Rivers of West Africa Aboard the M/Y Harmony V (Banjul-Banjul)
Join us on an adventure to West Africa as we explore the waterways of The Gambia and Senegal.
Since its independence in 1965, The Gambia has seen a rapid growth in tourism. Although it is the smallest country on the continent, with only 80 kilometers of coastline, The Gambia is abundant with diverse wildlife, picturesque beaches, quaint villages, and verdant biological reserves. The most appealing aspect of The Gambia, however, is its people. Their welcoming and friendly dispositions have earned The Gambia the moniker of “the Smiling Coast of Africa.”
Senegal, which surrounds The Gambia almost entirely, is on the western-most point of Africa. The bright, bustling capital city of Dakar stands in stark contrast with the antiquated fishing villages littering the Sine-Saloum Delta. Visitors relish the beautiful beaches, discover fascinating aspects of the country’s history, and enjoy the overwhelming hospitality offered by the locals.
Included in package:
· Transfers airport/ship or hotel/ship
· Baggage handling on/off ship
· Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily
· Regular (filter) coffee, tea and drinking water free all day
· 7 nights aboard the M/Y Harmony V
· Excursions as per itinerary
· Bottle of water provided daily
· Park Fees and Government Taxes
· Services of an on board Naturalist
· Services of a Professional English Speaking Guide
· Beverages (except those mentioned above)
· Crew tips
· Passenger personal expenses
· Passenger Visas whenever required
· Wi-Fi (available at charge)
Rivers of West Africa Aboard the M/Y Harmony V (Banjul-Banjul)
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 - Sunday: Banjul/the Gambia
Embarkation this afternoon at 4pm. After a safety drill, we will depart Banul and sail upstream to Tendaba, arriving late this evening. Dinner onboard en-route to Tendaba. Mediterranean Night in Africa. Overnight at dock in Tendaba.
Day 2 – Monday: Tendaba/the Gambia
From the ship we take motor pirogues to reach Tendaba, a small fishing village of mainly Muslim faith with approximately 600 inhabitants. From Tendaba, we will walk approximately 5 km over uneven terrain, through savannah bush to Batelling, a small village at the entrance to Kiang West National Park. The area boasts of over 250 species of birds, many of which are difficult to observe anywhere else. Other indigenous species include the Guinea baboon, Cape bushbuck, warthog, Senegal bushbaby and marsh mongoose. After a refreshing stop in Batelling, we will board an open safari truck which brings us back to Tendaba. On the way we will pass local villages that provide a glimpse of local life in The Gambia. In the afternoon, we will be picked up from the ship by motor pirogues for a trip to the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve. This reserve, lying 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 finfoot and brown-necked parrot. Sightings of Nile crocodiles and African clawless otters are possible, while baboons can be spotted in dry areas. Overnight docked in Tendaba. * Please be aware that we will be on the pirogue for approximately 3 hours and there are no toilet facilities available.
Day 3 - Tuesday: Gambia River – Kuntaur - River Gambia National Park/the Gambia
Early this morning, we leave Tendaba and sail upstream on the Gambia River. Arrive early this afternoon in the bustling Gambian port town of Kuntaur, the last inland stop along the river that is navigable for oceangoing ships. Later in the afternoon, we will board a large motor pirogue for a 3-hour cruise on The Gambia River. First, we head to the southernmost tip of Baboon Island, one of the five islands of The Gambia National Park. There, a local national park ranger will be joining us onboard to provide more information about the park and its fauna & flora. Baboon Island is the home of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project. If we are lucky, we can closely observe the chimps with minimal intrusion. There is also the possibility of seeing hippos, crocodiles, red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and The Gambia's famous birdlife. Upon our return to Kuntaur, we will be met by a local dance group on the pier for a “Kankurang” performance. Believed to have spiritual powers, the “Kankurang” dance dispenses justice and wards off evil spirits. Overnight docked in Kuntaur.
Day 4 - Wednesday: Kuntaur – Jangjanbureh - Kauur/the Gambia
This morning, depart by bus for the ferry station of Janjanbureh. There, we board the local ferry for a short cruise over The Gambia River to Janjanbureh. We continue our excursion with a visit to one of the oldest towns of The Gambia, formerly called Georgetown. During the walk through this laidback town we will see the residence of the governor, the market and the Methodist church with its school. Afterwards, we will take the ferry back and re-board the bus to reach Lamin Koto. Through the generosity of Variety Cruises and of many of its clients, a new school building is being built. Next, we will 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 of this archaeological site, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. In the afternoon, after lunch, we sail downstream to Kauur, a small fishing village on the banks of the Gambia. We will have the opportunity to walk around this small community and observe the daily lives of the Gambians. In the evening, we leave Kauur and sail downstream towards Banjul. Captain's Farewell Dinner.
Day 5 - Thursday: Kunta Kinteh Island - Banjul/the Gambia
This morning we anchor at James Island in the middle of the Gambia River, which was an important slave trading post under British rule in The Gambia. In 1976, James Island became famous due to the author Alex Haley and his bestselling book "Roots," the story of a slave called Kunta Kinteh. The island is now called Kunta Kinteh Island and is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. After disembarking by local tenders, our local guide will take us on a walking tour and tell us more about the history of James Island, followed by some time to explore on our own. After lunch, we leave "Kunta Kinteh" to reach Banjul around 4pm. After formalities, later in the evening, we will sail out of the Gambia estuary into the Atlantic Ocean northwards toward Dakar. Gambian Night with Kora Instrument Concert. Overnight at sea to Dakar.
Day 6 -Friday: Dakar/Senegal
Early morning arrival in Dakar, the center of political, economic, and cultural reunification in Western Africa. Visit the “plateau” district, the railway station, City Hall, Independence Square, and the Presidential Palace. We will also pass several local markets, with stopover on request. At the end of our tour, we will take a ferry to Gorée Island, where lunch will be served at a local tavern. The island features narrow lanes and red ochre houses adorned with bougainvillea plants. Listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Gorée is a reminder of Dakar's darker history; millions of people passed through the island before being shipped to America to become slaves. Visit the slaves' house, St. Charles Church, the historical museum, and walk into the alley for a visit with the workshop's painters. Return to the ship late this afternoon. After dinner, we set sail southward towards the Saloun River Delta. Overnight at sea, cruising southwards along the coast.
Day 7- Saturday: Djiffere/Senegal – Banjul/the Gambia
This morning we reach the Sine – Saloun Delta in Senegal, an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and an Important Birding Area, as designated by Birdlife International. It is a natural habitat for many bird species but also aquatic animals as marine turtles, dolphins, West African manatees and crocodiles. After disembarkation in the primitive fishing village of Djiffer, we will drive to Joal Fadiouth, where we will board small pirogues for a 20-minute journey across the shallow bay. Continue on foot over a wooden bridge to the village of Fadiouth, set on an island of sea shells that are also used in local buildings and crafts. After lunch, return to Djiffer, making a short stop at a giant Baoba tree. Return to the ship via motor pirogues and sail south to Gambia to reach Banjul, the capital of Gambia and gateway to the 700-mile Gambia River. Fishermen Night - Overnight in Banjul.
Day 8 -Sunday: Banjul/the Gambia
Disembarkation after breakfast.
* Special note: In case of bad sea conditions the motor pirogues may not operate.
Note:Itineraries can be changed at the discretion of Variety Cruises and of the Vessel's Captain in case of adverse weather conditions - winds of 6/7 beaufort or more depending on the vessel- on port authorities not allowing a vessel to leave port or in case of other extraordinary conditions. Such itinerary changes do not entitle automatically passengers to any refunds but Variety Cruises guarantees that passengers are disembarked at the advertised port of disembarkation on time for their flights.
Ports of Call
- Banjul, The Gambia
- River Gambia National Park
- Kunta Kinteh Island
- Dakar, Senegal
- Djiffere, Senegal
The Harmony V is a modern elegant yacht with a sleek high-tech look very similar to the private yachts to be found in the famous ports of the world. The 56 meter long/8.4 meter wide Mega-Yacht was launched in June 2009 and complies with Eurosolas safety regulations while its powerful engines, generators and state of the art twin stabilizers will allow for safe and comfortable cruising.
A spacious lounge with classy seating and an American Bar leads into a dining area decorated with warm colors. Both areas offer large windows providing for the most beautiful views of all destinations the ship cruises to. The 200 m2 sundeck offers a shaded outdoor area for all day dining and a bar as well as sun chairs and loungers. The swimming platform on Harmony V stern will allow for easy access to the ship and for a wide range of sea related activities.
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