West Africa Cruise - Accra to Marrakech
From the M/S 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. The second leg of the 32-day West Africa Cruise, this 17-day trip focuses prominently on the roots of the West African slave trade with numerous chances for cultural and natural interaction in port cities and nature preserves along the coast. On-board activities range from open-air painting lessons on the deck to sommelier-led wine-tastings featuring top South African vintages.
Hands-on: Fruit Distillery Visit, Banjul. – 2 night hotel accommodation (Accra and Marrakech)
- 14 night’s aboard the Expedition
- Airport transfers (arrival and departure)
- Shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary
- Zodiac excursions with our expert expedition team
- Lecture and educational programs with expedition team
Learn the history of voodoo and the slave trade, visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites, observe wildlife up close, explore local markets and colonial architecture in historic ports, visit remote archipelagos via Zodiac. Interact with our expert expedition team while enjoying the comfort and cuisine of the G 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.
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.
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 132 passengers
16 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 15 dinners
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.
M/S 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), M/S Expedition quad, triple, twin-share cabins, or suites (all with en suite bathrooms and porthole or window) (14 nights). Please note that all cabins consist of twin-sized berths and are ocean-facing. Suites have one queen size bed.
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 from 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. You will be provided a complimentary water bottle to fill up as needed. 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.
-Passport (with photocopies)
-Travel insurance (with photocopies)
-Airline tickets (with photocopies)
-Cash, credit and debit cards
-G Adventures vouchers and trip details
-Any entry visas or vaccination certificates if required
-Warm winter coat
-Thermal base layer
-Fleece jacket or warm layer
-Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
-Windproof rain gear
-Rain jacket or poncho
-2 pairs Warm gloves
-Comfortable walking shoes
-Motion sickness tablets
BOOTS FOR ZODIAC LANDINGS:
- Complementary used waterproof boots will be supplied for the following sized:
- Men’s USA size 8-14
- Women’s USA size 3-9
Guest must bring their own if they are:
- Men’s USA size 7 or smaller
- Men’s USA size 15 or larger
- Women’s USA size 2 or smaller
- Women’s USA size 10 of larger
Rubber, waterproof boots that are just below your knees (12-16” high or 30-41cm) with a strong, ridged non-skid sole are essential for wet landings via Zodiac. You usually have to step from the Zodiac into water, which can be up to 1 ft or 30 cm high on most landings. Do not bring heavy, cumbersome boots that make it difficult to walk. Do not bring boots with metal cleats as they cannot be used for the landings. Try out your boots before your voyage.
-Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
-Waterproof backpack cover
-Reusable water bottle
-Walking poles (Optional)
Aboard the M/S Expedition laundry facilities are provided at a nominal charge.
Visas and Entry Requirements
Important Information Regarding Visas
As a service to our passengers, the G 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 $200 to $250 USD per passenger. Visa costs will be charged to each passengers shipboard account and settled at the end of the cruise. 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.
XVAMDX – West Africa Cruise – Accra to Marrakech
Passengers are required to obtain their own entry visas to Ghana prior to their embarkation onto the M/S Expedition
Canary Islands, Spain
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.
No optional activities
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:
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.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/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 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. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. 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
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
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.
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Minimum age of 10 years for this trip.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
10:1 = Guest/Expedition staff ratio.
PRODUCT_LINE: XVAMDX, ID: 22562
Day 1 Accra
Welcome to Accra! Arrive at any time and check into the hotel. Arrival transfer is included.
Day 2 Accra (1B, 1D)
Stop first at a casket-maker’s shop where caskets are carved to depict the beliefs, hobbies and life stories of the deceased. Later, 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 an abundance of wildlife. After the reserve, witness local bead-making and give it a try.
Return to the port at Tema, where you will embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
Casket Maker Shop Visit
Local Village Visit
Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum Visit
Shai Game Reserve Visit
Day 3 Accra/Takoradi (1B, 1L, 1D)
From the dock at the Ghanaian town of Takoradi, 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.
A visit to the West African Historical Museum is included in the visit to Cape Coast Castle.
Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle Visit
Days 4-5 Takoradi/Abidjan
A full day exploring Abidjan and Grand-Bassam, the colonial capital of the Ivory Coast. Enjoy stops at the Abidjan Plateau, French colonial district and costume museum. Lunch at Assoyam Beach.
City Tour of Abidjan and Grand-Bassam
Day 5 Abidjan/Freetown (1B, 1L, 1D)
The Expedition has ample public space in the lounge and library, join new friends in the ship’s popular pub. Alternatively, spend time relaxing on the ship’s deck or scanning the horizon with binoculars or a camera in search of seabirds and marine life. As always, high-end dining experiences will be enjoyed in the ship’s dining room.
Days 7-8 Freetown
Explore the city and the Tacagumu Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
Stop first at 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.
Freetown City Tour
Sierra Leone National Museum Visit
Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary Visit
Day 8 Freetown/Banjul (1B, 1L, 1D)
Spend the day at sea.
Expedition Lectures and Educational Programs
Day 9 Banjul/Dakar (1B, 1L, 1D)
The Gambia is known for its abundant birdlife: over 500 species! Visit the Abuko Nature Reserve for a walk with our guides. Option to visit the museum of a local artist.
Visit the Serrekunda market, one of Africa’s busiest, and a fruit distillery to learn about local liqueurs.
Abuko Nature Reserve Visit
Visit the Museum of a local artist
Serrekunda Market Visit
Fruit Distillery Visit
Day 10 Dakar (1B, 1L, 1D)
Take the option to tour Bandia Park and explore the Senegal countryside. Or, visit the infamous slave-trading post of Gorée Island and learn about the history of the region and its importance to the slave trade.
Lunch will be on land, after which there will be time to explore Dakar’s incredible markets, Great Mosque and colonial architecture before returning to the ship.
Bandia Reserve Visit
Gorée Island Visit
IFAN Historical Museum visit
Days 11-12 Dakar/Dakhla
Two days at sea.
Expedition Lectures and Educational Programs
Day 13 Dakhla (1B, 1L, 1D)
Tranquil Dakhla is where the Sahara meets the sea. Venture into the desert across the beautiful landscape to the White Dune, look for flamingoes and enjoy a gala local lunch.
Day 14 Dakhla/Fuerteventura Island (1B, 1L, 1D)
Day spent at sea.
Expedition Lectures and Educational Programs
Day 15 Fuerteventura Island/Agadir (1B, 1L, 1D)
Fuereventura is a mecca for those escaping the winter cold up to the north. The sea adjusts the temperature making the hot Sahara winds blow away from the island. It is also an island housing endemic insects and many bird species.
Fuerteventura Island Excursion
Day 16 Agadir/Marrakech (1B, 1L, 1D)
Visit the extraordinary Djemaa el Fna square—a human carnival filled with magicians, snake charmers, acrobats, water sellers and food stalls.
Marrakech Medina Guided Walk
Djemaa el Fna Market Square Visit
Day 17 Marrakech (1B)
After breakfast, depart for the airport and flights homeward. Departure transfer is included.