Rub shoulders with the chiefs of Kumasi and the King of Ashanti at the Akwasidae Festival at Manhyia Palace, or, watch voodoo performances during the Voodoo Festival in Ouidah.. Cross Lake Togo and feel the history of Togoville in its palaces, churches and the voodoo fetish stalls lining the streets.. Discover Ghana – with its ancient to modern history – in the capital of Accra.. Visit the atmospheric St George’s Castle and unearth the nation’s haunting history of slavery.
Uncover three of West Africa’s most intriguing nations on this compact insight into Benin, Togo and Ghana. From Ouidah, Lome and Togoville, where voodoo still forms an important part of everyday life, on to the museums of Accra and pristine shores of Anomabo Beach, this snapshot of Benin, Togo and Ghana is as humbling as it is relaxing. Meet practitioners of the misunderstood religion and talented local artisans, discover stately former palaces engage in either the Voodoo or Akwasidae Festivals.
Breakfast Included: 10 Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Bonjour! Welcome to Benin. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm in the hotel, where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until this important meeting, but if you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so bring those along to give to your leader. After the meeting, you may wish to go out for dinner to get to know the other members of your group – your local leader will be able to recommend some places to try local food such as Kuli Kuli – a fried nut fritter.
After breakfast, head off on a 30-minute drive to the lake village of Ganvie. Here you’ll take a pirogue, a traditional boat used by West African fishermen, and be guided out on Lake Nokoue to visit the stilt village and learn about how the ‘water men’ as they are known fish to support their community. From here you’ll make the hour-long journey to Ouidah, which will be your base for the next two nights.
This morning after breakfast you’ll head out on a guided city tour of Ouidah, the historic centre of voodooism in Benin. The tour includes a visit to the History Museum, the Avenue d’Esclaves as well as many other notable sites. It will end with a traditional voodoo dance performance, a ritual used to call on or pray to spirits. The rest of your day and evening will be free to relax and soak up the atmosphere in Ouidah.
This morning you’ll cross the border into Togo and make the five-hour journey to Lome via Lake Togo. Once you’ve arrived at the lake you’ll board a boat to visit Togoville, a historic town renowned for its royal palace and colonial church. It was here that voodoo practitioners were taken before they were transported to Haiti as slaves. There’s still a strong voodoo influence in the town today, with plenty of fetish stalls dotted throughout the streets. Afterwards continue to Lome, the capital of Togo, one of Africa’s smallest countries. This city was once a colony of the British, Germans and French, and is one of the few capitals to sit on a border with another country. This has lead to the development of a unique lifestyle and architecture, a cross between people, trades and cultures. In the afternoon there is an option to take an orientation walk with your leader before enjoying a free evening.
After breakfast you’ll leave Lome and travel for about 5.5 hours west into Ghana and the capital, Accra. This afternoon stretch your legs by taking a walking tour through the fishing village of Jamestown, and Accra's oldest district. Walk through laneways and meet locals as they prepare for evening meals, while kids play football and other games. Also worth a visit is the site where Ghana’s first president and one of its founding fathers declared independence in 1957. The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was erected in memory of both. In the evening you can sample Accra's lively nightlife, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
Leave Accra and drive inland for about six hours to the ‘Garden City’ of Kumasi. This one-time capital of a powerful kingdom is nicknamed for its beautiful flora. The city is the beating heart of Ashanti history and is seen as the home of Ghanaian culture. It’s also a busy, cosmopolitan city, a place where traditions mix with the urbanity of the developing world. According to legend it was in Kumasi that the Priest Okomfo Anokye called down a Golden Stool (containing the spirit of the people) from Heaven and then drove an irremovable sword into the ground as a symbol of Ashanti unity. This resulted in Ashanti independence from a rival state. Today, this hilly city is home to over one million people and has quite a cosmopolitan feel about it. After lunch visit the nearby Kejetia Market, the largest open-air market in West Africa. Here you’ll be able to buy a variety of knick-knacks, clothes, jewellery and Ghanaian food.
Kumasi is a royal city, home to the Ashanti King, who resides at the new Manhyia Palace. Today you’ll visit the museum of the palace, which sits close to the current royal residence. It was built by the British in 1925 and was home to the Ashanti Kings until 1974. In the museum you will learn about the functions of each room and see artefacts belonging to the kings. You’ll then continue your tour of the Kumasi area with visits to nearby villages, where you’ll meet talented artisans; weavers of Ghana’s beautiful kente cloth and sculptors of wood carvings.
Today is a long travel day so you may want to bring a book or a pack of cards to enjoy with your fellow travellers – although there’s plenty of fascinating scenery to keep you occupied. The drive to Elmina will take about seven hours, and on the way, you’ll stop at a cocoa plantation to learn about how this global commodity is grown and harvested. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, enjoy a free evening to explore the fishing port town or relax on the beach after your travels.
This morning after breakfast you’ll visit St George's Castle. The fortification is one of 20 or so ‘slave castles’ that were built along the shoreline of the Gold Coast – the former name of modern-day Ghana. Built between the 15th and 18th centuries by European trading powers, these castles became the point from which an estimated 12 million Africans were shipped to the Americas. Walk the atmospheric grounds of the castle, past the oppressive dungeons where thousands of slaves were kept while officers lived in light and spacious quarters above, and through to a small door – the ‘Door of No Return’. Here slaves left the fort and were put on to ships; for many the sight across the sea was their final image of home. Continue to explore this busy little fishing town situated on a narrow peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean by taking a walking tour and discover the Pursubans animist (the traditional religion of Ghana) shrines. After lunch it's just over half an hour to Anomabo Beach, which will be your resting place for the evening. A quiet resort town there is no shortage of beautiful beach to explore.
Today is a free day to relax at this beautiful beach resort or to take an optional day trip to the Cape Coast. In what was the centre of British administration and capital of the Gold Cost between 1700 and 1877, Cape Coast is awash with colonial architecture. However, this easy-going fishing town is still haunted by the ghosts of the brutal slave trade and is a fascinating cultural experience. Tonight, you may want to join the rest of your group for a last dinner together before the tour ends the following day.
After a relaxed breakfast head back to Accra where the tour finishes around 2pm. You are free to leave any time after this or continue your stay in Accra.