West Africa overland expedition

“Not just a holiday but a true adventure, with 28 days spent traversing wild and untrammelled landscapes, viewing incredible wildlife and visiting remote and fascinating cultures.”

Highlights

Marrakech | The Secret Valley | Erg Chegaga | Guelmim | Naila lagoon | Western Sahara | Rio De Oro | Mauritania Desert | Chinguetti | Adrar Mountains | Djoudj National Park | Lac Rose | Dakar | Goré Island | Casamance | viewing the ritual dances of the Diola sacred mask | Bijagos Archipelago | Orango Island | Boloma

Description of West Africa overland expedition

This West Africa overland expedition takes you from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to the remote island communities of Guinea-Bissau, along with a group of likeminded travellers and expert local guides to help you get the most out of your experience.

The trip starts in Morocco, where you’ll explore the Atlas Mountains, cross vast swathes of desert, visit an ancient caravan terminal left over from the Trans-Sahara trade, drive along wild and little-visited coastline, and then head off on a desert expedition into Western Sahara. Entering Mauritania, you’ll travel past dunes, salt swamps and mountains to Chinguetti, an almost deserted stone town that was once the capital of the Moorish Empire, and still holds a fascinating collection of ancient manuscripts.

Moving on to Senegal, you’ll visit the natural oasis of Djoudj National Park, where partially flooded lands make a watery and humid home for millions of migratory birds, as well as an island that’s home to an incredible concentration of pelicans. You’ll also visit the colonial town of Saint Louis; Lac Rose, a shallow saltwater lake that often shimmers pink because of the high concentration of salt in the water; Dakar, where you’ll go on an excursion to Goré Island, where slaves were once held before boarding ships to the Americas; and Casamance, a region of lush forests, where traditional animist religions are still practiced.

Next you’ll pass into Guinea Bissau, where you’ll see the ritual dances of the Diola sacred mask; visit the villages of the Manjaco ethnical group; and go on a three day sailing adventure through the remote and little-visited Bijagos Archipelago, where you’ll see a mask dance and visit an island known for its unique population of saltwater hippos.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
15 Nov 2019
£ 6995
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Nov 2019 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: West Africa overland expedition

Environment

On this tour we sail around very remote islands in the Bijagos Archipelago. Very few tourists visit these islands due to their remoteness and lack of access. When visiting Bolama and Canhabaque Island which see very few tourists, we have an additional responsibility on us as a company and on our clients visiting the country to do everything possible to minimise our impact.

This tour travels through some remote and often pristine environments such as Ban D'Argun, one of the most important natural reserves in Africa, and some nights are spent camping or on board. We make a point of ensuring that we do not leave any permanent traces of our stay behind, making sure that we take all litter with us. The desert is a fragile environment and we take great pains to ensure that we do not disturb it.

We do everything possible to reduce our waste while travelling, using local cafes and restaurants. We also work extremely closely with our locally owned suppliers to inform and educate their staff about a range of issues, including litter and waste disposal, and the recycling of material. Clients are advised to bring their own water bottles rather than purchase plastic.

Wherever possible we use environmentally friendly local accommodation. If this is not possible we make every effort to alert the management of the accommodation in question to ways of improving their service with the environment in mind. Many of the hotels and lodges we use are in extremely remote areas and are therefore almost entirely self-sufficient, using local sources of food, labour and construction materials.

We also visit Djouji National Park, a wetland area home to thousands of species of birds. Most is a designated World Heritage Site, and in order to reduce our impacts, clients are briefed on the appropriate behaviour whilst in the parks, and stick to clearly marked trails and paths as to not disturb or destroy the habitats of the wildlife that live here.

Community

Our very small groups and limited departures travelling through Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Morocco mean that our impact – both cultural and environmental – on the areas that we visit is small and truly sustainable. We are investing in the future, in the belief that along with our local colleagues we can create sustainable social benefits. All of the guides we use are local, and most have been working with our local team in a full time role for a number of years, rather than just as seasonal jobs.

We visit the villages of several remote tribes and ethnic minorities, including the Manjaco tribe, Diola Kingdom and the Dra region of Morocco. Here, the local people still follow their ancient traditions and values. To be able to visit these remote villages, often we need permission from the tribe leader. This encourages social interaction between tourists and local people, and our clients are briefed on appropriate behaviour towards the tribe and their leader so to minimize our impact as much as possible. Meeting these remote tribes teach us about the environment and their local customs, both providing income for a remote community and helping to ensure that traditions that have been passed down through generations are maintained, as the younger generation is able to see the value in this.

All of our trips include visits to local markets, craft shops and fairs. We also attend local festivals and support the preservation of wildlife. As well as being good for the local economy this gives travellers to the country a real feel for the life and culture of Guinea Bissau.

We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.

1 Reviews of West Africa overland expedition

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 16 Dec 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Camping in the deserts, especially the day we (by luck) stopped to stay with a small group of nomads in Mauritania.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't expect everything to run as planned - take it as it comes, but be sure that Alberto and his great team do everything in their power to give you an unforgettable and great experience every day

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We definitely supported the local communities along the way by using local guides and buying food locally etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Truly amazing - much better than expected.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for the feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed the tour so much. It truly is an amazing experience and a fantastic region to travel through.

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