Become one of the few who has seen chimpanzees in their natural habitat at the Chimp Rehabilitation Center in Kuntaur. Explore Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve where a combination of woodlands, mangroves and salt-marsh house hyenas, crocodiles, sand boa snakes and more. Spend time in a Gambian family compound, where relatives by blood and marriage live communally. Visit Kunteh Kinteh, the historical setting of the first potion of Roots, and tour the ruins of a European fort in this once central trading post and origin of the American slave trade
Discover the natural delights of West Africa by boat. Cruise the Gambia river, where both the water and trees along the bank are teeming with wildlife and make a humbling stop at Kunteh Kinteh-where the American slave trade began. Enjoy the rare chance to see chimpanzees swing from branches in Kuntaur and ponder the purpose of the ancient Wassu stone circle.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 6 Dinner Included: 7
If you arrive with time to spare there is much to see in Senegal’s capital. You can drop your luggage off at port and walk the streets, where gleaming SUVs and rusted motorbikes share the road. If you’re feeling overwhelmed you can head for the cool comfort of the Museum of African Arts, which, as the name suggests, is host to a variety of work both old and new from around the continent. Board the Harmony G in the late afternoon, enjoy a welcome dinner and sail overnight to your next destination.
Awaken at a village port and travel to Fadiouth Island, where everything, from the ground itself to the cemetery, are made from millions of accumulated clam shells. The crunching underfoot makes a nice change of pace from the car horns of Dakar. Later, glide down the Saloum Delta wetlands in a small local boat and let the squawks guide you to the mangrove thick “bird island.” Take a dip then spend the night anchored in Djiffere.
Set sail for Banjul early and cross into Gambia, where the first stop in Kunteh Kinteh, a place with indelible links to the early days of the American slave trade. Tour the ruins of buildings built under European occupation, and ponder the significant and painful history that is central to understanding the importance of the Gambia’s role as an international passageway. Why not spend the afternoon with a drink in hand, watching the marshland roll by from the deck, and then spend the night docked on the riverside.
Take a motorised pirogue (small wooden boat) from the ship to Tendaba, then walk on to the bird watchers paradise of Kiang West National Park, where 250 species reside. A sturdy safari truck will drive you back to the ship for lunch. Next, the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, where three different ecosystems rub shoulders and are home to hippopotamuses, clawless otters and crocodiles. Dock at Tendaba.
Sail to relaxed Kuntaur, where a local boat awaits to ferry you to a chimpanzee colony on a nearby island. More than 100 of the creatures reside here as part of the Chimp Rehabilitation Project, where you can spy them swinging and socialising in the tangled mass of trees. Stop at the historically significant Wassu stone circles, which were erected by at least AD1305. Their purpose remains unknown, so feel free to speculate and discuss with your guide. Spend the evening beneath the stars on the bank of the river, where you can watch a projected film with the locals.
Begin your return journey to Bangul, with a stop along the way at a Gambian family compound. Chat with locals who have a communal way of life that most likely varies greatly from your own. Later, you’ll have time to contemplate the benefits and drawbacks of intergenerational family living when you return to the boat. Perhaps relax with a beer and wedge of lime while you observe the rippling, earthy water and green banks of the river.
Arrive early in Banjul and travel by 4WD to a nearby village to watch the locals make cloudy white Sengga (palm tree wine). While it has the appearance of milk it can be quite potent, so remember to sip it slowly if you choose to sample some. This sweet and yeasty brew is the perfect accompaniment to the barbecue you’ll enjoy on the beach before returning to Banjul and setting sail on an overnight journey to Dakar.
Savour a farewell breakfast onboard and then return to the chaos of Dakar, where you can choose to stay on or continue your journey elsewhere.