21 days

West African Kingdoms

West African Kingdoms

Safari in Pendjari

Abomey’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Royal Palaces

Ouidah - the birthplace of voodoo

Grand Popo's beach

Voodoo on Lake Togo

The traditional medicines of Lomé's Fetish Market

Kumasi - former capital of the Ashanti Kingdom

Elmina's Slave Castle

Trip rating
  • From Ouagadougou to Accra, experience the West African music and traditional culture that has long captured adventure travellers’ imaginations. Lively markets, old empire ruins, voodoo rituals – get among them all on this remote trip.

     

    TRIP CHANGE FOR 2015:

    In 2015 this tour will become a combination tour made up of the Voodoo Trails visiting Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo and Glimpse of Ghana, which is a Ghana standalone trip.
    As a result, some exciting new destinations including Porga and Dassa-Zoumbe and been added to the itinerary. The trip duration has also increased from 21 to 24 days to ensure optimal time is spent at each location.

    Why we love it

    • Visit Ouidah and learn about the origins of Voodoo – keep an eye out for white flags that identify Voodoo practitioners
    • Experience the unique and distinctive flavours of west African cuisine
    • Visit Ouagadougou one of the cultural centres of West Africa
    • Bird lovers’ paradise! Visit Pendjari National Park (Parc National de la Pendjari) famous for its amazing and diverse bird life as well as abundant wildlife including elephant, baboon, lion and hippopotamus
    • Spend two days in the relaxing coastal haven of Axim Beach.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Ouagadougou

    • On arrival at Ouagadougou International Airport you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel where the rest of the day is spent at your leisure.
    • There’s a lot to see and do in Ouagadougou (pronounced waga-doo-goo). The surprisingly modern capital of Burkina Faso has a population of approximately 1.5 million and is one of the cultural centres of west Africa.
    • We’ll get together sometime this evening for a group meeting, where you’ll meet your Peregrine tour leader and your fellow travelling companions.
    Hotel Les Palmiers or similar

    Day 2 - 3 - Bobo-Dioulasso

    • This morning we continue to Bobo-Dioulasso where we’ll spend two nights.
    • In Bobo (as it’s known locally) we’ll visit the Grand Marché, which is renowned for being the crossroads of numerous tribes and offers a great selection of tribal arts from all over west Africa.
    • We can also opt to take a walk through the Kibidwe District and partake in some fascinating people-watching, giving us an insight into the daily lives of the Kibidwe people.
    • No highlight in Bobo-Dioulasso however, is greater than its music. The town is known as the Music Capital of Burkina Faso and on weekends it really comes alive!
    Hotel Restaurant "Les 2 Palmiers" or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Banfora

    • An hour's drive takes us to Banfora - a sleepy town set amidst a lush green landscape, surrounded by waterfalls and small lakes. We’ll spend the afternoon visiting the wonderful attractions in the surrounding area including some incredible rock formations.
    • An ideal short hike takes us to a narrow three-kilometre chain of sandstone hills that are occasionally crowned by more erosion-resistant pieces of rocks. Lake Tengréla is home to more than a hundred hippos and a wide variety of bird life – we’ll also get to meet the local fishermen.
    • We’ll make our way though a magnificent avenue of mango trees and negotiate a chaotic jumble of rocks to reach the magnificent Karfiguela
    • Waterfalls, another sight that’s worth the journey no matter what the season.
    • We’ll then head back to Banfora for our overnight stay.
    Hotel Canne a Sucre or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Gaoua

    • Today we travel to Gaoua (210 kilometres south-east of Bobo), located in the heart of Lobi country, a fascinating and culturally distinctive area known for its unique architecture and age-old traditions.
    • Lobi homes are made with high brick mud walls and have small slits for windows, not unlike a miniature fortress. Living in these remote rural areas, the Lobi are not used to foreigners, and may feel nervous when we visit. Please refrain from taking any photos here without permission.
    • In the afternoon we’ll visit the ancient stone ruins of Loropéni which are the best-preserved of the larger Lobi ruins.
    • Today will be a full on day of sightseeing and regular stops, before we finally settle at Gaoua in the late afternoon. Although the drive from Banfora to Gaoua is only 3 hours, our included visits of Loropéni, the Gan Kings and also a visit to a 'fetish' man means that we will not reach our next hotel until late in the day.
    Hotel Hala or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - 7 - Ouagadougou

    • We’ll then depart on a five-hour drive to Ouagadougou (pronounced waga-doo-goo) We arrive around lunchtime, after checking into our hotel and freshening up, we’ll have the chance to visit the local cultural centre where you can purchase excellent quality carvings, brass work and other handmade pieces.
    • On the 2nd day we take a full day excursion to the unique village of Tiebele – located just a few kilometres from the Ghanaian border and known for its unusual architecture. Tiebele dwellings are either square or round and are all elaborately decorated with black diamond patterns, illustrations of snakes, crocodiles and other sacred animals.
    • We’ll spend several hours exploring Tiebele compound and its surrounds before returning to Ouagadougou for the night.
    Hotel Les Palmiers or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 8 - Pendjari National Park

    • Heading east we travel on to Benin. This relatively small, club-shaped country was once home to one of the most powerful empires in West Africa - the Dahomey Kingdom. It’s also considered the traditional home of the voodoo religion.
    • Located in the north-west corner of Benin, Pendjari National Park (Parc National de la Pendjari) is renowned for its abundant wildlife including elephant, baboon, lion, hippopotamus, buffalo and various antelopes such as kob, waterbuck, hartebeest and duiker. It’s most famous, however for its amazing and diverse bird life with over 300 species making the park their home, including many waterbirds such as cranes and storks. We visit the reserve in time to do an afternoon-evening safari en-route to our lodge - the best time of day for viewing wildlife.
    • Please note however that the wildlife in west Africa is somewhat less in volume than in east and southern Africa.
    Pendjari Lodge or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Natitingou

    • Enroute to Natitingou we stop at Tanougou Falls, where we’ll have the chance to enjoy a refreshing swim.
    • Natitingou is located at 440 metres above sea level and enjoys the pleasant climate found amidst the Atakora Mountains of northern Benin.
    • Here we visit the remote Betamaribé people, who still hunt with bows and arrows and live in the middle of their cultivated fields rather than in a village environment. Their small, fortress-like houses consist of three levels - ground floor for the animals, first floor for the kitchen and the top floor for living and sleeping.
    • You will arrive at your hotel in the early evening in time for dinner.
    Hotel Tata Samba or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10 - 11 - Abomey

    • This morning we continue south for 520 kilometres to Abomey, the ancient capital of the Dahomey Kingdom - previously one of the greatest empires in west Africa. Here we visit the must-see restored Royal Palace and learn about the incredible history of the Fon kings.
    • The following evening we’ll experience an unforgettable performance of the unique Geleden Masked Dance (Dance Geleden des Fons) by the local Yoroba and Fon people who practise both the Voodoo religion and Christianity. They also worship Idols, which are represented on some of the masks used for the dance.
    Hotel Nifur or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 12 - 13 - Ouidah

    • This morning we depart Abomey for the 125km journey that takes us to the lake village of Ganvié, where we’ll take a trip on a 'pirogue' (dugout canoe), the traditional boat used by west African fishermen. (Depending on the road conditions this drive can take between 2-4 hours)
    • We’ll spend the afternoon driving the coastal highway and passing through small villages dotted with white flags that identify Voodoo practitioners. Our destination is Ouidah, a charming, tranquil town set on a beautiful beach. We’ll spend two nights here, so there’s plenty of time to relax in the shade of the coconut groves after our recent long days of travel.
    • This is the Gulf of Guinea which is part of the Atlantic Ocean, so swimming is limited due to the strong currents. This won’t detract from the sleepy charm of this beautiful beach township though. During our stay, we’ll explore Ouidah town to learn about the origins of the often misunderstood Voodoo religion and meet some of the local practitioners.
    • Ouidah is the historic centre of Voodooism, with thousands of believers often flocking there to rejoice in their faith. We’ll visit the mystical Sacred Temple of Pythons as well as Avenue D'Esclaves and witness an energetic voodoo performance during our stay.
    Hotel La Casa Del Papa or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 14 - Lome

    • Today we’ll cross the border into Togo. We drive approximately 45 minutes to Lake Togo before continuing by boat to visit Togoville - a historic town renowned for its royal palace and colonial church. It was to here that Voodoo practitioners were taken before they were transported to Haiti as slaves. There’s still a strong Voodoo influence in the town today, with plenty of fetish stalls dotted throughout the streets.
    • We then continue to Togo's capital, Lomé. Our city tour includes the National Museum, which houses historical artefacts, potteries, costumes, traditional musical instruments, wood carvings and traditional medicinal remedies. There's also the opportunity (optional) to visit the various markets of Lomé such as the central market, arts market and the fetish market at Akedessewa, four kilometres from the town centre. Here you’ll find remarkable supplies of traditional medicines used by sorcerers including skulls of monkeys, snake skins, warthog teeth, lion skin, leopard skin and dried birds. Not for the feint-hearted!
    Hotel Ibis or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 15 - Accra

    • Today we enter our final country, crossing the border into the English-speaking Ghana. It will certainly be a welcome adjustment after travelling through so many French-speaking countries!
    • Accra the capital of Ghana you will enjoy exploring the city which includes the National Museum and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, dedicated to the founder of modern Ghana.
    Hotel Paloma or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 16 -17 - Kumasi

    • Today we head to Kumasi, the one-time capital of the powerful Ashanti kingdom. Today, this hilly city is home to over one million people and enjoys quite a cosmopolitan ambience. We’ll take in a tour of Kumasi that includes the Manhyia Palace Museum, built in 1925 by the British and home to the Ashanti kings until 1974.
    • We’ll also visit the Armed Forces Museum which tells the story of the many conflicts that have taken place particularly in the 20th century. We end our day with a visit to a nearby village known for its talented artisans who weave Ghana's beautiful kente cloth.
    Hotel Royal Park or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 18 - 19 - Axim Beach

    • We travel south to Axim and enroute visit a Cocoa plantation. Tonight we stay a night at Ghana’s most isolated and luxurious beach resorts. Two kilometres from the hotel is historic Axim town. With a population of about 20,000, fishing is the main occupation here. The town also has several historic places of interest nearby the hotel including Fort St Anthony, built by the Portuguese in 1515 when they were settling the town as a trading port. Perched on top of a hill in nearby Princess Town is Fort Princess Town, originally known as Gross Friedrichsburg and built by the Prussians in 1683.
    • With two days to spend in this relaxing coastal haven, you’ll also have the opportunity to go forest trekking or whale watching (seasonal).
    Axim Beach Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 20 - Elmina

    • Today we drive to Elmina, where we visit St George's Castle. Formerly known as one of the 'slave castles', it’s one of more then 20 such castles built along the shoreline of the Gold Coast - the former name of modern-day Ghana.
    • We’ll also visit a fishing village and the Pursubans animist shrines, then take a short 10-kilometre drive to Cape Coast, the centre of the British administration and capital of the Gold Coast between 1700 until 1877, and home to its own notorious 'slave castle'.
    • At end of the day we’ll return to Elmina for the final night of our adventure.
    Coconut Grove Beach Resort or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 21 - Accra

    • Today we head towards the city of Accra, the rest of the day is spent at your leisure. For those of us who are flying out this evening, day rooms have been booked for our use at our Accra hotel where we can freshen up prior to our flight home. An evening transfer is included to Accra's Kotoka International Airport, where our African expedition comes to an end.
    • Please ensure you do not book flights out of Accra prior to 5.00pm this evening.
    Hotel Paloma or similar
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Experienced English-speaking local leader and specialist local guides
    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Game activities in Pendjari National Park and entrance fees
    • 2 nights in Bobo Dioulasso and 2 nights in Ouagadougou
    • A game drive in Pendjari National Park (en-route to your lodge), a visit to Tanougou Falls, city tour of Accra and Kumasi and a visit to St George's Castle in Elmina.

    Not Included

    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Meals unless specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry - may be available at locations where we stay two or more nights
    • Optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip
    • Personal items

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.

    Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS:
    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

  • Map Itinerary

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PFWK
Group size 6 - 15
Start City: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
End City: Accra, Greater Accra, Ghana
Style: Small Group

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