An amazing itinerary crossing three countries “north to south” to experience a continuous change of climatic ecosystems and human environments.
We move across spectacular variety of natural environments such desert dunes, savanna, estuaries, forest, mangrove swamps, to end with a ocean navigation to discover and enjoy the Bijagos Archipelago. North to south is also the route of migratory birds, a constant presence along the whole journey. Djoudj in Senegal is between the three main migratory birds sanctuary on earth and Gambia is a well-known birding destination, just in the large park of Senegambia hotel is possible to spot 70% of the different bird species of the country.
We will discover historical sites as Goré ancient slave-trade island, Saint Louis – the first colonial capital of “French West Africa” and Bolama the Portuguese Guinea capital to day forgotten in the forest of a remote island. We will experience the contact with “Timeless” people as Nomadic herders, and remote villages and discover a prehistoric sites, with thousand mysterious stone craved monoliths.
ART, CULTURE & MUSIC - nomadic herders, largest religious and peaceful brotherhood that practices an African form of Islam, animistic traditional religions, tribal kings, dancing masks and remote tribes who still worshiping ancestor statues;
Unique events coinciding with the different departure dates:
Saltwater hippos & Turtle nesting – departures: Nov 2nd; Dec 21st Salt water Hippos and Turtle Nesting in the Bijagos archipelago the largest protected animal in Orango National is the rare “saltwater hippo” living in the mangrove and sometimes going for a swim in the ocean! Poilao is uninhabited island and the main nesting site for Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia Midas) in West Africa. After dark, in silence on the beach, we await for the magic moment when a female emerges from the ocean to dig a deep hole in the sand and lay an hundred or more eggs. With a bit of luck we will be able to witness the hatching! …
Vaca Bruto mask dances – coinciding departures Apr 13th. In Bijagos Archipelago life is still ruled by the “cycle of seasons”.The most spectacular Bijago mask is called Vaca Bruto (wild bull) and is a wooden helmet with eyes of frosted glass, real horns, leather ears and a rope through the nostril. During the Vaca Bruto Festival dancers embody the spirit of the mask with great realism: they bow and face the ground, just like a real untamed animal would do. The mask represents a man in full possession of his physical strength but with still an immature behavior since he has not yet undergone the final initiations. All the villagers attend this fascinating ceremony.