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 October we attend the Ashanti Royal Festival in Kumasi.

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 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.

View A Detailed Itinerary:

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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: Ouidah - 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.

  • 3
    Day 5-6: 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, en route stop at Cotonou’s famous market, “Dan Togba.”

  • 4
    BURKINA FASO
    Day 7: Cotonou-Ouagadougou

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

    Then fly to Ouagadougou.

  • 5
    Day 8: 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.

    This afternoon visit the National Museum.

  • 6
    SENEGAL
    Day 9-11: 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.

  • 7
    Day 12: St. Louis

    We visit 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.

    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.

  • 8
    Day 13: 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.

  • 9
    THE GAMBIA
    Day 14-15: 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.

    We cruise on the Gambia River through the mangroves lined with oyster shells. The boat ride will last a little over 1 hour.

    The Royal Albert Market is the bustling heart of Banjul. Named after the husband of Queen Victoria, the market is an extensive emporium that comes alive with pungent aromas, lively scenes and the hum of shoppers and sellers haggling over prices on everything from vivid, 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.

    Continue to Toubacoutta for overnight.

  • 11
    GHANA
    Day 18: Saly/DAkar - Lome - Accra

    Early breakfast at the hotel will be arranged. We transfer to the airport (one hour drive) to board flight Asky 53, departing 8:05 am, arriving Lomé 11:30 am, connect to flight to Accra Asky KP 022, dep 1250, arrive 13:30.

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

  • 12
    Day 19: 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.

  • 13
    Day 20-21: Kumasi

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

    Next day, attend the Ashanti Royal Festival (Akwasidae) - pending confirmation. Akwasidee is 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.

  • 14
    Day 22: 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.

  • 15
    Day 23: Excursion to Kakoum National Park & Cape Coast Castle

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

    Visit Elmina Castle. Built by the Portuguese in 1482, it is also known as St. George's Castle. This castle was the first European structure built in Sub–Saharan Africa and is 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.

    Nzulezu is a Nzema word meaning ‘surface of water.’ The inhabitants of the village are said to have migrated from Walata, a city in the ancient Ghana Empire, the earliest of the Western Sudanese States.

  • 17
    C ôTE D’ IVOIRE
    Day 25: 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.

  • 18
    Day 26: 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.

  • 19
    GUINEA
    Day 27-28: Conakry

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

  • 20
    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.

  • 21
    Day 31: Depart

    Transfer to airport.

  • Trip Length

    30-32 Days depending on festival dates.

  • Dates

    October 10-November 10, 2020
    January 2021 TBA

  • Land Cost

    Oct-Nov 2020: $11,990. Single Room Supplement $2320
    Jan 2021: $TBA

  • 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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