Discover two exceptional archipelagos in this fabulous expedition cruise. Get closer to locals, their culture, and wild nature in Cape Verde and the Bijagós Islands. In Cape Verde, you’ll enjoy São Nicolau and its unique mountain landscapes, Mindelo’s culture, and the sugar cane plantations and savannah of Fogo, also known as “volcano island” which offers extraordinary panoramas. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of the Bijagós Islands is located off the coast of Guinea-Bissau and is one of the most protected and preserved archipelagos in the world. Discover its amazing scenery, almost untouched by humans.

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.

Flight Paris / Praia + transfers included 

Trip highlights

Get in one of our Zodiac® inflatables and visit the shores with a team of experienced naturalist guides.

Visit some of the greatest cultural cities and towns in Cape Verde such as Ribeira Brava, Mindelo, Porto Novo, and Mosteiros.

Discover the diverse flora and fauna of Bijagós, a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Experience Cape Verde and the Bijagós Islands alongside a National Geographic Photographer and Expert, who are specialised in the destination.

Itinerary - 12 Days

1 PRAIA, CAPE VERDE

Start your Expedition Cruise in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, located in the south of Santiago Island. You can explore its old centre overlooking the ocean and its historical buildings with transom windows. In the old quarter, you can also learn about the diversity of the archipelago’s cultural origins in the Ethnographic Museum. To finish your day, head to the harbour to visit the Diogo Gomes statue, paying homage to the man who discovered the archipelago in 1460.

2 SÃO NICOLAU, CAPE VERDE

If you’re a mountain lover, this is your island. São Nicolau offers dramatic mountain landscapes that reach their peak at Mt Gordo. Enjoy the nature by hiking the mountain paths of Fajã or get more cultural in Ribeira Brava, which is the capital of the island and rests in a deep green valley close to the summit of Mt Gordo. If you are more of a coast lover, there’s also a great choice of things to visit, from the Blue Hole to the quiet Tarrafal beach and the charming fishing village of Preguiça.

3 MINDELO, CAPE VERDE

Your next stop will be Cape Verde’s cultural capital, Mindelo. Get along with the locals listening to the real morna in the bars of the old town and sipping the local drink, a sugarcane spirit. This island is also known by its British and Portuguese colonial architecture and pastel-coloured houses, the municipal market and the facades of the old Governor’s Palace.

4 PORTO NOVO, CAPE VERDE

In Santo Antão Island, discover the coastal town of Porto Novo and its picturesque port, with colourful boats that lie on the sand. Head to the town’s centre for a foodie treat: you’ll taste some of the best deserts made with locally grown fruits. You’ll also have the chance to discover the charming painted buildings that characterize the Cape Verde architecture.

5 FOGO, CAPE VERDE

The volcanic island of Fogo is probably the highest landmark of the archipelago. Ideal for hiking, Pico de Fogo has an immense caldera surrounding the active crater and traces of recent and old lava flows all around. Again, along the coast there’s plenty of options too: from the charming Mosteiros to the stylish colonial houses of the historic town of São Filipe, there’s a choice for everyone.

6 AT SEA

This day at sea will give you the chance to explore the ship and enjoy all the services and activities on board. Aboard Le Dumont-D’Urville, an innovative and environmentally-friendly ship, you’ll have a unique, intimate and comfortable experience. Be tempted by the swimming pool, the great conferences or shows going on, do some boutique shopping or simply enjoy the views from the upper deck.

7 MAIO ISLAND, BIJAGÓS

The Bijagós archipelago was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1996 thanks to its abundant biodiversity, and is marine animal and plant life. It consists of 88 islands, 23 of which are inhabited. Get along with the local people of Maio and discover their ancestral traditions, secluded from Western influences.

8 CARAVELA ISLAND, BIJAGÓS

The second stop of the Bijagós Islands is Caravela Island, where people have melted in with nature. This black rock and white-sand island is characterized by its exuberant wild nature. You can also rest and relax in its sandy beaches.

9 CARACHE ISLAND, BIJAGÓS

Situated just off the west African coast of Guinea-Bissau is Carache Island. The lush green island that is surrounded by turquoise seas was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1996. Boasting a string of islets, the island has a rich and diverse landscape that is precious in fauna and flora. In the heart of the nature, you'll meet the Bijago inhabitants, who have adapted to and melted in with their natural environment.

10 CARAVELA ISLAND, BIJAGÓS

Caravela is the northernmost island of the Bissagos Islands of Guinea-Bissau. Landscaped by white sandy beaches and black rock, Caravela Island is a magnificent location as you begin to round up your expedition cruise. The island is heavily forested with mangroves and like many of the surrounding islands, it has flourishing fauna and flora life.

11 LATERITE BEACH, BIJAGÓS

Enjoy this paradisiac and quiet beach out of the crowds. The contrast of its turquoise waters with its golden sand and the palm trees make this an unbeatable scenery.

12 DAKAR, SENEGAL

Finalise this exotic adventure in Senegal’s vibrant capital, Dakar, which will keep on surprising you. Get lost in its richly diverse districts, treat yourself with the delights of the Kermel market, and enjoy the city’s appealing cultural scene. If you have the time, don’t miss a visit to the Gorée Island, the largest slave-trading centre of the African coast for a long time. Nowadays, it’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage and its colonial architecture won’t disappoint you.

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