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.
On arrival at Cotonou Cadjehoun International Airport, proceed through immigration, claim your luggage and clear customs procedures before you exit and meet your expert cultural tour guide who will transfer you to your hotel. Check-in and take some time to refresh. Once you have settled in, meet your guide in the lobby for a brief on your upcoming journey. The rest of the evening is at leisure.
3 nights Golden Tulip Diplomate or similar
Following breakfast, depart to Abomey. Here, you will visit the Queen of Abomey. With walls made of blood and palaces containing thrones balanced on human heads, the royal city of Abomey is the gory Buckingham Palace of Benin and after Timbuktu and Zanzibar is one of the most celebrated of old African towns. The Dahomey Amazons were frontline soldiers in the army of the Kingdom of Dahomey, a West African empire that existed from 1625 to 1894. Its remnants lie in modern-day Benin which occupies a sliver of the coast between Nigeria and Togo. Today, the role of Queen Hangbe and her
Amazons is primarily ceremonial, presiding over religious rituals that take place at the temple near her home. You will have the opportunity to interact with the queen and her amazons. Return to Cotonou and visit the ‘Esplanade des Amazones’, a public square that is home to the ‘Amazon’, a 30-metre-high statue built in homage to the world’s only all-female army. These Amazons belonged to the Kingdom of Dahomey, a West African empire that existed from 1625 to 1894. Next is Remembrance Square, which reveals the splendour and fascinating historic works of the city. Return to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (B,D)
Distance and Journey Time: approx. 137km, 2 hours, 45 minutes
Following breakfast, head off for Ouidah, the former slave trading post and birthplace of Voodoo. This unforgettable visit takes you to the Voodoo Museum, the Sacred Forest, the Cathedral, and the Temple of the Sacred Pythons. Continue to the place of the common grave, the tree of forgetfulness and the “Gate of no Return”. There may be a welcome reception from Dagbo Hounon, the High Priest of the voodoo cult. Later, join the local people to experience the mysteries of the Voodoo religion at Ouidah’s annual Voodoo Festival. Although there are many festivals around the country, this is the largest and most revered. You will see followers and adepts of the various voodoo gods, from the elaborately costumed Zangbetos to the followers of Kokou. Around the edges of the main performance area groups from various voodoo, temples perform their own rites and rituals. Return to Cotonou after a truly culturally inspiring day. (B,D)
One of the highlights of any trip to West Africa is Ganvie, the African Venice. 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. Our boat cruise takes us along tranquil waterways and fish farms to the lake community of Ganvie. Discover these curious built-on-stilts dwellings, small floating markets and different aspects of the local daily life. After lunch (not included), make your way to Lome, Togo’s capital. The evening is at leisure. (B,D)
2 nights Hotel Sancta Maria or similar
Distance and Journey Time: approx. 24km, 40 minutes drive
Today, you’ll visit the slave house in Agbodrafo. From there you can easily travel by shared boat to Togoville, a red-earth village that was the homeland of numerous slaves taken to Haiti, who were members of the voodoo cult. Here you will find magic remedies and voodoo charms used to cast powerful spells. You are invited to sample some potent herbal teas prepared by a village herbalist today as well. Upon return to Lome, Togo’s capital, thought to be the country’s most cosmopolitan city, enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city’s main features such as the Independence Square, National Museum, Craftsmen village, Central market where traditional articles can be found, the fishing harbour, Fetish market where sacred magic products are sold and the Grand Marche where pearls are sold. (B,D)
Following breakfast, make your way to Akosombo in Ghana. After border formalities, enjoy a scenic drive to Torgorme, a beautiful village located on the course of the splendid Volta River. You will have the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the paramount chief and elders amidst traditional drumming and dancing by the villagers. Here you will participate in a traditional celebration and a demonstration of pottery making which is the main occupation of the women in the village and you can try your hand at the craft. Continue to Akosombo, and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a spectacular cruise on the Volta Lake as you bask in the serene greenery and stunning nature and landscape. Transfer and check in to your hotel. Dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
Overnight Royal Senchi or similar
Distance and Journey Time: approx. 175km, 3 hours 30 minutes drive
After breakfast and a leisurely morning, check out of your hotel for departure to Accra. Enjoy a scenic drive to the small village of Krobo Odumase to witness firsthand experience of bead making from specially crafted glass at the Cedi Beads Factory. You will have the opportunity to design your own beads using the traditional Krobo technique. The bead-making craft has a long history in Ghana. Beads have been used in ceremonies of birth, coming of age, marriage, or death for the past 400 years. You will watch and participate in the whole bead-making process from beginning to end. Continue to Accra, arriving early evening. Transfer to the hotel for the night. Dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
2 nights Lancaster Accra City Hotel or similar
Distance and Journey Time: approx. 280km, 5 hours 35 minutes
Following a leisurely breakfast, visit the La Township to see the uniquely designed special caskets at the Teshie and Nungua areas which reflect the beliefs of the people in life after death (i.e. a bus driver may be buried in a bus, a waiter in a large beer bottle etc.) Continue on a scenic drive through the principal streets of Accra and view the Flagstaff House (Ghana’s White House), on your way to visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, the final resting place of Ghana’s first president. The Memorial Park is set in attractive gardens and has a museum which contains photos, artifacts, and an insight into Dr. Nkrumah’s life. Experience African shopping at the Accra Arts and Crafts Centre for authentic African arts, crafts and wear.
After lunch (not included) at the Abajo Cafe, make a picturesque stop at the Independence Arch and the Black Star Square, Accra’s ceremonial grounds, and venue for all national events including Independence Day celebration, where you can capture some nice shots to add to your gallery. Return to your hotel to prepare for dinner at Bosphorous Restaurant. (B,D)
Following breakfast, check out and depart from Accra to Elmina, in Ghana’s Central Region. En route, make a stop in Mankessim to visit Posuban Shrine. Posubans are elaborate concrete shrines in the urban areas of Fante settlements. The shrines are often decorated with cryptic symbols or statues.
Upon arrival in Elmina, embark on a guided tour through the ancient town of Elmina. At the harbour view, the colourful fishing canoes getting ready to head out to sea for another night’s task of fishing. This is a picture-perfect opportunity for the photographers in the group. Transfer to the hotel; dinner and overnight. At the hotel, you will be entertained by fire dancers. (B,D)
2 nights Ridge Royal Hotel or similar
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before you step out to explore the slave castles and forts of Ghana. Drive a short distance to Cape Coast to see the Cape Coast Castle and the Castle Museum for a guided tour. Cape Coast Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to the “Door of No Return”.
After lunch (not included), return to Elmina to visit the Elmina Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 1482. This castle was the first European structure built in sub-Saharan Africa. Within walking distance to Elmina Castle, Fort St Jago originated as a chapel built between 1555 and 1558 by the Portuguese, which was later converted into a lodge and watch tower. From the vantage point of this nearby hill, the Dutch launched their successful land attack on Elmina Castle. Its primary purpose was to provide military protection to the Castle and to serve as a disciplinary institution for European convicts and malcontents. Enjoy this small hilltop fort, which provides an excellent view of Elmina and Elmina Castle. Return to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (B,D)
After breakfast, depart to Kumasi. Make a detour to visit the Kakum National Park, one of Ghana’s most famous parks. Take a brief walking tour on the forest floor; see birds, butterflies and perhaps catch a glimpse of the forest’s over 40 species of mammals including monkeys and the reclusive forest elephant. Next, head to the canopy walkway. Kakum is home to Africa’s only aerial walkway through the treetops, a 1000-foot-long and seven-bridge walkway with viewing platforms that reach heights of over 150 feet above ground. Continue to Kumasi after lunch (not included). Transfer to your hotel; dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
2 nights Lancaster Kumasi or similar
This morning, following breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive through the city with monuments dedicated to the Ashanti Rulers. Visit the Manhyia Palace Museum to obtain firsthand information on the legacies of the Ashanti kingdom, a regal history that dates to 1700 and is told with relics and artifacts. Join the celebration of Akwasidae Festival; the pomp and pageantry of the Ashanti Kingdom. The King riding in a palanquin and adorned with all his gold ornaments ventures out to receive the homage of 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 at these regular festivals, held in honour of their ancestral spirits. Later in the day, visit the National Cultural Centre which features the Prempeh Jubilee Museum named after the former Asantehene (ruler of the Ashanti people) Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II. Exhibits include what is said to be a replica of the famed Golden Stool, which is believed to have descended from the sky and is the spiritual symbol of the Ashanti people. Dinner this evening is at Ike’s Café where you can enjoy the nightlife of Kumasi. (B,D)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and head back to Accra. Detour to Medoma where you visit Okomfo Abass at his Medoma shrine to learn more about the Ashanti Voodoo practices. From here, visit the Kente Village in the surrounding lush countryside which is a sharp contrast to the modern-day Kumasi city. Adanwomase will be your first craft village where you will see how the famous Kente cloth is handmade on looms in a time-honoured tradition passed down through generations. See the Kente styles and there is also the opportunity to make purchases. Pay a courtesy call to the paramount chief of this community amidst drumming and dancing. Continue to Accra, arriving early evening. Dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
Overnight Accra City Hotel 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. (B)
Distance and Journey Time: approx. 121km, 2 hours
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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.
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.