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 two authentic traditional festivals! On both tours we attend the Ashanti Royal Festival in Kumasi. The annual Voodoo Festival is a highlight of the January West Africa tour and the Abissa N’Zima Festival in November.

The West Africa tour explores exotic Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso and Bobo Dioulasso (“house of the Bobo merchants”).

There is an excursion to Lobbi country. Lobbi people are among the few left today of the most isolated tribes in the region. The tour visits a few Lobbi tribal houses and a man who has more than 60 wives at a nearby village called Laka.

On the tour, we visit the stilt village Ganvie. We also visit Guet Ndar, the fishing village located on the Langue de Barberie Peninsula. In The Gambia, an excursion to Makasutu Forest, a tropical 1000-acre reserve encompassing five different eco systems.

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

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

WEST AFRICAN TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Attend Ashanti Royal Festival in Kumasi.
  • Mingle with tribespeople in Lobbi Villages, among the few left of the most isolated tribes today in the region.
  • Visit Ganvie (the second largest stilt village in West Africa).
  • Attend Voodoo Festival and Masked Dance Ceremony (Jan Tour).
  • Attend Abissa N’Zima Festival (Nov Tour).
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Akwasidae Ashanti Royal Festival

  • 1
    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 climax the morning tour at the Marche des Feticheurs (fetish market) - the heart of voodoo cult.

  • 2
    BENIN
    Day 3-4: Quidah - Voodoo Festival

    One morning, an excursion to Togoville, located on the north shore of Lake Togo.

    Visit the old German built cathedral, the colonial area and the traditional quarter of the town.

    Then we drive two hours to Ouidah, considered the capital of voodoo (UNESCO Cultural Site, 1996). We tour the Temple of the Python, visit Port of No Return and attend the voodoo festival.

    In Quidah we tour the Temple of the Python, attend morning worship prayers with locals of the village, visit the Sacred Forest of Ouidah, which houses many shrines dedicated to many deities.

    Visit the historical Museum of Ouidah located in an Portuguese fort built in 1721. This museum portrays Benin's role in the Atlantic Slave Trade.

    Next, visit the Port of No Return, a monument built by the Benin government to commemorate the Africans who were taken from the Dahomey Empire during the slave trade.

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

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    Day 5: Ganvie - Cotonou

    We drive to Abomey Calavi, where we will cross Lake Nokoué by motorized covered boat to visit Ganvie (the second largest stilt village in West Africa), commonly referred to as the Venice of West Africa. Residents here are members of the Tofinou ethnic group. They live in huts built on teak stilts and get around in dug-out canoes.

    Afterwards, drive to Cotonou, enroute stop at Cotonou’s famous market, “Dan Togba.”

  • 4
    BURKINA FASO
    Day 6: Cotonou-Ouagadougou

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

    Then fly to Ouagadougou.

  • 5
    Day 7: Excursion to Tiebele Village

    We travel to the village of Tiebele to visit the traditional Royal Kassena Kingdom.

    We’ll see magnificent mud-brick & colorfully hand painted with traditional motifs designed fortress-like houses built as a defense system to protect themselves from slave dealers during the days of slavery in the region. We will also see the Royal Palace.

  • 6
    Day 8: Ouagadougou - Bobo Dioulasso

    We’ll 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.

    Then drive to Bobo Dioulasso.

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    Day 9: Excursion to Banfora

    We embark on an excursion to visit the Domes of Fabedougou and Falls of Kafiguila.

    This afternoon a tour Bobo Dioulasso ("house of the Bobo merchants"), Burkina Faso's second largest city. We’ll visit the old mosque of Dioulassoba, traditional music instruments museum, and the old Kibidouwe artisans' district.

  • 8
    Day 10: Excursion to Lobbi Fetish Villages

    We'l drive to the south-west region of Burkino Faso, near the border with the Ivory Coast and visit the villages of Borodougou and Kokorowe, two Bobo and Lobbi tribal villages known for their traditional fetish practices.

    Lobbi people are among the few left of the most isolated tribes today in the region. . In these communities, locals practice animism as their religion. You will have the opportunity to see real African tradition and visit a fetish practitioner, called "Fetish man." This will give you the awareness that Africans believe and still obey their traditions.

    Continue to Ouagadougou for overnight.

  • 9
    SENEGAL
    Day 11-13: Dakar

    A return to Ouagadougou for the flight to Dakar with stop for lunch.

    In Dakar, our tour with visits of 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.

    Drive through the picturesque district of Medina and the residential district of Fann.

    One day 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, now a museum and memorial.

    At Lake Retba, also known as the “Pink Lake,” we will see the “salt harvesters” with their colorful tackle, and interact with the Fulani ethnic groups living in the surrounding villages.

  • 10
    Day 14: St. Louis

    Heading north through the Sahel to the old colonial city of St. Louis, which was formerly the capital of French West Africa.

    We stop at the Norflaye Turtle Conservation Farm, en-route.

    St. Louis is the oldest city to be created by Europeans on the western coast of Africa and served as the capital of Senegal from 1872 to 1957. Many of the buildings hold their old character with many brightly colored buildings and beautiful balconies to be seen all around the Island. The Island was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.

    This afternoon, we visit the Langue de Barbarie Peninsula.

  • 11
    Day 15: Excursion to Djoudj National Park

    This morning we 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 St. Louis for overnight.

  • 12
    THE GAMBIA
    Day 16-17: Banjul & Surrounds

    Depart early for the drive to Banjul, The Gambia.
    Banjul is one of the best examples of urban Africa. The sand-blown streets play host to colorful markets and fading colonial buildings, and a sense of history permeates every district.

    One day an excursion to Makasutu Forest, on an island facing the south bank of the Gambia River; a tropical 1000-acre reserve encompassing five different eco systems.

    Next day we visit the Wassu Stone Circles (UNESCO World Heritage Site) where an explanation is given on the nature of the stone circles, their history and how they came to exist. It is believed that these circles were discovered in around 100 BC and discoveries date up until 750 AD.

    Afterwards, we ferry 15 across to JanJan Bureh Island and visit the town of JanJan Bureh on the north bank of the Gambia River. It is an historical place where many reminders from the colonial and slave trade period can be found.

  • 13
    SENEGAL
    Day 18: Juffureh- James Island - Toubacoutta

    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.

    Continue to Toubacoutta for overnight.

  • 14
    GHANA
    Day 19: Toubacoutta-Jowal Fadiouth-Saly

    Depart at 8 am for drive to Saly (3 hrs). We will stop after two hours and have a walking tour of Joal village, crossing its 900 mt long wooden bridge into the village.
    Continue to Saly. Transfer to hotel. Rest of afternoon and evening at leisure.

  • 15
    Day 20: Saly-Dakar-Lome-Accra

    Early breakfast at the hotel will be arranged. At 6 AM, we transfer to the airport (one hour drive) to board flight Asky 54, departing 8:35 am, arriving Lomé 12:00 pm, connect to flight to Accra.

    The rest of the afternoon/evening is at leisure; dinner on your own

  • 16
    Day 21: Accra

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

    Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy hotel facilities.

  • 17
    Day 22-23: Kumasi - AKWASIDAE Ashanti Royal Festival

    Drive 3 hours to Kumasi. Afternoon visit the Royal Palace Museum of the Ashanti Kingdom.

    Next day, attend the Ashanti Royal Festival (Akwasidae), next in importance only to the National Day celebrations.

    Later we visit Bonwireh, a nearby town where local weavers make Ashantil traditional “kenteh cloth” for Asanti dignitaries and funeral wear.

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    Day 24: Elmina

    We shall 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. It is also the burial place of two former slaves whose remains were returned to Ghana from the US and Jamaica.

  • 19
    Day 25: Excursion to Kakoum National Park

    We visit Kokoum National Park which is famous for its amazing canopy walkway.

    Return to Elmina for overnight.

  • 20
    C ôTE D’ IVOIRE
    Day 26: Grand Bassam

    Grand Bassam is the first capital of Cote d’Ivoire and remains an important seaside resort. The first trading houses were built here.

    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.

  • 21
    Day 27: Abidjan

    This morning we drive one hour to Abidjan the north-western part of town, Abobo, where Africa’s largest outdoor launderette (laundry) is located. Here you will witness an unforgettable spectacle, hundreds of Fanicos (washer men, no women), jam together in the middle of a stream to wash clothes.

    Continue to Abidjan and visit metropolitan Abidjan including Treichville, one of the areas where the masses live. We pass by a few colorful markets; then over one of the major bridges to Le Plateau, the high-rise commercial area where we stop for a visit to the National Museum of Abidjan.

    The museum focuses on Ivorian art showcasing statues, masks, jewelry, tools, carved doors, tom-toms and musical instruments from every region of the country.

  • 22
    GUINEA
    Day 28: Conakry

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

  • 23
    SIERRA LEONE
    Day 29-30: Freetown

    Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains, Freetown is the lively capital of Sierra Leone, steeped in history and culture.

    One afternoon free time to enjoy the beaches and beauty.

    One day excursion to Taccugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

    Afterwards, tour to visit 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.

  • 24
    Day 31: Depart

    Transfer to airport.

  • Trip Length

    Jan 2020: 30 Days
    Oct-Nov 2020: 31 Days

  • Dates

    January 7-February 6, 2020 with Voodoo Festival and Masked Dance Festival
    October 1-November 1, 2020 with Ashanti Royal Festival and Abissa N’Zima Festival

  • Land Cost

    Jan 2020: $11,075
    Oct-Nov 2020: $11,850

  • Accommodations

    17 nights 5 star/upscale resorts, 10 nights 4-star, 2 nights 3 star/Heritage

  • Group Size

    6-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    All Breakfast, 25 Lunches, 4 Dinners

  • 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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