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Hidden Wonders of Tanzania, Mozambique & Madagascar

An Island Hopping Expedition aboard the MS Serenissima

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  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Expedition Cruising
  • Madagascar Fody

Leave winter behind you and join us aboard the MS Serenissima for an exploration of Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar. All three countries have their own unique cultural history and natural wonders, but perhaps Madagascar is the most unique amongst them having separated from the African mainland 160 million years ago. It is the fourth largest island in the world, sheltering 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, of which 80% are unique to the island. Exploring with our expert expedition team and using our Zodiacs we will land on otherwise inaccessible beaches, explore marine parks and coral reefs and encounter some truly beautiful tropical scenery. To many travellers this region is without equal, having remained largely free from the ravages of mass tourism and of course, such beauty and serenity is best enjoyed with a small number of travelling companions. The MS Serenissima is an ideal vessel, and with a maximum of just 100 passengers she offers all the comforts of a larger vessel, but with the added luxury of a small number of passengers. 

Useful links & Travel Advice

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Serenissima

Serenissima

The charming MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Since 2003, when she was extensively renovated, she has been operating as a classic cruise ship. Previously known as the MS Andrea, she was upgraded again in 2013 and started her new life as the MS Serenissima. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs, she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising. In December 2018, the vessel will once again undergo a significant refurbishment and after a re-configuration of the deck plan will accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Fly by scheduled indirect flight.

Day 2 - Dar es Salaam.

Arrive today and transfer to the MS Serenissima. Enjoy Welcome Drinks and Dinner as we sail tonight to Zanzibar.

Day 3 - Zanzibar.

Here the colourful harbour will be crowded with dhows, very much setting the scene for our visit to the Arab style city with its long narrow streets, bazaars, houses with overhanging balconies and intricately carved doorways. On a morning tour, soak up the timeless atmosphere of Stone Town including Livingstone House, Sultan’s Palace, the slave market and the old Fort. The afternoon is free to relax and explore independently or join a tour to a spice farm to experience the various fruits and spices cultivated on the island where you will find everything from jackfruit to coconuts, turmeric and vanilla to lipstick trees.

Day 4 - Mafia Island.

Once a prominent stopover for ships on the trade routes from East Africa, Mafia Island has not seen the same development as nearby Zanzibar and remains relatively unknown and off the major tourist trail but is a wonderful spot to spend the day. Between October and February the island is home to large numbers of whale sharks and we will embark local boats to search for these beautiful creatures with our knowledgeable guides. If conditions allow we may also be able to swim alongside them. We also hope to offer snorkelling on one of the reefs in the Marine Park, whilst nature lovers can enjoy walks looking for some of the 120 bird species found here, endemic butterflies and lizards.

Day 5 - Kilwa Kisiwani.

Our first call in Tanzania will be at Kilwa Kisiwani, a site of exceptional historical interest, where the atmospheric ruins represent a wide sweep of East African coastal history, from the heights of the Swahili and Shirazi trading civilisation, to the darker days of slavery and the uprisings against German rule. Once one of Africa’s wealthiest towns, Kilwa Kisiwani is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains the world’s most extensive and best preserved Swahili ruins. On a morning walking tour we will see the prominent fort and the Great Mosque which stood at the heart of the ancient city and was once the largest in East Africa. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at sea.

Day 6 - Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique.

Travelling south along the coast we enjoy a day in the Quirimbas National Park, a coastal park of 32 islands set aside recently with assistance from the World Wildlife Fund and one of Mozambique’s most biologically diverse regions. Our itinerary will be flexible and our Captain and Expedition leader will make their decisions based on local conditions. We hope to make an expedition stop to view extensive reef and islet complexes offering outstanding snorkelling amidst 400 species of fish. A coastline of spectacular dunes provides nesting and feeding grounds for turtles and migratory birds. We may visit Ibo, a former Portuguese island of once-elegant palatial mansions. The colony owed its wealth to 18th century slave and ivory trading. The battlements of the pentagonal main fortress house renowned silversmiths today. Local guides will escort us around the fort and for the ‘birders’ a separate walk will be arranged.

Day 7 - Mozambique Island.

After a morning at sea we arrive on Mozambique Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was the Portuguese capital in east Africa from the 16th to the 19th century. The town’s narrow alleyways are lined with evocative colonial buildings, some of which have survived from the earliest days of the Portuguese occupation. Spend the afternoon exploring this atmospheric island and visit several of its landmark buildings including the Fort of Sao Sebastiao.

Day 8 - At Sea.

Enjoy a relaxing day as we cross the Mozambique Channel to Madagascar.

Day 9 - Morondova, Madagascar.

From our anchorage off the town of Morondava we will use the Zodiacs to land on the local beach. From here we have a choice of excursions to explore the local region. A half day morning tour will visit the Avenue de Baobabs. Of the eight baobab species in the world six are endemic to Madagascar and here we will see the Adansonia grandidieri species with a row of 20-25 trees which border the gravel road. We will learn about the trees and their spiritual significance before returning to Morondova and exploring the local market. Alternatively join a full day excursion to Kirindy Forest. Situated approximately a two hour drive from Morondova, we will pass the Avenue de Baobabs as we travel north. Kirindy is a 10,000 hectare, dry deciduous forest, one of the most endangered in the world where the flora and fauna includes many endemic species. Here we find three species of baobab, many birds and reptiles including snakes, tortoises and lizards, eight species of lemur including the rare pale form marked lemur and other mammals including giant jumping rat, fosa and narrow striped mongoose.

Day 10 - Tulear.

From the port of Tulear we will drive to the Antsokay Arboretum which is entirely devoted to conservation of the plants from the southwest of Madagascar and after more than thirty years of hard work offers a densely kept selection of flora presenting a typical sub-arid thicket with baobab trees towering over the smaller plants. We will see the four hectare botanical garden which comprises over 900 species of plants of which 90% are endemic to the region.

Day 11 - Europa Island.

Situated in the Mozambique Channel, around 150 miles off the coast of Madagascar we find Europa Island, a small low lying atoll and part of the “scattered islands” of the French Southern and Antarctic lands. This uninhabited island is an important nesting ground for sea turtles and seabirds as well as being a migratory stop for birds moving between Africa and Madagascar. Its isolation has also contributed to a unique flora and fauna including a number of endemic subspecies of birds and reptiles. We have requested permits to anchor and use our Zodiacs to land and explore the island this afternoon on a series of walks with our expedition team.

Day 12 - At Sea.

Relax on board as we cross the Mozambique Channel. Our lecture programme will continue whilst you may want to watch for wildlife from the deck.

Day 13 - Maputo to London.

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.

Day 14 - London.

Arrive this morning.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
28 January 2018 to 10 February 2018
Category Price
2 Standard Stateroom £5795
3 Standard Stateroom Plus £5895
4 Superior Stateroom £5995
5 Deluxe Stateroom £6295
6 Junior Suite £6495
7 Executive Suite £6795
8 Owner’s Suite £6795
9 Inside Single £5595
10 Standard Single £5895
2 Standard Stateroom for sole use £6795
3 Standard Stateroom Plus for sole use £6895

Tour Reference Code: SCSE280118

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 11 nights aboard the MS Serenissima on a full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks
with lunch and dinner on board, Noble Caledonia expedition team, shore excursions, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visas.

  • 2018 Deckplan

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  • 2019 Deckplan

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Serenissima

The charming MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Since 2003, when she was extensively renovated, she has been operating as a classic cruise ship. Previously known as the MS Andrea, she was upgraded again in 2013 and started her new life as the MS Serenissima. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs, she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising. In December 2018, the vessel will once again undergo a significant refurbishment and after a re-configuration of the deck plan will accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.

 
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • On Deck
    On Deck
  • Harald Jarl Lounge
    Harald Jarl Lounge
  • Jacuzzi area
    Jacuzzi area
  • Owners Suite
    Owners Suite
  • Executive Suite
    Executive Suite
  • Executive suite
    Executive suite
  • Junior Suite
    Junior Suite
  • Superior Stateroom
    Superior Stateroom
  • De Luxe Stateroom
    De Luxe Stateroom
  • Standard Plus
    Standard Plus
  • Standard inside
    Standard inside
  • Serenissima
    Serenissima
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Accommodating no more than 95 passengers, the cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. From January 2019, there will be eight different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and all feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.

  • Your Space

    The facilities on board include two lounges – the larger Andrea Lounge is comfortable and spacious and the smaller Harald Lounge is more intimate. There is also a small library with a computer for internet access and Wi-Fi is available at an extra cost throughout the vessel. The outside areas really are something special. A spacious observation deck allows 360 degree views of the passing scenery. From here, step down to the lido area with Jacuzzi and outside bar. The covered seating area at the back of deck 6 is ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand. Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels.this

  • Your Dining

    The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. Being on deck 5, it has great views from all tables. The picture windows mean the restaurant is light and airy. Breakfast is served buffet-style with cooked dishes available and eggs to order by the ship’s accomplished chef. Lunch is also served buffet-style with hot and cold dishes available. Dinner is served a la carte and is four courses, except for at the Captain’s Dinner, which is a six course affair. Where possible, local produce is sourced for an authentic dining experience. A choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks, and water are included at lunch and dinner. In good weather there are al fresco dining facilities available and tea and coffee is available around the clock in the Andrea Lounge.

  • Life Onboard

    The MS Serenissima is more akin to a countryhotel than one of the large ships trawling the seas today. The European Captain, Officers and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on around the clock entertainment and dining, but instead on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. 

  • For your comfort

    There are so few ships of this generation still cruising and MS Serenissima is a great testament to her present and previous owners that they have seen fit to invest considerable sums over the years to keep her in top form and complying with the stringent health and safety requirements. There is a doctor onboard and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the bridge.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklets below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

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  • Drone Footage

    Please click below for some great drone footage of Serenissima.

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  • Videos

    Please find a selection of videos of Serenissima.

    Click on any image to play video.

     

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  • Deck plans
    • 2018 Deckplan

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    • 2019 Deckplan

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Tour Extensions

    • 9th to 12th February 2018

      We are offering the opportunity to spend some time in the magnificent Kruger National Park after disembarking the MS Serenissima. Please note that places for the extension are limited to 20 guests so we recommend reserving your place as soon as possible.

      Kruger National Park

      The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest game reserve at nearly two million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres from north to south along the Mozambique border. This is the land of baobabs, fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees underneath which lurk the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino), the Little Five (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle), the birding Big Six (ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork) and more species of mammals than in any other African Game Reserve. Bounded by the Crocodile River in the south and the Sabie River in the north, we will explore the southern region of the park which is also host to the jagged ridge of the Lebombo Mountains along the border to Mozambique, and the highest point in the park, Khandzalive, in the southwestern. 

      Day 1 Maputo to Kruger National Park. After breakfast we will transfer to the Kruger National Park and the Lukimbi Safari Lodge where we enjoy
      lunch before embarking on our first game drive this afternoon. Return to the camp for a traditional Boma dinner this evening.

      Day 2 Kruger National Park. Hot and cold beverages will be waiting for you after your early morning wake up call. Enjoy a morning game drive
      showcasing the wildlife and nature of the southern region of Kruger National Park, followed by breakfast at the lodge. After breakfast, embark
      on an optional morning bush walk, followed by free time and a leisurely lunch. Later this afternoon you can enjoy another game drive before
      dinner at the Lodge.

      Day 3 Kruger National Park to Johannesburg. After another dawn game drive we will enjoy breakfast and check out of the lodge before
      transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to Johannesburg. Connect here with our onward flight to London.

      Day 4 London. Arrive this morning.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £1395
      Single £1595

      Price Includes: Two nights accommodation at the Lukimbi Safari Lodge on a full board basis, game drives, flight between Kruger and Johannesburg, transfers, gratuities, taxes.

      Not included: Travel insurance, visa.

    • We are offering the opportunity to spend some time exploring the Selous Game Reserve before embarking the MS Serenissima.

      Selous Game Reserve

      The Selous Game Reserve lies 200 kilometres west of Dar es Salaam and at 55,000 square kilometres is four times larger than the famous Serengeti in the north. The reserve is home to over 1,000,000 large animals and over half of Tanzania’s elephant population. However, one of the major attractions has to be the mighty Rufiji river, home to one of the largest crocodile and hippo populations in Africa, swarming with fish which in turn bring about some of the world’s best water birding. The river has also formed several large lakes on its northern bank, navigable by boat and Siwandu Camp is situated on one of these lakes.

      Siwandu Camp

      Siwandu Camp is situated on the banks of Lake Nzerakera and designed to blend in with the spectacular natural scenery in what is one of the most photogenic areas of the Selous Game Reserve. All safari tents are widely spaced along the lake shore ensuring maximum privacy and wonderful views. Each tent sits atop its own raised timber platform with two large verandas on either side. There are no fences and no artificial modifications to the natural fauna and so animals wander freely through the camp. The spacious tents are luxuriously appointed, with en-suite bathrooms and open air hot-water showers. The camp has its own swimming pool, enabling guests to cool off in the heat of the day. There is a well-stocked bar and dining area which is raised on viewing platforms, with large comfortable sofas and a wildlife reference library.

      Day 1 London to Dar es Salaam. Fly by scheduled flight.

      Day 2 Dar es Salaam. Arrive today and transfer to the Hyatt Hotel (or similar) for an overnight stay.

      Day 3 Dar es Salaam to Selous. After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our 45 minute scheduled flight to Mtemere Airstrip in the
      Selous Game Reserve. On arrival transfer to the Siwandu Camp and this afternoon enjoy your first game experience with a boat safari on the Rufiji River or on a nearby lake looking for hippos, crocodiles and birdlife. This evening enjoy dinner at the camp.

      Days 4 & 5 Siwandu Camp, Selous Game Reserve. Enjoy two full days in the Reserve with included game drives each day. Maybe enjoy a full day game viewing with a picnic lunch or a half day walking safari through the bush with a ranger. Alternatively join a boat safari or simply relax in your tent. Day 6 Selous to Dar es Salaam. Enjoy a final safari option after breakfast before transferring to the airstrip for your flight to Dar es Salaam where we transfer to MS Serenissima.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £3295
      Single £3995

      Price Includes: Return internal flight between from Dar es Salaam and Selous, overnight accommodation in Dar es Salaam on a bed and breakfast basis, three nights accommodation at Siwandu Camp on a full board basis, all soft drinks, tea and coffee and non-premium alcoholic drinks, Selous National Park entry fees and permit fees, excursions at the camp, transfers, taxes.

      Not Included: Travel insurance, visas, gratuities.

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