West Africa: People, Past & Present – A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2023)

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 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, tribal festivals and the healing magic of voodoo on this enchanting journey to a surprising and still largely untravelled part of Africa.

Journey Highlights

  • 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
  • Typically features a small group size of 8–10 guests

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Accra, Ghana

On arrival into the Ghanaian capital, you are met and transferred privately 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 rest of the afternoon is at leisure before a tour briefing and welcome dinner, complemented by a local folk singing performance.

Labadi Beach Hotel | Meals: D

Day 2: Accra | Design Your Day

Spend the day exploring Accra. Start with a guided visit to the National Museum, the old quarter of James Town, and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and memorial park dedicated to Ghana’s first President. Next, enjoy a visit to a fantasy coffin-building workshop, famed for its collection of handcrafted coffins in a variety of shapes from fruit, fish and other animals to cars and planes. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:

  • Visit the Africa Artist Alliance gallery showcasing artworks, sculptures and carvings from established and emerging African artists.
  • Explore the 65-hectare Aburi Botanical Gardens, a botanist’s paradise with its extraordinary collection of rare plant species and trees.
  • Discover why Accra has produced so many world champion boxers when you step inside some of its many boxing gyms and understand how the sport has become entrenched in the local culture.

Labadi Beach Hotel | Meals: BL

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

Drive into neighbouring Togo and on to Lomé, the vibrant capital. Lomé is the only African city that was a colony of the Germans, British and French, and its unique heritage is reflected in the lifestyle of its inhabitants and the architecture of the town. Arrive at the hotel in time for a barbecue lunch, with the rest of the day at leisure to explore the coastal capital.

Hotel 2 Fevrier Lome | Meals: BL

Day 4: Lomé | Art, Textiles & Markets

Start your day with a visit to the central market where the famous “Nana Benz” women, the Queens of African textiles, control the market in Wax Hollandais, the vibrant highly valued wax-printed fabrics. Continue to the administrative quarter with its handsome colonial buildings, before a visit to the voodoo market where all the necessary ingredients used by traditional healers are on offer. Later today, meet renowned local artists from the modern Togolese school whose work has been exhibited in Europe over many decades.

Hotel 2 Fevrier Lomé | Meals: BL

Day 5: Lomé – Ouidah, Benin | Voodoo Traditions

Head to a remote village to visit a voodoo priest, or witch doctor, to get a deep understanding of the voodoo culture. Join in a voodoo ceremony: the frenetic rhythm of the drums and the chants of the mediums call in the voodoo spirit which takes possession of at least some of the dancers who fall into a deep trance. After lunch, cross the Benin border and board a boat for the journey to the coastal town of Ouidah. Stop along the way at remote fishing villages to learn about their traditional farming and fishing techniques.

La Casa del Papa | Meals: BLD

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

Drive to Lake Nokwe and on by boat to Africa’s largest stilted village, Ganvie, situated in the middle of the lake. After lunch, continue to Abomey and visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Royal Palace. Now a museum, it displays items belonging to the ancient kings: thrones, altars, costumes and weapons. Return to Ouidah, stopping en route to attend an Egun dancing masks festival. The masks represent the spirits of the deceased. Dressed in brightly-coloured clothing, masked dancers emerge from the forest and form a procession through the village streets performing a kind of bull fight.

La Casa del Papa | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Ouidah | Built on the Slave Trade

Spend the day exploring Ouidah, one of the main slave ports in the 18th century. Enter the python temple and learn of its importance to voodoo culture. Visit the Catholic Cathedral and the Ouidah Museum displaying a collection of local contemporary art. After lunch, visit the Portuguese Fort, now a museum, and continue to the old slave market where thousands of slaves were paraded and sold to the highest bidder. The city tour ends by following the “slave road” to the beach, where slaves were loaded onto ships.

La Casa del Papa | Meals: BLD

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

Drive to the Togo border and continue into the rainforest region that surrounds Kpalimé, a town with a rich colonial past. Along the way stop at local villages including Tado, considered to be the 12th-13th century birthplace of the Aja people. See villagers preparing family meals and harvested goods for sale, enjoy locally-brewed beer in a village “bar” and visit a village school. Arrive into Kpalimé this evening, a town surrounded by coffee and cocoa plantations.

Parc Residence Hotel | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Kpalimé | Coffee & Cocoa Plantations

A morning walk in the tropical forest with an entomologist reveals endemic butterflies and insects, and provides an understanding of how plants are used in local art and medicinal remedies. After lunch, enjoy time at leisure, or an optional tour of colonial buildings, the bustling market and local arts centre.

Parc Residence Hotel | Meals: BLD

Day 10: Kpalimé – Akossombo, Ghana | Sacred Monkeys

Cross the Ghana border and on to the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary which was created to protect a community of sacred forest monkeys. Take a leisurely guided walk to see the resident mona and colobus monkeys. Arrive into Akosombo and check into your resort overlooking the Volta River.

The Royal Senchi Resort | Meals: BL

Day 11: Akossombo | Volta River

A full day at leisure to enjoy the resort facilities. Afternoon optional visit to the bead factory where traditional techniques are still used to create beads from scrap glass.

The Royal Senchi Resort | Meals: B

Day 12: Kumasi | Ashanti Community & Culture

Drive to Kumasi, historic and spiritual capital of the old Ashanti Kingdom. The Ashanti realm was one of the most powerful in Africa until the end of the 19th century. Visit the Ashanti Cultural Centre where a rich collection of artefacts is housed in a wonderful reproduction Ashanti house. Later, attend a traditional Ashanti funeral, a festive public occasion where mourners wear beautiful red or black togas — an intriguing sacred experience.

Golden Tulip Kumasi City | Meals: BLD

Day 13: Kumasi | Royal Akwasidae Festival

Visit the Royal Palace Museum and attend 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, visit the sprawling central market, one of the biggest in Africa. Every type of Ashanti craft (leather goods, pottery, Kente cloth) is found here, plus all kinds of tropical fruit and vegetables.

Golden Tulip Kumasi City | Meals: BLD

Day 14: Elmina | Colonial Relics

Drive to Elmina on the south coast. Ruled at different times by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, Elmina has a rich history. Arrive at your seaside resort in the afternoon with time to relax before dinner.

Coconut Beach Resort Elmina | Meals: BLD

Day 15: Elmina | Portuguese Castle & Coastal Shrines

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in Africa, erected by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and explore the adjacent 19th century Dutch cemetery. Outside the castle visit the local fishing village. In the old town, see the important Posuban shrines of the Asafo warriors and stroll through the lively alleyways. After lunch, return to Elmina with a special farewell dinner and gospel choir performance.

Coconut Grove Beach Resort | Meals: BLD

Day 16: Elmina – Depart Accra

Early morning transfer by road back to Accra, stopping en route for lunch before your departure flight.

Meals: BL

Journey Details

Minimum age is 10 years.
First group event: welcome briefing at 6:00 p.m. on Day 1.
Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:00 p.m. on Day 15.
Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

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.

Please note: Proof of COVID-19 full vaccination is required for this program.

Included with this Limited Edition Small Group Journey

  • 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

Customise this Journey

Talk to one of our expert Journey Designers or your travel agent about booking this tour as a private journey for your own small group with family or friends. Or, if you would prefer to travel privately, find out more about creating the perfect bespoke tailor-made journey based on this itinerary.

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Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra

West Africa: People, Past & Present – A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2023)

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 (2023)

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

Parc Residence Kpalime

West Africa: People, Past & Present – A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2023)

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

Golden Tulip Kumasi City

West Africa: People, Past & Present – A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2023)

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 (2023)

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 11, 2023 - Jul 26, 2023 Special
Price AU$12,495pp Single Supplement AU$0 was AU$2,795 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Available Enquire
Nov 14, 2023 - Nov 29, 2023 Special
Price AU$12,495pp Single Supplement AU$0 was AU$2,795 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Available Enquire

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