West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

Be swept up in the colour and movement of local festivals, the healing magic of voodoo, tribal drumming and trance-dances on this enchanting journey to a surprising and still largely untraveled part of Africa that will leave you truly amazed.

Journey Overview

A fascinating cultural odyssey to the vibrant West African nations of Ghana, Togo and Benin, home to some of the world’s most welcoming people. Explore bustling colonial cities, palm-fringed beaches and tiny fishing villages. Visit vast forts and castles built on the back of the gold and slave trades by European colonists – Portuguese, Dutch, German, French and British – whose influence is still apparent today. Immerse yourself in the long history of ancient African kingdoms and cultures that predate colonisation by centuries, and experience the vital rituals and traditions that still survive and shape life today. Be swept up in the colour and movement of local markets and festivals, the healing magic of voodoo, tribal drumming and trance-dances on this enchanting journey to a surprising and still largely untravelled part of Africa that will leave you truly amazed.

Journey Highlights

  • Typically features a small group size of 10–12 guests
  • Witness the splendid Akwasidae Festival of the Ashanti people in Kumasi
  • Attend a voodoo ceremony in Togo and meet a traditional ‘witch doctor’
  • Take a private boat excursion to the famous stilt fishing village, Ganvie, in the middle of Lake Nokwe
  • Meet local African artists and artisans revered for their sculptures, carvings and whimsical hand-crafted coffins
  • Understand the stories of Ghana’s tragic past when you visit the Slave Castle at Elmina
  • Celebrate a life at a traditional Ashanti funeral
  • Barter with the Nana Benz, Queens of African textiles in the Lomé markets, famous for their vividly-coloured and highly prized wax printed fabrics
  • Tour UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites including the Royal Palaces of Abomey
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Accra, Ghana

On arrival into the Ghanaian capital, Accra, receive a warm A&K welcome and transfer to your hotel.

Situated on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, Accra is notable for its colourful beachside structures that dot the coastline, and an energy that is unique to the rest of the country. The city's tendrils reach out towards the beach, the centre and the west, each one a different Ghanaian experience. Explore the many local handicraft stores, be swept up in an assortment of African curios and savour flavourful local fare as you explore.

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before a tour briefing and welcome dinner including a performance by talented local folk singers to entertain you.
Labadi Beach Hotel | Meals: D

Day 2: Accra | Design Your Day

Start your exploration of Accra in Jamestown, the city's old quarter, which began as a community developed around the 17th century British James Fort. Jamestown is wonderfully vibrant and full of charmingly worn colonial buildings, clapboard houses and corrugated iron shacks. For a great view of the city and the colourful fishing harbour, climb to the top of the old lighthouse. 

Continue to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park dedicated to Ghana's first President who liberated the country from colonial rule in 1957. The complex, established in 1992 on the former British polo grounds, houses the bodies of Kwame Nkrumah and his wife Fathia. 

Next, is a unique visit to a fantasy coffin building workshop. Admire the collection of special handcrafted coffins in a variety of shapes from fruit and animals to fish, cars and planes. 

This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:

  • Visit Artist Alliance Gallery
    Art enthusiasts may choose an immersion in Accra's vibrant art scene visiting galleries including the Africa Artist Alliance gallery which is run by Ablade Glover, the grandfather of Ghanaian art, and showcases artworks, sculptures and carvings from established and emerging African artists.
  • Visit Aburi Tropical Gardens
    Garden lovers will be fascinated by a visit to the 65-hectare Aburi Botanical Gardens on the lower slopes of the Akwapim ranges. Created by the British in the image of London's Kew Gardens, Aburi is a botanist's paradise with its extraordinary collection of rare plant species and memorial trees.
  • Discover boxing in Jamestown
    Discover why Accra has produced so many world champion boxers when you head into Bukom, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Jamestown. Step inside some of the many boxing gyms and understand how the sport has become entrenched in the local culture, and how boxing motivates the young to escape the cycle of poverty. 

Labadi Beach Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 3: Accra – Lomé, Togo | Pearl of West Africa

After breakfast, drive into Togo and on to its vibrant capital, Lomé. Lomé is the only African city which was colonised by the Germans, the British and the French and as a result, has developed a unique identity reflected in the lifestyle of its inhabitants and in the architecture of the town.

Arrive at the hotel in time for lunch with the rest of the day at leisure.
Hotel 2 Fevrier Lome | Meals: BL

Day 4: Lomé | Art, Textiles & Markets

Start your day in Lomé at the central market where the famous 'Nana Benz' women control the sale of the iconic colourful wax printed fabrics made by the women of Togo. Continue to the administrative quarter with its impressive colonial buildings before exploring the voodoo market, where an eclectic assortment of ingredients used by traditional healers for magic charms is yours to discover. 

Later today meet a local artist in their workshop, to admire their work and learn more about the unique Togolese art history. The modern school of artists has become renowned with exhibitions of their work in Europe over many decades.
Hotel 2 Fevrier Lome | Meals: BL

Day 5: Lomé – Ouidah, Benin | Voodoo Traditions

Depart Lomé and journey to a remote village, visiting a voodoo priest, (commonly known as a witch doctor), to gain an understanding of the voodoo culture and its healing powers. Then join in a voodoo ceremony: the frenetic rhythm of the drums and the chants of the mediums helping to call in the voodoo spirit, which takes possession of some of the dancers who fall into a deep trance.

Afterwards cross the Benin border and take a boat to the coastal town of Ouidah. Stop along the way at remote fishing villages to witness local life, and learn traditional farming and fishing techniques. Dine tonight in the resort's French restaurant.
La Casa del Papa Ouidah | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Ganvie & Abomey | Stilt Village & Mask Festival

Journey by road to Lake Nokwe and onward by motorboat to Africa's largest stilted village, Ganvie, situated in the middle of the lake. After lunch continue to Abomey, visiting the heritage listed Royal Palace. Now a museum, it displays royal artefacts from the ancient kings: thrones, cult altars, statues, costumes and weapons.

Return to Ouidah, stopping en route to attend an Egun dancing masks festival. Egun masks represent the spirits of the deceased and according to the local population they 'are' the deceased. Dressed in brightly-coloured clothing, dancers emerge from the forest and form a procession through the village streets performing a kind of bull fight.
La Casa del Papa Ouidah | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Ouidah | Built on the Slave Trade

Spend today in Ouidah, one of the main slave ports in the 18th century. Visit the python temple and learn its importance to voodoo culture. Stop by the Catholic Cathedral and continue on foot to the Ouidah Museum displaying a collection of local contemporary art. 

After lunch visit the Portuguese Fort, now a museum on the history of Ouidah and the slave trade, and continue to the nearby historic slave market where thousands of slaves were once paraded and sold to the highest bidder. End your city tour by following the 'slave road' to the beach, the point of 'no return' where slaves were sent away to sea.
La Casa del Papa Ouidah | Meals: BLD

Day 8: Ouidah – Kpalimé, Togo | Village Life up Close

Most of the day is spent on the road travelling to the Togo border and beyond into the rainforest region that surrounds Kpalimé, a town with a rich colonial past, now an important trade centre. Along the way, stop at local villages where harvested goods are prepared for sale, beer is brewed and served in village 'bars' and where you may visit a village school.

Arrive into Kpalimé this evening, a town surrounded by coffee and cocoa plantations.
Parc Residence Kpalime | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Kpalimé | Coffee & Cocoa Plantations

Take a morning walk in the nearby forest with an entomologist, who will share their incredible knowledge, pointing out a variety of endemic butterflies and insects, and teaching you how plants are used in local art and medicinal remedies.

After lunch, enjoy time at leisure or take a tour of Kpalimé with its colonial buildings, bustling market place and local arts centre. Visit the handicraft centre which specialises in all kinds of products, from paintings to wood carvings, before returning to your hotel.
Parc Residence Kpalime | Meals: BLD

Day 10: Kpalimé – Akossombo, Ghana | Sacred Monkeys

This morning head to the Ghana border crossing and on to the Monkey Sanctuary of Tafi Atome which was created in 1993 to protect a community of sacred monkeys living in the forest. Take a leisurely walk led by a local guide to see the charismatic resident mona and colobus monkeys for yourself.

Arrive into Akosombo late this afternoon and check into your relaxing resort overlooking the Volta River.

The evening is at leisure.
Royal Senchi Resort Akosombo | Meals: BL

Day 11: Akossombo | Volta River

The town of Akosombo was built in the early 1960s to house construction workers involved in the completion of the hydroelectric project which dammed part of the Volta River Basin. The dam was the largest in the world until the construction of China's Three Gorges Dam. Today is yours to spend at leisure enjoying the resort facilities. 

This afternoon you may choose to partake in a visit to a bead factory, where you can witness the traditional techniques used to create brightly coloured beads from ground down scrap glass.
Royal Senchi Resort Akosombo | Meals: B

Day 12: Kumasi | Ashanti Community & Culture

Today, travel by road to Kumasi, the historical and spiritual capital of the old Ashanti Kingdom. The Ashanti were one of the most powerful people in Africa until the end of the 19th century. Pay a visit the Ashanti Cultural Centre, admiring the rich collection of artefacts housed in a reproduction Ashanti house.

Afterwards, attend a traditional Ashanti funeral, a festive and powerful community occasion where mourners wear striking red or black togas - a intriguing and sacred experience. Mourning the deceased is the Ashanti way of respecting the place held by the departed in the family lineage.
Golden Tulip Kumasi City | Meals: BLD

Day 13: Kumasi | Royal Akwasidae Festival

This morning visit the Royal Palace Museum before attending the splendid Akwasidae Festival. This traditional ceremony maintains ancient Ashanti rituals, with a procession of royal court attendants bringing gifts to the King, storytellers reciting ancient tales, dancers and drummers performing and trumpeters playing horns of ivory.

This afternoon explore the sprawling central market, one of the biggest in Africa. Admire the plethora of handicrafts from leather goods to pottery and Kente cloth found here, along with a colourful assortment of tropical fruit and vegetables.
Golden Tulip Kumasi City | Meals: BLD

Day 14: Elmina | Colonial Relics

This morning, travel by road to Elmina located on the south coast of Ghana. Ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British, Elmina boasts a rich and varied history.

Arrive at your seaside resort in the afternoon with time to relax before enjoying sundowners and dinner with your fellow travellers.
Coconut Beach Resort Elmina | Meals: BLD

Day 15: Elmina | Portuguese Castle & Coastal Shrines

Start your day with a visit to the heritage listed Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in Africa, erected by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and used in the 19th century as a Dutch cemetery. Outside the castle witness the local fishing village, and their large colourful canoes guided by skilled fishermen. Exploring the old town, see the important Posuban shrines of the old Asafo companies and stroll through the alleyways, their lively atmosphere reminiscent of colonial times.

After lunch, return to Elmina with time at leisure before a special farewell dinner and gospel choir performance.
Coconut Beach Resort Elmina | Meals: BLD

Day 16: Elmina – Depart Accra

Early this morning, travel by road to Accra. Stop to have lunch en route before arriving at the airport for your departure flight.
Meals: BL

Journey Details

Maximum Group Size: 18
Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Tour Inclusions

  • All accommodation as detailed with private facilities
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including welcome and farewell dinners
  • Internal flights as mentioned in itinerary
  • Services of English speaking A&K Resident Tour Director
  • Airport welcome
  • Porterage
  • Group transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Bottled water during transfers and touring
  • Wine & beer during lunches and dinners (selected by Resident Tour Director)
  • All entrance fees
  • Togo visa
  • Planning, handling, operational and communication charges
  • All tipping

Tour Exclusions

  • International flights to the tour start point and from the tour end point
  • Visas and other border fees (unless specified)
  • Insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip
  • Items of a purely personal nature such as drinks (unless specified), laundry, dry cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges
  • Transfers, sightseeing or meals not specified in itinerary
  • Excess baggage charges

Please Note 
West Africa are still developing their tourist infrastructure. In some locations hotels may not meet normal A&K standards, however they are comfortable and well located. Please do note that at all times, A&K endeavours to use the best accommodation available.

Tailor Made Travel with A&K
If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, talk to your A&K travel specialist or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke journey for your, or a small group.

Show Full Itinerary
Accommodation

Accommodation

Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra

West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

Set amidst tropical landscaped gardens, overlooking one of Ghana’s most beautiful beaches is the famous Labadi Beach Hotel. The hotel, wh ... Read more

Hotel 2 Fevrier

West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

Located in the heart of Lomé, Hotel 2 Fevrier is widely considered the most luxurious hotel in West Africa with accommodation in a select ... Read more

La Casa del Papa, Ouidah

West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

Situated between sea and lagoon, La Casa Del Papa is a relaxed resort with its own private beach area and three swimming pools. Rooms are ... Read more

Parc Residence Kpalime

West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

The Hôtel Parc Residence is situated just two kilometres from Kpalimé in green surrounds at the foot of a mountain on the edge of Agomé-Y ... Read more

Royal Senchi Resort Akosombo

West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

Located on the banks of the famous Volta River in the Eastern Region of Ghana is the award winning Royal Senchi Resort. Blending typical ... Read more

Golden Tulip Kumasi City

West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

Set in lush tropical gardens in the heart of historic Ashanti, the Golden Tulip Kumasi City is ideally situated in Dakodwon, one of the c ... Read more

Coconut Beach Resort Elmina

West Africa: People, Past & Present - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021)

Coconut Grove Beach Resort is located on a sandy beach on Ghana's Cape Coast five minutes drive from Elmina Castle. Rooms are clean and c ... Read more

Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Jul 27, 2021 - Aug 11, 2021
Price AU$12,095pp Single Supplement AU$2,820 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Available Enquire
Nov 30, 2021 - Dec 15, 2021
Price AU$12,095pp Single Supplement AU$2,820 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Available Enquire
Brochures

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