Fernando de Noronha and the Bijagos Archipelago - with National Geographic

12 days / 11 nights
    National Geographic
    Fernando de Noronha and the Bijagos Archipelago - with National Geographic

    Cruise Latin America, Africa

    from 21 March 2020 to 1 April 2020
    12 days / 11 nights

    Departure Port : Recife
    Arrival Port : Dakar

    Ship : L'AUSTRAL

    • Ref : A210320

    In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.  

    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 de Noronha 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.a

    • Naturalists Naturalists
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    Special offer(s) :


    *The supplement for single usage of a double cabin is waived, according to availability and staterooms categories.



    Take advantage of our special consecutive cruises offers*

    -When this cruise is in 2nd position get a -20% discount

    -When this cruise is in 3rd position get a -30% discount

    - When this cruise is in 4th position get a -40% discount

    - When this cruise is in 5th position get a -50% discount

    - When this cruise is in 6th position get a -60% discount

    *Reduction does not apply to the first cruise and relates to the port/port fare excluding port taxes, non available for Ocean Voyages and subject to availability. The offer is only available on selected cruises. Please, contact us.


    • A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert onboard.
    • 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.

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    Staterooms & Suites

    • Superior Stateroom
      Not Available
    • Deluxe Stateroom
      Not Available
    • Prestige Deck 4
      Not Available
    • Prestige Deck 5
      Not Available
    • Prestige Deck 6
      Not Available
    • Deluxe Suite
      Not Available
    • Prestige Deck 5 Suite
      Not Available
    • Prestige Deck 6 Suite
      Not Available
    • Owner's Suite
      Not Available

    There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.




    In May 2011, l'Austral joined PONANT's fleet. This superb mega-yacht with 132 staterooms is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral remains faithful to our philosophy - to create a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy and well-being.
    A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. A welcoming atmosphere of relaxed sophistication revolves around shades of grey, taupe, white and ivory enlivened by touches of cinnamon, caramel and tan.. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht.”
    You will encounter unique itineraries, calls inaccessible to large ships, chic and elegant yacht-like ambiance, refined and personalized service as well as gastronomic cuisine.

    Port of call & excursions

    21 March 2020 – Fernando de Noronha


    Embarkation 21/03/2020 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 21/03/2020 at 18H00 .

    Founded in the 16th century, the city of Recife on Brazilメs north-east coast is a vibrant mix of old and new. Stroll around the historic centre to discover elegant pastel-coloured mansions, 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, the long beaches of Pina and Boa Viagem beckon with emerald water and fine sand under shady coconut palms, while modern business blocks rear skyward to form a striking backdrop.

    22 March 2020▸24 March 2020 – Fernando de Noronha

    22 March 2020▸24 March 2020 – Fernando de Noronha

    Arrival 22/03/2020. Departure 24/03/2020.

    The main island in the archipelago of the same name, Fernando de Noronha lies off Brazil's north-east coast. Its pristine natural environment has given it UNESCO World Natural Heritage status. In Dolphins Bay, spinner dolphins cavort in pristine waters against a backdrop of luxuriant green hills. You might also see whale sharks and hawksbill turtles. Just next to the port of Santo Antonio, youメll see petrels and albatrosses cruising over deserted beaches. For an insight into the islandメs culture, visit Vila dos Remédios, a seaside village featuring many historic buildings.

    25 March 2020 – Crossing the equator line

    25 March 2020 – Crossing the equator line

    Arrival 25/03/2020. Departure 25/03/2020.

    Crossing the equator is a baptism, a maritime tradition that PONANT perpetuates 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: with white togas, Neptune’s trident and fancy dress on the agenda. An unforgettable moment of conviviality between passengers and crew, under the aegis of Neptune, God of the Seas!

    26 March 2020▸28 March 2020 – At sea

    26 March 2020▸28 March 2020 – At sea

    Arrival 26/03/2020. Departure 28/03/2020.

    During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

    29 March 2020 – Maio Island, Bijagos

    29 March 2020 – Maio Island, Bijagos

    Arrival 29/03/2020. Departure 29/03/2020.

    Some 20 kilometres off the coast of west Africa, the Bissau-Guinean archipelago of Bissagos is famous for its abundant biodiversity. The richness of its marine animal and plant life afforded it the status of Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Of the 88 islets and islands in the archipelago, only 23 are inhabited. At Maio, still called Chediã, and at Formosa, you can meet the Bissagos people and get to know their ancestral ways and customs. In this region, cut off from the rest of the world and secluded from Western influences, you'll discover how locals really live.

    29 March 2020 – Ampincha, Bijagos

    29 March 2020 – Ampincha, Bijagos

    Arrival 29/03/2020. Departure 29/03/2020.

    On Carache Island, you will visit Ampincha, a village with strong traditions. In the villages of the Bijagos Islands, animist traditions live on, punctuated by sacred rituals shrouded in mystery. For the Bidyogo, each natural element has a soul. These people’s greatest treasure is their environment: their canoes are carved out of the majestic kapok trees, their clothing is made from palm fibre, and their diet mainly consists of shells found in the mangrove and along the foreshore.  

    30 March 2020 – Caravela, Escaramoussa's beach, Bijagos

    30 March 2020 – Caravela, Escaramoussa's beach, Bijagos

    Arrival 30/03/2020. Departure 30/03/2020.

    Your stop on Caravela Island is on a vast beach along the deserted bay of Escaramoussa in the island’s north. Here too, the people have become one with nature. In this region, cut off from the rest of the world and secluded from Western influences, you’ll discover how the locals really live. You’ll be impressed by the magnificent landscapes and the exuberant wild nature of this island.

    31 March 2020 – Laterite Beach, Bijagos

    31 March 2020 – Laterite Beach, Bijagos

    Arrival 31/03/2020. Departure 31/03/2020.

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

    1 April 2020▸31 March 2020 – Dakar


    Disembarkation 01/04/2020 at 08H00 .

    On the tip of the African continent, the buzzing capital of Senegal stretches along the narrow peninsula of Cape Verde. 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. In the historic centre, you'll enjoy the pell-mell of colours and tasty delights in Kermel market. A visit to the island of Gorée is deeply moving; for several hundred years this island was the largest slave trading centre on the African coast. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you are looking for pristine, unspoilt nature, the wildlife in the heart of Madeleine Islands' national park will not disappoint.


    • The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.

    • Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.

    • Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.

    • Brazil: Should you need a visa for Brazil, we strongly recommend you start the necessary application process early.

    • Yellow fever inoculation is compulsory. You will need to bring with you your original proof of international yellow fever vaccination. Should you fail to bring your valid certificate, you will be denied boarding.

      Anti-malarial treatment is highly recommended (check with your doctor) 

    • Guinea Bissau: visa delivered and charged onboard (85 €€ subject to change).

      The yellow fever inoculation is not mandatory for this cruise. However, it is recommended that you contact your health professional for any specific medical advise relating to travel through these regions.


    Tropical Expedition

    Tropical Expedition

    Discover the unique concept of PONANT tropical expedition cruises: explore the world’s extreme regions while enjoying luxurious comfort and service.

    A luxury expedition voyage

    Choosing a PONANT expedition cruise means choosing a state of mind: the alliance of elegance and authenticity, of exploration and comfort, of adventure and refinement… The comfort of your ship and your stateroom, personalised and attentive service, refined gastronomy: a very special atmosphere that we take great care to maintain. In the heart of the archipelagos of Oceania or the atolls of the Indian Ocean, along the wild coastlines of Central America or Australia, our luxurious services will ensure that your expedition cruise is an unforgettable experience.

    PONANT, expedition cruise specialists

    With almost 20 years of experience in the extreme regions, PONANT, the world’s number 1 polar cruise company, is also a real specialist in the planet’s most remote tropical regions. Our latest-generation fleet has the most modern technology to guarantee both your safety and respect for the regions visited. The size of our ships means we can get as close as possible to areas that are difficult to reach, offering a privileged access to preserved sites. Our flexibility enables us to adapt to the surprises inherent to these expedition itineraries.

    Professional expedition teams, varied activities

    After scouting missions in the field, our Expedition Leaders and their teams of naturalist guides design exceptional itineraries in the tropical regions. During the cruise, they organise daily outings and shore visits in Zodiac® dinghies so as to get as close to nature as possible. They can reserve local means of transport (dugout canoes, bush taxis, local buses, etc.) in order to reach essential sites for hiking (volcanoes, nature reserves, etc.) or for visiting isolated villages. Indeed, the close relationships that our teams have been able to build with the local communities will enable you to share the life and ancestral customs of these peoples for a few hours. The naturalist guides also supervise snorkelling tours to discover the coral reef fauna. On board, the naturalist guides will share their knowledge during various conferences on fauna, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology…

    National Geographic

    National Geographic

    See the world through National Geographic’s eyes and make a difference.
    For 130 years, the National Geographic Society has funded groundbreaking scientists and explorers, sharing their findings with the world. National Geographic’s deep belief is that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and take responsibility for it. A portion of the proceeds from your purchase of any cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions will go towards the National Geographic Society’s non-for-profit mission to explore and protect the planet. (Indeed, National Geographic Society receives funds from National Geographic Partners LLC, funded in part by your purchase. To learn more, visit www.natgeo.com/info.)

    A National Geographic expert and photographer join each voyage to share their knowledge and insights. They will enrich the expedition experience through fascinating presentations, informal discussions and see the world through the lens of a National Geographic photographer, learning new techniques along the way.

    Guest(s) Lecturer(s)

    Tyrone Turner

    Tyrone Turner

    National Geographic Photographer

    Award-winning photographer Tyrone Turner has produced stories for National Geographic magazine on a wide range of subjects, including New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, and the Gulf Oil Spill; Brazil's maroon people, the quilombos; and energy efficiency and conservation. He has been named a Best of Photojournalism award-winner by the National Press Photographer’s Association and also earned recognition from the Pictures of the Year competition. Turner has joined National Geographic Expeditions for a number of years, including a trip along the Atlantic coast of South America, and lived in Recife and Salvador in northeastern Brazil for two years. Tyrone enjoys sharing his passion for photography and has also taught at National Geographic Photo Camps for youth from underserved regions of the United States and around the world.

    Spoken Languages: English (Native); Portuguese (Conversational); Spanish (Conversational/Basic)


    Photo credit: All rights reserved

    Possibility of withdrawal in case of force majeure.

    Important information

    Expedition programmes include activities such as Zodiac® outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landings"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.

    Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.

    Travelling to isolated regions is an exhilarating experience. In remote areas, please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.


    Clothing tips:

    • Cotton comfortable and light-weight shorts/bermuda shorts
    • Light weight long trousers
    • Long-sleeved breathable SPF50+ shirts
    • Cotton short sleeved T-shirt
    • Aquatic UV long-sleeved T-shirt for sun protection during snorkeling or swimming 
    • Aquatic non-slip sandals 
    • Windproof, waterproof and breathable outer layer
    • Broad brimmed anti-UV hat with strap and veil to protect the neck
    • Comfortable walking shoes


    • Highly protective sunglasses.
    • Sunscreen and after-sun with high SPF index & insect repellent
    • Binoculars (strongly recommended for wildlife viewing).
    • Small waterproof backpack (to protect your camera from water).
    • Camelbak (backpack with water pockets)
    • Walking poles (highly recommended).


    Please note:

    During your visits to some local communities, all guests will be required to dress respectfully. Ladies must have their shoulders and thighs covered. Gentlemen should have their shoulders covered also.

    Do not hesitate to visit the online PONANT store which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations, at the following address: https://boutique.ponant.com

    Benefits of the PONANT store:

    • Advice on equipment from our experts to help you prepare for your polar expedition
    • A wide range of technical equipment for polar expeditions, approved by our experts
    • Two delivery options: delivery to your home or directly to your cabin on board the ship
    • Duty Free shopping for cabin delivered items

    Pre/Post & Overlands

    1. Before your cruise

      21/03/2020 – CITY TOUR OF RECIFE

      190.00 € **

      More information

    2. After your cruise

      01/04/2020 – Gorée, Memory island and Dakar

      270.00 € **

      More information

    Attention: the prices listed at the time of your reservation can be different from those listed in the brochure. These prices can evolve based on availability and the real time rates of the airline companies selected.
    Travellers are advised to check all the information with the authorities concerned prior to the departure date. Ponant advises Travellers to consult the country factsheets relating to the chosen destinations. Ponant specifically draws Travellers' attention to the fact that the information provided may change up until the departure date, and they are advised to consult that information up until the time of departure. CDP invites Travellers to adjust their behavior to the visited country, to exercise vigilance and to avoid carrying valuable objects during their travel.

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