers should confirm prior to departure that they are eligible to obtain a visa for each of the countries visited either with their home countries foreign affairs office or see your travel agent.
As always all countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Your passport should also have 10 blank pages for Visas.
A final reminder is that travellers must also obtain the applicable travel Visas to enter South Africa. We encourage you to check with your local Embassy, Consulate or High Commission to see if you require a travel Visa to enter South Africa.
XVCADX - West Africa Cruise - Cape Town to Accra
Sao Tome and Principe
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Onboard the Expedition:
While on board our Expedition ships, cash and most major credit cards (VISA, Mastercard and AMEX) are accepted to pay for your onboard account to cover incidental charges such as bar bill, laundry visas and shop purchased.
As Expedition will travel to numerous countries during her voyage up the West Coast of Africa the crew of the Expedition will assist passengers in changing money into local currency at each port. We recommend bringing small denomination US Dollar and Euro BILLS as many markets and local mearchants will accept this.
Before and after the cruise:
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work overseas. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash, travellers cheques and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. It is an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your expedition. The industry standard and suggested amount is USD $10 - 15 per person per day spent on board. Of course, tipping is a personal choice and the suggested amount is set only as a guideline. The money is collected by the Hotel Manager at the end of the voyage and distributed amongst the crew and Expedition Staff.
All passengers on the West Africa Cruise are required to submit a medical form. Available here, http://www.gadventures.com/medical_form/ Follow the directions on the form, and if necessary, a Doctor's authorization will be required. It is very important that we are advised of any special meal requirements, food allergies, or prescribed medication when you confirm your tour. The ship is equipped with a small infirmary with typically required medications and limited equipment. The ship's doctor is available for visits during the day and is available 24 hours per day for emergencies.
Yellow Fever Certificate Note:
A Yellow Fever Certificate (International Certificate of Vaccination) is a REQUIREMENT for this West Africa itinerary, as we do visit yellow fever endemic countries. Please consult with a travel clinic / Doctor prior to travel. The yellow fever shot requires 10 days to become effective. The vaccination should be at the latest, two weeks prior to travel.
Health regulations in your country of residence may require specific inoculations for the countries that you will visit on our voyage. We suggest that you confer with your own physician to check specific requirements, and to be sure your routine immunizations, such as tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A, are up-to-date before traveling. Older travelers, in particular, may wish to consider preventive measures against influenza and pneumonia.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
We recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items safely stored in our complimentary safety deposit box, which is located at the Purser's Desk.
All passengers on this trip are required to fill out our medical form.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
Planeterra Foundation, G Adventures' non-profit, is working with our Marine Team to support an Ocean's Health Fund. Our mission is to help support education, research, and take action in the global clean-up and protection of our planets's oceans by restoring natural habitats and supporting projects that eliminate waste such as plastic from our waterways.
Through our partners, we are raising funds to restore habitat preservation in Antarctica. We are working to eradicate the invasive rat population on the island of South Georgia. South Georgia is known for its rich diversity of wildlife and is home to over 100 million breeding birds, including the albatross. Through the introduction of Norway rats brought over by whaling and sealing vessels, severe damage to the island's ecosystem has deteriorated the habitat of hundred of thousands of these birds. We are working to eradicate the rat population on this island, supporting helicopter baiting techniques that has so far cleared the most populated 12,800 hectares, and the area of the island most inhabited for bird breeding. Through your donations, we have started Phase 2 which will clear 1,000 square kilometres and return the island to it's native form.
Working with research scientists,we are also raising funds to support an oceans cleanup program in the Pacific Gyre. Using sailing vessels to remove pollution directly from the ocean and to conduct research on fish and marine organisms we hope to help restore the oceans environments we love to explore.
For more information on these projects and/or to make a donation please visit our website at www.planeterra.org or contact us at email@example.com
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.