2018 Africa

Tues 10 Apr      
Wed 11 Apr Tema, Accra, Ghana    
Thurs 12 Apr Takoradi, Ghana    
Fri 13 Apr Abidjan. Ivory Coast    
Sat 14 Apr At Sea    
Sun 15 Apr Tokeh, Sierra Leone    
Mon 16 Apr Aberdeen, Sierra Leone    
Tues 17 Apr At Sea    
Wed 18 Apr Banjul, Gambia    
Thur 19 Apr Dakar, Senegal    
Fri 20 Apr Joal Fadiout, Senegal    
  Saly, Senegal    
Sat 21 Apr At Sea    
Sun 22 Apr Dakhla, Morocco    
Mon 23 Apr Laayoune, Morocco    
Tues 24 Apr At Sea    
Wed 25 Apr Safi    
Thur 26 Apr At Sea    
Fri 27 Apr Lisbon & Portugal    
Sat 28 Apr Lisbon    
Sun 29 Apr Alentejo    
Mon 30 Apr Alentejo    
Tues 1 May Belmonte    
Wed 2 May Duoro Valley    
Thur 3 May Duoro Valley    
Fri 4 May Porto    
Sat 5 May Porto    

Flights to Accra (to tie up with Port to Valencia)

BA at 13.55 gets in at 19.25 same day. So have to overnight in UK

EZY leaving 13.50 gets in 14.40 at LGW

BA 16.00 arrive 17.30


11 Apr Wed

From a modest fishing port to the biggest in Ghana, Tema’s industrial activity has all but tarnished the charming, postcard scenery of the region. The neighbouring white-sanded beaches remain immaculate, still serving as a testimony of the rich variety of fishing birds that can be found in the area.In the way Mother Nature intended it, gannets, boobies and kingfishers amongst other species fish in and around the cerulean waters of the coast. A light breeze tickles the inflamed, iron-filled soil of the mainland on which the railway linking Tema to Accra lures hundreds of visitors each day.

12 Apr Thurs

Ghana's fourth-largest city plays serene beaches against a bustling commercial centre. People from around the world visit the shore, both for its beauty and to enjoy the fresh seafood served right on the sands. Frantic city life awaits a short distance inland, where an economy fuelled by Ghana’s oil industry is most apparent in the maze of vendors at Market Circle.

This morning we set out to explore the Gold Coast area. We drive to Elmina Village where we will tour Elmina Castle, which was built in 1482 and is one of the oldest European-built structures outside of Europe. Between the picturesque old town alleys and the numerous flat-bottomed pirogue boats in the harbour, we enjoy one of West Africa’s greatest photo opportunities. We continue to the notorious Cape Coast Castle which was built in 1653 for the trade in timber and gold. The Castle was later used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. We will visit the museum and view the dungeons that once held hundreds of men and women as they awaited deportation across the Atlantic as slaves. Alternatively, travel inland to visit the Kakum National Park, a 357-square-km park comprising undisturbed virgin rainforest. Join our natural history staff and local guides for a walking tour through the forest and on a canopy walkway, offering an opportunity to see much of Ghana’s indigenous plant life, as well as rare butterflies, birds and game.

13 Apr Fri

Three hours south of Yamoussoukro, nestled in between the canals and waterways, lies Abidjan the economic capital of the Ivory Coast. Considered the crossroads of West Africa both economically and culturally, Abidjan benefits from clement temperatures year round, reaching average highs of around 88˚ Fahrenheit, or 30˚ Celsius. Like much of West Africa, this city has cachet and soul, and enjoys a diversity of cultures, traditions and people, notably through the French influence (Abidjan is the largest French speaking country in West Africa), but also through the steady stream of tourists.

Despite the fact that Yamoussoukro is Ivory Coast’s capital, the city of Abidjan with its port still is the commercial centre of the country. Our morning excursion will take us to see some of Abidjan’s highlights –like the modernistic St. Paul’s Cathedral (one of Africa’s largest cathedrals) and the National Museum. We will also drive to the historic town of Grand-Bassam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the first capital of the country and was chosen by UNESCO as an example of a late 19th- and early 20th-century colonial town planned for Europeans and Africans. If conditions permit we will try to get to the “Parc National Iles Ehotilé” east of Abidjan. This area encompasses 6 islands in a large lagoon fed by several mayor rivers. It was declared a RAMSAR site in 2005. Some 128 species of birds have been recorded. One of the islands has thousands of straw–coloured fruit bats which the local population sees as a sign of their ancestor’s presence.

14 Apr Sat

At sea

15 Apr Sun

Tokeh, or Tokeh Town as it is also known, is a coastal resort town that relies mainly on fishing and tourism. Only twenty miles outside Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, this town is nestled in an area of beautiful scenery, surrounded by mountains, forests and beaches. The Tokeh Beach is considered one of the largest and most attractive beaches in West Arica. This town was first founded by a Sherbo fisherman who settled along the river bank. Much later, in 1968, a prominent barrister from Sierra Leone purchased the land, and in partnership with a French company, developed the village

While we spend the morning at sea, our lecturers will be able to present topics relevant to Sierra Leone and other small West African countries. Our first glimpse of Sierra Leone will be the area south of Freetown. Once the ship has been cleared into the country, we will be able to go ashore by special permission and spend the afternoon at the foot of the Western Area National Park and the private beach of Tokeh. The use is exclusively for Silversea guests and we will have a cultural performance to welcome us into the country. In the evening we will have local meals on the beach.

16 Apr Mon

The coastal neighborhood of Aberdeen, a part of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, is located on the tip of the Aberdeen Peninsula. It was established in 1829 to provide accommodation for liberated enslaved Africans who had been left in Freetown by the British Royal Navy. Today, it is a vibrant neighborhood with several up-scale restaurants and hotels. It is also known as a good surf spot.

We arrive early in the morning in the bustling West African city of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. In 1787, British philanthropists founded the ‘Province of Freedom’, which later became Freetown, a British crown colony and the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade. By 1792, 1,200 freed slaves from Nova Scotia had joined the original settlers, the Maroons. Another group of slaves rebelled in Jamaica and travelled to Freetown in 1800. During our tour we anticipate visiting a local community clinic where we will see the work of volunteers and the Greatest Goal Ministries, a US non-profit organisation. In addition, we hope to attend a soccer match arranged by the Greatest Goal Ministries, played on the beach near Lumley. All soccer team members were affected by the horrible civil war and have lost one or both of their legs and form part of an amazing amputee soccer club! Sierra Leone is a member of the World Amputee Football Association and our presence will help promote self-esteem and self-confidence of the participants. We might also visit the Western Area Forest Reserve (accepted by UNESCO as a tentative World heritage Site) to see the Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary, south of Freetown and close to the Congo Dam, to learn more about these primates and their struggle to survive in a country where the bush meat trade is still a very serious problem.

17 Apr Tues

At Sea

18 Apr Wed

A British Army captain created Gambia’s capital city in 1816 as a means to stop the European and American slave trade in the area. Barracks were the first residences, but the post grew quickly. Today, the King Fahad Mosque’s twin minarets mark the large city’s skyline. Shopping at the public market is a main attraction. Banjul is also a popular base from which to head out for tropical bird watching trips. Daily life is colorful here. Expect beggars, hagglers and lots of unsolicited hellos from "bumsters," young men who hang around tourists a little too much.

The Gambia is quite a unique country: the English-speaking country is surrounded by French-speaking Senegal and runs parallel to the Gambia River on both sides. The European history started with a Baltic German intent of colonization in the mid-17th century. Our drive through Banjul will take us to the National Museum where we will see displays of historical and cultural artefacts, including musical instruments. A visit to Banjul’s main urban market –Royal Albert Market- will show the typical hustle and bustle of a lively market offering a large selection of nearly everything you expect, including wooden masks. Ornithologists all over the world consider The Gambia to be a birdwatchers’ paradise where over 500 species can be seen. This morning we head to the Tanji Bird Reserve where our guides lead us on a forest walk. The reserve is an important stop for European migrants and more than 250 bird species live in the reserve, which includes the Bijol Islands. Alternatively, visit the Makasutu cultural forest situated on the banks of a beautiful meandering tributary of the River Gambia, and encompassing many different ecosystems including dense forest, savannah and mangrove regions. The forest is home to hundreds of varieties of birds, three species of monkeys, monitor lizards, pygmy deer, and mongoose.

19 Apr Thurs

Big, crowded and chaotic, Dakar can seem like a dirty mess not worth the effort, but relax and dig in—this is emerging Africa. The city is progressing quickly as the country develops, and already Dakar is home to many worthy restaurants and thumping nightlife. Historic sights are here, as well as nice beaches. But keep your eyes open, especially at markets, in shopping areas, and at top tourist attractions, where pickpockets, muggers, and hustlers work the streets.

Entering the harbour of Dakar Silver Cloud will pass later Goree Island. Located just off the coast of Dakar it will be one of our next destinations. Just off Dakar’s western shore is the small group Îles de la Madeleine. Not only is this group a National Park, it has also been placed on the Tentative List as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We intend to do a Zodiac cruise around the islands to see dolphins, sea turtles, and the only colony of Red-Billed Tropicbirds known in Africa. Permission pending, we might even land for some hikes. This small island Goree is notable in history as a major centre in the slave trade and has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our primary focus will be the Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves) built by the Dutch in 1776 as a holding point for slaves. Now a museum, we will tour through the dungeons where slaves were held, and hear of how they were sold and shipped. Goree also houses the IFAN Historical Museum to learn more about the history of Senegal, the Musee de la Femme (The Women's Museum) to look at the role of Senegalese women in traditional and modern West African culture, and the Maritime Museum to better understand Senegal's seafaring history. A special highlight of the visit will be a lantern lit Senegalese dinner on Goree Island with traditional music as entertainment.

20 Apr Fri

Joal Fadiout is a picturesque village located southeast of Dakar in Senegal. It is an island but is connected to the mainland with a wooden foot bridge. The community living on the Fadiout Island is a mix of Christian and Muslim faiths and live traditional lifestyles based on artesian fishing. The tides are dramatic in this area and on the low tide many people can be seen out on the mangrove mudflats collecting cockles, oysters, murex snails, conch and fishing with seine nets from their pirogues and swimming in the shallows. The island is entirely comprised of shell piled up by the people..

Saly is a picturesque seaside resort village on the la Petite Côte (the Little Coast), about 50 miles south of Dakar. It was originally a Portuguese trading post, but over time developed into a resort town after the first resort was built in 1984. Today, its main industry is tourism and there are several modern hotels, tea houses playing traditional Wolof music, restaurants, and shops. Its main attractions are the sandy beaches lined with coconut palm trees, idyllic climate and watersports.

Silver Cloud will have headed south during the night to reach Joal-Fadiouth. Joal was once an important trading post in Senegal, today it is Senegal’s most important fishing port. Joal and Fadiouth are connected by a bridge and the specialty of Fadiouth is the use of sea shells in art and construction. Surrounded by an estuary with many small islets and mangroves, some islands are man-made using shells. Even the cemetery is located on one of these sea shell islands and surprisingly has both Muslim and Christian burials close together.

Saly is a well-known resort area with nice beaches –just the right place to relax before heading to Morocco and its desert.

21 Apr Sat

At sea

22 Apr Sun

Dakhla is a fishing city located at the tip of a thin peninsula. Apart from modern fishing fleets, simple, rustic boats are clustered together along the shores, while the whitewashed buildings, chaotic streets and fabrics woven in colorful patterns make for interesting images. Historically, this was a stronghold of Berbers and was at one time a Spanish colony named Villa Cisneros. An Old Spanish lighthouse still stands on the outskirts of town as a testament to this segment of the region’s past. Thanks to a steady wind that blows over 300 days of the year, modern Dakhla is a hotspot for...

Dakhla is located at the tip of a thin peninsula and we will head ashore this afternoon to explore and to capture a sense of this area with our cameras. Historically, this was once a Spanish colony named Villa Cisneros and an Old Spanish lighthouse still stands on the outskirts of town.

Disembark the ship and depart on 4x4 vehicles across the modern part of Dakhla toward the mainland. We will drive along the Laguna of Dakhla, a paradise for migratory birds, especially flamingos. We will venture into incredible scenery until we reach a Sahraoui camp set up overlooking the Laguna and a beautiful white sand dune.

Discover for a few hours the Sahraoui culture, exclusively nomadic and centred on dromedaries, with a tea ceremony, ride a camel, visit the replica of a Sahraoui family encampment and discover the breath-taking view from the top of the White Dune. 4x4s will be available to go birding from the campsite with the onboard Ornithologist (depending on the tide and bird presence in the area). There will also be the opportunity to swim in the Laguna.

Return to Silver Cloud with a new appreciation of the remoteness of this region and the nomadic nature of the local culture.

23 Apr Mon

Laayoune is the largest city, and capital, of Western Sahara. It has a population of about 200,000, which is more than half the population of the territory. It is literally a city in the middle of the desert, about 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with nothing else around it for a thousand miles. The name means "the water springs" or “water source”. The Spaniards developed the city in 1938 as the administrative, military, and European centre. In 1940, Spain designated it as the capital of the Spanish Sahara. Since 1976 it has been the capital of the Laâyoune province of Morocco. The

Leaving the Silver Cloud in El Marsa we will drive into the desert to reach the city of Laayoune. Once there, we will start with the dromedary souk and the El Mechouar Square. After viewing the Moulay Abdelaziz mosque from the outside we continue to the artisanal complex known for its silver work. Laayoune started as a Spanish town and still has the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi and a Spanish school. As our final stop in Laayoune we will drive to a lookout point overlooking the dam on the Saquia El Hamra River. During our return we will stop in the desert at a camp exclusively set up for Silversea and will be able to relax with refreshments and special sundowners.

24 Apr Tues

At Sea

25 Apr Wed

Safi’s natural harbor lies on the Atlantic in western Morocco and was once used by the Roman and the Phoenicians. By the 11th century gold, slaves and ivory were the hot commodities being traded between Marrakesh and Guinea. Evolving through the ages to cater to the popular trade of the day, the major industry here today is fishing connected to the country's sardine industry, but there is also an economy based on exported phosphates, textiles and ceramics. The city was overseen by the Portuguese Empire in the 1500s, and a fortress built to safeguard the city by these Portuguese influences...

Our destination today is exotic Marrakech. The drive from Safi towards the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains will be quite long, so we intend to visit a Bedouin camp set up almost in the middle of nowhere on our way. Coffee, tea, juices and canapés will break up your journey. Once we reach Marrakech our local hosts will lead us to a village of tents set up especially for us. The whole surrounding, the delicious food and the music, in short the atmosphere, will have you believe Rudolph Valentino might just be around the corner. After lunch will visit the tranquil Majorelle Gardens, designed by the French artist Louis Majorelle with lush greenery, palm trees, cacti, still pools and shady nooks, before strolling through the labyrinth of alleyways in the ancient, 12th century Medina. Not only will we visit the Medersa Ben Youssef, built in 1570 it is the biggest Koran School of the whole Maghreb (West), but will then discover the labyrinth of souks. You can browse through the antique, spices, textile and carpet shops. The many colourful souks have local and Berber handicrafts in leather, brass, copper, silver, and gold for you. Not only souvenir hunters will have a wonderful time experiencing local life. Our guided tour ends with a visit to the famous Djemâa el Fna Square, where we will find a permanent theatre of musicians, acrobats, snake charmers, food stalls and storytellers -truly out of “1001 Arabian Nights”. After an exciting and eventful day we return to Safi.

26 Apr Thurs

At Sea

27 Apr Fri

Lisbon. Disembark after breakfast