Explore the forgotten Sea of Zanj and learn about its dramatic past on this exciting Africa cruise expedition from South Africa to Tanzania.
Scheduled group tour from
November 24 - December 13, 2017
per person sharing
20 days / 19 nights
Accommodation in shared cabins
This 20-day Africa cruise expedition is a veritable voyage of discovery as we dip into the tumultuous history of the portion of the Indian Ocean formerly known as the Sea of Zanj. Bask in the comfort of an epic luxury train journey fro Pretoria to Maputo, explore the colonial history of the area in Zanzibar’s Stone Town, Tanzania’s Kilwa Kisiwani, and Mozambique’s Ilha de Mozambique; make your way through the breathtaking natural beauty of the Aldabra Atoll and Madagascar; and go adventuring—hiking, scuba diving, and more—in Comoros and the Bazaruto Archipelago. And of course, enjoy the beautiful sea breezes, fine wines, and informational lectures on board Sea Endurance, for a blissful, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day 1: Arrival in Johannesburg (South Africa)
Day 2: Rovos Rail
Day 3: Rovos Rail
During the day we will enjoy the passing panoramic views from the comfort the train cars (either your own car or one of the public cars), while enjoying the unsurpassed luxury of the Rovos Rail. We expect to arrive in Maputo around midnight, so we will spend a second night on this exclusive train.
Day 4: Maputo (Mozambique)
Day 5: At Sea
A full day at sea heading northwards. We will meet the Sea Endurance’s expedition team, take part in briefings on safety and zodiacs, and enjoy pelagic birding with our resident ornithologist.
Day 6: Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique)
A full day of exploring the fantastic Bazaruto Archipelago (another UNESCO World Heritage Site!). We may visit remote islets and go on zodiac cruises inside extensive mangrove forests. If we are lucky, we will be able to find the elusive dugongs (a rare sirenian mammal, related to manatees). Snorkelling equipment is a must on your Africa cruise if you want to explore the underwater wonderland of this stunning area.
Days 7-8: At Sea
A day at sea sailing northwards with onboard activities. Depending on sailing times, we will arrive in IIha de Mozambique in the early evening on Day 8.
Day 9: Ilha de Moçambique; Quirimbas Archipelago (Mozambique)
We spend the day exploring the former Portuguese fort of Ilha de Moçambique (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the quaint surrounding town, followed by a journey through the Quirimbas Archipelago. We will leave Mozambican waters in the afternoon.
Day 10: Moroni, Grande Comore (Comoros)
We will reach the Comoro Islands in the morning, with plans to spend the next two days exploring the island of Grande Comore. This time, we will split up into three groups. The more adventurous will depart on a one-and-a-half-day excursion to Mount Karthala, one of southern Africa’s only active volcanoes. The trip will be a trek of moderate difficulty, with porters for a single overnight. We will explore the surrounding rainforest and after reaching the 2000m mark, we will emerge onto alpine heathland. Our camp will be set up on the crater of the volcano, and if weather permits, we will explore the crater further. All camping equipment and excursions are included. The second group will visit an ylang-ylang and vanilla farm and factory, as well as explore beautiful villages surrounded by incredibly picturesque bays. The third group will depart for a full day of scuba diving at some of the best coral reefs in the western Indian Ocean (at guests’ own cost). Lunch will be at guests’ own cost; dinner will be back on board (for everyone except the trekkers). What a day on your Africa cruise!
Day 11: Moroni, Grande Comore (Comoros); At Sea
After breakfast, the two groups that spent the night on the ship will able to do another half-day excursion of either sightseeing or scuba diving (optional). The volcano trekkers should return by lunch, and we will leave the waters of the Comoros behind and continue our journey. Afternoon lectures and seminars.
Day 12: At Sea
Day 13: Majunga; Ankarafantsika National Park (Madagascar)
We will reach the port city of Majunga in the morning, and head off to visit one of Madagascar’s best parks: Ankarafantsika National Park. It is full of incredible flora and fauna—130 species of bird, Coquerel’s sifaka, mongoose lemurs, sportive lemurs, and endangered tortoises, among others. The two-hour drive will also introduce guests to rural Malagasy life. We will enjoy a picnic lunch at the park and head back to Majunga in the afternoon. We will then continue our voyage up the western Malagasy coast for further exploration.
Day 14: At Sea; Nosy Be (Madagascar)
Day 15: Assumption Island; Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)
After arriving at Assumption Island in the afternoon, we will head to the famed Aldabra Atoll. The second-largest atoll in the world, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most remote places on our planet. If time permits, we will go on a late-afternoon zodiac excursion to one of the four islands of Aldabra. Sir David Attenborough called Aldabra “one of the wonders of the world.” It is also known as one of “crown jewels” of the Indian Ocean. The islands (from north to south) consist of Ile Picard (West Island), Polymnie, Malabar Island (Middle Island), and Grand Terre (South Island).
Day 16: Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)
A full day of exploring Aldabra. We will discover the islands comprising the ring of the atoll, as well as see the biological station, snorkel, look at the incredible giant tortoises, and—if time allows—explore the inner atoll by zodiac. The sights are nothing less than awesome and a highlight of the entire expedition.
Day 17: Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)
A full day at Aldabra with a variety of activities. We will leave the waters of the Seychelles behind us in the afternoon.
Day 18: At Sea
A day at sea travelling northwest. Lectures and a final wine seminar in the late afternoon.
Day 19: Kilwa Kisiwani (Tanzania)
We will have half a day to explore yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site: the location of one of East Africa’s most notorious slave processing stations. Most slaves at Kilwa Kisiwani were destined for what was then Persia and other surrounding empires. It is a harrowing place, full of deep and disturbed history, moving and hugely historic. At night, we will enjoy a farewell dinner with all the staff and our captain.
Day 20: Zanzibar City (Zanzibar); Departure
We intend to reach the port of Zanzibar at noon for disembarkation. We will bid our guests adieu, and everyone will be transferred to the airport or to optional extensions. Extend your stay with a beach holiday or a safari to the Serengeti to see the migration.
The Ship: Sea Endurance
Originally built for sailing in the icy waters of Greenland, this ship offers an informal and relaxed atmosphere. The Sea Endurance has a double bottom and central steel keel. It was built in 1992 in Denmark and refurbished in 2005 that included the addition of a new panorama lounge on the top deck and 26 cabins providing views of the sea. The vessel can accommodate 53 passengers in 26 bright, outside cabins appointed with single or double beds and private en-suite toilet and shower facilities. The ship carries a fleet of five Zodiac rafts for whale watching and shore landings in isolated areas.
Facilities on board
- Meals are prepared by a professional chef in a spacious restaurant
- A well-stocked bar and onboard sommelier
- Panorama lounge (on the top deck) with comfortable armchairs where all information briefings and lectures are held
- Spacious observation area for wildlife viewing
- 23 cabins with exterior views and ensuite facilities
- Televisions and DVD players available in category A and B cabins
- Large deluxe cabins furnished with a double bed with two mattresses, seating area, fridge, TV and DVD player, two windows. Located on deck 4. (Cat. A)
- Outside deluxe cabin with a double bed (two mattresses). There is also a desk, seating area, TV and DVD player and window. The cabins are situated on decks 3 and 4. (Cat. B)
- Outside superior cabin equipped with a double bed, desk, seating area and window. The cabins are located on deck 3. (Cat. C)
- Outside superior cabin with two separate beds (sofa and bed), desk, chair and window. The cabins are situated on deck 3. (Cat. D)
- Outside standard cabin furnished with two separate beds (sofa and bed), desk, chair and window. Some cabins are equipped with bunk beds and can sleep three people. However there are limited cabins available for three people. Category E cabins are located on deck 3. (Cat. E)
- Built: 1992, refurbished in 2005
- Length: 50m
- Breadth: 11m
- Draft: 3.5m
- Engines: MAN / B & W, 1470 KW
- Ice Class: 1B (1A hull)
- Speed: 10-12 knots
- Displacement: 1,180 tonnes
- Guests: 46
- Registration: Bahamas
Introducing The Expedition Team
We are proud to present an excellent team of zoologists, marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and even a sommelier. Here are some of them. Welcome on board!
Conrad Hennig, Expedition Leader
Conrad was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has always had a passion for the outdoors and holds a BSc (Hons) in Zoology on marine intertidal invertebrate ecology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. He joined a safari company in 1994 and helped set up lodges, ran and designed safaris before dedicating seven years to guiding in Botswana.
He currently leads safaris and expeditions on the whole continent and offshore Madagascar and other Mascerene islands through his own safari agency.
However it was in 1999 when “Y2K” panic was rife that Conrad thought the world was going to end and he decided that Antarctica would be the place to see the world end. Incredibly, it did not and since then Conrad has been traversing the polar worlds, from North to South; guiding, lecturing, leading and enjoying the ice. Conrad enjoys sharing true wilderness areas with his guests, whether it be the Arctic, Antarctic or Africa.
David van Niekerk, Assistant Expedition Leader and sommelier
David van Niekerk was born in 1963 in Cape Town, South Africa, he has always been drawn to the sea. He started his working career in investment banking with the First Rand Group and after 14 years decided that there is more to life than occupying a small office and started to build his own wine cellar, High Constantia, in 2000. David’s new career of wine making started and since then he has planted and managed 14.5 hectares (31.9 acres) of vineyards in the Constantia Valley, the first and oldest wine producing area in the Southern hemisphere. High Constantia`s sparkling wine, Clos Andre, has been chosen to represent South Africa at the Tri Nations tastings as well the red and white wines which were presented amongst some of the top wines in the world during First Growth tasting held in South Africa.
He is a keen yachtsman, sailing keel boats and multi hulls, having competed in sailing regattas nationally and internationally. David has spent much time fishing, spearfishing and diving in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. More recently, he lectures on wine and skippers Zodiacs.
Merel Dalebout, Marine Biologist and Snorkel Master
Merel completed her PhD in Ecology and Evolution in 2002, specialising in rare beaked whales (Ziphiidae). She subsequently spent several years studying these enigmatic animals off eastern Canada, before returning to Australia in 2005 to continue her work on Southern Ocean cetaceans. In 2009, when she recognised that her true passion lay in reconnecting people with nature, she re-trained as a wilderness guide focusing on environmental education and trekking. She continues to do whale research as time allows, and recently discovered a new beaked whale in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean (Dalebout et al. 2014).
She travels extensively, has led trekking trips in Australia, Madagascar, and Ethiopia, and works as a small expedition ship guide in various parts of the world. She combines her enthusiasm and passion for the world’s wild places with a burning curiosity to know all she can about them. Her approach to life is neatly summarised by the quote, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, but learn as if you were to live forever”, Gandhi.
Steve Boyes, Ornithologist
Steve Boyes works to preserve and protect Botswana’s uniquely pristine Okavango Delta and mitigate threats bringing parrot species to the brink of extinction throughout Africa. He is the scientific director of the Wild Bird Trust. Having dedicated his efforts to the preservation and protection of parrot species throughout Africa, his findings caused a moratorium to be placed on importation of African grey parrots into South Africa, a global victory for the wild-caught bird trade.
Boyes’s most ambitious undertaking lies in planting trees and mounting nest boxes for Cape parrots and the forests they depend on. He works closely with local communities to plant and nurture thousands of seedlings on their land; then he buys them back and replants them to replenish decimated forests.
Rob Caskie, Historian
Who would ever have imagined that sharing experiences about motorcycle journeys at university would lead to a career in storytelling? Rob started his own business in 2011 as a Professional Speaker and Specialist Tour Guide, after working with the late David Rattray from 2001 on the Anglo Zulu battlefields, where he honed his talent for storytelling. He has a degree in Agriculture and started his guiding profession as a photographic safari guide and wildlife filmmaker in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. His expertise in this field earned him a place as official photographer on Kingsley Holgate’s Africa Odyssey expedition in 1993 along the waterways of Africa from Cape to Cairo.
Since 2004, he has presented extensively in the UK and South Africa to both corporate and private clients. His achievements were recognised by being invited to speak at the Royal Geographic Society in London to full houses in September 2010 and again in September 2012, when I was invited to showcase my talk ‘Going South with Scott & Shackleton’ fulfilling my lifelong passion with Antarctica.
He has regular engagements at conferences and seminars, as an after dinner speaker, specialist lecturer on cruise ships and at charity events. All of which make for a wonderfully fulfilling vocation.
Andy Coetzee, Fishing instructor and Snorkel Master
Andy grew up in rural areas, immersed in the diverse local cultures, and has an in-depth understanding of the traditions and mythologies of his fellow Africans. Andy has experienced a wide variety of indigenous cultural rituals and lifestyles, spending time living with the Khoi San, experiencing Zulu rites of passage, and participating in Xhosa ceremonies. His role as a documentary film presenter has enabled him to sensitively explore some of the most intimate of cultural ceremonies.
Andy has a higher diploma in Nature Conservation, has attended Wits Business School New Managers Programme. His experience in IDC as a community horticultural researcher and in community conservation development for Wilderness Safari, has deepened his knowledge and awareness of the challenges of rural development in South Africa.
He is a published author and field editor of the monthly Complete Fly Fisherman magazine. He works as a fly-fishing guide, turtle researcher, fisheries biologist, and National Geographic presenter on “Safari Live” “Catching Giants” and “Africa’s Piranhas “for Smithsonian and Discovery channel. He is also an avid diver and has free-dived and scuba-dived with whale sharks, sharks, turtles and whales.
John Hilton, Ornithologist and Snorkel Master
John has been passionate about wildlife for as long as he can remember. He has been fascinated by what lies below the waves since his mid-teens when he qualified as a PADI Open Water diver at age fifteen. His passion for scuba diving continued to grow and he now holds active Dive master status with NAUI. He has logged hundreds of dives in the waters of the Indian Ocean from Cape Agulhas, up along the east coast of South Africa, through Mozambique and some up the coastline of Kenya. The marine fauna and flora of this region is truly breathtaking and he looks forward to sharing his knowledge with you.
Costing and inclusions
Please contact us for the prices of the categories and cabin options.
- Accommodation in shared cabins
- English-speaking expedition team
- Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
- Full board on the ship
- Free coffee and tea on the ship
- Port fees, taxes, and tariffs
- Activities and excursions according to the program
- Transfer to and from the airport
- Hotel accommodation in Pretoria (1 night)
- 2 nights’ Rovos Rail Pretoria to Maputo in Deluxe Suite
- 16 nights’ accommodation on board the Sea Endurance
- Flights to Pretoria and from Dar es Salaam/Zanzibar
- Travel insurance
- Cancellation insurance
- Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
- Single cabin supplement and cabin upgrades
- Beverages (other than coffee, tea, and ice water)
- Tips for ship crew
- Personal expenses
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