West African Kingdoms

Highlights

Watch street musicians and acrobats in Accra , Witness some of the last populations of West African lions , Meet local fisherman on Benin’s Grand Popo beaches , Travel across Lake Togo on a pirogue dugout canoe trip

Tour description provided by Intrepid

The allure of West Africa is calling on this truly off-the-beaten-path adventure from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Accra in Ghana. Meet a wealth of fascinating locals, admire a host of unique wildlife and witness the ins and outs of Togo, Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso on this cultural journey through four of West Africa's most impressive countries.

Itinerary

Day 1 Ouagadougou
Welcome to one of Africa's least touristy – and hardest to pronounce – capitals. Set out for a stroll through dusty streets or pull up a chair by an outdoor eatery and watch the colourful local scene unfold.
Days 2-3 Bobo Dioulasso
Travel on to Bobo-Dioulasso. Peruse the local market for ornate masks and wood carvings, then delve into the city's colourful live music scene.
Day 4 Banfora
Admire the ridge of sandstone hills outside Banfora and go hippo-spotting on Lake Tengrela.
Day 5 Gaoua
Discover the unique dwellings, ancient stone ruins and traditional customs of the Lobi people in Gaoua.
Days 6-7 Ouagadougou
Return to Ouagadougou and visit the local cultural centre for a chance to purchase some unique African souvenirs. Admire the ornately festooned compounds of Tiebele.
Day 8 Pendjari National Park
Cross the border into the original home of voodoo – Benin. Search for elephants, buffalo and the rare West African lion in Pendjari National Park, one of the region's last wildlife havens.
Day 9 Natitingou
We visit the remote Betamaribé people, who still hunt with bows and arrows and live in the middle of their cultivated fields.
Days 10-11 Abomey
Learn about the rise and fall of one of Africa's greatest empires, the Dahomey, on an educational tour of the Royal Palace and historical museum. Witness traditional dance performances by the Yoruba and Fon people, who draw heavily on elaborate costume and masks to evoke their unique synthesis of Christian and voodoo worship.
Days 12-13 Ouidah
Catch a pirogue across to the small village of Ouidah, the birthplace and epicentre of voodooism. Have your preconceptions about this tradition debunked at the Musée d’histoire d’Ouidah – it's really neither as sinister nor as sordid as Hollywood might have you believe. A far more harrowing experience is a visit to the former slave-trading forts about town, one of which houses a museum attesting to the horrors that occurred here.
Day 14 Lome
Cross into neighbouring Togo and explore the colonial buildings and Royal Palace of Togoville. Admire artefacts at the National Museum in Lome, the country's capital, and perhaps brave a stroll through the fetish market of Akodessewa.
Day 15 Accra
Journey on into Ghana – the first African country to gain independence from the colonial powers. As a result, the country's capital, Accra, is home to an impressive National Museum and numerous imposing memorials. There is also no shortage of superb beaches to stake out a plot of sand.
Days 16-17 Kumasi
Travel north to Kumasi, the one-time capital of the ancient Ashanti kingdom. Venture into West Africa's largest market, pop into the National Cultural Centre for a glimpse into traditional customs and watch kente cloth being woven while on a local community visit.
Days 18-19 Axim Beach
Bed down to the crashing of waves at one of the country's premier beach resort towns. Laze the days away on the sand, explore Axim town's historical sights or set out for a taste of nature on one of the forest trails.
Day 20 Elmina
Continue on to the coastal town of Elmina, the historical hub of the British slave trade. Take a chilling tour of Elmina Castle, where the slaves used to be held, or mosey on through the town's street stalls in search of fresh seafood delicacies and cups of palm wine.
Day 21 Accra
Return to Accra where this West African adventure comes to an end. Why not gather the troops for a final group dinner and relive the highlights of this fascinating West African odyssey over a local brew or two.