Explorethe Saloum Delta, a UNESCO listed Biosphere reserve and important birding area where you can spot flamingos, Eurasian spoonbills and the curlew sandpiper. . Visit Kunta Kinteh, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and island named after author Alex Haley’s bestselling book “Roots”.. Hop aboard a motorised pirogue vessel and explore Baboon Island, with the chance to observe chimpanzees frolicking by the water. . Cruise down the scenic Gambia River estuary and keep an eye out for the dolphins who inhabit this waterway.
Set sail from Banjul on an immersive cruise from Senegal down to The Gambia. On the way encounter the crocodiles, manatees and turtles of the Saloum Delta, learn how a fiction novel changed the history of St James Island, and visit the villages of Tendaba and meet its inhabitants. Cruising through open seas and up wide rivers, this is the perfect opportunity to discover the rich history, wildlife and aquatic landscapes of West Africa – all in style and comfort aboard the Harmony G cruise ship.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 6 Dinner Included: 7
Board in Banjul, Gambia
Embarkation will take place this evening. After taking time to unpack and settle in, enjoy a welcome drink and meet your fellow passengers before dinner on board. Spend overnight in Banjul port.
The morning in Banjul will give you the opportunity to take part in a variety of half day excursions, such as a visit to Bakau, with its crocodile "katchikaly", the Botanical Garden and a short tour of Banjul. After lunch, depart Banjul and sail upstream. Stop at St. James Island in the middle of the Gambia River. The first settlers on the island arrived in 1651 and under the British rule it became an important slave trading post in Gambia. In 1976 James Island became famous thanks to author Alex Haley's bestselling book "Roots" and the story of a slave, called Kunta Kinteh. The island was recently renamed Kunta Kinteh Island and is now a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. After disembarking your local guide will tell you more about the history of James Island and afterwards you will have some time to explore this island by yourself. Later in the afternoon, leave James Island and sail upstream to reach Tendaba. Stay overnight at dock in Tendaba.
From the ship we take motorised pirogues (a type of small dinghy) to reach Tendaba, which is located on the South Bank in the Lower River Division. This is the starting point of our optional morning excursion. It is a small fishing village of mainly Muslim faith with approximately 600 inhabitants. From here, walk through to Batelling, a small village at the entrance to Kiang West National Park. The area boasts over 250 species of birds; many of which are difficult to observe anywhere else. Other residents include Guinea baboons, bushbuck, warthogs, Senegal bushbaby and marsh mongoose. After a refreshing stop in Batelling, board an open safari truck back to Tendaba. In the afternoon there is a second optional excursion to the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve. This reserve, which sits across from Kiang West National Park, features six major bolongs (creeks) that provide great birding and boating opportunities. Numerous rare and migratory birds also reside here including the Pel’s fishing owl, African fin foot and brown-necked parrot. Return to the boat and stay overnight docked in Tendaba.
Depart Tendaba in the early morning and sail upstream on the Gambia River to reach Kuntaur. We arrive early afternoon in the bustling Gambian port town, the last inland stop along the river that is navigable for ocean-going ships. Later in the afternoon board a large motorised pirogue for a 3 hour optional excursion on The Gambia River. First we head to the southernmost tip of Baboon Island, one of the five islands of the Gambia National Park. A local national park ranger will join us onboard to talk about the park and its fauna and flora. Afterwards, turn downstream and motor slowly back to Kuntaur, following closely along the shores of Baboon Island. This island is home of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project. If we are lucky, we can closely observe the chimps from the water with minimal intrusion. There is also the possibility of seeing hippos, crocodiles, Red Colobus, Green Vervet monkeys and Gambia’s famous birdlife. Return to Kuntaur and meet the “Kankurang” and a local dance group on the pier. Believed to have spiritual powers, the “Kankurang” dispenses justice and wards off evil spirits. Stay overnight docked in Kuntaur.
Kuntaur and Kaur
This morning there is an optional excursion to Janjanbureh. Take a bus to the ferry station then board a ferry for a short cruise over the Gambia River to Janjanbureh. Continue the excursion with a visit to one of the oldest towns of Gambia, formerly called Georgetown. Talk a walk through this laidback town and see the governor's residence, the market and the Methodist church with its school. Afterwards take the ferry and bus back to Lamin Koto. Later in the morning stop at the mysterious stone circles in Wassu, a megalithic site believed to be a burial ground thousands of years ago. Visit the little museum at this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. After lunch sail downstream to Kaur, a small fishing village on the banks of the Gambia River. You will have the opportunity to walk around this small community and see how Gambians live today. Tonight there is a Captain's Dinner.
Leave Kaur early in the morning and sail further downstream towards Banjul, hopefully spotting dolphins and other animals on the way. Arrive in Banjul around 4pm. After formalities, sail out of the Gambia estuary into the Atlantic Ocean and head northwards towards Dakar. Tonight is Gambian Night with you'll be treated to a Kora instrument concert. Stay overnight at sea off Dakar.
Arrive this morning in Dakar, where guests who boarded in Dakar will disembark. After breakfast there is an optional excursion to Goree Island and Dakar city. On this exploration of Dakar and its surroundings, you will discover the traces of the slave trade and see how the city has transformed. Lunch today will be off the ship.
Return to the ship in the late afternoon to meet the passengers who have boarded in Dakar. After dinner, set sail southward towards the Saloun River Delta. Overnight at sea, cruising southwards along the coast.
Disembark in Banjul
This morning we reach the Sine – Saloun Delta in Senegal, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and an important birding area, as designated by Birdlife International. This area is a natural habitat for many bird species as well as marine turtles, dolphins, West African manatees and crocodiles. Our optional excursion starts at the fishing village of Djiffere and continues on to the village of Joal Fadiouth, set on an island of clam shells that are also used in local buildings and crafts. In the afternoon, leave Senegal and the Saloun Delta and sail south to Gambia to reach Banjul, the capital of Gambia and gateway to the 700-mile Gambia River. Arrival in Banjul. Disembarkation on arrival.