The Bijagos Archipelago and Cape Verde
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12 days trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

PREMIUM trip_detail hint icon

Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

EXPEDITION OVERVIEW

In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.Board Le Dumont-d'Urville for a fabulous expedition cruise between Praia and Dakar. This brand-new 12-day adventure will enable you to discover two exceptional archipelagos including wild nature, cultural heritage and encounters with the local populations.In Cape Verde, you will call at theisland of São Nicolau, which will delight you with its pristine mountain landscapes, its picturesque capital,Ribeira Brava, its friendly inhabitants and its lively traditions.Further west, you will visitMindelo, the cultural capital ofCapeVerde, where the famous morna singer Cesaria Evora was born.A giganticvolcanic coneemerging from the Ocean,Fogoor "volcano island"is the most unusual in the Cape Verde archipelago. With scenery of savannah andfields of sugar cane, scattered with peaceful hamlets, Fogo offers youextraordinary panoramas.The second part of your cruise will take place in the Bijagos Islands. Located off the coast ofGuinea-Bissau, this archipelago is one of the most preserved and protected on the planet. Classified as aUNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it is made up of 88 islands, most of which are uninhabited and nestling in the heart of an environment whichoften remains untouched by humans.During your Zodiacexcursions, you will get as close as possible to nature, between pale-sand beaches,mangrovestretching as far as the eye can see, savannah, palm trees and baobabs.The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.

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.

Andrew Evans
Contibuting editor, National Geographic Traveller

Author, travel writer, and TV host Andrew Evans has completed some 50 assignments for National Geographic, reporting live from all seven continents and more than 100 countries. For years a contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine and its Digital Nomad, Andrew holds degrees in geography and Russian foreign policy and is fluent in Russian and French. He is the author of five books, including two bestselling guidebooks, and his award-winning memoir The Black Penguin, which the New York Times picked as one of Summers Best Reads. Andrew has received four Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers. He will share his knowledge of the geography, history, and culture of Cape Verde, the Bijagos, and the Kurils on upcoming National Geographic expeditions with Ponant.

Josh Humbert
Photographer

Based between French Polynesia and the United States, Josh Humbert specializes in photographing marine environments and images that tell a deeper story for conservation. In 2014, Josh documented a digital story for National Geographic about the conservation thread surrounding Tahitian pearl farming. Having arrived there at the age of two, he is deeply connected to Tahitian culture and has been involved in pearl farming for over 25 years through his own familys pearl farm in the northern Tuamotus. Humberts professional career began by shooting photos amid the surfing waves of Tahiti, and his ability to get close to fish on breath-hold allows him to capture unique angles and content. Joshs images are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection and have appeared in numerous magazines and books worldwide.

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.