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Venture into the heart of West Africa as you explore Togo, Benin and Ghana, each with their own fascinating history, unique culture, lifestyle and beat.
Delve in the depths of the voodoo and fetish cult culture as you learn about the power of sorcerers and black magic. Weave your way through the Venice of Africa as you start to understand the deep beliefs which caused the locals to live on these remote islands. Embrace the tropical beauty of the region as well as lush rainforests and dusty mud brick villages. Marvel at houses built like forts and experience the Akwasidae Festival, a festival which takes place once every 40 days celebrating the culture of the Ashanti Kingdom.
Akwaaba! Welcome to Ghana! Upon arrival into Kotoka International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Your guide will provide you with a briefing on your tour and then the remainder of the day is yours at leisure.
Accra, Ghana’s capital, is one of Africa’s biggest cities with inevitable traffic, noise and mayhem. Despite being a fast growing, lively city, the people are friendly and welcoming and maintain many aspects of their tribal African roots. The National Museum houses one of West Africa’s best ethnographic, historical and art collections, which gives a good introduction to Ghana and the surrounding areas. The old quarter of Jamestown, is the heart of the old colonial town and is inhabited by the Ga people, who founded Accra in the 16th century. There are numerous bustling markets to explore where you can discover everything from food, clothing and household goods to traditional crafts. Most interesting is the area where coffins are made – here, they make them with the most outlandish designs, in the shape of fish, aeroplanes, or just about anything else you can think of.
Overnight Suisse Spirit Suites or similar
After a scrumptious breakfast, your first day in Accra will be spent immersing yourselves into the history and day to day life of the local people. You will drive past Independence Square and the Black Star Square, where you will see the enclosed flame of African liberation, lit by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1961.
The local Ga tribes were the original custodians of the current modernised city of Accra, and your first visit takes you to Jamestown, one of Accra’s most historic neighbourhoods where history resides everywhere you look. Visit the lighthouse which will provide you with an incredible view over the Jamestown Fishing Community. Walk through the fish markets and experience the hustle and bustle along the seashore as fishermen dock their boats and fish mongers sell their catch.
You will also have the opportunity to pay a courtesy visit to the Palace of the Ga Chief of the community.
Continue on to the bustling Makola Market, the biggest open market in Accra. Why not try your hand at bargaining with the locals?
Your day ends at the La township to see the uniquely designed special caskets at the Teshie Nungua area which reflect the beliefs of people in life after death (i.e. a bus driver may be buried in a casket made like a bus, a restaurant owner in a large bottle of beer or a preacher in a casket shaped like a bible. (B)
Overnight Suisse Spirit Suites or similar
Today, you will depart on another adventure along the coast as you head to Elmina and Cape Coast (147km, 3hr approx). Enroute, you will explore the old quarter (Mankessim) with its unique Posuban Shrines, made by the traditional ‘Asafo’ societies which were once responsible for local defence.
‘Kotokoraba’ Market, the cradle of the Cape Coast, is the economic hub of the region with major trading stores located around it. The market has existed for many decades and was a major trading site during the pre-independence era. It serves as a major point for all trade in the region and it is a hotspot for economic activity as most major activities in the city take place in and around the area.
Starting late in the afternoon, enjoy the sight of many colourful fishing boats bringing their daily catch into the harbour and take this opportunity to mix and mingle with the locals at the nearby market. A short distance from the market, you will visit the boat builders, still building colourful fishing boats using traditional tools and methods spanning centuries. (B)
Overnight Coconut Grove Beach Resort or similar
Today, you will visit the Cape Coast Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site. The castle is a thought provoking monument to a harrowing period in the region’s history. Take an emotional journey through the castle which held more enslaved Africans than any other in the region. View the dungeons and infamous ‘Door of No Return’. There is a significant historical museum inside which explains the history of the castle and of Cape Coast itself. Here, you can purchase literature on Ghana’s forts and castles as well as the cultural history and traditions of Ghana.
Continue to ‘Global Mama’s’, an inspiring not-for-profit and fair trade organisation, assisting women in Ghana to become economically independent. During your visit, you will learn about the challenges and successes of running these kinds of projects. Get crafty and turn your hand to learning about the traditional West African art of Batik making.
Upon returning to Elmina, you will visit Elmina Castle, also known as St Georges Castle built by the Portuguese in 1482. The castle was the first European structure built in sub-Saharan Africa, now accorded a World Heritage Site. (B)
Overnight Coconut Grove Beach Resort or similar
After breakfast, drive through the forest zone to Kumasi, (244km, 4hrs approx) the seat of the Ashanti Empire to explore the legends of the famous Ashantis whose legacies are still evident today.
Kumasi comes as a shock, being the most dynamic marketplace in West Africa and the second largest city in Ghana with a population of almost three million. It is a vibrant commercial centre, visited by merchants from all over. Kumasi is home to a collection of British colonial buildings and it is the heart of Ashanti culture.
Enjoy a drive through the city as you witness monuments dedicated to the great Ashanti people. End your tour at the National Cultural Centre which features the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and various studios of the brass makers, potters and batik makers. (B,L,D)
Overnight Golden Tulip Hotel or similar
Spend the day in and around Kumasi, taking in the Manhiya Palace Museum to learn about the legacies of the Ashanti Kingdom. A regal history that dates back to 1700 is told with relics and artefacts.
This afternoon, you will witness the Akwasidae Festival. Join the celebration with the pomp and pageantry of the Ashanti Kingdom. The king riding in a palanquin and adorned with all his gold ornaments, comes out to receive his homage from his sub-chiefs and people, it is a spectacular sight to watch the colourful canopies and umbrellas, the skilful drummers, dancers, horn blowers and praise-singers, held in honour of their ancestral spirits.
You will also visit some of the craft villages in the surrounding lush countryside and the ancient Ejisu Ashanti Shrine, a World Heritage Site. You will see the weaving of the famous Kenete cloth, the making of the Adinkra, a type of fabric worn at funerals and prized for its intricate hand printed symbols and the work of woodcarvers – stools, fertility figures, drums and more. (B)
Overnight Golden Tulip Hotel or similar
Depart for an early morning scenic drive to a beautiful village located on the Lowe course on the splendid Volta River.
You will have the opportunity to visit the Cedi Bead Factory and witness first hand how to make specially crafted glass. You will also have the opportunity to make your own beads using the traditional Krobo techniques. Bead making has a long history in Ghana. Beads have been used in ceremonies of birth, coming of age, marriage and death for the past 400 years.
Arrive in Ho late in the afternoon before checking into your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Driving distance today is 345km, approx 6hrs. (B)
Overnight Volta Serene Hotel or similar
Today you will follow the coastal road dotted with Ewe villages, tranquil lagoons and tropical vegetation before you cross the border into Togo and reach the capital, Lome. (You will cross the border at the Aflao border crossing). Driving distance today is 114km, 2.5hrs approx).
Lome is the largest city in Togo and located on the Gulf of Guinea. It is the countries administrative and industrial centre which exports coffee, cocoa, copra and palm kernels. It also has an oil refinery. The city was founded in the 19th century by German, British and African traders, becoming the capital of Togoland in 1897.
Upon arrival, you will have a scenic drive through Lome. Wind along the ocean side, through the market area, past public buildings, the main boulevards and the new International Museum of the Gulf of Guinea. (B)
Overnight Hotel Residence Madiba or similar
Today you drive to Togoville, the Agdbodrafo Slave House and the Akodessewa Fetish Market. Togoville is a red earthed village which is the homeland of numerous slaves who were taken to Haiti, who were members of the voodoo cult. Here you will find magic remedies and voodoo charms used by local sorcerers. You will visit a remote hidden village where you will witness a voodoo ceremony. Continue to the Akodessewa Fetish Market or Marche, the world largest voodoo market, famous for being a super supply for fetishes, charms and anything else one might need for a ritual. Enjoy the scenic drive back to Lome later in the afternoon. Driving distance today is 100km, 3hrs approx. The evening is at leisure. (B)
Overnight Hotel Residence Madiba or similar
This morning you will drive along the scenic Togo lagoon from Lome to the colonial town of Aneho, capital of the former German Togoland where you will exit Togo (border crossing point Aneho) and cross into Benin. (Entry border point Hilla Condji). Drive onto Ouidah, an important historical centre and the cradle of the voodoo religion. Ouidah offers a calm and relaxed atmosphere with its colonial buildings and its tropical vibes. You will visit the celestial church, an interesting example of religious syncretism mixing voodoo and Christianity.
Your tour will take you to the Temple of Pythons and the Sacred Forest (Kpasse Forest), both important voodoo shrines as well as the Portuguese fort which now houses the history museum. The exhibit focuses on the slave trade and Benin’s consequent cultural links with the Caribbean and the Americas.
From the city centre, you will retrace part of the infamous slave route, passing a former slave market and numerous shrines and memorials erected by the African Diaspora of the New World. You will travel all the way to the ocean and the ‘Door of No Return’. Continue to your hotel for the evening. Driving distance today is 70km, 2hrs approx. (B)
Overnight Hotel Casa Del Papa or similar
Today is set to be one the highlights of your trip as you head to Ganvie, the Venice of Africa. In ancient times, people took refuge on Lake Nokoue from the attacks of the feared Dahomey warriors who were forbidden by a deep belief to fight on water. The Ganvie people over time, developed this unique lake culture and way of life which have made them famous. Cruise through the tranquil waterways and fish farms to the lake community of Ganvie. Discover curious dwelling built on stilts, small floating markets and witness the fascinating way of life. Returning to ‘terra firma’, visit the Abomey-Calavi fetish market, the most authentic in the region and (hopefully) meet one of the officiating fetish priests and see the Royal Palace on your way to Dassa. Driving distance today is 250km, 5hrs approx. (B)
Overnight Suncity Hotel or similar
Today you will stop at the Dankoli fetish, an important place of the voodoo cult and you will discover the Old Taneki priest. You will also visit a traditional village where each mud house is built as a fortress. You will have time to visit several of these magical and enchanting structures and meet the Tamberma people, some of who still wear headgear made from the horns of gazelles. Driving distance today is 350km, 8hrs approx. (B)
Overnight Hotel Tata Somba or similar
This morning you cross the border back into Togo to witness a fire dance. In the centre of the village, a large fire lights up the faces of the participants who dance to the hypnotic beat of drums, eventually leaping into the glowing embers. They pick up burning coals and pass them over their bodies and even put them in their mouths without injuring themselves or showing any sign of pain. It is difficult to explain such a performance. Driving distance today is180km, 4hrs approx. (B)
Overnight Hotel Centrale or similar
Today you head south stopping in the typical African town of Atakpame sitting amongst picturesque hills. The town is synonymous with weaving and you will see brightly coloured fabric everywhere called Kente. From Atakpame, you move to the tropical forests surrounding Kpalime, a town with a rich colonial past and now an important trading centre. Driving time is 290km, 5hrs approx.
This evening, enjoy a night walk in the forest to discover its mysterious nocturnal world and enjoy the sounds of nature. Under the guidance of a local entomologist, you will learn about the endemic butterflies and insects. (B)
Overnight Jess Hotel Kpalime or similar
Today you will drive back to Lome. Depending on the departure time of your flight, you will have the use of a day room to freshen up before transferring to the airport for your onward flight. Driving distance today is 121km, 2hrs approx. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
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This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.