Join us to trace the Gold Coast of Ghana and follow the African coastline northward, stopping in majestic Morocco and ending in the ornate city of Lisbon, Portugal. We will visit more than half a dozen UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the ancient Medina in Marrakech and castles in Ghana that pre-date the African slave trade. You will be amazed to experience dramatic differences in ecology and climate as we go, from lagoon to desert to lush rainforest, and so much in between. This voyage is a birdwatcher’s dream, with nearly twenty endemic species to spot as we go including the African Pied Hornbill, the Fork-tailed Drongo and the Greater Flamingo. Visit with chimpanzees at the Tacugama Chimpanzee sanctuary within the Western Area Forest Reserve south of Freetown. Stand with your back to the desert facing a stunning lagoon in Dakhla. Encounter fascinating local cultures against the backdrop of some of the world’s most breath-taking desert landscapes, and visit vibrant, active markets at nearly every port, but none as spectacular as in Marrakech! Throughout the voyage, learn about the history, geology, wildlife and botany of this remarkable area from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable onboard Expedition Team.
- Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle –See two castles in Ghana, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, that pre-date the slave trade and have been restored to explain their use and history during slave trade years. Elmina Castle is the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara, while the Cape Coast Castle was the last stop on the slave trade before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
- Kakum National Park, Ghana –Walk in the Kakum National Park rainforest and see butterflies, birds, primates and other endangered mammals. Traverse the canopy walk (one of only three in Africa), a rope bridge that spans a portion of the tropical rainforest. This park, unlike most in Ghana, was established at the initiative of the local people.
- Dakar –Visit the small island Goree (UNESCO World Heritage site) and wander its narrow sandy streets accompanied by traditional music. From the 15th to the 19th century this island was held in succession by Portuguese, Dutch, English and French slave traders. As such, visitors will notice the contrast of the elegant slave trader homes alongside the grim slave quarters.
- Joal-Fadiouth –See man-made islands where shells serve as both decoration and a construction material. Joal and Fadiouth are linked by a bridge; the latter island is made up almost entirely of clam and cockle shells. Witness traditional fishing techniques, dictated by the rise and fall of the tide, in this artisanal fishing port, and possibly the largest of its kind in West Africa.
- Medina of Marrakech –Another UNESCO World Heritage site, visit the ancient Medina, a portion of the old city packed with vendors in their stalls, and the buzzing center of one of Africa’s busiest cities. See the massive, dazzling array of colorful goods and spices that was founded in 1070 AD and served as a major political, economic and cultural center for centuries to come.
Learn the difficult yet important history of the African slave trade.
Experience a unique tea ceremony with members of a nomadic Sahraoui family.
Wildlife Watch List:
Birds of note: Yellow-billed Kite, Little Swift, Common Bulbul, African Pied Hornbill, Fork-tailed Drongo, Village and Yellow-mantled Weaver, Great White Egret, Long-tailed and White-breasted Cormorants, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Western Grey Plantain-eater, Yellow-billed Stork, Reef Heron, Hooded Vulture, Common and Sandwich Terns, Greater Flamingo
Mammals: Chimpanzees, velvet monkeys
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
Not sure what to wear while onboard? Visit our shop and gear up. We've got layers to keep you dry and warm, breezy wear to keep you covered and cool, and accessories to keep everything packed up and ready to go. So, no matter the weather, you'll be better prepared for your expedition.
Our Gear Shop has an expert outfitting staff and features all the essentials:
Make sure you get all your essentials today. We offer packages or individual items, for your convenience, and recommend you place orders at least 30 days before your embarkation date.