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Fernando de Noronha and the Bijagos Archipelago
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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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In this unique expedition cruise, you will sail between two continents, from South America to Africa, while discovering rich cultures and remarkable natural sites. Starting in Recife in Brazil, don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Olinda’s city centre, with remarkable Portuguese colonial architecture from the 16th century. Off the Brazilian coast, you will visit the Fernando de Noronha islands, a natural paradise home of thousands of birds and rich underwater wildlife. Then cross the Atlantic until you reach the Bijagos Islands, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve only accessible to a few privileged travellers. End your journey in Dakar, Senegal situated on the tip of the African continent. Offering incredibly rich, diverse districts surrounded by spectacular natural landscapes.

Trip highlights

Enjoy the wide diversity of landscapes of the Bijagós Islands, from tropical rainforests to the rich fauna & flora treasure, Savannah and mangroves experience the true beauty of this region.

Discover the UNESCO sites of Olinda, the Bijagos and Fernando de Noronha islands.

Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides (subject to authorisation in the Fernando de Noronha islands).

Experience the remote islands of the Atlantic alongside a National Geographic Photographer and Expert, who are specialised in the destination.vvvv

Tyrone Turner

Award-winning photographer Tyrone Turner has produced stories for National Geographic magazine on a wide range of subjects, including New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, and the Gulf Oil Spill; Brazil’s maroon people, the quilombos; and energy efficiency and conservation. He has been named a Best of Photojournalism award-winner by the National Press Photographer’s Association and also earned recognition from the Pictures of the Year competition. Turner has joined National Geographic Expeditions for a number of years, including a trip along the Atlantic coast of South America, and lived in Recife and Salvador in northeastern Brazil for two years. Tyrone enjoys sharing his passion for photography and has also taught at National Geographic Photo Camps for youth from underserved regions of the United States and around the world.

Itinerary - 13Days

1 Recife, Brazil

Recife is a city in the northeast coast of Brazil founded in the 16th century. It offers a vibrant mix of old and new. Stroll around the historic centre to discover stylish pastel-coloured houses, the Baroque cathedral of São Pedro and the azulejos frescoes in the church of São António, not far from the neoclassical theatre of Santa Isabel. On the waterfront, enjoy the long sandy beaches with emerald water and a background of coconut palms and modern business skyscrapers.

2-4 Fernando De Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha, designated UNESCO World Natural Heritage for its unspoiled natural environment, is the main island in the archipelago. Discover its deserted beaches with pristine waters against a backdrop of luxuriant green hills. In In Dolphins Bay, try to spot spinner dolphins, whale sharks and hawksbill turtles. For an insight into the island’s culture, visit Vila dos Remédios, a seaside village featuring many historic buildings.

5 Crossing the Equator Line

Crossing the equator is a baptism, a maritime tradition that we perpetuate with humour. The Captain and officers of your ship will choose some neophyte passengers and crew members, who will be submitted to the good-natured ‘trials’ of the passing of the line. As we change hemispheres, you will attend a ceremony organised in a fun and festive atmosphere. An unforgettable moment of conviviality between passengers and crew, under the aegis of Neptune, God of the Seas!

6-8 At Sea

During your time at sea crossing the Atlantic from South America to Africa, make the most of the services and facilities aboard L’Austral. Enjoy a day of relaxation in the luxurious spa or head to the fitness centre for a workout. If the weather is nice, head to the swimming pool or relax with some sunbathing on deck. You can also visit the boutique shop or see what shows and activities are scheduled. Alternatively, meet the National Geographic photographers in their dedicated space or head to the upper deck to enjoy the views.

9 Maio Island and Ampincha, Bijagos

The Bissau-Guinean archipelago of Bijagos is famous for its abundant biodiversity, and it was declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It consists of 88 islands, 23 of which are inhabited. At Maio, also called Chediã, you can meet the Bijagos people and get to know their ancestral lifestyle and traditions. You wil also visit Ampincha, a village in the Carache island with strong traditions.

10 Caravela, Escaramoussa's Beach, Bijagos

The second stop of the Bijagos Islands is Caravela Island, where people has melted in with nature. In this region, cut off from the rest of the world and secluded from Western influences, you’ll discover how locals really live. Be impressed by the magnificent landscapes and the exuberant wild nature of this island.

11 Laterite Beach, Bijagos

Take a break in this paradisiac and quiet beach out of the crowds. The contrast of its turquoise waters with its golden sand and its palm trees background make this an unbeatable scenery.

12 Dakar, Senegal

Finalise your expedition cruise in the buzzing capital of Senegal, Dakar. You may be overwhelmed by its sheer size, but Dakar will win you over with its richly diverse districts, appealing cultural scene and rich natural surroundings. If you have the time, a visit to the island of Gorée is deeply moving; for several hundred years this island was the largest slave trading centre on the African coast, and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.