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SHVega - Guests

West Coast Of Africa - From Angola To Ghana

Luanda to Accra

Cross the equator from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern on our 14-day West Coast of Africa - Angola to Ghana cruise, and you will realise the diversity of this vast continent. Leaving from the Southern African country of Angola, we cruise up the Atlantic coast via the Central African countries of Congo and Sao Tome to West Africa’s Benin and Togo, finally arriving on the Gold Coast in Ghana. Your journey starts by experiencing a pristine, biodiverse shoreline that harbours volcanic islands, mangrove forests, rainforests, beaches and lagoons, where elephants, lowland gorillas, leopards, hippos and chimpanzees live. In West Africa, we meet the people and dive deeper into cultures where voodoo is a state religion. Your incredible adventure on our boutique expedition ship ends in Ghana, where you will have encountered unique customs and landscapes in some of the least-visited parts of Africa.


  • • Valid on new bookings only. Promotion can change at anytime and is subject to availability




    • 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


    Start DateEnd DateFrom EUR From USD
    Start DateEnd DateFrom EUR From USD


    DAY 1
    As Angola emerges from years of colonial rule and a long Civil War, its capital Luanda is fast becoming a forward-looking city with a rich heritage. Delve into its colonial past at the Old City’s Portuguese-style buildings and the 16th-century Fortress of São Miguel. Museums across the city offer a glimpse of local culture through their exhibits on traditional art, hunting equipment, and masks. At Ilha do Cabo, chic seaside steak restaurants and bars showcase a modern side of the city.

    AT SEA
    DAY 2
    Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

    DAY 3
    The Republic of Congo’s second city offers up a slice of French Africa with two distinct quarters – European and African. Explore lively La Cité on foot, sampling traditional cuisine and stopping in at the vibrant Grand Marché for a glimpse of local life. Relax at a waterfront restaurant at Côté Sauvage – a laid-back city beach. Just outside the city, the Diosso Gorge offers tropical rainforest and sweeping views of red canyons.

    DAY 4-5
    The vast and varied terrain, where the forest meets the sea, of this biodiverse national park offers safe haven to free-roaming elephants, lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. In this untouched coastal forest, where beaches give way to mangroves and grasslands, canoes glide silently down rivers, allowing close up views of the jungle. Spend the day learning about the Republic of Congo’s incredible natural history and conservation efforts in the heart of one of its most protected areas.

    DAY 6-7
    Discover an untamed wilderness in Equatorial Africa - a place where forest and coast collide, offering a home to lowland gorillas and hippos, elephants and leopards. The landscape changes dramatically from mangrove forest to savannah grassland to shimmering lagoons – each providing habitat to terrestrial and avian species. When migratory whales and dolphins arrive, the waters of the Atlantic churn with marine activity. Welcome to the wild west coast of Gabon – there’s a reason it’s called ‘Africa’s last Eden’.

    AT SEA
    DAY 8
    Today as you sail, you’ll bask in the endless comforts of your ship. From the deck, marvel at the dramatic sea views. Relax with a nurturing facial treatment or massage in the spa or delve into the ship’s learning resources. Or, simply take refuge in your cabin and enjoy the opportunity to rest.

    DAY 9
    Today you arrive at a tropical idyll with lush rainforests, beaches and waterfalls. São Tomé island is the largest in a collection of far-flung volcanic isles that straddle the equator in the Gulf of Guinea. São Tomé Peak rises to 2,024 m, and on its slopes you may also spot some of the island’s bird species such as the ibis and grosbeak. The capital city of São Tomé has 15th-century Portuguese architecture and a long colonial history.

    DAY 10
    The island nation of São Tomé and Principe was uninhabited until Portuguese explorers came upon it in the 1400s. Bom Bom Island – a tiny speck just off Principe – still remains sparsely populated. Discover the island’s natural bounty and rich biodiversity through fun outdoor activities. Nature trails wind through the dense forests that carpet the isle’s hills, and fantastic swims await in calm waters off pristine beaches.

    AT SEA
    DAY 11
    Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.

    DAY 12
    Benin’s vibrant port city is defined by its colonial legacy and voodoo (the state religion). As a former French colony, Cotonou retains a certain European flair in its cuisine and architecture. For an insight into local culture, there’s no better place than the sprawling Dantokpa market, filled with local crafts and an entire section devoted to sacred voodoo items. Along the lakeshore, visit Ganvie, a lake village with bamboo houses and the world’s only town on stilts, where residents get around in canoes.

    DAY 13
    Voodoo traditions, colonial history and beautiful beaches: Togo’s capital city offers plenty of history, culture, and outdoor fun. Learn about the country’s heritage at the National Museum, housing artefacts like pottery, masks, and Togolese art. Akodessewa Fetish Market, selling animal skins and voodoo talismans, offers a fascinating insight into the region’s traditional customs. Trace the country’s colonial past at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, built by the Germans, and the Independence Monument, a symbol of the country’s freedom gained in 1960.

    DAY 14
    Ghana’s fast-paced capital city is culturally rich, modern, and historic all at once. European-built forts and Independence Square’s public monuments offer a glimpse at the city’s past. To feel the pulse of Accra, head to the neighbourhood of Jamestown – a 17th-century fishing community – with old colonial buildings, plus a diverse art and food scene. While you’re here, sample some local bites like waakye­ – rice and beans with sides – at a low-key ‘chop bar’.

    Loango Museum and Diosso Gorges INCLUDED
    Duration: 4:00
    Activity Level: 1
    Visit the Ma-Loango Museum, in the village of Diosso, which covers the history of Congo and its colonization. The New Mâ Loango Museum was inaugurated in 2018, but its origins are closely linked to that of the kingdom of Loango, a pre-colonial African state, during approximately the 16th to 19th centuries, and that of its sovereigns. Learn about the country history during this visit.
    Next, travel to the Diosso Gorges: 20 kilometers north of Pointe-Noire, features red rock cliffs up to 50 meters high. Amid these gulfs, overgrown by a wild, dark green vegetation, large, lacy walls of flamboyant red rise.
    Travel back to Pointe Noire.

    Makola Salt Glacier USD 89.00
    Duration: 4:00
    Activity Level: 2
    The Makola salt glacier, 30-minute drive from Pointe Noire, is the result of an environmental disaster, but it became a tourist attraction thanks to its unique landscape and the photos opportunities it provides.
    In this area was located a mine exploited by Compagnie des Potasses du Congo (CPC). It was only productive from 1969 to 1977, and its operation ceased following a huge flood.
    Once on the site, walk the salt glacier and spend some time at leisure in the area.

    CONKUATI RESERVE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO – Thu 6 & Fri 7 - April-2023
    Activities at Conkuati Reserve INCLUDED
    Duration: approx. 2 to 4 hrs per activity
    Activity Level: 1 to 3
    During the 2 days spent at Conkuati Reserve, you will have a chance to participate in a variety of activities:
    • Visit HELP Congo, a wildlife sanctuary where, among many other environmental initiatives, orphaned chimpanzees are rescued and taken care of until ready to be reintroduced into their natural habitat;
    • Guided beach walks and kayaking on Tchitembo Lagoon;
    • Exploration of Tchilounga Village and the local life of its people;
    • Boat ride on Noumbi River, looking at mangroves and fishermen life.
    All guests will have an opportunity to participate to each activity. No reservation required.

    SOUTH LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, GABON - Sat 8 & Sun 9 - April-2023
    Activities at South Loango National Park INCLUDED
    Duration: approx. 2 to 4 hrs per activity
    Activity Level: 1 to 3
    During the 2 days spent at Conkuati Reserve, you will have a chance to participate in a variety of activities:
    • Take a boat tour among mangroves on the Ndogo Lagoon, the second largest estuary in Africa, and the most pristine, home to the largest population of West African Manatees;
    • Go on a 4x4 drive and look for wildlife such as Elephants and monkeys;
    • Walk unspoilt beaches where you can encounter large mammals such as elephants, buffalo, forest hogs;
    • Walk the Pristine Central African Jungle and look for the incredible bird life, learn what uses the different plants have, and what role they play in the jungle.
    All guests will have an opportunity to participate to each activity. No reservation required.

    Gorilla Trekking by Helicopter - Exclusive USD 4 299.00
    Duration: 7:00
    Activity Level: 3
    Go on a rare opportunity to find the habituated Western Lowland Gorilla's of Loango National Park.
    Take a 15-minute helicopter ride to and from the Gorilla research centre in Loango National Park, where you start a trekking excursion guided by Pygmy Trackers. The length of the trek can vary considerably depending on the location of the Gorillas at the time of your visit, with an average of 5Km.

    Adult males (silverbacks that have a swath of silver hair on their backs and large crests on their heads) weigh about 150 kilograms and are twice the size of adult females. Western lowland gorillas live in social groups consisting of one silverback, several adult females, and their offspring. Silverbacks protect their females and offspring from other gorilla groups, predators, and other threats.
    Loango National Park is one of the only few places where it is possible to see habituated, wild western lowland gorillas. One group of gorillas is habituated for both tourism and research. Despite gorillas being the largest primate species, it is difficult to see them in the forest because they are naturally afraid of humans and typically will flee or aggressively charge if people get too close to them.
    Gorillas that are visited by people have undergone ‘habituation’. This refers to the process, where through daily peaceful contact with humans, gorillas have slowly lost their strong fear of humans and have learned to view them as neutral beings in their environment.
    Visiting the habituated gorillas in Loango National Park is a unique experience. A minimum distance of 7m between the gorillas and people is always maintained. These rules are designed to minimize the impact that humans have on the gorillas.
    The best time to visit the gorillas in Loango is January – May, when they do not travel very much per day.
    Please note: The gorillas move through the forest in an unpredictable way so we cannot know in advance exactly where we will find them. Therefore, it may take several hours of hiking before you see the gorillas.
    Hiking in the forest is likely to include walking through mud, small streams, and swamps so expect to get wet and muddy. It is necessary to be physically fit to visit the gorillas. Spaces are extremely limited. Book your spot in advance to ensure availability.

    Fishing with Overnight at Sette Cama Camp USD 559.00
    Duration: 2 half days plus overnight
    Activity Level: 2
    Gabon has the longest stretch of untouched coastline left on the African continent, and along with a massive estuary system rich in nutrients, it offers the avid saltwater fishermen the opportunity to experience the thrill of targeting the numerous and unique species of West Africa with both spin and fly tackle. The abundance of large and aggressive game fish is complimented by Africa’s most pristine tropical rain forest, which creates the back drop to this one-of-a-kind salt water fishing experience.
    During the fishing sessions, it is not uncommon to spot wildlife, such as elephant and forest buffalo which often walk along the beach. This area is also world famous for its unique birds, with a chance to see vermiculated fishing owls, chocolate-backed kingfishers, and white-crested tiger herons, amongst many others.
    Begin your fishing adventure with an afternoon session. Take a 45-minute boat ride to the mouth of the lagoon for a 2-hour guided fishing session.
    Overnight, drinks and dinner will be at Sette Cama Camp, located walking distance from the ship landing area.
    Accommodation will be in one of the bungalows, an authentic and rustic but still comfortable experience.
    In the early morning, after breakfast and coffee, reboard the boat for your second 2-hours fishing session.
    Please note: guests choosing this option will have the possibility to participate to Swan Hellenic inclusive activities in the morning of the first day and in the afternoon of the second day of our call.

    Sao Tome History INCLUDED
    Duration: 4:30
    Activity Level: 2
    Be welcomed in Sao Tome by a traditional Tchiloli performance, that tells the history of Sao Tome through vibrant drumming, dance, and music. Afterward, board the vehicle and start your adventure. Get immersed in the history of Portuguese colonialism in São Tomé, as well as the culture of the local people.
    The visit to the National Museum will take you back to the five centuries of Portuguese colonialism on the Island. It is housed in the Fort of São Sebastião, built by the Portuguese in 1576 on a strategic point to protect the Island from frequent attacks by the French, Dutch and Spanish. Learn about the main historical events that have marked the country since its discovery to the present day.
    Proceed to the Cathedral of Nossa Senhora de Graça, the main Catholic church in the capital, which is the oldest in Sub-Saharan Africa and took over 400 years to complete.
    Continues through Independence Square and enjoy a walking tour of this fabulous city taking in the many colonial buildings and fascinating architecture.
    The tour will end back at the pier.

    Sao Tome History and Chocolate Factory INCLUDED + USD 89.00
    Duration: 8:00
    Activity Level: 2
    Continue your discovery of the island, after the morning Sao Tome History tour (tour description above), proceed to the fishermen’s village of Pantufo, with its colorful church and boats aligned on the beach.
    Lunch is included in your tour and will serve up a fantastic selection of Saotomean dishes, being an Island the seafood on offer here is some of the best around.
    The afternoon is dedicated to a chocolate tasting tour. Cocoa is of the highest quality in Sao Tome and there are several chocolate producers located in the island. At our selected factory, you will learn the entire process from planting and maintaining the cocoa, to enjoying the finished product.
    After a wonderful day experiencing Sao Tome’s history, culture, and people transfer you back to the harbor.
    Please note: guests wishing to participate in this full day tour do not need to sign up for the inclusive half-day tour ‘Sao Tome History, as the this full-day program includes it. The additional price is for the tour upgrade only. Guests will not return to the ship during the excursion, lunch will be provided at a local restaurant.

    Nature of Sao Tome USD 189.00
    Duration: 8:00
    Activity Level: 2
    Journey to the center of the island, along the way enjoy views of the cocoa and coffee plantations and stop at the town of Trindade. Here, visit the Santíssima Trindade church, and learn about the regretful historical events that took place in this town.
    During the colonial era, Trindade inhabitants proved their bravery showing resistance to Portuguese colonialism. Because of that, on February 3rd, 1953, hundreds of native creoles were massacred and since then, this day is remembered as the Batepá Massacre. See the Massacre Monument located in Batepá.
    After learning about history, discover the nature of the island!
    At Bom Sucesso, visit the Botanical Garden, the gateway to Obo National Park, where over 400 species of endemic flora and over a thousand samples of plants are housed. Learn about the educational role of the garden in the society, as well as the use of plants in the traditional medicine. Make sure to bring your binocular, to spot the variety of endemic birds that can be found at the Botanical Gardens.
    Enjoy a local lunch before proceeding to São Nicolau Waterfall, the most visited waterfall on the Island. This beautiful waterfall, about 60 meters high, is hidden by the dense vegetation of the lush forest, but still reasonably easily accessible. Walking around you can reach the small plantation which gives the name to the waterfall.
    On the way pass by Pousada da Boa Vista, called Pousada Salazar in the colonial time, where the Portuguese escaped from the heat and humidity of the city during the weekends.
    At the end of your adventure drive back to the port.

    Principe Highlights INCLUDED
    Duration: 6:00
    Activity Level: 1
    Start your tour with a visit to Terrero Velho, a cocoa and coffee plantation where a famous chocolate maker, Claudio Corallo, brings his products to life.
    Next visit Porto Real cooperation, here women produce a variety of objects with the local materials. Learn about the social impact of this project.
    Proceed to Sundy Roça, once a cocoa plantation and now restored as an elegant guesthouse, it was here that, in May 1919, Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was proven by Sir Arthur Eddington, an English astronomer, and physicist, while observing a solar eclipse.
    After lunch proceed to Santo Antonio town and learn more about the local people daily life. End your tour with an entertaining local group dancing performance.

    COTONOU, BENIN - Fri 14-Apr-2023
    Ganvie and Egun Masks INCLUDED
    Duration: 8:00
    Activity Level: 1
    Take a short drive to the shore of Lake Nokwe and board a motorized wooden boat to reach Ganvié, the largest and most beautiful African village on stilts.
    The approximately 25,000 inhabitants of the Tofinou ethnic group built their wooden huts on stilts in the middle of the lake. Fishing is their main activity. Ganvié has managed to preserve its traditions and environment despite the long-lasting human presence in a closed setting; and the lake is not over-fished.
    Daily life unfolds in the dugout canoes that adults and children row with ease using brightly colored paddles. From these canoes, men fish, women sell goods at the floating market, and children go to school and play.
    In Ganvie attend the Egun masks cult. They represent the spirits of the deceased and according to the local population they “are” the deceased.
    Men, wearing masks representing Egun and dressed in brightly multicolored clothing, initiate the cult emerging from the forest and forming a procession through the village streets, leaping towards any foolish spectator who dares to get too close. You don’t want the Egun to touch you because if you do, there is danger of death they say, so watch out!
    On arrival the masks perform a kind of bull fight charging the crowd, which is designed to create fear and respect.
    After enjoying the performance and exploring the town, head back by boat.

    Ganvie, Egun Masks and Ouidah INCLUDED + 99.00 USD
    Duration: 8:00
    Activity Level: 2
    Continue your exploration of Benin: after your inclusive Ganvie and Egun Masks tour (tour description above) proceed to Ouidah, learn more about voodoo culture, as well as slave history, and trace the origin of the town multiculturality.
    Ouidah was the main port of the Kingdom of Abomey in the 18th and 19th centuries. Portuguese, French, Dutch, Danish, British, and Americans all vied for a share of the slave and palm-oil trade, made available through Ouidah by the efficiently organized and centralized kingdom.
    The town was an intellectual hub in part because of the number of “Brazilians” - as individuals of mixed Afro-European heritage and slaves or their descendants returning from Brazil, who settled there and served as cultural intermediaries. In 1893 the area came under French control.
    Today the city displays an Afro-Brazilian architecture and a Catholic Cathedral. The laid-back attitude of the locals blends in harmoniously with the thunder of the distant waves and the rhythm of the drums - a timeless atmosphere very well described by Bruce Chatwin in his book "The Vice-Roy of Ouidah".
    Visit the Python Temple, a site of historical and modern symbolism and spiritual practice, where dozens of snakes are housed and worshipped, and the Sacred Forest, with massive ancient trees full of hanging bats which tower voodoo temples and statues of traditional voodoo gods.
    End the city tour by following the “slave road” to the beach, reaching the point of “no return” where slaves used to board ships. Today here stands a monument dedicated to the more than one million enslaved Africans deported from the port of Ouidah.
    Make your way back to the ship.
    Lunch is included in the excursion.
    Please note: guests wishing to participate in this full day tour do not need to sign up for the inclusive half-day tour ‘Ganvie and Egun Masks’, as the this full-day program includes it. The additional price is for the tour upgrade. Guests will not return to the ship during the excursion, lunch will be provided at a local restaurant.

    LOME, TOGO - Sat 15-Apr-2023
    Voodoo World INCLUDED
    Duration: 5:00
    Activity Level: 2
    Drive towards Aneho, former capital of the German colony, and reach a traditional village. Here you will have the honor to meet the village chief and learn about his role and that of traditional chiefs in Africa. Continue with attending a Voodoo ceremony.
    Voodoo originated on the coast of Benin and Togo, and from there it spread to the Americas at the time of the slave trade. Voodoo cults have been passed on by ancestors and are still fervently practiced. Voodoo is not just a form of black magic but a complex religion. Its followers are estimated to be seventy million worldwide, mainly in Africa and the Americas.
    Voodoo ceremonies are part of everyday life in the villages. Witness the frenetic rhythm of the drums and chants of the adepts calling for help in the voodoo spirit, who then takes possession of some of the dancers. They fall into a deep trance showing in eyes rolling back, grimaces, convulsions, and insensitivity to fire or pain. Sakpata, Heviesso, Mami Water are just some of the voodoo divinities who may show up.
    In a village, surrounded by the magic atmosphere of the ceremony, we will understand what people mean when they say: “In your churches you pray to God; in our shrines we become Gods!”.
    Following this unique experience, explore the village and then make your way back.

    Voodoo World and Lome City Tour INCLUDED + 99.00 USD
    Duration: 8:00
    Activity Level: 2
    After your inclusive Voodoo World tour (description above), you can opt to continue your tour to Lome City.
    Lomé is the vibrant capital of Togo and the only African city which was subsequently a colony of the Germans, the British and the French. It is also one of the few capitals in the world bordering with another nation (Ghana). These elements have led to the development of a unique identity, reflected in the lifestyle of its inhabitants and in the architecture of the town: Lomé is indeed a cross point for people, trade and cultures, a cosmopolitan city in small size.
    Visit the fetish market, where we can find an eclectic assortment of all the necessary ingredients for ‘love potions’ and ‘magical concoctions’. It is here that all the adepts of the local animist religion come to buy the necessary items to practice their cults. The market masters will introduce us with some of their home-made “gris-gris” prepared to help us solve our daily life issues.
    Our visit in Lome ends with “Le Palais de Lomé”, a vibrant art center in the former governor’s palace built in 1890’s and surrounded by an 11-hectar park overlooking the ocean. The park is home to a precious biodiverse environment of centuries-old-threes. The goal of the center is to reinvent natural and historical heritages to foster creative talents in Africa. As a matter of fact, Lome is an important transit place for tribal art, folk art, modern paintings and general handicraft, and some art galleries are known for displaying old ritual objects highly valued by collectors as well as paintings from the Togolese school of art.
    Lunch is included in the tour. At the end of your tour make your way back to the ship.
    Please note: guests wishing to participate in this full day tour do not need to sign up for the inclusive half-day tour ‘Voodoo World’ as the this full-day program includes it. The additional price is for the tour upgrade, or second half of the tour. Guests will not return to the ship during the excursion, lunch will be provided at a local restaurant.

    Activity Level Description:
    These shore activities include walking for short distances (up to approx. 2 km) over relatively level terrain, footpaths, or board walks. Participants should be sufficiently capable to step in and out of vehicular transportation such as coaches, buses, cars and be reasonably comfortable in confined spaces, such as small aircraft and small boats.
    These shore activities are more active and involve long and somewhat challenging walking treks (approx. between 2-4 km) over uneven terrain, climbing stairs, wilderness trails, and long periods standing up. Other activities may include coastal kayaking, shallow water sports such as snorkelling, cycling, and urban/rural hiking. Participants should be steady on their feet.
    Very active shore activities including extensive walks, open water kayaking, wilderness hiking, 4x4 off-road tours, mountain biking, off-shore water sports, and high-altitude activities. Participants should be in good physical condition, steady on their feet, and be comfortable in adverse weather including extreme cold/heat.

    (Click image to view Ship details)


    • Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
    • Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
    • One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
    • All meals onboard
    • Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
    • 24-hour room service
    • Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
    • Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
    • One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
    • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
    • Standard WiFi
    • Onboard gratuities & port taxes

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