We are thrilled to return to Western Africa on a new and improved itinerary that highlights the very best of this dynamic region. Visit an amazing nine countries and discover the intriguing cultural heritage, storied history, and numerous natural wonders of these lesser-visited African nations.
• Discover island endemics on São Tomé & Príncipe, such as the Príncipe kingfisher and the São Tomé green pigeon.
• Walk among the treetops on one of the world’s highest, and longest, suspended rope walkways in Ghana’s Kakum National Park.
• Visit the Bissagos Archipelago, home to rare, saltwater-adapted hippos, African manatees, crocodiles, and five species of marine turtles and learn about the unique matriarchal traditions of the Bijagos people.
• Search for more than 290 species of birds in the Abuko Nature Reserve—including African paradise flycatchers, palm nut vultures, hammerkops, pygmy kingfishers, violet turacos, little greenbuls, and Abyssinian rollers.
• Tour Cape Coast Castle, Ghana; Kunta Kinteh Island, The Gambia; and Gorée Island, Senegal—all three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Board your independent flight to Gabon. Arrive in Libreville in the late evening and transfer to the Radisson Blu Okoumé Palace Hotel for overnight.
After breakfast, depart on a city tour, visiting the local market, the lovely seafront boulevard, and stylish Louis Quarter known for its fashionable clubs, restaurants, and bars. Enjoy lunch at a lovely beachside restaurant, before embarking the Caledonian Sky in the early afternoon.
The ship will spend the day anchored off idyllic Bom Bom Resort on Príncipe’s northern tip. Birders and hikers set off for the lush interior to search for several species of endemic birds, including the Príncipe kingfisher, Príncipe sunbird, and endangered Príncipe speirops. The rest of the group will enjoy a tour of photogenic Santo Antonio, home to 1,500 welcoming residents, lovely Portuguese architecture, and colorful produce markets. This afternoon Zodiacs take you to Banana Beach for a swim in the warm waters with the option to snorkel among the ancient volcanic rocks.
Set out by Zodiac for the town pier at São Tomé. Drive into the interior for a short walk through picturesque forest to the stunning Sao Nicolau Waterfall. From here continue to the Monte Café Coffee Plantation for a guided tour and tasting of what some consider the world’s best coffee. You may then choose to enjoy lunch at the Bombaim plantation, view and photograph another beautiful waterfall, and continue to tiny, picturesque Trinidade Village. Or, opt for lunch in São Tomé and a tour of the Cathedral, the National Museum, the local artisan’s gallery, and enjoy a folkloric dance performance.
Enjoy two educational days at sea as lecturers recap your experiences in Gabon and São Tomé & Príncipe.
This morning choose a tour of the Cape Coast Castle, a World Heritage Site, built by the Swedes in 1653 and subsequently conquered by the Danes, the Dutch, the local Fanti tribe, and finally the British, who established the seat of the British administration of the Gold Coast here until 1877. Or, elect to travel into the Kakum National Park for a rainforest canopy walk that includes one of the longest and highest suspended rope bridges in the world. Both groups enjoy lunch at a nearby beach resort before setting off to visit the 15th-century Portuguese Elmina Fort—Africa’s oldest permanent building.
Cosmopolitan Abidjan is the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire and a city tour takes you through the business district of Le Plateau, filled with gleaming sky-scrapers, chic boutiques, and outdoor cafes. Observe interesting colonial architecture and colorful markets as you continue on to Abodo, Africa’s largest outdoor laundry where hundreds of Fanicos (washers) crowd together in a stream to wash their clients’ clothes.
Spend your day at sea attending lectures on western Africa’s momentous history, diverse cultures, and natural wonders.
Liberia’s capital and most populous city boasts beautiful beaches, a thriving culinary scene, and a fascinating history. Visit the National Museum which traces Liberia’s tumultuous history, and browse the bustling Waterside Market, where you can find colorful textiles, leather goods, and pottery.
Today arrive in Aberdeen, a suburb of Freetown, with beautiful white-sand beaches lined with lively shops and restaurants. Permission pending, visit the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, set in a spectacular rainforest habitat.
Just off the coast of Guinea Bissau, the Bissagos Archipelago is protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Today, join naturalists to explore Joao Viera and Poilao Marine National Park, an important nesting site for green, hawksbill, and olive ridley turtles, as well as several species of terns.
The next day, visit Parque Nacional do Grupo de Ilhas de Orango. Spend the day exploring this unique habitat that is home to rare, saltwater-adapted hippos, crocodiles, five species of marine turtles, and the African manatee. In the afternoon, meet with the lovely Bijagos people to learn about their traditional matriarchal system.
Birders set out this morning for the Abuko Nature Reserve where more than 290 bird species can be seen—including African paradise flycatchers, violet turacos, little greenbuls, and Abyssinian rollers. A second group departs for a tour of the Makasutu Culture Forest showcasing the five ecosystems protected here. Traditional Joal tribal dancing, a pirogue ride, and palm wine tasting are highlights. During lunch, sail upriver to Albreda Village and Kunta Kinteh Island, a World Heritage Site, where The Gambia’s slave history began.
Today, visit the infamous slave-trading center, Gorée Island, including the moving 18th-century House of Slaves, the Women’s Museum, and the fortified Le Castel. An afternoon tour of Dakar includes the Great Mosque, French colonial buildings, the President’s Palace, and the impressive new African Renaissance Monument. Check in to the Radisson Blu Dakar Hotel for dinner and a chance to relax before your independent late evening flight. Arrive in the USA the next day.
Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
09 February, 2021 to 23 February, 2021
Ocean-view staterooms on the Castle Deck are 244 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and three portholes.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Caledonian Deck are 232 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and one window.
Category 1 Special Single Rate (Limited)
Ocean-view staterooms on the Castle Deck are 244 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and three portholes. There are limited singles available at this special single rate; additional singles may be available—contact an Expedition Advisor directly for further details.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Promenade Deck are 217 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and one window plus one porthole.
Category 2 Special Single Rate (Limited)
Ocean-view staterooms on the Caledonian Deck are 232 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and one window. There are limited singles available at this special single rate; additional singles may be available—contact an Expedition Advisor directly for further details.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Promenade Deck are 217 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a sliding mirrored glass door leading directly to the promenade.
Category 4 Special Single Rate (Limited)
Ocean-view staterooms on the Promenade Deck are 217 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a sliding mirrored glass door leading directly to the promenade. There are limited singles available at this special single rate; additional singles may be available—contact an Expedition Advisor directly for further details.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Promenade Deck are 243 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a sliding mirrored glass door leading directly to the promenade.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Bridge Deck are 260 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a sliding glass door leading to a private balcony.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 114 (in 57 suites)
Built: 1991 / refurbished 2012
The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows.
If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere.
Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub.
Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort.
The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request.
With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board.
For your comfort, safety and security
The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to outside decks only.
Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.
Voyage on board in selected cabin category
All meals while on board and on shore as per the itinerary
Beer and Wine with lunch and dinner
Excursions and activities
Entrance fees where applicable
Port charges and taxes
Gift certificate for recommended expedition gear
Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance
Comprehensive per-departure material
International and domestic flights including charter flights listed in itineraries
Passport and visa costs where applicable
On board purchases including alcholic beverages not outlined in inclusions
Any items of a personal nature
Airfare from your home city/Libreville and Dakar/home city;