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14 day SN GB From Dakar to Bissau attending amazing Carnival

Special departure dates from Dakar:
Jan. 28th 2016 and Feb. 16th 2017

DAY 1: Dakar, the capital - SENEGAL
Arrival in Dakar (Senegal) and transfer to the hotel. Free time to relax.

Meals own arrangements
Overnight Hotel Djoloff, hotel de charme with fine traditional architecture and comfort or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 2: Dakar and the edge of the Sahara – SENEGAL
Dakar became the centre of political, artistic and intellectual “renouveau” after independence. Visit of the “Plateau” district, the Governor Palace and some interesting markets. After lunch, by minibus we drive to the Lampoul Desert, where, at the limits of the dunes, 4WD vehicles will be waiting for us to take us to our camp.

Meals included in a local restaurant and at the camp
Overnight Permanent tented camp (comfortable tents with beds and ensuite)

DAY 3: Between history and ornithology - SENEGAL
Early in the morning departure northwards to discover Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj, a natural oasis formed by hundreds of miles of partially flooded lands which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This “humid paradise” - the best habitat and nesting site for over a million of migratory and resident birds - lies on the southeastern bank of the Senegal River and offers a range of wetland habitats that are very popular with migrating birds, many of which get here after crossing the Sahara. Out of over 400 species, pelicans and flamingos are the most common, whereas aquatic warblers are a bit less conspicuous - migrating here from Europe, this park is their single most important wintering site yet discovered. Apart from birds there is also a wide range of wildlife which could be encountered.
After lunch at the lodge in the park, we continue to Saint Louis, a charming old town which was the first capital of all French colonies in West Africa. Having been the former base of the “Aereopostale” airmail pioneer operation, Saint Exupéry himself - the famous aviator and author of “The Little Prince” - had a base here as well! We will spend the night at the historic hotel of the town - built in 1895 and now fully renovated - it was here that all Aeropostale pilots use to stay.

Meals included in the lodge and at the hotel
Overnight Hotel de la Poste or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 4: Nomadic tribes - SENEGAL
The best way to visit the narrow lanes of Saint Louis is by calash, just like locals do!
In the afternoon continuation to the Ferlo Desert to discover the arid region where nomadic Fulani tribes watch over their herds of zebu. The Fulani (also called Peul) are the largest tribe roaming West African savannahs, living in a vast area from Senegal to Tchad. Their origins are still covered with mystery but they all share a common and aristocratic cult for beauty and elegance. In the afternoon and evening the local people will join us for a visit to the neighboring villages and shelters. When the herds come back, we might even be invited to witness the milking process.

Meals included in a local restaurant and at the camp
Overnight Camp made up of simple grass huts managed by the local community (all huts ensuite and with mosquito nets)

DAY 5: Touba Brotherhood - SENEGAL
The rarely visited sacred town of Touba is the right place to appreciate the hospitality of an African brotherhood. Touba inhabitants follow Mouridism and the town itself is a sort of theocratic “state within the state”, ruled by a Caliph. The founder of Mouridi brotherhood was a Sufi named Amhadou Bàmba Mbake and still today the Mouridi have a large social and economical impact in Senegal: thanks to their peaceful (and African) vision of Islam, Mouridism has become the bastion that protects Senegal from more radical and violent forms of Islam. During the annual festival the town is visited by four million pilgrims. Mouridi welcome any interest for their traditions yet since Touba is a holy town, all visitors should show respect for traditional values and morals and should avoid offending local sensitivities, therefore we must apply a considerate dress code, not smoke, not drink alcohol and not listen to music. If you follow these simple rules, you will be very welcomed. Baye Fall, a member of a colorful branch of Mouridism, will accompany us during the visit.
Continuation to Lac Rose, a shallow saltwater lake surrounded by dunes, also known as Lac Retba. The water is ten times saltier than in the ocean and because of the high concentration of minerals the lake often shimmers into pink. More than 600 workers here collect salt. For the more adventurous possibility to go for a “swim”, or rather a float, in the lake waters.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Hotel Le Traza, a charming hotel with an open-air restaurant overlooking the lake (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 6: Navigation – SENEGAL
After a tour around the lake by 4WD to discover some villages hidden in the dunes, continuation to Dakar where arrival is expected late in the morning. Ferry to Goré, to explore the island where slaves used to be crammed and then shipped to the Americas. Some restored buildings remain to bear witness of those sad times however thanks to the nice breeze, the many restaurants and shops, Goré today has become a very pleasant location. In the afternoon return to Dakar port in time to board the liner “Aline Sitoe Diatta”.

Meals included in a local restaurant and on the liner ship
Overnight Aboard the ship (all cabins ensuite and with aircon; each cabin accommodates 2 or 4 passengers)

DAY 7: Forest sailing – SENEGAL
In the early morning light, our ship enters the estuary of the majestic Casamance River … fishermen in their pirogues collecting their nets and dolphins following the vessel. From the edge of the river, we will discover the Casamance region: its large and luxuriant trees and its “sacred forests” where animistic cults are still practiced today. The main feature of this tour is the progressive and continuous change of landscapes, climates, natural environments and cultures.
We leave our ship at Carabane Island - where its historic ruins have been covered by lush vegetation – and we immediately board a local boat which takes us to a small island where we take part in the “Essipati” dances of the women of the Diola ethnic group. Lunch in a tiny restaurant specialized in local dishes such as goat cheese and grilled oysters and continuation through a labyrinth of water and mangroves.
Upon arrival on the mainland, a local “bush taxi” will take us on a short but intriguing experience of African road transport till Cap Skirring, known as just “Cap” by the locals.

Meals included in a local restaurant and at the hotel
Overnight Hotel Maya or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 8: The sacred king – SENEGAL
Today we visit some adobe-fortified buildings still inhabited by some large patriarchal Diola families, a very interesting example of traditional African “sculptural architecture”. These large clay and wooden houses, where light comes from a central hole in the roof, are known as “impluvium houses” - an African variant of the ancient roman house – and had the function to protect its dwellers from outside attacks. During our visit we will be received also by the king of one Diola Kingdom. As it often happens, the king is also the high priest, holding both political and mystical power. In the afternoon visit of a rare adobe home and warehouse.

Meals included in a local restaurant and at the hotel
Overnight Hotel Maya or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 9: African manatees, at the origin of the mermaid myth – SENEGAL
We follow an isolated path to a creek where, with a bit of luck, we may get a glimpse of manatees: being aquatic mammals they need to come to the surface for breathing, letting out the tip of their nose, their typical tail and their shell-encrusted back. It is one of the most elusive mammals hence a very rare sight, however, even if not guaranteed, we have good chances because we will go to a fresh underwater spring where manatees love to come drinking. West African manatees (Trichechus Senegalensis) live in rivers and along the coasts and they are believed to be at the origin of the mermaid myth (half woman and half fish): manatees produce sounds in mating period and mermaids sing, mermaids have two breasts and two fins which look like short human arms, mermaids “hold” their babies when breastfeeding exactly like human mothers do. In the evening arrival in Ziguinchor.

Meals included in local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Kadiandoumange Hotel on the banks of the Casamance River or similar (all rooms ensuite and with
aircon)

DAY 10: Cult for the ancestors – SENEGAL & GUINEA BISSAU
After crossing the border with Guinea Bissau we explore the region inhabited by the Manjaco. This ethnic group calls their traditions “Gendiman” and keep them still very much alive. We visit some tiny villages hidden in the forest to discover sculptured wooden poles called “Pecab” and representing the spirits of their ancestors, they are kept in a sanctuary known as “Cab Balugun”. With the permission of the villagers, we have the opportunity to admire sacred wooden sculptures dating back to many generations and of different styles, it is indeed a rare opportunity to enjoy tribal art in its original cultural context.
In the afternoon we enjoy their exciting Tribal Carnival: an incredible parade of spectacular masks from the whole region. It is a unique opportunity to meet with fetish priests, dancers and traditional warriors, all gathering for one of the most vibrating ceremonies in West Africa.
In the evening arrival at Quinhamel.

Meals included in local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Hotel Mar Azul or similar (all rooms ensuite and with fan)

DAY 11: Magical villages – GUINEA BISSAU
Interesting day spent discovering the magical-animistic traditions of the Pepel people. First we go to see a “traditional clinic” where healers cure patients with local herbs combined with a touch of magic; then we visit an old style local rum distillery (Cana) which dates back to the old colonial time.

Meals included in local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Hotel Mar Azul or similar (all rooms ensuite and with fan)

DAY 12: Bissau Carnival – GUINEA BISSAU
Early morning visit of Bissau, the actual capital of the country. Here a vehicle will be waiting to take us on a brief tour of this tiny and intriguing capital with its old Portuguese architecture and its huge fort recalling the period of the Slave Trade.
It is in the afternoon that carnival goes wild and we shall be there to enjoy and appreciate it fully. Along the main avenue “Avenida Amilcar Cabral” colorful masks from different areas and neighborhoods start their parade: sacred traditional masks, warriors dressed in a crocodile skin and armed with arrows, modern masks made of papier-mâché, all surrounded by gorgeous girls wearing only strings of glass beds around their waist. Hours of lively parades turn this carnival into an unforgettable experience, a real “fiesta popular” combining Portuguese influence with the cheerful African spirit.

Meals included in local restaurant and at the hotel
Overnight Malaika Hotel in the city center or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 13: Sacred Island in the Bijagos Archipelago – GUINEA BISSAU
In the morning departure by speedboat to Canhabaque Island (Ilha Roxa) where we will spend part of the day walking to villages hidden in the forest (5 hours walk on flat sandy track). Alternatively, a person can visit fewer villages and relax on the beach. Canhabaque is the most traditional island of the archipelago and it is considered sacred. The Bijagos Archipelago, with its 88 islands (of which only 21 are permanently inhabited), is the largest archipelago in Africa. With its wild and pristine landscapes, its unique fauna and its genuine tribal culture, Bijagos is a “geographical jewel”. Due to the remoteness of the destination, the lack of transportation and the deep attachment to the local traditions, the Bijagos inhabitants have been little influenced by the external world: women still wear the saiya - a traditional skirt made of straw - and the rhythm of village life is given by initiations and secret ceremonies – for example young men have to go through a seven-year initiation rite during which they live in a “convent” without any contact with women.
In the late afternoon continuation by speedboat to Rubane Island.

Meals included pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Hotel Ponta Anchaca or Fishing Club on Rubane Island (all bungalows ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 14: from the ghost capital to Bissau – GUINEA BISSAU
Early morning departure to Bolama Island, the former capital of Portuguese Guinea from 1871 to 1941, before they moved it to Bissau. When the Portuguese left, native people came to live in the town which is now falling apart and is partly invaded by tropical vegetation. The city was built following the plans of a «Castrum Romanum» (roman citadel) so today we can witness its large sunny lethargic avenues, its empty squares, its dry fountains, its bush-like gardens and its charming administrative buildings in neo Palladian style. In the Governor’s Palace we can still admire columns in the classic style and … surrounded by peaceful goats! Bolama, although inhabited, is plunged in the fairy-tale atmosphere of a ghost town.
In the afternoon, we end our speedboat navigation by arriving back in Bissau. Free time and relax before the evening transfer to the airport for the flight out.

Meals breakfast and lunch in a local restaurant included; dinner own arrangement
Day-use Rooms in day-use till 18.00 hrs in a comfortable hotel in town (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)
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Listing Details

Telephone
+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Prices
Based on 10+ Pax 2760 Euro
Based on 6 - 9 Pax 3180 Euro
Based on 2 - 5 Pax 3634 Euro
Single Supplement 352 Euro

Included:
Assistance at Dakar airport upon arrival and Bissau airport upon departure
Transfers and tour in: minibuses/microbuses, 4WD vehicles, local calash (private use), local bush taxi called “taxi brousse” (private use), ferry boat, liner ship, local motor boat (private use), speedboat fitted for ocean crossing to the Bijagos Archipelago.
Local guide (languages spoken: English, French, Italian and Spanish)
Tours and visits as per the programme
Accommodation in standard rooms/bungalows/huts/permanent tents/cabins, as per itinerary
All meals as described, from breakfast on day 2 to lunch on day 14
Mineral water in the bus/car/boat during the visits
Entrance fees to parks, concessions, protected areas and cultural sites
Pass for carnival
First Aid box
All service charges and taxes
Credit Cards
Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Amex (surcharge may apply depending on method of payment)
Contact Details
Email: habari@habariafrica.com
Landline:(+256)392.897.704
Mobile:(+256)702.014.207
Fixed:(+44)208.765.1058
:(+44)790.863.9450
(+1)614-285-1163(US)
(+1)647-869-8051(CAN)
Email: habari@habariafrica.com

habari@habariafrica.com

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