Ocean Cruise Expeditions

Fernando de Noronha and the Bijagos Archipelago

  • Duration 12 Days | Recife to Dakar
  • From $5,240 AUD
Call 1800 889 088

Trip Overview

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Sailing between two continents, PONANT offers you an itinerary rich in contrasts and cultural blending, to discover UNESCO World Heritage treasures. Aboard L’Austral, you will travel from Brazil to Senegal in 12 days, during an expedition cruise combining cultural discoveries and remarkable natural sites.

Before boarding in Recife, a dynamic metropolis whose bridges and canals have earned it the nickname of the “Brazilian Venice”, make sure you don’t miss out on the visit to Olinda. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beautiful city founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century can be explored through its steep alleys and is home to many churches, chapels and colonial buildings with undeniable charm.

First of all, your ship will set sail north for the Fernando deNoronha islands, off the Brazilian coast, a natural paradise that is home to thousands of birds and rich underwater wildlife in its turquoise waters.

L’Austral will then cross the Atlantic as far as the Bijagos Islands. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, these sparsely-inhabited islands are only accessible to a few privileged travellers. There you will discover a variety of landscapes, ranging from tropical rainforest to savanna and mangroves, exceptional flora and fauna (including sea turtles) and will meet villagers with a unique culture.

This fantastic trip will conclude in Dakar, the bustling capital of Senegal.

The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed

Trip Highlights

  • UNESCO sites: Olinda (before your cruise), the Bijagos and Fernando de Noronha islands.
  • Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides (subject to authorisation in the Fernando de Noronha islands).
  • Landscapes: stunning wild beaches in Fernando de Noronha; mangrove swamp (covering more than a third of the emerged part of the archipelago), savanna, tropical rainforests and white sand beaches in the Bijagos Islands.
  • Wildlife: turtles, sharks, dolphins, fishes and birds in the Fernando de Noronha islands; saltwater hippos, crocodiles, sea turtles, rays, sawfish, otters, manatees, dolphins, birds of prey, pelicans, large wading birds, snakes, gazelles and monkeys in the Bijagos Islands.
  • Visit of traditional villages and encounters with the Bidyogo people who have ancestral traditions and live in a matriarchal society.
  • Enthusiastic and knowledgeable conference guides and naturalists.
  • Before or after your cruise, optional visits to Recife, Olinda, Dakar and Goree Island.


Itinerary - 12 Days


Recife is a city in the northeast coast of Brazil founded in the 16thcentury. It offers a vibrant mix of old and new.Stroll around the historic centre to discover stylish pastel-coloured houses, the Baroque cathedral of São Pedro and the azulejos frescoes in the church of São António, not far from the neoclassical theatre of Santa Isabel.On the waterfront,enjoy the long sandy beaches with emeraldwater and a background of coconut palms and modern business skyscrapers.


Fernando de Noronha,designated UNESCO World Natural Heritage for its unspoiled natural environment, is the main island in the archipelago. Discover its deserted beaches with pristine waters against a backdrop of luxuriant green hills. In In Dolphins Bay, try to spot spinner dolphins, whale sharks and hawksbill turtles. For an insight into the island’s culture, visit Vila dos Remédios, a seaside village featuring many historic buildings.


Crossing the equator is a baptism, a maritime tradition that we perpetuate with humour. The Captain and officers of your ship will choose some neophyte passengers and crew members, who will be submitted to the good-natured ‘trials’ of the passing of the line. As we change hemispheres, you will attend a ceremony organised in a fun and festive atmosphere. An unforgettable moment of conviviality between passengers and crew, under the aegis of Neptune, God of the Seas!

Days 6, 7 & 8 AT SEA

During your time at seacrossing the Atlantic from South America to Africa, make the most of theservices and facilities aboard L’Austral. Enjoy a day of relaxation in the luxurious spa or head to the fitness centre for a workout. If the weather is nice, head to the swimming pool or relax with some sunbathing on deck. You can also visit the boutique shop or see what shows and activities are scheduled.Alternatively, meet the National Geographic photographers in their dedicated space or head to the upper deck to enjoy the views.


The Bissau-Guinean archipelago of Bijagosis famous for its abundant biodiversity, and it was declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It consists of 88 islands, 23 of which are inhabited.At Maio, alsocalled Chediã, you can meet the Bijagospeople and get to know their ancestral lifestyleand traditions. You wil also visit Ampincha, a village in the Carache island with strong traditions.


The second stop of the Bijagos Islands is Caravela Island, where people has melted in with nature. In this region, cut off from the rest of the world and secluded from Western influences, you’ll discover how locals really live.Be impressed by the magnificent landscapes and the exuberant wild nature of this island.


Take a break inthis paradisiac and quiet beach out of the crowds. The contrast of its turquoise waters with its golden sand and itspalm trees background make this an unbeatable scenery.


Finalise your expedition cruise inthe buzzing capital of Senegal, Dakar. You may be overwhelmed by its sheer size, but Dakar will win you over with its richly diverse districts, appealing cultural scene and rich natural surroundings. If you have the time, avisit to the island of Gorée isdeeply moving; for several hundred years this island was the largest slave trading centre on the African coast, and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.



National Geographic Expeditions has carefully chosen world-leading travel partners to create extraordinary travel experiences. Each expedition offers guests our unique access, knowledge and the ability to give back by supporting the National Geographic Society.

Our Ocean Cruise Expeditions are offered in partnership with PONANT. To learn more about the itinerary, explore the PONANT ship or secure your spot, click here.

*Welcome Offer: A$800 saving is in Australian Dollars (AUD), per stateroom based on a double occupancy, A$400 per stateroom for single occupancy. Offer valid for guests travelling with PONANT for the first time. Offer is not redeemable for cash, not retroactive, and not combinable with any other offer, unless stated otherwise. Valid for new bookings available until further notice, subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Conditions apply.


Fernando de Noronha and the Bijagos Archipelago

From AUD $5,240 Call 1800 889 088


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