58 Day Grand Expedition: From Marrakech To Cotonou
Duration: 58 days
Area: In Morocco and the Western Sahara province, Mauritania, Senegal and Casamance, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Bijagos Archipelago, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin.
Style: adventurous expedition, cultural tour
58 Days Grand Expedition: From Marrakech To Cotonou
“A once-in-a-lifetime experience”
In Morocco and the Western Sahara province, Mauritania, Senegal and Casamance, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Bijagos Archipelago, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin.
- 2023: Starts in Marrakech, November 18th, 2023. Ends in Cotonou, January 14th, 2024.
EXPERIENCE a “Grand Expedition” that crosses the Sahara from north to south and reaches savannahs, forests, coasts and islands in the Gulf of Guinea. We will traverse the main natural, cultural and religious environments of the African continent.
The itinerary starts in Marrakech, mythical caravan terminal, to the Western Sahara (now Moroccan Saharan Provinces) and its virgin sands. A region forbidden to travellers for decades, where we are proud to be the pioneers. On the southern part of our Sahara crossing, we discover the remote oasis of Mauritania.
In Senegal the landscape will change from desert to savannah. Cap d’Almadine is the western point of the African continent. Driving south the landscape will change again, this time from savannah to forest. The Casamance’s sacred dancing masks will be a sign that with the change of natural environment the cultural and religious environment has also changed, from Islam to traditional animism. In Guinea Bissau, we enjoy a relaxing three days of boating around the Bijagos Archipelago.
We return to the mainland to experience a “tribal concert” performed by the Griots: descendants of musicians and story-tellers, lineages dating back to the 12th century. We will go through remote forests and mountains where the arrival of foreigners is a rare event.
In the less known corners of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia we will cross rivers onboard of barges, walk on liana bridges to the isolated villages, houses of “Bird-Men” initiates and be received by traditional chiefs sitting in council with notables and elders. Sierra Leone is the first British colony in Africa with the oldest university in this part of the continent. Monrovia is the capital of Liberia, the oldest independent republic in Africa that has never been a colony or a protectorate, in 1847 it was already ruled by a black president, the Afro-American Roberts from Virginia and part of the Kriol settlers, considered the founders of the nation.
Discover Banana Island, a pristine paradise with hidden sacred drummers and secret diamond seeker sites. Along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, we will travel between pristine shores and islands.
In Ghana we discover the Ashanti ethnic group in the time of traditional ceremonies, visit pristine beaches and ancient slave trade castles. In Togo and Benin, the focus will be on the African origins of Voodoo such as drums, trances, rituals which are part of the everyday life.
A once-in-a-lifetime experience: During this multifaced expedition we will also interact with the “contemporary metropolitan Africa”, strolling in the intense city-life of Dakar, Freetown, Monrovia, Abidjan and Accra known for their restaurants and night-life, in these vibrant West African capitals you will feel the exciting mix of urban culture, encounter young artists, discover graffiti, live music, and experience fusion cuisine.
CLIMATE. The departure dates have been specifically chosen to enjoy the best climate. Late autumn (and spring) are the perfect seasons to travel through the Sahara; temperatures are mild and pleasant, nights are cool but not cold and the days are warm but not hot.
Winter (and early spring) are the coolest times of the dry season in Sub-Saharan West African.
COMFORT is a must to fully enjoy a long travel experience off the beaten path.
Transports: modern air-conditioned 4x4 vehicles will be the main transport in the deserts and forests, we may use relatively new minibuses on some asphalt roads.
Overnights: always in comfortable hotels, four stars (****) in the capitals and everywhere available. Recent hotels with air-conditioned rooms and private facilities in the rest of the itinerary. The accommodations have been chosen prioritizing comfort, quality of food, typical architectural style, friendly service, and scenic locations. In the remote areas of the Western Sahara, we will enjoy two nights in our mobile camp with modern tents installed over rush mattings, mosquito nets, portable beds, and chairs. A comfortable restaurant-tent will be set for dinner. A tent will be dedicated to “facilities”. A well-organized camp experience under the stars of the desert is a must for the “Sahara experience”.
SAFETY is our main concern. The expedition is based on our long experience of the area and is led by knowledgeable expedition leaders. The itinerary is safe, our local network constantly monitors it thanks to a permanent presence in the field providing updated information.
|Day 1||Marrakech - Morocco|
|Day 2||High Atlas - Morocco|
|Day 3||Rock Art of Ouadi Draa - Morocco|
|Day 4||Dunes, Fossiles And Antelopes - Morocco|
|Day 5||The Oasis Trail - Morocco|
|Day 6||Caravan Terminals - Morocco|
|Day 7||Estuaries And Desert - Morocco|
|Day 8||Dunes And Lagoons - Morocco|
|Day 9 & 10||Western Sahara: The Forbidden Track - Morocco|
|Day 11||From the Desert to the Ocean - Morocco|
|Day 12||Rio de Oro - Morocco|
|Day 13||Border: Lines in the Sands, - Morocco - Mauritania|
|Day 14 & 15||Sahara Exploration - Mauritania|
|Day 16||Adrar: Dunes and Mountains - Mauritania|
|Day 17||Chinguetti, The Oasis - Mauritania|
|Day 18||Ouadane, The Remotest - Mauritania|
|Day 19||Green Oasis - Mauritania|
|Day 20||Noukchott - Mauritania|
|Day 21||Djoudj National Park - Mauritania - Senegal|
|Day 22||Saint Louis: Colonial and African Citadels - Senegal|
|Day 23||From “The” Fisherman Village to Goree Island - Senegal|
|Day 24||Dakar Metropolis - Senegal|
|Day 25||The Salt Pans of Kaolak - Senegal|
|Day 26||Gambia, between Archeology and Contemporaneity - Senegal - Gambia|
|Day 27||Dancing Mask Gambia – Casamance ( Senegal)|
|Day 28||Ancestors Cult - Senegal - Guinea Bissau|
|Day 29||Bijagos Sacred Archipelago: The Ghost Capital - Guinea Bissau|
|Day 30||Vaca Bruto Dancing Ceremony - Guinea Bissau|
|Day 31||Islander Life - Guinea Bissau|
|Day 32||Griot: The African Trobadors - Guinea Bissau|
|Day 33||The Largest West Africa Mountain Massif - Guinea Bissau - Guinea Conakry|
|Day 34||Fouta Djalon - Guinea Conakry|
|Day 35||African Bas-Relief - Guinea Conakry|
|Day 36 & 37||Masks in the Forest - Guinea - Sierra Leone|
|Day 38||Freetown Peninsula, A Long History - Sierra Leone|
|Day 39||Banana Island, Sierra Leone|
|Day 40||Bundo: Female Masks Sierra Leone|
|Day 41||Raw Diamonds - Sierra Leone - Liberia|
|Day 42||“Liberia”: The Land of Freemen - Liberia|
|Day 43||African Wild Forests Liberia – Guinea Conakry|
|Day 44||Bird Men, Toma Masks & Liana Bridge - Guinea Conakry|
|Day 45 & 46||Remote Borders & Dan Masks - Guinea Conakry - Ivory Coast|
|Day 47||Magical Traditions - Ivory Coast|
|Day 48||Cathedral in the Savannah - Ivory Coast|
|Day 49||Abidjan, Skyscrapers And Lagoons - Ivory Coast|
|Day 50||Grand Bassam - Ivory Coast|
|Day 51||Gold Coast - Ivory Coast - Ghana|
|Day 52||Elmina’s Unique Atmosphere - Ghana|
|Day 53||Ashanti - Ghana|
|Day 54||Accra “The Capital” - Ghana|
|Day 55||Lome: Cosmopolitan and Stylish Human Size Capital - Ghana - Togo|
|Day 56||Voodoo - Togo -Benin|
|Day 57||Ouidah, Afro-Brasilian Culture - Benin|
|Day 58||The Stilts Village - Benin|
DATES & PRICES
58 Days. TRANS-SAHARA & WEST AFRICA
FULL EXPEDITION: from Marrakech to Cotonou
Morocco and the Western Sahara province, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Bijagos Archipelago, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin.
- Group of 7 or more guests: Rack rates: 18 891 €
- Group of 5/6 guests: Rack rates: 21 568 €
- Single room supplement: Rack rates: 2 378 €
Or Join us for one of the 25 possible legs of the expedition:
1) THE SAHARA: 3 options, from 12 to 20 days itineraries crossing the largest desert on earth, experience wild ranges of dunes, oasis and nomadic encampments.
2) SAHARA & WEST AFRICA: 6 options, from 14 to 54 days itineraries. From the Sahara crossing to savannahs and forests, discovering the greatest variety of landscape and peoples.
3) WEST AFRICA: 16 options, from 6 to 37 days itineraries. Savannah and forests, unknown rituals, tribes and cultures in the more intriguing Sub-Saharan regions.
- Transfer airport/ hotel and hotel/ airport at arrival and departure, EXCEPT, from the hotel In Marrakech to the airport.
- Transfers and itinerary in 4WD vehicles, minibus and boats.
- Tours and visits as per the programme.
- The equivalent of a bottle of water a day during the visits.
- Accommodation in standard rooms, as per itinerary.
- All meals, from breakfast of day 2 to breakfast of the last day of the expedition.
- Entrance fees to parks, concessions, protected areas and cultural sites.
- First Aid box.
- All service charges and taxes.
Prices do not include:
- International flights.
- Earlier (prior) and/or later (after last day) transfers from and to airport.
- Visa fees.
- Any meal or sightseeing other than those specified.
- Mineral water and drinks at restaurants and hotels.
- Fees for personal photos and videos.
- Personal and holiday insurance (compulsory).
- Tips for drivers, guides and hotel staff.
- Costs related to delayed program or lost luggage.
- Any item of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
- Whatever is not mentioned as included.