West Africa Odyssey

Aboard the 152-Guest SH Vega

West Africa Odyssey

Aboard the 152-Guest SH Vega


This voyage to the mid-Atlantic region of Africa is an extraordinary opportunity to explore a part of the world largely untouched by tourism. An impressive 9 countries are included on our voyage, most very challenging to visit on your own. Although the stretch of coastline between Angola and Ghana is less visited than the neighboring African shores, it is no less fascinating—encompassing an astonishingly rich variety of wildlife in an environment of lush rainforests, and a history both proud and tragic.

Discover the colonial architecture in Luanda, Sao Tome, and Porto-Novo juxtaposed to the simple houses of the traditional villages along the banks of the Ogooue River in Gabon and on the shores of Lake Togo. Compare and contrast the hustle and bustle of great oil-exporting ports with the pace of life on display in the markets with carefully handcrafted goods for sale. Delve into the unspoiled tropical paradise of Bom Bom Island. The rich biodiversity of both flora and fauna is apparent everywhere, birds in particular abound in and around these lakes and rivers.

Throughout the voyage, guest lecturer Ambassador Robert E. Gribbin will draw on his extensive experience of Africa as he traces the history of this region from early European contacts with West Africa, through the slave trade, colonialism and the struggle for independence, to the Cold War. He will also offer thoughts on what he calls the “curse of oil,” and on current politics, disease and terrorism.

We look forward to welcoming you aboard Vega. Coda will be a small group among a mixed guest list of travelers from the USA and Great Britain.

Book Your Adventure

Cruise Overview

Countries Visited: 1) Angola, 2) Rep. of Congo, 3) Gabon, 4) Principe & São Tomé , 5) Benin, 6) Togo, 7) Ghana, 8) Angola
Starts In: Luanda (LAD), Angola
Ends In: Accra (ACC), Ghana
Duration: 16 days | 14 nights
Cruise Date: April 1-16, 2023
Group Size: Max 152 passengers
Accommodations: Luxury (5★)
Activity Level: Easy
Experiences: Culture, Food, Wildllife
Int'l Air Route: USA / Luanda (LAD)... Accra (ACC) / USA OR with Namibia extension: USA / Windhoek (WDH) ... Accra (ACC) / USA

Highlights

  • Coda Tours signature small group size
  • Coda Tours signature comprehensive sightseeing programs
  • Coda Tours signature inclusive meal plan
  • Coda Tours signature luxury accommodations
  • Sample traditional cuisine and get to know the Congolese locals at Grand Marché market
  • Learn about conservation efforts in Congo’s biodiverse Conkouati Reserve
  • Keep an eye out for forest elephants and buffalos, lowland gorillas and chimpanzees in Gabon’s South Loango National Park
  • Sneak a peek at animal skins, skulls and talismans in the world’s oldest voodoo market

About SH Vega

Making her maiden voyage in July 2022, our 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage.

For now, sit back, relax and take a moment to get to know your expedition ship.

FACTS AT A GLANCE
Built inVessel LengthVessel BreadthVessel Sun DeckNumber of Cabins
2022377 ft75 ftSee deck plan76

Cabins & Prices

Cabin CategoryDouble/TwinSingleCabin Square Footage
Cat E - Oceanview staterooms with two large oval windows$SOLD OUT$SOLD OUT206 sq. ft.
Cat D - Oceanview staterooms with two large oval portholes$SOLD OUT$SOLD OUT206 sq. ft.
Cat C - Suites with balcony & living room area$SOLD OUT$SOLD OUT300 sq. ft.
Cat B - Suites with balcony & living room area. $SOLD OUT$SOLD OUT300 sq. ft.
Cat A - Suites with balcony and living room area. $14,990$Inquire300 sq. ft.
Cat AA - Suites with large balcony, separate bedroom & living room$SOLD OUT$SOLD OUT520 sq. ft.
Deposit:

A deposit of $1500 per person is required to hold your place on the cruise. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Special Notes:
  • Single Occupancy rates can be avoided if you wish to be matched with another single traveler who also wishes to share. If no share is available, the single rate will apply.
  • Rates are based on current rates and currency exchange rates at the time of publishing the tour online.
  • Rates are subject to change until final payment has been made. Rates are based on a minimum participation and if the minimum participation is not met rates may need to be revised.

 

Do these dates not fit in with your schedule?
CODA can help design a tailor made tour to suit you!

Tour Map

Itinerary

  • Sat, Apr 01 | Depart USA

    Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Luanda, Angola.

  • Sun, Apr 02 | Luanda | Welcome Dinner

    Arrive in Luanda and transfer to our deluxe hotel. This evening, gather for a welcome dinner and meet fellow travelers.

  • Mon, Apr 03 |Luanda City Tour | Embark on the Vega

    After breakfast at the hotel, our tour of Angola's capital includes the Museum of Anthropology, with interesting exhibits on traditional folklore; the Church of Remedios, built in 1628; and the 16th-century Fortaleza de Sao Miguel that guards the port where we will embark Vega in late afternoon and set sail.

  • Tue, Apr 04 | At Sea

    During days at sea, you may treat yourself to the amenities aboard and attend informative lectures and briefings from expedition staff and guest lecturers. You may also simply relax and enjoy cruising along the African coastline with vast horizons under open skies.

  • Wed, Apr 05 | Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo

    Congo’s main port, Pointe-Noire, is relatively prosperous with wealth generated primarily by the offshore oil industry.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Thu&Fri Apr 06&07 | Conkouati National Park

    Spend two days exploring this protected area of rainforest, mangrove, and sandy beaches, habitats for a wide range of fauna, from elephants, gorillas, and chimpanzees in the forest to hippos, manatees, and leatherback turtles on the beaches and in the mangroves. Our ship remains anchored just offshore and serves as the base for excursions that include guided walks along the beach, kayaking in the Tchitembo Lagoon, a visit to a local fishing village, a cruise aboard local boats on the Noumbi River, and time with researchers at the chimpanzee sanctuary at Camp Help, where
    we learn about conservation efforts in the
    Conkouati Park and beyond.

  • Sat& Sun Apr 08&09 | Sette Cama, Gabon/South Loango National Park

    During our time in Gabon, Vega will anchor offshore at the tiny village of Sette Cama on a peninsula between the Atlantic and the Ndogo Lagoon. Once a major center for trade in timber and ivory, Sette Cama serves today as our entry point to South Loango National Park. As in our visit to Conkouati, a variety of excursions will
    allow us to sample the incredibly rich biodiversity of this region, often referred to as "Africa's last Eden." The beach here is among the few places
    in the world where elephants still go down to the sea, and Ndogo Lagoon is world famous for its incredible bird life. On walks in the jungle and along the beach, 4X4 drives through the mangrove and forest, and cruises on local boats, we are very likely to see buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, manatees, elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas. And sightings of rare birds like quail finch, rosy bee-eaters, and Congo River martins are common.

  • Mon, Apr 10 | At Sea

    During our time in Gabon, Vega will anchor offshore at the tiny village of Sette Cama on a peninsula between the Atlantic and the Ndogo Lagoon. Once a major center for trade in timber and ivory, Sette Cama serves today as our entry point to South Loango National Park. As in our visit to Conkouati, a variety of excursions will
    allow us to sample the incredibly rich biodiversity of this region, often referred to as "Africa's last Eden." The beach here is among the few places
    in the world where elephants still go down to the sea, and Ndogo Lagoon is world famous for its incredible bird life. On walks in the jungle and along the beach, 4X4 drives through the mangrove and forest, and cruises on local boats, we are very likely to see buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, manatees, elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas. And sightings of rare birds like quail finch, rosy bee-eaters, and Congo River martins are common.

  • Tue, Apr 11 | Sao Tome, Sao Tome & Principe

    Sao Tome was a prized possession of the Portuguese, who ruled it from the 15th century until 1975, when Sao Tome and the nearby island of Principe gained independence and formed the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe. We call at the island’s capital and main port, also called Sao Tome, a picturesque and friendly town featuring colonial architecture. Also explore the island’s lush interior and rich biodiversity, and visit an active coffee plantation, where we witness a lifestyle largely unchanged since the colonial era and where we will be invited to sample some of what the locals claim is the world’s best chocolate.

  • Wed, Apr 12 | Bom Bom Island, Sao Tome & Principe

    Bom Bom Island Resort sits at the northern tip of Principe. Here we encounter an impressive landscape of soaring volcanic peaks covered with dense forest and beautiful clear-water beaches that line the shore of this tropical paradise. Wander in the charming colonial town of Santo Antonio, walk through the abandoned plantation of Porto Real, watch villagers make palm oil, and hike through the pristine rain forest.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Thu, Apr 13 | Aboard the Vega | Lectures & Leisure

    During days at sea, treat yourself to the amenities aboard and relax. Enjoy cruising along the African coastline with vast horizons under open skies. Informative lectures and briefings from expedition staff and guest lecturer, Ambassador Robert E. Gribbin are also available during days at sea. Ambassador Gribbin has worked in Africa since the late 1960’s and continues to take on assignments after his retirement. He is the author of the memoir In Aftermath of Genocide: the U.S. Role in Rwanda and of four other novels. During our cruise Gribbin will lecture on early European contact with West Africa, slavery, colonialism and the struggle for independence, the cold war in Africa, the curse of oil, and on current politics, conflicts, disease and terrorism.

  • Fri, Apr 14 | Cotonou and Porto-Novo, Benin

    The small country of Benin, home to an ancient and sophisticated culture, is emerging as a popular travel destination. From the port of Cotonou, drive to the nearby capital, Porto-Novo, set on green hills surrounding a large lagoon. Formerly the center of a prosperous African kingdom, it later became the capital of the French colony of Dahomey. Explore this pleasant city, including visits to the Ethnography Museum, the restored palace of King Toffa, and the Handicraft Center. After lunch, board local motorboats for a ride across Lake Nokou to the picturesque fishing village of Ganvie.

  • Sat, Apr 15 | Lome and Agbodrafo, Togo

    For centuries, Togo was claimed by successive African empires, later becoming part of the French and German colonial empires. Today, Togo’s capital Lome, famous for its palm-lined waterfront, is among West Africa’s most exciting and friendly cities. From Lome, drive a few miles up the coast to Agbodrafo, set on the shores of Lake Togo, to explore the lake’s traditional villages aboard local pirogues. Return to Lome proper to visit its bustling handicraft markets selling traditional goods from all over West Africa, and noted especially for sculpture and batiks.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Sun, Apr 16 | Tema, Ghana | Disembark | Accra | Depart to USA

    After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport in Accra for flights homeward.

What's Included

What's Included

  • One nights’ accommodation at a deluxe hotel in Luanda, Angola
  • Cruise aboard Swan Hellenic’s Vega, as described in the itinerary.
  • 41 Meals (three meals a day onboard Vega, dinner on arrival day, breakfast on departure day)
  • Welcome and farewell cocktail receptions aboard the ship hosted by the captain.
  • Open bar with select alcoholic beverages.
  • Coffee, including espresso and cappuccino, tea and soft drinks throughout the day and night.
  • 24-hour room service.
  • Private transportation and English-speaking local guide throughout the tour
  • Airport/hotel/pier transfers and handling of luggage.
  • Presentations and discussions with guest lecturer Ambassador Robert E. Gribbin.
  • Lectures from our onboard team of experts.
  • Cruise aboard Swan Hellenic’s Vega, as described in the itinerary.
  • Sightseeing excursions and entry fees, as stated in the itinerary
  • Complete program of shore landings and activities ashore.
  • Gratuities to the ship’s crew, guides, porters and drivers.
  • Basic Wi-Fi aboard the ship.
  • Coda Tour Representative, with minimum participation
  • Pre-departure assistance and Information Portfolio from Coda Tours
  • Taxes and service charges

What's Not Included

  • International airfare and baggage fees
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance (highly recommended)
  • Passport and visa fees; several visas are required for this tour
  • Early or late arrival/departure surcharge or early check-in / late check-out
  • Personal accommodations, meals, transfers, drinks, telephone, gifts, and expenses not outlined in the itinerary
  • Any optional sightseeing excursions or additional visits not outlined in the itinerary

Travel Prep

Many airlines partner with United Airlines to provide flights from New York to Luanda, Angola (LAD). And United, Delta, and TAP Air Portugal partner with other airlines to provide flights from Accra (ACC) to New York or Miami (MIA). Please request a quote if you would like Coda Tours to assist with international airfare bookings. We often can offer favorable rates for Business or Economy class at a standard fee of $35 per ticket.

No internal flights during the cruise.

A valid passport is required for international travel and must be valid for 6 months after the return date of travel and have two blank pages available per country visited.
A visa is required for Angola, Gabon,  Benin, Togo, and Ghana. Additional information about obtaining visas will be sent with confirmation of the voyage.

PROOF OF A YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION IS REQUIRED FOR THIS VOYAGE. For information about Yellow Fever vaccinations, go to https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/yellow-fever
A Yellow Fever vaccination is good for life for most people.

Angola – www.angola.org
Gabon – www.gabonembassyusa.org/en/visa-consular/visa
Cameroon – www.cameroonembassyusa.org
Benin – www.beninembassy.us/visas/
Togo – www.embassyoftogousa.com/visa-application-requirements/
Ghana – www.ghanaembassydc.org/visa/.

The weather during this tour will be pleasantly warm and muggy with lots of cloud coverage. Please pack and dress accordingly. 

Average Temperature Low High
Luanda 77 89
Pointe-Noire 75 87
Sao Tome 72 86
Porto-Novo 79 90

 

The cruise is guaranteed. A Coda representative will accompany Coda clients if 12 or more book through Coda Tours.

A portfolio of pre-departure information will be mailed approximately three weeks prior to departure.

Gallery

Travel with us and discover why our clients return over and over (more than 60% repeat clientele on every tour) and why we have won accolades from Out & About newsletter and major gay travel publications.

Coda Tours has been our travel agent for over two years and has planned two private tours for my husband and me. The first was a crossing on The Queen Mary ll from New York to Southampton. From Southampton we flew to Paris for a wonderful week in the Most beautiful city we’ve experienced.
Lloyd P. & Hao Bac L.

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We care about you and your vacation!  For information regarding our booking policies, please follow the link below.

 

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