You know how you have no idea you really really really need something, until you see it.
How suddenly now that you have, you simply can’t get it out of your mind. How it now ‘needs’ to happen? That was my day … and I can’t let go of the idea of one day doing a GAdventures West Africa MS Expedition.
I was invited to join a small group from the travel industry for a tour of MS Expedition, as she was docked in Cape Town before departing on her 32 day West Africa adventure on the 7th of April. The trip takes you along the coastline from Cape Town all the way to Marrakech, with stops in 16 ports along the way. She has a capacity for 130 guests, but only has 90 booked on this trip.
I’m African to the core and can think of nothing more exciting than a month dedicated to learning the various customs these countries have to offer. Best part is that MS Expedition has dedicated naturalists, historians, anthropologists and ornithologists amongst their staff, which truly elevates this from a cruise to an expedition. Today we were offered a guided tour of the boat by Conrad Hennig, the Zoologist and Marine Biologist on board with a love for the stars. I can just imagine how incredible stargazing from the dark inky ocean must be.
The sign of recognition. GAdventures.
From the deck. Now imagine that whilst hugging the West African coastline, or even as you approach unspoilt Antarctica.
Lounge and dining room areas. Lectures are offered in the lounge by the experts onboard on sea days. There really is a sense of space and the wide windows keep you constantly connected with whats happening outside.
Rooms can be double, triple or four sleepers. There is even the option of a suite with a lounge area. Given that you would be on the boat for a month, I appreciate the extra space that they offer. Bathrooms are good too, actually larger than in some of the hotels I’ve stayed in.
For each passenger a gift. A water bottle and guide to West Africa.
Me taking in the view from one of the cabins.
In the sauna room, life jackets and kayaks for the Antarctica expedition.
I recognise that it is very unusual to be allowed on board and much appreciate the opportunity to have a walk around the boat. To view the dining room, lounge, library and different categories of cabins, also the deck and bridge. I even had a faux go at the steering wheel.
GAdventure’s MS Expedition also offers trips to Antarctica from where you further explore by kayak or zodiac. What a special way to visit our southern most continent.
Interestingly, my first introduction to G-Adventures was at TBEX in Dublin last year when I had the opportunity to chat to them and receive their catalogue for the new year. The thing that struck me most about the company was that they lived up to their tagline – ’great adventure people’ with innovative itineraries that took you around the globe, whether you were an intrepid solo traveller or a family group. That and the wonderful charm of the representatives.
They not only handed me their signature purple ‘G’ business cards, but also a journal with a black bound cover that felt like the treasure it was. Inside were quotes, photos and anecdotes by numerous people who had previously done GAdventures trips around the world. Each offering a shout out to a company who for 20 years has had their finger firmly on the pulse of adventure travel, one offering a wide selection of affordable tours and expeditions.
This is the West Africa routing and I’ll be following their progress through the updates of a few travellers onboard with much envy. From 2015 the trip will be split to accommodate shorter stretches. This may make my dream easier to realise one day when.
Also at a glance the MS Expedition trips may seem very expensive, but the price includes all meals, offshore excursions, visas and activities. The only extras would be bar and internet … Here is the full itinerary for this departure.
Thank you to Helen Fraser of Ireland Tourism for inviting me to the join the group. You certainly do know how to offer me a fabulous day out!
I even took an Ahoy moment in the bridge.
Stocking the ship before departure in Duncan Dock.
Here’s a video I took on the day with my #TravelHero GoPro.