X

Traditions of the Canaries and Africa

Resort:Traditions of the Canaries and Africa
Operator: Saga
Destination: Finland, Norway, Sweden
Price From: £4139.00

Banish those winter blues

…and set a course for the winter sun! This all-inclusive cruise explores the vibrant culture and fascinating heritage of the Canaries, West Africa and Portugal. From wine tasting in Madeira, La Palma and Lanzarote, to traditional dance performances in Gambia and art demonstrations in Senegal, there are plenty of memorable sights and sounds to experience. You’ll also have the chance to explore the far-flung Cape Verde island of São Vicente, the gorgeous Algarve and enchanting Lisbon.

Saga price includes…

  • All meals on board, including 24-hour room service
  • Selected drinks#
  • A choice of wines at lunch and dinner
  • All on-board gratuities
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • Entertainment and activities
  • Welcome cocktail party and Captain’s dinner
  • All port taxes and visas
  • UK mainland travel service to Southampton and from Portsmouth

Itinerary

Southampton

Embark Saga Pearl II.

Depart 1600.

Lying near the head of Southampton Water, a peninsula between the estuaries of the Rivers Test and Itchen, Southampton is Britain’s largest cruise port. It has been one of England’s major ports since the Middle Ages, when it exported wool and hides from the hinterland and imported wine from Bordeaux. The city suffered heavy damage during World War Two and as a result the centre has been extensively rebuilt, but there are still some interesting medieval buildings including the Bargate, one of the finest city gatehouses in England.

FactFile

Population

253,651 (estimate)

Language

English

Currency

British Pounds Sterling

Time Difference

N/A

Climate

Southampton experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers. Its sheltered location makes it one of the UK’s sunniest cities.

Ship berths at

Southampton Cruise Terminal

Distance from Centre

300 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

Motor vehicles can pick up and drop off passengers immediately outside the Terminal Building.

Useful Information

Shopping

The city’s main shopping mall is the West Quay Shopping Centre, but there are many other shopping streets in the town centre.

Shopping Opening Hours

The West Quay Shopping Centre is open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.

Post Office

The main Post Office is at 32-34 Above Bar Street.

Tourist Office

There are Tourist Information Points at the Novotel Hotel on 1 West Quay Road, and also at the SeaCity Museum.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber’s number.

Emergency Services

Dial 999.

Banks

All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, with 24-hour ATMs.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Funchal

Arrive 0900. Depart 1700.

Formed by a volcanic eruption, Madeira lies in the Gulf Stream, about 500 miles due west of Casablanca. Discovered by Portuguese explorer João Gonçalves Zarco in 1419, this beautiful island became part of Portugal’s vast empire and was named for the dense forest which cloaked it – ‘Madeira’ means ‘wood’ in Portuguese. Sugar plantations first brought wealth here, and when King Charles II of England granted an exclusive franchise to sell wine to England and its colonies, many British emigrants were drawn to the capital, Funchal. Today’s travellers come to Madeira for the varied and luxuriant scenery, from mountain slopes covered with vines to picturesque villages and a profusion of wild flowers. The natural beauty of the island has earned it many pseudonyms such as ‘The Floating Garden of the Atlantic’, ‘The Island of Eternal Springtime’ and ‘God’s Botanical Gardens’ and our selection of excursions aim to show you why.

FactFile

Population

105,000 (approximate)

Language

Portuguese

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Mild winters and warm summers

Ship berths at

Molhe da Pontinha

Distance from Centre

Approximately two miles

Distance from gangway to coach

Approximately 250 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

The main shopping area is located in the city centre around the Sé (Cathedral).

Shopping Opening Hours

Open between 0900-1300 and 1500-1900 Monday to Friday, 1000-1300 on Saturdays.

Post Office

The Post Office is located on Avenida Zarco and is open from 0830-2000 Monday to Friday and 0830-1330 on Saturdays.

Tourist Office

The Tourist Office is located on Avenida Arriaga and is open between 0900-2000 Monday to Friday, and 0900-1800 at weekends and on public holidays.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

Banks are open 0830-1500 on weekdays, and 24-hour ATMs are located around the city centre.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Botanical Gardens and Monte

Enjoy a unique start to your tour by embarking on a 15-minute cable car ride to Monte, a charming hilltop town where you will be greeted by the impressive sight of its church, Our Lady of Monte. Set in a park and constructed in the 18th century on the remains of a 15th-century chapel, it is said to have been built by the first Madeirans born on the island, and every Assumption Day thousands of islanders make a pilgrimage to the church. You can enter the church if it is open. Perhaps take an optional toboggan ride to Livramento, traversing the streets in a wicker toboggan steered by straw-hatted ‘drivers’ (this is at an additional cost). Then visit the Botanical Gardens, home to a profusion of plants and flowers from all over the world which thrive in the island’s temperate climate. See the herbarium, terraces, greenhouses, knot gardens, topiary and cacti and enjoy the fine views. Finally, there will be a visit to a wine lodge for a tasting of the island’s famous wines.

This excursion requires walking approximately two miles, often up steep slopes and over cobbles. There are also around 85 steps in total. You will be driven across many narrow, winding roads with occasional steep drops – vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. Floral displays in the gardens will vary from season to season. The additional cost of the optional toboggan ride – approximately …25 if you would like the toboggan to yourself, or …30 for two people sharing – will be added to your on-board account.

Cabo Girão

Discover the stunning coastal scenery of Madeira from the towering Cabo Girão sea cliff on this scenic excursion. After leaving the port area, head west and begin your journey following the coast roads, passing the fishing town of Câmara de Lobos, also known as ‘Sea Wolves’ Lair’. You then ascend into the mountains and pass row upon row of pretty vineyards, followed by scented forests of eucalyptus and pine en route to Cabo Girão. This cliff dominates the coast and towers 1,900 feet above the ocean, making it one of the tallest in Europe. From the top you can enjoy truly spectacular views along the unspoilt coastline, out across the Atlantic and down to the vineyards which run almost to the sea’s edge. After taking in the views, return to Funchal, passing Pico dos Barcelos along the way, with its views of the capital. Stop at the Old Blandy Wine Lodge for an included tasting of Madeira wine, famous the world over for centuries, before making your way back to the ship.

There is approximately 100 yards of unavoidable walking on this tour, with around 35 steps in total. There are steps to all the viewpoints: only the wine lodge is accessible to wheelchairs. You will be driven across many narrow, winding roads with occasional steep drops – vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration.

Four-Wheel Drive Tour

This fun and exciting four-wheel drive tour takes you both on and off road through some of Madeira’s hidden valleys and mountain roads, and will show you some of the island’s most inspiring sights. Discover beautiful scenery and see the many different types of wild flowers which have earned Madeira its name ‘the floating garden’. Your guide will point out the unique and rare native flora and fauna along the way, as well as the island’s varied wildlife, and there will be a short break for refreshments amid the spectacular surroundings.

While this excursion requires minimal walking, you will be required to cross some rough, uneven ground and you must be agile enough to climb into the vehicle unaided. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. The four-wheel drive ride is unsuitable for people with neck, back, hip or knee problems owing to the very bumpy terrain, and these vehicles have no handrails or space to store wheelchairs. The standard of vehicle may vary by make and model, some having steep access steps and no seat belts. Prior to our port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will request a meeting of all participants booked on this tour.

Levada Walk

Following a ‘levada’ trail is one of the most enjoyable ways of seeing Madeira. These irrigation channels were created in the 19th century by the Portuguese settlers, who painstakingly carved them out of the rock by hand. Designed to carry fresh water from the north to the drier southern regions of the island, they helped to create many of the lush landscapes that can be seen today. This guided walk will follow the course of ‘levadas’ for over three miles, allowing you to admire the verdant plants, mountain views and green farmland that cover Madeira. You will first be driven to Vale Paraiso, where you set off for your two-hour walk. The first half will be a gentle stroll over fairly level ground, rising to the Camacha area with its great views. Then take a break for refreshments of either coffee or a soft drink, before resuming your trek – the second stretch will take you all the way to Rochão, where you rejoin the coach for your return journey to the port.

This tour requires walking up to 3£½ miles, over uneven terrain with many steps. This tour may be cancelled in the event of bad weather, or if the levadas are undergoing maintenance.

Madeira Island Delight

Leaving the quayside, pass through the centre of Funchal before climbing steeply out of town along a winding road that offers spectacular views over the harbour. You pass through the village of Monte, 1,677 feet above sea level, and then continue upwards through eucalyptus and mimosa trees to Terreiro da Luta, which has an elevation of 2,670 feet. As you climb even higher, the views will open out considerably as you cross Poiso Pass and reach the end of the road at the summit of Pico do Aveiro, 5,937 feet above sea level. From this vantage point there are magnificent vistas on a clear day. Leaving the peak behind, you head inland to Ribeiro Frio, where a short stop will be made to view the lovingly maintained grounds of the trout hatchery. Descending through Faial to the village of Santana, famous for its traditional thatched houses, you stop here to visit a vineyard and enjoy a wine-tasting at the Quinta do Furão, where lunch will be served. After lunch you drive to Portela Pass, with its magnificent panoramic views over the mountains and down to the sea. Your coach continues down through the fertile Machico Valley, where crops are planted on terraces along the steep mountainside. Once a small fishing village, Machico is now a holiday resort. It is said that the first two settlers landed here: Ana D’Arafet and Robert Machim, after whom the town is named. From Machico you drive back to the pier at Funchal.

This tour involves walking approximately half-a-mile, and ground at photo-stops may be uneven or slippery. Comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended. The visibility from scenic outlooks will depend on the weather. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

RIB Adventure

This tour aims to show you whales and dolphins in the sea around Madeira, and is accompanied by a marine biologist and skipper. Before leaving, there will be a short introduction, and then your adventure starts! There will be lookouts on land who will guide your boat towards the marine mammals. The RIBs are fully equipped for observing wild dolphins and whales. On most trips you will have the opportunity to see Short-finned Pilot Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, Atlantic spotted Dolphins and Common Dolphins that will amaze you with their acrobatic moves as they swim alongside the boats. If you are lucky, you may see a Risso’s Dolphin, a Beaked Whale or an Orca, all of which are occasional visitors to Madeira.

Warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy non-slip shoes are required. You may get wet from sea spray. You must be able to climb in and out of the RIB boat unaided. Access to the boat is along a wooden boardwalk that may be wet and slippery, and you will need to walk about 300 yards to and from the pier. The sea can be rough, making the ride very bumpy, so we do not recommend this trip for those with back problems. Each RIB boat has a capacity for 12 passengers. In the event of poor weather, trips may be postponed or cancelled at short notice. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. Prior to our port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will request a meeting of all participants booked on this tour.

Scenic Madeira

Madeira is a beautiful island famous for its floral splendour. This excursion takes you on a relaxing drive through some of its most picturesque areas. Your tour begins with a scenic drive via Poiso Pass to Pico do Arieiro, the third-highest peak in Madeira, for a glimpse of the region’s natural scenery and fabulous views. Continue to Santa da Serra, a pretty village that stands at an altitude of 2,200 feet and is known for its pine, eucalyptus and wild flowers. Pause briefly here for refreshments at the Estalagem Santo da Serra, before continuing to the viewpoint of Camões Pequeno, overlooking the former fishing village of Machico and its harbour. After stopping here for photographs, your tour continues to Funchal, where you visit Blandy’s Wine Lodge for a taste of some of Madeira’s most famous export. During the Age of the Discoveries it became usual for ships sailing to the New World to pick up casks of wine from Madeira, and it was found that fortifying the wine by adding distilled alcohol would preserve it for the long sea voyage. Madeira’s fortified wines soon gained a reputation that survives to this day.

This excursion involves walking approximately 300 yards, partly over cobblestones, with around 40 steps in total. You can avoid some of the steps by remaining on the coach during photo-stops. There are many narrow, winding roads in Madeira with occasional steep drops: vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. A warm jacket is recommended as it will be much cooler at the top of Pico do Arieiro. Unexpected weather conditions could impact on the views seen, and regrettably no alternative routes are possible.

Tea for Two at Reid’s by Tukxi

Join one of the oldest Madeiran traditions – tea at Reid’s overlooking the Bay of Funchal. Opened in 1891, the hotel has always had a special place in the history of Madeira. Located on the outskirts of Funchal, perched on a clifftop headland above the bay, Reid’s is set in ten acres of lush semi-tropical gardens, and famous guests over the years have included Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd-George, Roger Moore, Gregory Peck and George Bernard Shaw. You will be picked up at the port in a ‘Tukxi’ – a delightful vehicle adapted from an Italian Piaggio Ape – and driven to Reid’s Hotel, where you have time to relax and take in the unique atmosphere before enjoying tea, scones,sandwiches and cakes on the terrace or in the cocktail bar. Savour the elegance and opulence of days gone by before returning to the port on board your ‘dolce vita’ style Tukxi.

This tour involves minimal walking, but you must be able to get in and out of the Tukxi unaided. Owing to the type of vehicle used, we do not recommend this tour for those with back or neck problems. In keeping with the elegant atmosphere of the hotel, no jeans, T-shirts, shorts, sports shoes or sandals should be worn. Admission to the hotel gardens is not included. The venue for the tea – terrace or cocktail bar – will be decided on the day by the hotel management.Please be aware that this tour requires a minimum and maximum of two passengers per Tukxi to operate.

Santa Cruz, La Palma

Arrive 1030. Depart 2000.

Also known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the beautiful island), La Palma is typified by lush forests of pine, laurel and fern which contrast with the rugged splendour of the gigantic Taburiente crater. The island is dotted with attractive villages, which are a delight to discover, and the capital Santa Cruz also makes for an interesting day of exploration. Perched on the edge of the volcanic crater of La Caldereta, Santa Cruz comfortably blends modern architecture with old colonial buildings. Perhaps visit the fascinating Natural History Museum, stroll around the historic quarters and the Plaza de Espana or travel a few miles outside the city to the exquisite Church of Our Lady. If you enjoy shopping, you can find reasonably priced silver jewellery, leather goods and beautifully embroidered clothes, tablecloths and napkins, a speciality of the Canary Islands.

FactFile

Population

87,000 (approximate)

Language

Spanish

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Warm and sunny

Ship berths at

Santa Cruz, La Palma

Distance from Centre

350 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

50 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

Shops are located on O’Daly Street.

Shopping Opening Hours

Open Monday to Saturday from 0900-1300 and 1600-2000.

Post Office

The main Post Office is located at the city entrance.

Tourist Office

Located next to the port terminal building.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

Banks are open from 0830-1400 on weekdays. 24-hour ATMs are located around the town centre.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

La Hacienda and Silk Museum

Sit back, relax and enjoy the lush scenery as you travel along mountain roads, passing vineyards and banana plantations en route to the old town of El Paso. Here, a short stroll takes you to the unique Silk Museum where you can witness silk being weaved by a 500-year-old process. This is the only place in Europe where this method is still used. Scarves made from local silk, and a pair of shoes crafted by Manolo Blahnik, the famous Spanish designer, are on display. Afterwards, it is time to visit the beautifully restored 17th-century sugar estate, now the Hotel Hacienda de Abajo. Surrounded by rich vegetation and botanical gardens, the old manor house displays a varied selection of paintings, furniture and porcelain, in addition to a large collection of tapestries. Your guide will take you on a tour of the main rooms, and afterwards tea and pastries will be served, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. On your return journey to Santa Cruz, a short photo-stop will be made at La Glorieta Square, allowing you to view the stunning mosaics by local artist Luis Morera.

Visiting the Silk Museum and Hacienda involves walking several hundred yards with the possibility of a few steps. You should also be prepared to spend periods of several minutes at a time standing while the guide gives a commentary.

Los Tilos Forest Walk

Walk through Los Tilos Forest, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve home to a profusion of ferns, trees and other indigenous species. The tour begins with a short panoramic drive up into the hills to Mirador de la Concepcion, a spectacular vantage point with views over the city. From here it is a 50-minute drive to Los Tilos, which literally translated means ‘laurel forest’. You then set out on a one-mile walk through this wonderful forest of ancient laurels, lime trees and giant ferns. You will be accompanied throughout by a botanical guide, who will identify specimens and explain points of interest along the way. Emerging from Los Tilos, continue your walk along a beautiful stretch of coast to San Andres y Sauces, and here you will stop to rest and perhaps enjoy a cold beer, a cup of tea or a soft drink, before returning to your ship by coach.

This tour involves a total distance of two-and-a-half miles, including walking up steep inclines and over uneven surfaces. Walking in San Andres y Sauces is over cobbled streets and requires many steps. Good walking shoes and a walking pole (supplied on the gangway as you leave the ship) are recommended. Parts of the forest walkway have a steep drop on one side, protected only by a wooden fence.

Off the Beaten Track Adventure

Leaving the pier, head towards the hills of Las Breñas, crossing thick vegetation and looking over Cumbre Nueva, the island’s main mountain range. Heading into Cumbre Nueva, continue across the National Park towards the Refugio del Pilar, until you reach the Mirador del Jable viewpoint where you stop to observe the Aridane Valley, the Caldera del Tabuiente and Cumbre Nueva hills. Continuing through volcanic landscapes and off-road tracks, pause at the San Juan volcanic area, where you will be able to see a remarkable lava river before crossing a large area of Canary Island pine. Make a short stop at a picnic area to enjoy a typical traditional snack before continuing to the town of Fuencaliente, where the San Antonio and Teneguia volcanoes are located. Your return journey back to the ship will be along normal roads.

Please note that the tour route is bumpy in places and that seat belts should be worn at all times. This tour is not recommended for those with back, neck or hip problems. Although there is minimal walking on this tour, participants must be able to get on and off the 4×4 bus, which has five high steps, unaided. In case of rain or very bad weather, the picnic will be eaten at a local restaurant and not in the open.

Scenic La Palma

Take in the highlights of La Palma on a scenic drive around the island, beginning in the capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma. From here you continue to the Mirador de la Concepcion, stopping for photos at this wonderful viewpoint before continuing to the Caldera de Taburiente, one of the largest extinct volcanic craters in the world. It is more than five miles in diameter and in places over 5,000 feet deep. Pause for photographs before stopping at the Balcon de Taburiente Caf for refrehments. From here, your coach takes you through the western part of La Palma to Los Llanos de Aridane, the largest town on the island, which has a population of over 20,000. Enjoy wonderful views of Los Llanos, picturesquely surrounded by cacti and banana plantations, before returning to your ship via the town of El Paso.

This excursion requires just a little walking at the photo and refreshment stops. There are eight steps at Concepcion viewpoint and ten steps at the refreshment venue, where the public conveniences are situated. A considerable amount of the travelling is along narrow, winding roads, sometimes with a sheer drop on one side: vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. A warm jacket is highly recommended as it can be cold and windy at the Taburiente Crater. Views will depend on the weather.

Star Gazing in La Palma

La Palma has one of the world’s clearest skies for observing stars, so it should come as no surprise that the largest telescope in the world is on La Palma, chosen on account of the darkness and quality of its night skies. This tour will set off in the evening, just when nightfall is approaching. From the harbour, your coach takes you to the Pilar viewpoint, about 3,300 feet above sea level, which was built especially for observing the night sky. Here a specialist guide will set up two telescopes for our group to admire the stars and planets. The observation activity will take approximately two hours. Using a laser pointer, your guide will tell you about the stars and show you where everything is situated. A cup of hot chocolate will be served during the course of the evening.

Minimal walking is involved. We recommend that warm clothes are worn, as temperatures may be low.

Volcano and Wine

This tour begins with a visit to the pretty church of Our Lady of the Snows. Here you can view the elaborately decorated images of the patron saint of La Palma, before continuing on to the Mirador de la Concepción, where you can savour magnificent vistas across the town and east coast. Drive on through Brena Alta to Fuencaliente where you stop at the village of Mazo to visit the famous ceramics workshop and museum, ‘El Molino’. Upon arrival at the Volcano San Antonio, you may wish to partake in an optional walk to the volcano rim (weather permitting). Your tour then continues to the Bodegas Carballo, where you can enjoy sampling the local wines – with an opportunity to purchase some bottles – before returning to the ship.

This excursion requires a £¾-mile walk at the volcano. This walk is exposed and will not be possible in high winds. There is also a walk of approximately 165 yards each way to the ceramic workshop, up a steep path, with around 30 steps.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Porto Grande

Arrive 0900. Depart 1800.

The crescent of volcanic islands which form the Cape Verde archipelago lie 310 miles off the Senegal coast. Despite the name (Green Cape), all the islands are barren, but they offer dramatic mountain scenery and pristine beaches. The Portuguese started colonising the islands during the 15th century and during the 16th century the archipelago became important for the supply of water and rations to boats sailing to America, Europe and Africa, and as a base for slave warehouses. The Cape Verde Islands obtained their independence from Portugal in 1975 and, although the isles may be African geographically speaking, they have retained a strong Latin flavour. Porto Grande, the port for Mindelo, is on the windward isle of São Vicente and covers an area of 88 square miles. Over 90% of the island’s inhabitants live in the capital of Mindelo, where the historic centre is characterised by old colonial houses and commemorative monuments. Please note that most excursions from this port will be operated by rather basic minibuses: these vehicles are the best available locally, but normally lack air-conditioning, reclining seats and seat belts, and have no space for the storage of walkers or wheelchairs.

FactFile

Population

434,000 (approximate)

Language

Portuguese

Currency

Cape Verde Escudo

Time Difference

UK-1

Climate

Tropical – the rainy season is from August to October.

Ship berths at

Pier No.2

Distance from Centre

Approximately 1,100 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

Approximately 170 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

The main shopping area is located in Mindelo.

Shopping Opening Hours

Typical opening hours are 0900-1300 and 1500-2000 on weekdays.

Post Office

The Post Office is located next to Praça Goncalves Gones, just off Avenida Marginal. Opening hours are 0800-1500 on weekdays.

Tourist Office

There is no Tourist Office available

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Medi Centre: +238-231 85 15

Banks

There are banks located in Mindelo. Opening hours are 0800-1500 on weekdays.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Porto Grande 4WD Tour

This excursion gives you the opportunity to get off the beaten track and enjoy the unspoilt scenery that is found on the island of Porto Grande. After departing the quayside in your 4WD vehicle your first stop is to Palha Carga, a one mile stretch of undiscovered beach where you can stop for a short while to take some photographs. After passing through the agricultural area of the island you arrive at the valley of Ribeira de Calhau, where to your left you have views of the uninhabited islands of St Luzia, Raso and Banco and to your right the crater of the island’s volcano. Continuing on to the white sandy beaches of Saragaca and Gatchod where you can discover the natural caves which were formed from the lava of the volcano. On your return to your ship enjoy a brief stop at the fishing village of Calhau.

This excursion uses closed-topped 4-wheel drive vehicles: window seats are not guaranteed and there may be limited legroom. If the group is split between two or more vehicles, your guide may change vehicles during the course of the tour so as to give a commentary to all passengers. Vehicles in Porto Grande are not normally equipped with seat belts. You will be travelling along steep, winding mountain roads and the terrain may be bumpy: those suffering from vertigo, motion sickness or back and neck problems should take this into consideration. The weather can be cool in the higher parts of São Vicente, so we recommend that you bring a light jacket. There are no opportunities to use public conveniences.

Scenic São Vicente

Sit back and discover the beautiful scenery of São Vicente. Your coach leaves the quayside and passes through the island’s volcanic landscape to reach your first stop, the top of Monte Verde, the highest point on the island. Stop here for the chance to take some photographs of the spectacular views over the island, and, if the weather allows, of the neighbouring islands. Continue along the coast to Praia Grande Beach, where you can admire the contrast of the white sand and black lava flow whilst tasting some of the national liqueur. Re-joining your coach, your guide tell you about the Ribeira de Calhua valley and its agriculture, before you reach a local hotel, where you stop for refreshments and enjoy a display of traditional dancing.

We recommend comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella for shade. There is approximately 100 yards’ walking, over mixed terrain that includes sandy beaches. The only wc facilities available are at the very end of the tour. If the group is split between two or more vehicles, your guide may change vehicles during the course of the tour so as to give a commentary to all passengers. Vehicles in Porto Grande are not normally equipped with seat belts. You will be travelling along steep, winding mountain roads and the terrain may be bumpy: those suffering from vertigo, motion sickness or back and neck problems should take this into consideration. The weather can be cool in the higher parts of São Vicente, so we recommend that you bring a light jacket.

The Charm and Culture of Mindelo

Known as the cultural capital of the country, São Vicente is also its most cosmopolitan island. Not only is it home to one of the country’s deepest and most scenic bays, but Mindelo has also had a long history as a stopping place for ships making their way to Africa, Asia and South America. This port city has therefore been influenced by the different cultures of those passing through. During your tour today, discover the colonial style of this city, which is proud for being the birthplace of the famous singer, Cesaria Evora. Setting off towards the main square named Praça Nova, begin a guided walk to get a glimpse of life during the colonial era before visiting the local museum with its exhibition of handicrafts. Continuing to the city centre, pass numerous colourful colonial buildings before arriving at the replica of Lisbon`s Torre de Belem and the lively fish market. You will have the chance to enjoy some local music during your refreshment break. Proceed afterwards along Rua Lisboa, formerly the main street of the colonial city, where the Governor’s Palace is situated. Along the way, stop at the local market , and view the church and Town Hall on the square before returning to your ship.

We recommend comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen. This excursion involves walking approximately 550 yards over uneven, cobbled surfaces with up to 20 steps altogether. Public conveniences are limited and very basic. If the group is split between two or more vehicles, your guide may change vehicles during the course of the tour so as to give a commentary to all passengers. You will be travelling along steep, winding mountain roads and the terrain may be bumpy: those suffering from vertigo, motion sickness or back and neck problems should take this into consideration. The weather can be cool in the higher parts of São Vicente, so we recommend that you bring a light jacket.

Spend the day at sea.

Banjul

Arrive 0800. Depart 2300.

The tiny city of Banjul is the capital of The Gambia, a country that itself is little more than the banks of the mighty river that shares its name. Situated on St Mary’s Island, where the River Gambia joins the Atlantic, Bathurst, as Banjul was previously called, was established by the British in the early nineteenth century as a naval outpost dedicated to putting a halt to the trade in human beings. In 1943, Franklin Roosevelt visited Banjul on his way to the Casablanca conference with Churchill, becoming the first serving American president to visit Africa. Today, Banjul plays host to a thriving tourist trade, thanks to its pleasant climate, and is the political centre for the oldest democracy in Africa.

FactFile

Population

35,000 (approximate)

Language

English

Currency

Gambian Dalasi

Time Difference

Same as the UK

Climate

The Gambia enjoys virtually uninterrupted sunshine and high daytime temperatures with almost no rainfall from November to June.

Ship berths at

Banjul

Distance from Centre

1 mile

Distance from gangway to coach

20 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

Shopping is available at St Albert’s Market.

Shopping Opening Hours

Opening hours are between 0900-1700.

Post Office

The Post Office is located at St. Albert’s Market and is open on weekdays between 0800-1600.

Tourist Office

The nearest Tourist Office is situated in Kotu, which is approximately 15 miles from Banjul.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 001 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Police – 17, Fire Service – 18, Medical Services – 16

Banks

There are banks on Ecowas Avenue, which are open between 0830-1600