Experience the magnificence of Cape Verde during a 9-day expedition cruise sailing from Dakar to Praia. From beautiful landscapes to remote villages and ancient traditions; get closer to this unique region on expedition with National Geographic and PONANT. Setting sail from Senegal, journey to the island of São Nicolau, which will delight you with its pristine mountain landscapes, picturesque capital, Ribeira Brava, friendly inhabitants and lively traditions. Journey west to Mindelo, the cultural capital of Cape Verde where you will discover the local market and learn more about ancient traditions. Continue your cruise onto Santo Antão where you will find the greenest valley on the archipelago, the volcanic island of Fogo and the spectacular Boa Vista, where undisturbed stretches of golden sands go far into the distance. Your expedition cruise will end when you return back to Cape Verde’s lively city of Praia. This Expedition Cruise is onboard Ponant’s Le Dumont D'Urville ship, part of the Explorers fleet. View full details including deck plans and features onboard here. Transfer + flight Praia/Paris included

Trip highlights

Explore the volcanic island of Fogo, Cape Verde’s highest landmark where you can witness lava flows and old volcanoes sprouting new growth.

Learn more about Cape Verde and the surrounding islands as you will be joined on board by National Geographic Experts, photographers and naturalists who will enrich your expedition.

Relax on the serene beaches of Boa Vista and enjoy a dip in the crystal-clear waters keeping an eye out for exotic underwater life.

Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Praia, Cidade Velha, and Ribeira Grande.

Itinerary - 9 Days

1 Dakar

Begin your expedition cruise in the city of Dakar, capital of Senegal which stretches along the narrow peninsula of Cape Verde. Explore the rich diversity that can be found here and unparalleled natural beauty, in the historic centre, you'll enjoy the pell-mell of colours and tasty delights during time at Kermel market. A visit to the island of Gorée is deeply moving; for several hundred years this island was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

If you are looking for pristine, unspoilt nature, the wildlife in the heart of Madeleine Islands' national park will not disappoint.

2 At Sea

Spend the day at sea and make the most of the amenities on board Le Dumont-d’Urville. Enjoy a relaxing massage in the onboard spa whilst gazing out to sea or take a dip in the swimming pool. You may be able to catch up with our onboard National Geographic Experts and Photographers as they give greater insight into the destination via communal workshops. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below.

3 São Nicolau

Situated south-west of São Vicente, São Nicolau is a peaceful, island that remains relatively untouched. Home to spectacular scenery including lush valleys, dramatic mountainscapes and turquoise natural pools.

Near the summit of Mt Gordo is the islands attractive capital, Ribeira Brava, nestled in a deep green valley. Not far away, you can hike along the mountain paths of Fajã, where you may be lucky enough to spot rare and extremely old dragon trees growing naturally on the high plateaux.Coastal landmarks include the Blue Hole, peaceful Tarrafal beach and the picturesque fishing village of Preguiça.

4 Mindelo

Set on the shores of the Porto Grande Bay on the north-west coast of São Vicente, Mindelo is considered to be Cape Verde's cultural capital.
A few streets from the floating resort of Pont d'água you'll come across the pastel-coloured houses and colonial buildings of the historic district. Other landmarks are the facades of the old Governor's Palace and the busy municipal market.

5 Porto Novo

Porto Novo is a coastal town situated on the south-east coast of Santo Antão Island.
Capture the unique shot of colourfully painted boats that lie on the sand and the waterfront boasts beautiful vantage points overlooking the Atlantic and the nearby island of São Vicente. Within the town discover the low-profile, painted buildings that are typical of traditional Cape Verde architecture and taste the delights of the local deserts made from locally grown fruit, such as a banana tart or pawpaw flan.

6 Fogo

Situated just west of Praia, is the volcanic island of Fogo, Cape Verde’s highest landmark. The foothills of Pico de Fogo are ideal for hiking, with an immense caldera surrounding the active crater. Trails start at the little town of Chã das Caldeiras and you can see recent lava flows and older ones sprouting with new growth. Make your way along the rocky coastline where you’ll come across picturesque Mosteiros and the historic town of São Filipe, where elegant colonial houses overlook the Atlantic.

7 Boa Vista

Boa Vista is the third largest island in the Cape Verde archipelago, famed for its vast stretches of untouched golden sand dunes and moonlike volcanic landscapes of the Viana Desert and pristine, rich turquoise waters. The sand dunes, oases and arid plains are generally explored aboard a 4WD vehicle to discover the lunar aspect of this small tract of land that is barely 30 kilometres in length. The ideal playground for surfers, Boa Vista is also popular with marine wildlife enthusiasts, as it offers excellent opportunities for snorkelling.

8-9 Praia

As your expedition cruise comes to an end, head towards the capital of Cape Verde, Praia which is situated on the southern tip of Santiago island. Discover the statue of Diogo Gomes which sits above the harbour and pays homage to the man who discovered Cape Verde in 1460. Explore the archipelago’s rich heritage and cultural origins during a visit to the Ethnographic Museum in the old centre.

On the last day of your expedition cruise, explore the city before continuing your journey home.

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