24 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

Bobo Dioulasso's music

The stilted houses and pirogues of Ganvie

Tiebele's traditional adobe houses

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.

    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.


    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, or first thing tomorrow morning (depending on what time the group arrives) for a group meeting, where you’ll meet your Peregrine tour leader and your fellow travelling companions.
    Azalai Hotel Independence 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, Sindou Rock Formations, 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 (approximately 200 kilometres south-east of Banfora), 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 will arrive early afternoon. 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 - Porga

    • Heading east we travel to the second country on our expedition - 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.
    • Stop en-route for a picnic lunch and to visit the Fulani village of Tintangou.
    • Continue on to Porga, which is the gateway to Pendjari National Park.
    Campement de la Porga or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Pendjari National Park

    • Departing after an early breakfast, we head off on our first safari game drive in Pendjari National Park.
    • 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 will also enjoy an afternoon-evening safari - 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 10 - 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 11 - Dassa-Zoume

    • Embark on a 2 hour hike to visit the alters and shrines of voodoo on the Dassa Hill and meet the High Priest.
    • After your hike, visit one of the most famous churches of Benin - the Church of Dassa - where it is believed that Mary appeared to some disciples and Christians.
    • Pope John Paul II has also visited this church and said a prayer before he passed away.
    • Nowadays the Church of Dassa is considered to be a place of pilgrimage for thousands of Catholics in West Africa.
    Auberge de Dassa Zoume or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 12 - 13 - Abomey

    • This morning we continue south 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 14 - Ganvié

    • Today we will have a short drive to the port of Calavi before embarking in a motorized 'pirogue' (dugout canoe), which is a traditional boat used by west African fishermen, to the lake village of Ganvié. Tonight we will be entertained with some traditional music and dancing.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 15 - 16 - Ouidah

    • Continue on in our motorized pirogue to Benin's administrative capital, Porto Novo. Porto Novo is a port on an inlet of the Gulf of Guinea and is Benin's second largest city.
    • Originally developed as a port for the slave trade, Porto Novo's name is of Portuguese origin meaning "New Port".
    • Our next 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.
    • We’ll drive the coastal highway and pass through small villages dotted with white flags that identify Voodoo practitioners.
    • Benin is a country that takes Voodoo very seriously, so much so that it is recognised as an official religion and is practised by over 60% of the population. It all centres around the small town of Ouidah, which is the centre of voodoo culture in Benin; voodoo is part of everyday life here and Ouidah hosts many voodoo festivals and celebrations throughout the year. The Musée d’histoire d’Ouidah gives an interesting insight into voodoo history and culture in the area. The town also has a fascinating and colourful history, having been an important centre during the slave trade. The Portuguese, English and French all constructed forts here to protect their trading interests, one of which now houses a museum that gives you a unique glimpse into the terror and destruction that the slave trade wreaked on this part of the world.
    • Whilst in Ouidah we visit the Slave Route or 'Route des Esclaves', Ouidah Museum of History and the Temple of the Pythons where the serpent deity Dangbe has been revered for years. In your free time, you may also like to visit the new Ouidah Art Museum (Villa Ajavon) or the La Maison Bresil.
    Hotel La Casa Del Papa or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 17 - 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 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 (approximately 30kms) to Togo's capital, Lomé. Our city tour includes the Musée International des Arts and fetish market at Akodessewa, 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! It time permits we will have a short city tour this afternoon or the following morning before we depart for our return drive to Accra.
    Hotel Ibis or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 18 - 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.
    Coconut Grove Regency Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 19 - 20 - 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.
    • On Sunday (Day 3) we will experience the Kumasi AKWASIDAE FESTIVAL. The festival is celebrated every 42 days at the Manhyia Palace by the chiefs and people of Kumasi. The King of Ashanti also attends this festival!
    Sir Max Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 21 - 22 - 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, originally known as Gross Friedrichsburg and built by the Prussians in 1683.
    • Axim Beach offers several types of sports including surfing, snorkelling, fishing, hiking and bird watching.
    Axim Beach Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 23 - Elmina

    • Today we drive to Elmina, where we visit St George's Castle with the Door of No Return. 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 will take a walking tour of Elmina fishing village with the Pursubans animist shrines for the final night of our Ghana adventure.
    Coconut Grove Beach Resort or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 24 - Accra

    • Today we head towards the city of Accra, stopping en-route for a short walk in the township of Cape Coast to see its colonial architecture. Cape Coast was the ancient capital of the Gold Coast between 1700 until 1877. It was also the centre of British administration and home to its own notorious 'slave castle'
    • 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 6.00pm this evening.
  • 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.
    • Gratuities for essential services in tour package

    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
    • Gratuities for tour leader leader
    • 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.

    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.

    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.

    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 or putting it on the ground and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

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

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

    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.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PFWK
Group size 1 - 15
Start City: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
End City: Accra, Greater Accra, Ghana
Style: Small Group

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