18 Night Cruise sailing from Cape Town to Accra (Tema) onboard Silver Wind.
Silver Wind is a perfect illustration of how complete a small-sized ship can be. With just 296-guests, luxury suites and spacious public areas, Silver Wind is one of the cosiest and most intimate ships afloat today. Warm welcomes and gracious personalized service inspire our guests to call Silver Wind their home away from home.
Highlights of this cruise:
Cape Town, South Africa
If you visit only one place in South Africa, make it Cape Town. Whether you're partaking of the Capetonian inclination for alfresco fine dining (the so-called Mother City is home to many of the country's best restaurants) or sipping wine atop Table Mountain, you sense - correctly - that this is South Africa's most urbane, civilized city. Here elegant Cape Dutch buildings abut ornate Victorian architecture and imposing British monuments. In the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, the call to prayer echoes through cobbled streets lined with houses painted in bright pastels, while the sweet tang of Malay curry wafts through the air. Flower sellers, newspapers hawkers, and numerous markets keep street life pulsing, and every lamppost advertises another festival, concert, or cultural happening. But as impressive as Cape Town's urban offerings are, what you'll ultimately recall about this city is the sheer grandeur of its setting - the mesmerizing beauty of Table Mountain rising above the city, the stunning drama of the mountains cascading into the sea, and the gorgeous hues of the two oceans. Francis Drake wasn't exaggerating when he said this was the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth, and he would have little cause to change his opinion today. A visit to Cape Town is often synonymous with a visit to the peninsula beneath the city, and for good reason. With pristine white-sand beaches, hundreds of mountain trails, and numerous activities from surfing to paragliding to mountain biking, the accessibility, variety, and pure beauty of the great outdoors will keep nature lovers and outdoor adventurers occupied for hours, if not days. You could spend a week exploring just the city and peninsula. Often likened to San Francisco, Cape Town has two things that the City by the Bay doesn't - Table Mountain and Africa. The mountain, or tabletop, is vital to Cape Town's identity. It dominates the city in a way that's difficult to comprehend until you visit. In the afternoon, when creeping fingers of clouds spill over Table Mountain and reach toward the city, the whole town seems to shiver and hold its breath. Meanwhile, for all of its bon-vivant European vibe, Cape Town also reflects the diversity, vitality, and spirit of the many African peoples who call this city home. Cape Town has grown as a city in a way that few others in the world have. Take a good look at the street names. Strand and Waterkant streets (meaning beach and waterside, respectively) are now far from the sea. However, when they were named they were right on the beach. An enormous program of dumping rubble into the ocean extended the city by a good few square miles (thanks to the Dutch obsession with reclaiming land from the sea). Almost all the city on the seaward side of Strand and Waterkant is part of the reclaimed area of the city known as the Foreshore. If you look at old paintings of the city, you will see that originally waves lapped at the very walls of the castle, now more than half a mile from the ocean.
The scorched desert that surrounds Luderitz means the city's collection of German art nouveau architecture couldn't look more unusually placed along the Namibian coastline. This quirkiness is what gives the destination its charm. See gangs of playful penguins skipping across the waves, pink flamingos wading by the coast, and dolphins leaping into the air near Penguin Island and Seal Island. A much more haunting location, with an incredibly dark past, is Shark Island - which witnessed the deaths of between 1,000 and 3,000 people when it was the location of a German concentration camp, between 1905 and 1907. Inland from Luderitz is Kolmanskop, the site of a famous diamond mine and ghost town.
Lobito (Benguela), Angola
About equidistant from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia on Angola's stunning coastline lies Lobito, a small town in the Benguela Province. Long under Portuguese colonisation, the city suffered somewhat - albeit it less than the country's capital Luanda, during the long, drawn out civil war of 1975-2002. However, Lobito has begun the rehabilitation process (primarily through funding from both China - who are implementing a railway system throughout the country - and Brazil) and the grass roots of restoration have very definitely started. The result is a city in search of a new identity, whose natural resources include unspoilt tropical Atlantic beaches, vast national parks and a chequered heritage of Portuguese rule and struggle for independence.
Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe
With dramatic volcanic slopes and a thick cloak of rainforest, Sao Tome is Africa's lost tropical paradise. Lying 140 miles adrift in the Gulf of Guinea, the forgotten location and dense vegetation lend the island an irresistible air of off-the-map adventure. Sao Tome and sister island Prncipe form the second smallest - and least visited - African country. Lying on the equator's bulge, you can discover a lost sanctuary of unique wildlife and tropical beauty. Undeveloped and largely undiscovered, neon-frogs leap and soaring orchids rise in verdant rainforests - while pristine beaches hatch tiny turtles and offshore coral reefs glow and glitter with life. The island's lavish jungles are the perfect home for hundreds of different types of birds, and you can trek to hear their calls and caws from above, as they flash vibrant colours and perform elaborate mating dances.
Walvis Bay, Namibia
One of Southern Africa's most important harbor towns, the once industrial Walvis Bay has recently developed into a seaside holiday destination with a number of pleasant lagoonfront guesthouses and several good restaurants - including one of Namibia's best, Lyon des Sables. The majority of water activities advertised in Swakopmund actually depart from Walvis's small waterfront area, and there's an amazing flamingo colony residing in the Bay's 3,000-year-old lagoon.
Tucked between Nigeria and Togo in Benin is the busy trading port of Cotonou. Named a market town for its coastal placement and lucrative palm oil and textile trades, Cotonou is a sprawling amorphous city, swaddled between the Atlantic coast and Lake Nakou. Because of its especial geographical situation, Cotonou is bursting with life - visitors disembarking here will find a colourful port, alive with economic activity and very much the capital (although not in name, the official capital is Porto-Novo to the east) of the trading industry.
If you're sick of the usual beach resorts, then zesty Lom will welcome you to a coastal destination that oozes with inimitable character. The former 'Jewel of West Africa' offers some wonderful beaches, and exports its delicious bounty of cocoa, coffee and pine kernels far and wide. A disorientating place, where stuttering engines and whizzing motorbikes add a chaotic essence to the city's streets, you'll see vendors strolling with supplies balanced improbably on their heads, along with a healthy supply of intrigue, adventure and buzzing markets. Swarms of bikes and motorbikes dominate the coastal road, which borders the huge, palm tree lined Lom beach - but the sand is wide enough for you to relax with the road merely a distant whisper.
Accra (Tema), Ghana
From a modest fishing port to the biggest in Ghana, Tema's industrial activity has all but tarnished the charming, postcard scenery of the region. The neighbouring white-sanded beaches remain immaculate, still serving as a testimony of the rich variety of birds that can be found in the area.In the way Mother Nature intended it, gannets, boobies and kingfishers amongst other species fish in and around the cerulean waters of the coast. A light breeze tickles the inflamed, iron-filled soil of the mainland on which the railway linking Tema to Accra lures hundreds of visitors each day. On board one of the carriages to Accra, distinctively noticeable by their painted coats of red, yellow and green that echo Ghana's national flag, a peek out of the window will offer scenic views of the harbour and coast, as well as the fields that separate Tema from the capital.