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Itinerary: West Africa Overland trip from Marrakech to Guinea Bissau

West Africa Overland trip from Marrakech to Guinea Bissau

An epic journey from Marrakech, through the sands of the Western Sahara and along the West African coast. Meet nomadic tribes, travel on little frequented desert tracks, and experience the incredible diversity of a stunning corner of Africa

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West Africa Overland trip from Marrakech to Guinea Bissau

Day 1 – Marrakech
Arrive in Marrakech and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore Morocco’s most enigmatic city. Overnight in a traditional riad. (D)

Day 2 – Taroudannt
Cross the High Atlas via the stunning Tizi n Test pass, with superb views of the mountains along the way. Driving through the Berber heartlands we descend to the charming town of Taroudannt, often called ‘little Marrakech’. We spend the night in the restored palace of a former pacha of this region. Overnight Salam Hotel. (BLD)

Day 3 – Guelmime – Tan Tan
Spend the morning exploring the souks and winding alleys of Taroudannt, then continue to Guelmime, the last major town of Morocco proper and a former trading centre for the Saharan camel caravans. From here we head off on rough tracks to our accommodation for the night, Ksar Tafnidilt, a traditional style kasbah close to Tan Tan. (BLD)

Day 4 – Tarfaya
Travel south, our route taking us between the desert and the Atlantic Ocean, passing small caves inhabited by fishermen as well as the impressive Naila lagoon. In the afternoon we arrive at the small town of Tarfaya. Overnight local hotel. (BLD)

Days 5-7 – Laayoune – Western Sahara
Drive to Laayoune, the main town of Western Sahara. From here we meet our local Saharawi guide and embark on an expedition into this largely unknown area. We venture into an untamed landscape of dunes and desert, stopping at wells to meet the Reguibat nomads and their herds of camels that eke a living from this unforgiving habitat. We camp for two nights, then on Day 7 reach Dakhla and stay overnight in Buena Vista Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 8 – Dakhla
Spend the day exploring Dakhla and surrounds, with its superb beaches and opportunities to fish in the Atlantic. Overnight in Buena Vista Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 9 – Cap Barbas
Continue south, leaving the last vestiges of modernity well behind. We travel through the desert to discover small gueltas, a lush paradise in an otherwise arid region. Late in the afternoon, reach Cap Barbas. Overnight local hotel. (BLD)

Day 10 – Nouakchott
Head to the border post of Gueguerat and cross into Mauritania. From here we drive to the capital, Nouakchott. Overnight tourist class hotel. (BLD)

Days 11-12 – Djoudj National Park – Saint Louis
After a morning in Nouakchott, we head south to Senegal, camping en route. We cross the border on Day 12 and then travel to Djoudj National Park with its incredible bird life. We take boats on the lagoon to discover vast flocks of pelicans, flamingos and more, then continue to the atmospheric town of St Louis, once the capital of French West Africa. One night camping, one night Hotel La Residence or similar. (BLD)

Day 13 – Fulani Villages
Spend the morning visiting Saint Louis, exploring its streets by traditional caleche (horse and carriage). Afterwards we head out into the surrounding desert, home to the semi-nomadic Fulani people. We have the opportunity to meet them and learn about their unique culture, centred around livestock and grazing. Overnight in local huts. (BLD)

Day 14 – Touba - Thies
Drive to Touba, a stronghold of the Mourid Islamic brotherhood and considered to be a sacred town in Senegal. Spend the rest of the day exploring the town and learning about the spiritual traditions of Islam in Senegal, before continuing to Thies. Overnight tourist class hotel. (BLD)

Day 15 – Dakar
Head to the lively capital, Dakar, and visit nearby Goree Island, once a centre of the slave trade. Explore its historic sights before boarding a ferry in the later afternoon for an overnight journey to the Casamance region. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 16 – Ziguinchor
By morning we enter the Casamance River and sail to Ziguinchor, through a changed landscape of lush vegetation and the culture of tribal Africa. On disembarking in Ziguinchor we head out into the surrounding villages to meet a local chief and learn about the animistic customs that hold sway, venturing into a sacred forest where we may be lucky enough to see traditional rituals taking place. Overnight tourist class hotel. (BLD)

Day 17 – Varela
Cross into Guinea-Bissau and start travelling to the small town of Varela. We travel through mangrove forests that are home to the West African manatee, one of the region’s most unusual creatures, and spend the day looking for this elusive sea mammal. Overnight local hotel. (BLD)

Day 18 – Cacheu
Morning hike to villages belonging to the Felupe and Baiote people, two of West Africa’s most isolated and traditional ethnic groups. We explore their unique villages, then board a pirogue to travel through mangrove forests to the small town of Cacheu. From here we visit the villages of the local Manjaco people, known for their ancestor worship. Overnight Hotel Mar Azul or similar. (BLD)

Days 19-20 – Bijagos Islands
Sail to the Bijagos Islands, a magical and unique world of authentic tribal traditions and unusual wildlife. We spend two days exploring this area, looking for rare saltwater hippos, watching turtles laying eggs on the beach and learning about the customs of the local people. One night tourist class hotel, one night camping. (BLD)

Day 21 – Bolama – Bissau
Sail to the island of Bolama, once a colonial capital but now largely abandoned, its Portuguese buildings slowly being taken over by vegetation and goats. From here we return to the mainland and the capital Bissau, where we have time for a quick look around the city before having dinner and transferring to the airport for your onward flight. (BL)

Included in price:

- Airport transfers

- Accommodation – as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

- Guides – In most cases you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.

- Meals – As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).

Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

Not included:
- Visas
- Airport taxes
- International flights
- Travel Insurancedirection of a reputable provider that can assist.

To receive the full details of this trip via email please complete our enquiry form below, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will provide you with all neccessary booking information to peruse at your leisure. Please complete our enquiry form below, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will provide you with all neccessary booking information.

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West Africa Overland trip from Marrakech to Guinea Bissau

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