Gary is currently in Grand Chute, WI (May 22nd, 2015)

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Day 1, West Africa Cruise – Cape Town


Latitude: 33° 54.2614′ S
Longitude: 18° 24.9283′ E

Today I begin one of my biggest adventures yet: spending one month sailing up the West Coast of Africa on G Adventure’s M/S Expedition. We will be spending 32 days going up the west coast of Africa from Cape Town to Morocco.

As a Wander in Residence for G Adventures, I have had the opportunity to travel with G on tours around the world. This tour, however, might very well be the most coveted one in the entire G catalog. Just to put it in perspective, since I got approval to go on the tour last year, almost every single person I’ve met who works for G, 1) knew that I was going on the trip and 2) expressed their jealously that I was going. This is from a company of well traveled people who deal with tours on a daily basis.

Two months ago I took a day trip to the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa where I met two men who worked for STA Travel in South Africa. STA is a partner of G Adventures and books many trips for them. When I told them I was going on the West Africa trip, even they expressed their jealously.

Though this is only the second year the trip has been run, it has quickly developed a reputation as one of the most desired tours in the entire G Adventures lineup.

Over the next 32 days we will be visiting some of the least visited countries in the world. Places where most travelers avoid and most tour companies don’t even think of visiting. Here is list of where we’ll be stopping during the trip.

  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Luderitz, Namibia
  • Swakopmund/Walvis Bay, Namibia
  • Lobito (Benguela), Angola
  • Pointe Noir, Congo
  • São Tomé
  • Príncipe
  • Cotonou, Benin
  • Lome, Togo
  • Accra, Ghana
  • Takoradi, Ghana
  • Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Bijagos Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau
  • Banjul, The Gambia
  • Dakar, Senegal
  • Dakhla, Western Sahara
  • Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
  • Agadir, Morocco
  • Marrakech, Morocco

With the exception of Walvis Bay and Cape Town, I have never been to any of these places.

This trip came about because M/S Expedition has to reposition itself twice a year. The primary mission of the M/S Expedition is exploring the polar regions. However, it has to move to the other end of the world twice a year to avoid one hemisphere’s winter and join the other hemisphere’s summer. The West Africa cruise is a way to turn a mandatory repositioning of the ship into an adventure. Hence, the trip is only done once a year, which also explains why everyone wants to do it.

During the next month I’ll be posting whenever I can to my various social media channels: Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Facebook and Pinterest. I will also be posting daily to my blog in a diary format. This not normally something I do, but because we will be visiting so many places over the next month I thought it was best to write my thoughts immediately rather than wait for the end of the trip.

There may be a delay of a day or two as I post updates. This could be due to the internet connection aboard the ship or the fact that I’ve been busy taking photos during our excursions.

…and if you are interested, they are now taking bookings for the 2015 West Africa trip!

  • 15 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. Victoria says:

    Looks fabulous. What an adventure.
    I’ve never been to any of those destinations except that of Cape Town where I went on a two week safari trip. I would love to go to such countries as Ghana and Morocco. Morocco of course, is in everyone’s reach but not so Ghana. What a story you’re going to be able to tell. Well done!

  2. Mark says:

    Looking forward to catching up on your cruise posts. I used to work on a cruise ship so repositioning is very common in seasonal waters. That’s a smart way for the polar ships to get out of the way, just cruise up the coast to the Mediterranean. All I can say is lucky you son of a gun! :)

  3. Rachel says:

    Good for you doing it, but I have absolutely no interest in visiting any parts of Africa. Ever :)

    Heard too many horror stories from travel savvy friends to want to venture anywhere on the continent. One friend even, who loved living in South Africa for more than 10 years, admitted he was finally happy to get back to Europe as the constant sense of fear over being mugged, attacked, abducted etc. drains you after a while just about anywhere you travel on the continent.

    A shame, as it’s obviously got a lot to offer but…..I’ll stick with living in Asia thank you :)

  4. What can I say except that I am insanely jealous. But really looking forward to following along.

  5. This is the first time I see such an itinerary. Interesting idea, indeed… I think very few travel bloggers take coastal African trips.

  6. And why aren’t there any stops along the coast of Nigeria, a country with one of the larger coastlines in West Africa????

  7. Vaibhav says:

    Hope you have a wonderful trip, looking forward to your pictures and updates.

    Question: How does one manage visas for a 14+ country cruise like this ?

    • Gary says:

      Actually, it is quite easy. They get group visas, so you just give them your passport at the beginning of the trip and get it back when you are done.

      From a visa standpoint, it is FAR easier to manage visas this way than it is to do it yourself.

  8. Caroline says:

    Enjoy! It looks and sounds amazing!

  9. Wow, sounds awesome.
    We would love to do it some time soon.
    When is the return voyage?

  10. Nicole genereux says:

    Dear lucky traveller,
    I have seen 8 of those places, always arriving by air. Now enjoy the pleasure of comparing how French, Portugese and British colonization have marked the waterfront (and the culture and economies ) fo those big African cities. A lot has to do with extraction : it all started by slaves! Enjoy!

  11. Sunshine says:

    This is it–amazing, incredible, evocative, wonderful, exciting, you are very lucky and we look forward to your photos. Your Message

  12. Dianne says:

    Wonderful adventure – don’t eat any bat soup or bat anything else. Ebola, current outbreak in Guinea.

  13. Niranjan says:

    Sounds fabulous. Bon Voyage!

  14. Dave Brett says:

    Looks like an incredible adventure ahead, looking forward to following your journey.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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