Ghana, a West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea, is known for its varied wildlife, ancient forts and secluded beaches, such as Busua. The coastal towns of Elmina and Cape Coast include posubans (native sanctuaries), colonial buildings and various castles converted into museums that bear witness to the slave trade. North of Cape Coast, Kakum National Park is a large suspension bridge over the rainforest canopy.
In Benin, at Abomey, the former capital of Dahomey, the historical museum occupies two royal palaces decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the history of the kingdom and a throne mounted on human skulls. To the north, Pendjari National Park offers safaris to discover elephants, hippos and lions.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Accra – Liabadi Beach Hotel|
|DEPARTURE TIME||2h after the arrival of your flight|
In Togo, the Koutammakou region is inhabited by the Batammariba people, occupying traditional clay huts resembling fortresses dating back to the 17th century. The capital Lomé has a bazaar on several floors called the Grand Marché and the Fetish Market which offers traditional remedies and talismans related to the voodoo cult.
Day 1 - Accra Labadi Beach Hotel
On arrival at Kotoka International Airport, you will be met by your guide and taken for a leisurely welcome breakfast. Full of modern and traditional contrasts, Accra is a great introduction to Ghana. It is a low-key capital city, which originated as a scattering of villages. In the afternoon, the colourful central market, Makola, is sure to indulge the senses. From locally crafted jewellery to land snails, admire the wide range of items sold by primarily women traders. Overnight at the Labadi Beach Hotel (or similar).
Day 2 - Cape Coast - Elmina Coconut Grove Beach Resort
Enjoy breakfast and depart for a half day city tour of Accra, including a visit to the National Museum of History and Ethnography, showcasing exhibits that reflect the heritage of Ghana throughout history. This museum houses a varied collection of Ghanaian artefacts. Later, visit the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Park, the final resting place for Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana. This mausoleum has been frequented by many world dignitaries. Continue to the unique casket-making shops, where caskets are designed to reflect the earthly profession of the deceased so that they may continue practicing in the afterword. For example, a bus driver will be buried in a bus or a teacher in a book. Later, drive past the Independence Arch and Black Star Square, Accra’s ceremonial grounds, to visit the Arts and Crafts market. View from a distance Christianborg Castle, former office and residence of the President of Ghana. Continue with a 3-4-hour ride to the Cape Coast. Visit the Cape Coast Castle which was originally founded by the Swedes in 1652. It served as the headquarters and seat of the British colonial government until 1877. Take a comprehensive tour of the castle, the slave dungeons, and the West African Heritage Museum. Observe the slave quarters and Negotiation Hall where slaves were bargained for and sold. Proceed to Elmina for the evening.
Day 3 – Elmina - Kakum - Kumasi Golden Tulip Hotel
Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elmina Castle, the first and oldest European structure built of any substance on African soil. This was built by the Portuguese in1482 and was used for gold and ivory trade. Later it was taken over by the Dutch who continued to use it for trade but also a slave market. For a comprehensive guided tour, we will view the slave dungeons and condemned cells where slaves who attempted to escape were incarcerated. Then, for a stark change of scenery, depart for Kakum National Park, which lies approximately one hour north of Elmina. The park is home to many endangered mammals, such as forest elephants, bongo antelopes and various monkeys. Take a morning walk of the “Kuntan Trail” with its countless trees with medicinal properties. Learn how locals use these medicinal plants to cure common ailments. For the young at heart, experience the “Canopy Walkway” suspended 100 feet from the forest ground for a panoramic view of the flora and fauna of the remaining vestiges of the rainforest. Make the 4-hour drive to Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region, arriving in the late afternoon.
Day 4 - Kumasi and Ashanti craft village – Tamale Gariba Lodge or similar
Visit the National Cultural Center, where you can learn about brassworking, woodcarving, pottery making, batik cloth dyeing and kente cloth weaving. Then, continue on to visit a few Ashanti craft villages to witness the skill and imagination of local craftsmen utilizing simple tools and traditional technology to produce breathtaking artifacts and designs from which you may select souvenirs. Approximately forty minutes from the center of Kumasi, proceed to Ahwiaa, the woodcarvers’ village specializing in woodcarving such as the Ashanti stools, fertility dolls and walking sticks. Then drive another forty minutes to Ntonso, Adinkra cloth processing village, where you will have an opportunity to create your own designs. Then, embark on a 6-hour journey to Tamale.
Day 5 – Tamale – Yendi – Tatale - Kara Hotel Kara or similar
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and make the 3-hour journey in the direction of Tatale, with a stop along the way in the Gnani village near Yendi. Gnani is a community made up of people who were exiled from their homes, due to accusations of witchcraft and wizardry. Meet those who were exiled and hear their harrowing stories. An hour across the border from Togo lies Bassar, famous for its ancestral mastery of iron mining and processing. Here you will learn extensively about this history and its relevance today. Later, meet a village chief and his elders. Witness the captivating T’bol fire dance, performed by tribal members. Proceed with a one-hour drive to pass though many villages.
Day 6 - Benin: Kara – Koutammakou – Somba – Natitingou Hotel Tata Somba or Similar
After your hotel breakfast, make the 3-hour drive to Koutammakou. Enroute, stop at Losso village to admire their round houses, the “soukala”. Upon arrival at UNESCO World Heritage Site, Koutammakou, interact with the local population and visit their famous mud-tower houses, still the preferred way of living today. These structures are very impressive, many of which boast two floors and occasionally flat roofs. Later, cross into Benin via Boukoumbe. Drive through similar Somba tribal land in the Atakora mountains wooded savanna to Natitingou, approximately a 4-hour ride.
Day 7 – Natitingou - Abomey Sun City Hotel or Similar
After your hotel breakfast, drive to the Yom village of Taneka Koko. People in this remote village still preserve their traditions, despite the challenges from the outside world. Meet the spiritual head of this community and visit some sacred places before continuing to Doyissa. Here, you will witness the famous Dankoli voodoo shrine and learn about its significance for voodoo practitioners. Devoted followers bring sacrifices to the shrine in exchange for blessings from the gods. Then, continue to Abomey. Abomey used to be the capital of an African kingdom called the Kingdom of Dahomey, which existed from around 1600 to 1900 until the arrival of the French colonists. This kingdom was among the most influential in West Africa, famous for its lady warriors, the Amazons. Visit historic museums, palaces of King Gezo, the 11th monarch, and King Glele, the 12th monarch, featuring the stool room, the weapon room, the administrative blocks of both kings, as well as the common sepulcher of King Glele’s wives, shrines and palace artisans.
Day 8 – Abomey - Ouidah Hotel Casa del Papa
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and make the approximately 2-hour drive through the valley of the Mono River to Ouidah, branded the voodoo capital city of Benin. On arrival, visit Kpasse sacred forest. The visit to this shaded wood is an enlightening introduction to the Voodoo religion, including the opportunity to admire sculptures of voodoo gods scattered throughout the forest. Even the tree into which King Kpasse, the second monarch of Ouidah, got deified is still visible here. The tour continues with the visit of the museum of history, as well as a visit to a former Portuguese slave fort portraying implications of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the Americas and back here in Benin. Experience the Slave Route from Chacha Square, the former slave market, and the Door of No Return, located on the beach, that saw millions of Africans embark on a journey to the unknown. Check-in at Hotel Casa del Papa.
Day 9 – Ouidah – Ganvie - Cotonou Azalai Hotel de La Plage or similar
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Abomey Calavi, about an hour east of Ouidah. Here you will board a motorboat and cruise the Nokoue Lake for UNESCO World Heritage Site Ganvie, Africa’s stilt village. Due to its prime position directly over a lake, it’s no surprise that Ganvie’s main industries are fishing and fish farming. Go along the narrow alleyways between the stilt huts passing Lovers’ Lane and the floating market. Stop at a local shop, offering an idyllic vantage point for admiring the beauty of the village. Return to Abomey-Calavi and continue with a half hour drive to Cotonou. Visit a local craft market, then later check-in at Azalai Hotel de La Plage or similar. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 10 - Togo: Cotonou – Lome Radisson Blu Hotel 2 Fevrier or Similar
Travelling overland, make the 3-hour drive to Togo’s capital, Lomé, a colourful mix of both modern and traditional. Enjoy a tour of the city, the Place de l’Indépendance and the National Museum. Observe sacred voodoo shrines side by side with the city’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. Travel along Togo’s sparse coastline, home to several small fishing villages, some of which display fine examples of colonial architecture to admire. Later in the Lomé central market, you can find pearls, baskets, pottery, and sacred pieces. After lunch in China Town, stop at the Akodesséwa fetish market, where you can find magic remedies and local voodoo charms used by local sorcerers.
Day 11 – Lomé – Accra Onward Flight
After breakfast at your hotel, depart early for the Segbe border.
Upon clearing customs and immigration, continue to Aburi botanical gardens, less than an hour north of Accra. Occupying 64.8 hectares, this century-old garden offers a rich collection of tropical flora which attracts various species of birds and butterflies. Learn about the history of the gardens and its role in encouraging cocoa and rubber production.