West African Kingdoms Tour
The Ultimate West Africa Tour

Original World’s West Africa tour is a diverse mix of visits to tribal cultures, UNESCO sites, cities, museums, lovely landscapes, historic sites connected to the slave trade, two traditional festivals and several wildlife experiences.

The West Africa tour visits nine countries: Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone, on this remarkably diverse journey of ancient historic sites and present day tribal cultures.

In order to coordinate with festival dates, the January tour starts with arrival in Lomé as described below. The November tour starts with arrival in Abidjan. Download the detailed itinerary for the exact sequence of the tour that interests you.

On each of the West Africa tours, we attend an authentic traditional festival! The annual Voodoo Festival is a highlight of the January West Africa tour. In November we attend the Abissa N’Zima Festival in Grand Bassam. Both tours also feature an opportunity to attend an authentic masked dance ceremony.

On the tour, we visit the stilt village Ganvie. In addition, we visit Guet Ndar, the fishing village located on the Langue de Barberie Peninsula.

In The Gambia, embark on an excursion to Makasutu Forest, a tropical 1000-acre reserve encompassing five different eco systems.

Experience the historic village of Juffureh, setting from the best-selling novel “Roots,” by author Alex Haley, a descendant of Kunta Kinte. The film told the story of Kunta Kinte’s capture in Juffureh by slave traders.

The tour will visit several markets for spontaneous interactions and fantastic photo opportunities!

If 32 days is too long for you, we offer half tours. See the pdfs.

NOTE: The sequence of the visits to the countries changes with each tour as we align with the festivals for each tour.

WEST AFRICAN TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Attend an authentic festival.
  • Visit Ganvie (the second largest stilt village in West Africa).
  • Enjoy a Masked Dance Ceremony.
  • Visit UNESCO cultural sites
  • Learn about the history of the slave trade
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Akwasidae Ashanti Royal Festival

  • 1
    JANUARY - FEBRUARY TOUR

    West African Kingdoms: The Ultimate tour visits 9 countries in 32 days. An exciting journey traversing through history, cultures, nature. We attend different traditional festivals on each tour.

  • 2
    TOGO
    Day 1-2: Arrive Lomé

    We embark on an insightful city tour of Lomé, a city where tradition and modernism overlap. Discover this metropolis with its Musee National, Place de I' Independence, fishing harbor, and the Grand Marche - the realm of the famous “Nana Benz. “

    Visit the Art Street with its craft vendors, the Artisans' Village and tour at the Marche des Feticheurs (fetish market) - the heart of voodoo cult.

  • 3
    BENIN
    Day 3-4: Ouidah - Voodoo Festival

    An excursion to Togoville, visit the old German built cathedral, the colonial area and the traditional quarter of the town.
    Visit Ouidah, the capital of voodoo (UNESCO Cultural Site).

    Tour the Temple of the Python, attend worship prayers, visit Port of No Return. and the Sacred Forest. Visit the historical Museum of Ouidah, that portrays Benin's role in the Atlantic Slave Trade.

    We attend the Annual Voodoo Festival where people come to dance and sacrifice animals, then offer their blood to the spirits.

  • 4
    Day 5-6: Ganvie - Cotonou

    Cross Lake Nokoué to visit Ganvie (the second largest stilt village in West Africa). The Tofinou ethnic group live in huts built on teak stilts and get around in dug-out canoes.

    Visit the Cotonou’s famous market, “Dan Togba.” Visit the ancient Kingdom of Abomey. Here we visit the Royal Palace Museum and the traditional juju market. Attend a traditional Geleden mask dance.

  • 5
    BURKINA FASO
    Day 7-8: Cotonou-Ouagadougou

    We visit the city of Cotonou, discovering its art galleries, markets and neighborhoods.

    Then fly to Ouagadougou. Visit the Grand Market and the crafts markets at the Artisans' Center, where you will find basketry, batik fabrics, wooden statues and masks, jewelry, leatherwork and bronze castings; and a walk around the city. Visit the National Museum.

  • 6
    SENEGAL
    Day 9-11: Dakar

    Fly to Dakar. In Dakar, visit the various markets: Kermel, Sandaga, and the handicraft market of Soumbedioune and the Tilen market famous for its medicinal herbs and its traditional healers. Next, visit the Great Mosque; National Museum, French Cathedral, the President’s Palace and the Parliament House.

    An excursion to Goree Island & Retba Lake. On Goree Island we visit the House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) and its “Door of No Return,” a former prison for slave trade and said to be the final exit point of the slaves from Africa.

  • 7
    Day 12: St. Louis

    We visit Lake Retba, also known as the “Pink Lake,” the “salt harvesters” with their colorful tackle, and interact with the Fulani ethnic groups. Visit Norflaye Turtle Conservation Farm.

    Visit St. Louis with many brightly colored buildings and beautiful balconies (A UNESCO World Heritage site). After, we visit the Langue de Barbarie Peninsula.

  • 8
    Day 13: Excursion to Djoudj National Park

    We drive to Djoudj National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the third largest pelican sanctuary in the world. We shall cruise for a 1.5-hour trip through the mangroves of the river to see where the pelicans hatch their eggs each year.
    Return to St. Louis for overnight.

  • 9
    THE GAMBIA
    Day 14-15: Banjul & Surrounds

    Visit Banjul, the sand-blown streets, colorful markets, fading colonial buildings, and a sense of history permeates every district.

    An excursion to Makasutu Forest, on an island of the Gambia River; a tropical 1000-acre reserve encompassing five different eco systems. Cruise on the Gambia River through the mangroves.

    Visit the Royal Albert Market that comes alive with pungent aromas, lively scenes of shimmering fabrics and shining silver jewelry to fresh produce.

  • 10
    SENEGAL
    Day 16-17: Juffureh- James Island - Toubacoutta -Jowal Fadiouth-Saly

    A drive to this historic village of Juffureh which became famous in the 1970s following the film release of the bestselling book, "Roots" written by the African-American author Alex Haley, a descendant of Kunta Kinte. The film told the story of Kunta Kinte’s capture in Juffureh by slave traders.

    Afterwards, a boat ride to James Island (aka Kunte Kinteh Island), the colonial period ruins of a slavery station and the 'Portuguese chapel' of San Domingo.

  • 11
    GHANA
    Day 18: Saly - Dakar - Lome - Accra

    Early breakfast at the hotel will be arranged. We transfer to the airport.

    The rest of the afternoon/evening is at leisure.

  • 12
    Day 19: Accra

    This morning we tour Accra, the capital city of Ghana, including National Museum, Osu Castle, Coffin builders at Teshi township.

  • 13
    Day 20-21: Kumasi

    Visit the Royal Palace Museum of the Ashanti Kingdom.
    Visit the three craft villages in Ashanti: Bonwire - the Kente weaving village, where you will see how the famous Ashanti traditional kente cloth is woven for Ashanti dignitaries using an amazing local technology; Ntonso - home of the Adinkra Ashanti tribe wax stamp funeral clothing ateliers; Ahwiaa, the wood carvers’ village where you will see how African sculptures are carved. There is an opportunity to buy directly from the artisans who make each craft.

  • 14
    Day 22: Elmina

    We tour the infamous Forts, Castles and Slave Dungeons of Ghana and learn about the slave trade in West Africa.

    Then a visit to Assin Manso, the site of the “last bath” where slaves were taken for bathing before being shipped to the new world. Visit the Cape Coast Castle, the busy fish harbor and see the town’s pursubans--Asafo tribal shrines.

  • 15
    Day 23: Excursion to Kakoum National Park

    Enjoy Kukoum National Park, famous for its amazing canopy walkway.

    Visit Elmina Castle, built in 1482; the oldest castle in Ghana on the West African slave trade route.

    Return to Elmina for overnight.

  • 16
    Day 24: Excursion: Nzulezu Stilt Village

    One-hour motorized boat trip to Nzulezu stilt village passing through a pristine series of marshes, swamp forest (the largest stand left in Ghana) and open pools rich with wildlife, including crocodiles, egret, heron and kingfishers.

  • 17
    C ôTE D’ IVOIRE
    Day 25: Grand Bassam

    Visit Grand Bassam, the old quarter built by the French during time of colonization and tour the Museum of Costumes, the Wickerwork Center, the Ceramics/Crafts Center.

  • 18
    Day 26: Abidjan

    Visit Abobo, where Africa’s largest outdoor launderette (laundry) is located. Here you will witness an unforgettable spectacle, hundreds of Fanicos (washer men, no women), together in the middle of a stream to wash clothes.

    Visit metropolitan Abidjan and Treichville. We pass by a few colorful markets; over one of the major bridges to Le Plateau to visit the National Museum of Abidjan.

  • 19
    Day 27: Day Excursion to Yamoussoukoro

    We visit the dazzling Basilica of Notre Damme de la Paix, the second largest cathedral in the world.

    And Foundation Felix Houphouet Boigny,” a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • 20
    GUINEA
    Day 28-29: Conakry

    A flight to Conakry and city tour visiting the Central Mosque, Sekou Toure’s Mosoleum, fish market of Bolobineh, French Cathedral.

  • 21
    SIERRA LEONE
    Day 30-31: Freetown - Excursion Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

    Freetown is the lively capital of Sierra Leone, steeped in history and culture.

    We will visit: Victoria Park Market, Law Court building, the cotton tree (emblem of the city; more than 550 years old), Parliament Building, State House building, King Jimmy Market and the Arts Market at Big Wharf.

    Excursion to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

  • 22
    Day 32: Depart

    Transfer to airport.

  • 23
    OCTOBER - NOVEMBER TOUR
  • 24
    C ÔTE D’ IVOIRE
    Day 1: Arrive Abidjan

    Transfer to hotel. Rest of day is independent to rest/recover from the long flight.

  • 25
    Day 2: Excursion to Grand Bassam - Attend Abissa N’Zima Festival

    During the festival, this sleepy colonial town fills up with N’zima who travel from far to participate in the celebrations. Abissa is the pre-eminent festival in the N’zima calendar.

    In the morning we visit the old quarter built by the French during time of colonization and tour the Museum of Costumes, the Wickerwork Center, the Ceramics/Crafts Center.

    Afternoon attend the festival.

    Return to Abidjan for overnight.

  • 26
    Day 3: Tour Abidjan

    Visits include: the north-western part of town, Abobo, where Africa’s largest outdoor launderette; metropolitan Abidjan including Treichville; National Museum of Abidjan.

  • 27
    Day 4: Excursion to Yamoussouko

    Travel to Yamoussoukoro. Visit Basilica of “Notre Damme de la Paix,” the second largest cathedral in the world. Also visit Foundations Felix Houphouet Boigny, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Return to Abidjan for overnight.

  • 28
    GHANA
    Day 5: Beyin - Nzulezu Stilt Village

    One-hour motorized boat trip to Nzulezu stilt village passing through a pristine series of marshes, swamp forest (the largest stand left in Ghana) and open pools rich with wildlife, including crocodiles, egret, heron and kingfishers.

  • 29
    Day 6-7: Elmina + – Excursion to Kakoum National Park

    Drive to Elmina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We shall tour the infamous Forts, Castles and Slave Dungeons of Ghana and learn about the slave trade in West Africa.

    Visit the Elmina Castle and the Cape Coast Castle and the busy fish harbor and see the town’s pursubans--Asafo tribal shrines.

    An easy canopy walkway in Kakoum National Park.

  • 30
    Day 8-9: Kumasi

    En-route to Kumasi, a visit to Assin Manso, the site of the “last bath” where slaves were taken for bathing before being shipped to the new world.

    Visit the three craft villages in Ashanti - the wood carvers’ village where you will see how African sculptures are carved; Ntonso, home of the Adinkra Ashanti tribe wax stamp funeral clothing ateliers; and Bonwire - the Kente weaving village, where you will see how the famous Ashanti traditional kente cloth is woven for Ashanti dignitaries using an amazing local technology. There is an opportunity to buy directly from the artisans who make each craft.

  • 31
    Accra, Ghana
    Day 10: Accra

    Drive to Accra and tour including National Museum, Osu Castle, Coffin builders at Teshi township, Makola central market, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and the arts & craft market.

  • 32
    TOGO
    Day 11-12: Lomé

    We embark on an insightful city tour of Lomé, a city where tradition and modernism overlap. Discover this metropolis with its Musee National, Place de I' Independence, fishing harbor, and the Grand Marche - the realm of the famous “Nana Benz. “

    Visit the Art Street with its craft vendors, the Artisans' Village and climax the morning tour at the Marche des Feticheurs (fetish market) - the heart of voodoo cult.

  • 33
    BENIN
    Day 13: Togo Ville - Ouidah

    An excursion to Togoville, visit the old German built cathedral, the colonial area and the traditional quarter of the town.

    Drive to Ouidah, considered the capital of voodoo (UNESCO Cultural Site): tour the Temple of the Python, attend worship prayers, visit Port of No Return. Visit the Sacred Forest of Ouidah. Visit the historical Museum of Ouidah. This museum portrays Benin's role in the Atlantic Slave Trade.

  • 34
    Day 14: Ouidah

    Tour the historic town of Ouidah, considered the capital of voodoo (UNESCO Cultural Site, 1996). It was also once a major slave trading post.

  • 35
    Day 15: Ganvie Village - Porto Novo - Cotonou

    Cross Lake Nokoué to visit Ganvie (the second largest stilt village in West Africa). The Tofinou ethnic group live in huts built on teak stilts and get around in dug-out canoes.

    onward to Porto Novo, the former capital of Benin, known for colonial buildings such as Brazilian-style Great Mosque, formerly a church. We visit several interesting museums and sites.

    Visit the Cotonou’s famous market, “Dan Togba.” Visit the ancient Kingdom of Abomey. Here we visit the Royal Palace Museum and the traditional juju market. Attend a traditional Geleden mask dance.

  • 36
    Day 16: Abomey Excursion - Geleden mask dance of the FON Tribe

    We drive to Coveh village, in ancient Kingdom of Abomey, where we will attend a traditional Geleden mask dance of the FON Tribe. Dance is part of voodoo tradition.

  • 37
    BURKINA FASO
    Day 17-18: Ougadougou

    Fly to Ouagadougou. Visit the Grand Market and the crafts markets at the Artisans' Center, where you will find basketry, batik fabrics, wooden statues and masks, jewelry, leatherwork and bronze castings; and a short walk around the city.

    Visit the National Museum; Cathedral of Ouagadougou, the giant bronze statue of Ousmane Sembene-founder of Ouagadougou film festival, Monument of National Heros and the Monument of Cineaste built in 1987 in honor of African Film makers who come to FESPACO, the pan-African festival of cinema and television of Ouagadougou.

  • 38
    SENEGAL
    Day 19-20: Ouagadougou-Dakar

    Fly to Dakar. In Dakar, visit the various markets: Kermel, Sandaga, the handicraft market of Soumbedioune and the Tilen market famous for its medicinal herbs and its traditional healers. Next, visit the Great Mosque; National Museum, French Cathedral, the President’s Palace and the Parliament House.

  • 39
    Day 21: Excursion to Goree Island

    We take a the ferryboat to Goree Island where we visit the House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) and its “Door of No Return,” a former prison for slave trade and said to be the final exit point of the slaves from Africa.

    Return to Dakar for overnight.

  • 40
    Day 22: Saint Louis

    Visit the old colonial city of St. Louis. The Island was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Norflaye Turtle Conservation Farm, and the Langue de Barbarie Peninsula.

  • 41
    Day 23: Excursion to Djoudj National Park

    Drive to Djoudj National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the third largest pelican sanctuary in the world. We shall cruise in a spacious motorized open-air boat, for a 1.5-hour trip through the mangroves of the river to see where the pelicans hatch their eggs each year.

    Return to Saint Louis for overnight.

  • 42
    Day 24: Toubacouta

    Drive to Toubacouta and embark on a motorized boat ride to explore Sine Saloum Delta (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

  • 43
    THE GAMBIA
    Day 25: Juffureh-James Island - Banjul

    We drive one hour to the historic village of Juffureh which became famous in the 1970s following the film release of the bestselling book, "Roots" written by the African-American author Alex Haley, a descendant of Kunta Kinte.

    Afterwards, it is a 30 minute motorized boat ride from Juffureh to James Island (aka Kunte Kinteh Island), the colonial period ruins of a slavery station and the 'Portuguese chapel' of San Domingo, which later came to be known as Sandi Munko Joyo.

  • 44
    Day 26: Makasutu Forest & Banjul

    An excursion to Makasutu Forest, on an island of the Gambia River; a tropical 1000-acre reserve encompassing five different eco systems. We cruise on the Gambia River through the mangroves lined with oyster shells.

    Afternoon visit Banjul, the sand-blown streets, colorful markets, fading colonial buildings, and a sense of history permeates every district.

    Visit the Royal Albert Market is an extensive emporium that comes alive with pungent aromas, lively scenes of shimmering fabrics and shining silver jewelry to fresh produce.

  • 45
    SENEGAL
    Day 27: Saly Portugal

    We take a one hour ferry ride and then drive to Saly, en-route stop at Joal-Fadiouth, which is actually two small rural villages in the Thiès Region at the end of the Petite Côte of Senegal, south-east of Dakar. Joal lies on the mainland, while Fadiouth, linked by a bridge, lies on an island of clam shells, which are used in local architecture and crafts. We walk across the 900 mt long wooden bridge into the village of Fadiouth and enjoy a short walk in the village.

    Continue to 1.5 hr drive to Saly Portugal

  • 46
    GUINEA
    Day 28-29: Conakry

    A flight to Conakry and city tour visiting the Central Mosque, Sekou Toure’s Mosoleum, fish market of Bolobineh, French Cathedral.

  • 47
    SIERRA LEONE
    Day 30-31: Freetown - Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

    Tour Freetown city center. We will visit: Victoria Park Market, Law Court building, the cotton tree (emblem of the city; more than 550 years old), Parliament Building, State House building, King Jimmy Market and the Arts Market at Big Wharf.

    Excursion to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

  • 48
    Day 32: Freetown

    Transfer to Lungi International Airport for your flight home.

  • Trip Length

    32 Days

  • Dates

    October 24-November 25, 2024
    January 7 - February 7, 2025

  • Land Cost

    $13,250 per person based on min 6 people; Single Room Supplement: $2700
    Half tour Jan 7-23: $7200 per person based on min 6 people; Single Room Supplement: $1560
    Half Tour Jan 23-Feb 7: $TBA per person based on min 6 people; Single Room Supplement: $TBA

  • Accommodations

    4-star & 3 star/Heritage. These ratings are not official; just to give an idea

  • Group Size

    4-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    Jan: All Breakfasts, 26 Lunches, 6 Dinners.
    Nov: All Breakfasts, TBA Lunches, TBA Dinners.

  • Duration

    32 Days

  • Reading List

    Suggested Reading

Burkina Faso.

Bobo Dioulasso

Nattingou

Abomey

Cotonou

Ganvie

Ouidah

Lomé

Accra

Elmina

Kumasi

Grand Bassam

Yamoussoukro

Abidjan

Freetown

Conakry

Dakar

St. Louis africa

Banjul

Saly

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