Christmas Expedition Cruise to Cape Verde & the Bissagos Islands

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Departure date
December 21, 2022
13 days

Verdant landscapes, coral reefs and rich culture

Swap Christmas snow and slush for sunshine at sea as we explore the fascinating diversity of Cape Verde and the Bissagos Islands – two very different island archipelagos in the seas off Western Africa.  

Africa to Cape Verde 

From rocky volcanic promontories in the deep Atlantic, warmed by the dry Saharan winds in the north, to lush and humid tropical rainforests further south, you’ll experience a mosaic of cultures, peoples, traditions, landscapes and ecosystems. Dakar, the buzzing capital of Senegal, lies on a promontory jutting out into the ocean. It’s the most affluent and influential city in Western Africa, and the preeminent hub of one of the continent’s most successful democracies. The nearby island of Gorée played a historical role in the slave trade, and is a draw for many visitors. 

Laid-back Cape Verde, where we’ll be over Christmas, is situated around 350 miles from the African mainland. Its location creates some rare oceanic habitats, with coral reefs rich in marine life, and seas where cetaceans and turtles thrive. It’s also a bird-watchers paradise, with many fascinating species arriving as temporary visitors, together with several extremely rare endemic species.  

Bissagos Islands and back to Africa 

The Bissagos archipelago, located off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, is a pristine tropical paradise. These islands, which are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, are known for their incredible biodiversity. They are also home to the Bijagos people – who have retained their ancient animistic beliefs, and live in a matriarchal society where women manage the economic, political and religious lives of their communities.  

The tiny city of Banjul is the capital of Gambia, itself the smallest country in mainland Africa. For centuries, the River Gambia was once a hub of the cruel slave trade. Places like James Island, nowadays a UNESCO World Heritage Site, bear testimony to this tragic period in history.

What's Included


Onboard activities

Landing activities

Route overview

We'll help you plan where to go, when to visit and how long to stay

Day 1

Delightful Dakar

Day 2

Relax at sea

Day 3

Santiago in Cape Verde

Day 4

Christmas on Boa Vista

Day 5

Christmas Day in nature

Day 6

Volcanic Fogo

Day 7

A day of discovery at sea

Day 8-11

Bissagos' biodiversity

Town of Banjul, the capital of Gambia.

Day 12

The Gambia's tiny capital

Day 13

Return to Dakar

Ships on this expedition

Take a closer look at our ships typically used on this expedition

Included Activities

It's a mixture of adventure activities for individuals of all ages

Photo Credit: Espen Mills

Onboard Science Programme

Our Science Programme has one goal: to increase your curiosity, knowledge and interest of the areas you are sailing to.

West Africa and Cape Verde

Christmas Expedition Cruise to Cape Verde & the Bissagos Islands