West Africa Cruise - Cape Town to Marrakech

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2015 - December 31st, 2015 Last Updated:
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Introduction

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 before wrapping it all up in enchanting Marrakech. Africa by sea? We didn’t believe it was possible either.

  • 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
Duration: 32 days
Start/Finish City: Cape Town to Marrakech
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Marine

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.

Itinerary

Route map for West Africa Cruise - Cape Town to Marrakech (XVCMDX)

Day 1 Cape Town, South Africa

Welcome to Cape Town, the most cosmopolitan city on the continent and one of the most stunning urban areas on Earth! Today is an arrival day, so there are no planned activities. Your arrival transfer is included.

Day 2 Cape Town (1B,1L,1D)

Our tour today starts with the cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain. The plateau at 3 km wide has its highest point over 1,000 meters, and provides spectacular views of the surrounded landscape. Lunch at the Seaforth Restaurant before visiting Boulder Beach, a beautiful sandy beach dotted with massive granite boulders. Since 1982 it has been the home of over 3,000 tunnel nesting African Black footed penguins.

From here we make our way along the equally famous Chapman’s Peak road, a scenic drive like no other, pausing periodically to take in the sea vistas and cozy oceanside settlements, before entering the larger, more ethnically diverse towns of Hout Bay and Kommetjie. We also have the opportunity to visit the boulders site where a small colony of African, or Jackass penguins cling to viability in a small breeding colony that is heavily protected. After this we enjoy a drive back towards Cape Town, skirting the Constantia Winelands before making our way to the MS Expedition, for embarkation at approximately 4pm


Day 3 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)

Days at sea will be filled with a fascinating and entertaining educational program presented by our expert expedition team. Lectures and presentations on the history, anthropology, flora and fauna of the region will be interspersed with seminars on painting, photography and music.The Expedition has ample public space in the lounge and library, and you can always join new friends in the ship’s popular pub. Alternatively, spend time relaxing on the ship’s deck or scanning the horizon with binoculars and camera in search of seabirds and marine life. As always, high-end dining experiences will be enjoyed in the ship’s dining room.

Capping off the day, winemaker David van Neikerk describes his method of making Sparkling Wine in South Africa, and everyone gets to toast with a glass of his very own Sparkling Wine.

Day 4 Luderitz, Namibia (1B,1L,1D)

Within minutes of disembarking from MS Expedition on the southern coast of Namibia, we encounter ascending blocks of architectural evidence that the seaside town of Luderitz had indeed been founded by German settlers who brought their culture with them to southwest Africa. From the brightly painted houses of Berg Street (built 1909-11) to the elegant 1910 Goerke House on the hill, it was also evident that a substantial number of the early 20th century newcomers to this remote seaport had achieved financial success from endeavors related to the nearby diamond fields. But the visitors of 2013 will find that these days the colorful European-style buildings repose along sleepy inclined avenues where the era of bustling prosperity that produced them a century ago, has long since been absorbed into the mists of the offshore currents.

Just a few miles north, we travel through the dwellings of the mining ghost town of Kolmannskuppe. Glancing at faded museum photographs, listen for faint echoes of German life from the arduous era of the diamond industry.

Day 5 Walvis Bay, Namibia (1B,1L,1D)

Morning at sea may provide an opportunity to see fur seals and Cape Gannets Upon arrival in Walvis Bay we’ll have the opportunity to explore the landscapes of the Namib Desert.

We begin by setting off to see the fantastic Welwitchias – a living fossil that has existed since the day of the dinosaur. At first glance it looks like a misshapen dried up dying plant – but upon closer inspection we could see the adaptations that have made it such a successful and long lived plant found only in the Namib Desert.

Soon after, we're off to look at the Moonlandscape – which is yet another portion of the desert with formations of such unusual peaks and valleys stretching off into tomorrow. Marvel at the vastness of the world’s oldest desert

Day 6-7 At Sea (2B,2L,2D)

Spend your days at sea emersed in our educational lecture series along with cultural art and musical workshops. Or, simply kick back to a documentary film. For those looking for entertainment into the evening, you will find live music in the Polar Pub.

Day 8 Lobito (Benguela), Angola (1B,1L,1D)

Today we'll enjoy a visit to the quaint town of Sao Felipe de Benguela in Angola. Benguela was founded by Portuguese in 1617 has a big part in the history of the slave trade.

The tour for the day covered the two towns of Lobito and Benguela, both cast in the unique Portuguese/African style, veneered slightly, but only very slightly, by the fresh paint of modern architecture and construction, and displaying the usual Portuguese national obsession with tree lined avenues and lovely central parkways and public spaces

We pause at the 16th century fort of San Pedro site on a hilltop guarding the old crossing on the Catumbela River. This offers great views of the surrounding city. Also view the 1905 steel bridge that had been responsible for so much congestion, and the governor’s residence opposite.


Day 9 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)

Day 10 Pointe Noire, Congo (1B,1L,1D)

Today, we visit the Congo’s Pointe Noire. On the agenda today are visits to the cliffs of Diosso Gorge, the museum and the city’s very lively market.

We begin the day by going to the Diosso Gorge to look at the red sand stone gulley, created by natural erosion. Then head over to the Diosso Scientific and Cultural museum where enthusiastic museum guides provide us a tour of the collection.

Day 11 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)

Day 12-13 São Tomé and Príncipe (2B,2L,2D)

This Portuguese colonial island nation is a tropical paradise of beaches, waterfalls, forests and friendly people. We’ll visit the capital, São Tomé—once an important slave-trade post—and explore a nearby plantation. São Tomé is famous among birders, with over 140 species identified in the surrounding area. On a birding excursion, try to catch a glimpse of the islands’ endemic inhabitants. The next day we explore Príncipe via Zodiac boat to experience its beaches, waterfalls and rainforests. A swim in the tropical waters is a great way to relax. Birdlife, including many endemic species, is abundant here and we’ll keep our eyes out for African grey parrots.

Our day will take us to an old Coffee Station called Monte Café, reinvigorated by foreign money. We'll stay for lunch before moving on to the quaint town to explore the a fort at the entrance to the harbour. Like going back in time to the colonial era, and the inhabitants had just picked up and left. After, a quick stop at a small shop to buy some local chocolate and gifts we head back to the pier to board the ship.

Day 14 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)

Sit back and listen to the lecture series continue. Scan the horizon through the lens of your binoculars, or join in on a possible wine tasting event

Day 15 Cotonou, Benin (1B,1L,1D)

On the surface Cotonou seems like any other noisy and colorful African city, an impression reinforced as you move through endless labyrinth of dusty streets clogged with informal markets, trading kiosks and roadside industries. The city lacks natural resources, but what it does not appear to lack is entrepreneurial energy. Every conceivable commodity and enterprise is available somewhere not too far from anywhere else.

We arrive at our first destination. Gamvié, described as the Venice of West Africa, is a little less than that, but nonetheless it is an extraordinary community atop the tidal Lake Nueké where historically, refuge was sought against the predation of the slave catching troops of Dahomey. Today it remains an independent water community reliant on small scale trade and fishing, existing around a small, self contained stilted village. We visited the site in a series of small boats, embarking at a bustling but rather odorous waterside market from where we weave our way through busy fishermen and paddling market ladies.

From Gamvié we make our way through the congested countryside to the fascinating town of Ouidah. The sad history of Ouidah is that it once served at as the main entrepot for slave embarkation to the New World, and a great deal of local focus and commemoration has been given over to memorializing this shameful trade. Ouidah is also the center of the local Voodoo culture, with colorful and symbolic statuary representing various aspects of the faith to be found everywhere within and around the town.

Day 16 Lome, Togo (1B,1L,1D)

Following breakfast we all disembark for a day of learning and discovery in and around the city of Lome. Anticipate and action-filled day punctuated with the color and vitality of the Ewe and Akan people, who founded the city in the 18th century.

Our first stop of the day is the International Museum of Guinea. This is a small converted residence that holds treasures that will amaze anyone. Expert in African arts and culture or not we will are privileged to see rare, authentic artifacts from across West Africa that span centuries. Following this, we visit an artisanal market nearby for shopping before returning back to the ship for lunch.

In the afternoon we travel out of town to the Akato Viepe village to meet the chief and experience village life. Upon arrival we are met with the welcoming face and venture into learning about patrilineal communities, their farming practices, and the role of different people in the village. Leave feeling inspired by a day in Togo and return to the ship filled with new knowledge and a burning desire to return.

Day 17 Accra, Ghana (1B,1L,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 18 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 19-20 At Sea (2B,2L,2D)

Day 21-22 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 23 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)

Day 24 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 25 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 26-27 At Sea (2B,2L,2D)

Day 28 Dakhla, Western Sahara (1B,1L,1D)

Dakhla in the country of West Sahara , although 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 29 At Sea (1B,1L,1D)

Day 30 Fuerteventurea, Canary Islands (1B,1L,1D)

A day at sea brings us to Fuereventura Canary Islands. This particular island is part of the newly designated UNESCO bioreserve. It is believed the first settlers came from North Africa soon to be followed by Spainish, Portguese and French! 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 31 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 32 Marrakech (1B)

After breakfast, depart for the airport and flights homeward.

What's Included

29 nts aboard the MS Expedition. Airport transfers (arrival and departure). Hotel accommodation in Cape Town and Marrakech (2 nts). 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, Cape Town, South Africa).

Highlights

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

Dossier Disclaimer

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.

Itinerary Disclaimer

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.

Important Notes

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.

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.


The Expedition is an adventure Expedition ship and does not offer an elevator

Group Leader Description

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.

Group Size Notes

Max 134 aboard the MS Expedition.

Meals Included

All meals included aboard the MS Expedition. Breakfast included at the hotel.

Meals

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.

Transport

MS Expedition, Zodiac, bus.

Solo Travellers

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.

Accommodation

Twin-share hotel (2 nts), aboard the MS Expedition in quad-, triple-, twin-share cabins, or suites (all with en suite bathrooms and porthole or window) (29 nts). Please note that all cabins consist of twin-sized berths and are ocean-facing. Suites have 1 queen bed.

Joining Hotel

The Commodore Hotel
PortsWood Rd, Portwood Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
+ 27 (0) 21 415 1000
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa

Joining Instructions

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.

Emergency Contact

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.

CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative, Capetown, South Africa
Ellie Brinklow:
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

Finishing Point Hotel

Kenzi Farah Hotel
Avenue du President Kennedy
Marrakech, Morocco

General Enquiries:
Tel: +212(0)524 44 74 00
Email: infofarah@kenzi-hotels.com

Website: http://www.kenzi-hotels.com/kenzifarah/default-en.html

Finishing Point Instructions

Check out at the Kenzi Farah Hotel is on the morning of May 7, 2014. We will transfer passengers to the airport to meet their international flights on May 7, as per their flight itineraries.

What to Take

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.




Checklist

EXPEDITION CHECKLIST

ACCESSORIES:

- Binoculars
- Camera and Accessories
- Memory card
- Extra battery
- Something to protect your camera from water
Plug adaptor
- 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
- Books/games/movie


PERSONAL ITEMS:
- Sunglasses
- Sunblock
- Personal toiletries Note: All cabins are equipped with soap and shampoo as well as hair dryers
- 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)

DOCUMENTATION:
- 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

ONBOARD CLOTHING:
- 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)

OUTDOOR CLOTHING

** 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
- Hat
- Shorts
- Short and long sleeve shorts
- Swim suit

Suggested Reading

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.

Laundry

Aboard the M/S Expedition laundry facilities are provided at a nominal charge.

Visas

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 $600 to $800 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 15 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.

XVCMDX - West Africa Cruise - Cape Town to Marrakech
Countries Visited:

South Africa
Namibia
Angola
Congo
Sao Tome and Principe
Benin
Togo
Ghana
Sierra Leone
Guinea Bissau
The Gambia
Senegal
Western Sahara
Canary Islands, Spain
Morocco



Spending Money

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.

Money Exchange

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.

Tipping

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.

Health

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.

Safety and Security

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:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

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.

Medical Form

All passengers on this trip are required to fill out our medical form.

A Couple of Rules

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 CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: 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 CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. 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.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

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)

Associated Planeterra Project

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 info@planeterra.org

Feedback

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 customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

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.

Keeping in Touch on the M/S Expedition

Internet and phone onboard the M/S Expedition

The Expedition receives internet reception in Antarctica, but is sporadic in the Arctic. There is wifi in the public areas on Deck 4 & 5, and in the Deck 4 cabins (Categories 4 and 5). Passengers can bring their own laptop, sign out one of the 2 iPads on board, or use one of the 2 desktops. Your Cell Phone, for calling, will not work in Antarctica.

Internet
Onboard the M/S Expedition we use a BGAN satellite system for internet and phone, which allows passengers to surf the web and make international calls while on their voyage. Please remember that internet speeds are NOT like the speeds you have at home. We operate with a satellite so speeds can be similar to dialup. To log-on, passengers purchase an internet voucher from the Reception Desk. Once you have the internet voucher, web surfers can log-on through our internet café or with their own wireless laptop. A wireless laptop can pick up a signal anywhere in the public areas on Deck 4, Reception, Discovery Lounge, Library, and Deck 5, Polar Bear Bar.
Charges are based on the megabyte downloaded. An amount of 10 megabyte of data would be the equivalent of 5 to 10 web pages. A very graphics intensive web page might be as high as 2-3 megabytes. For example, if a web surfer were to do a Hotmail session of e-mailing, it might generate 3 megabytes in total.

Internet Packages & Prices:

10MB $20.00
30MB $50.00
100MB $130.00

E-mail:
Passengers may take the opportunity to set up an onboard e-mail account. This will be of interest to those who need to stay in touch, but are not interested in surfing the web. Passengers will have their own unique email account including email address, username and password. E-mail accounts may be accessed either through our public computers in the Internet Room, or passenger may access their account through their wireless laptop in the common areas of Deck 4 and 5, in the Polar Bear Bar. $35.00 includes set up and use of the account for the entire trip and unlimited messages. Messages over 200KB in size will be charged at a rate of .03 cents per KB exceeded.

Telephone
On board we have a telephone room on Deck 4, where calls can be made in private to any destination in the world. Telephone cards are available at reception.
Prices will change each year.
Satellite: $22.00 phone cards are available at reception, roughly 25 to 30 minute per phone card.


Fun tip
Tell your friends and family to Tweet at @G_MSExpedition and hash tag #MSExpedition while your onboard. We'll posts these for your to see!