Final Installment to Back in the Saddle – Cruising the west coast of Africa

Botanical Gardens, Lome, Togo.
Abidjan, Ivory Coast.








A van arrived for us after our breakfast in the fabulous restaurant of the Omali Boutique in São Tomé.  I hope you visited the website through the link I provided in my last post. There was still no news of my luggage. We were driven to the dock to meet the cruise ship, Seven Seas Navigator of the Regency cruise line. The port of origin for the cruise was Capetown, South Africa. With an itinerary for 35 days, it would traverse up the west coast of Africa stopping in multiple countries, cross the Atlantic for four days, then stop in 5 Caribbean islands and end in Miami.  We would take part for 10 days.

So how did I get to be a part of such an incredible trip? One of my best friends of almost 30 years invited me as her travel companion. Because of her expertise on west African history and culture, she is often tapped as a lecturer for specialized cruises. One benefit is that she can choose to bring a companion. For this cruise that companion was me!

We boarded at São Tomé then traveled to Lomé, Togo,

At school, a beautiful young student, Lome, Togo.


Sculpture in garden of Le Debarcadere restaurant. Abidjan, Ivory Coast.







Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Accra, Ghana, and Dakar, Senegal. We were scheduled to stop in Conakry, Guinea, but due to political unrest that stop was cancelled.

Christmas decorations downtown Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The amenities on the ship were outstanding. There were three restaurants as well as casual dining on deck 10. The Executive Chef was from Capetown and oversaw a staff of 40 chefs to provide 24 hour food service to guests as well as the crew who were mostly from the Philippines, India, and eastern Europe.  We were treated to a full array of international cuisines. From classical french to Capetown curries.

I have to say here, that by day five my luggage still had not arrived. The dress code for evening was “casual elegance”.  The only shoes I had were a pair of very brightly colored gym shoes and a pair of Croc, flip flops. Hmmmm… not very elegant. They couldn’t throw me overboard, so I hung in there.

Casually elegant shoes?


When we reached Ghana, I was told my luggage had been located and was on the way. I stayed on board to be available. The ship was scheduled to depart at 6:00 that evening.  At 6:00 still no luggage but the ship stayed docked. Passengers on board were asking about the delay and the Captain gave a vague excuse about the currents of the ocean.  At 7:00 my cabin doorbell rang, I opened the door and there was the concierge standing with a big smile and my suitcase. The ship began to move. At last I had been reunited with my wardrobe and could dress “casually elegant” at least for 3 evenings before our departure from the ship.

When we reached Dakar, Senegal we said our final goodbyes over breakfast to the new friends we’d made while on board the SS Navigator. When we disembarked we hopped in our taxi and headed to The Djoloff Boutique Hotel. Google for great photos of the hotel and accommodation information.

Dakar, Senegal
A familiar site. The old ways mixed with the modern. Dakar, Senegal.








We spent the day visiting a children’s museum, shopping , eating at a casual Ocean front cafe, and before long it was time to head to the airport to return home. It was a wonderful trip. One I will always remember.

Fishermen with their boats. End of day, Dakar, Senegal.
Ocean front cafe. Dakar, Senegal

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