Days
16
Price from
£3,930GBP

West African wonder await

From Ouagadougou to Accra, experience the West African music and traditional culture that has long captured adventure travellers’ imaginations. Discover the lively markets, old empire ruins, voodoo rituals, French heritage and gorgeous wildlife of West Africa. This diverse, remote 16-day adventure spans Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana and is a destination for adventurous travellers.


Start
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Finish
Accra, Ghana
Countries
Burkina Faso, Ghana
Style
Peregrine
Code
PFWAC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 0

Why we love this trip

  • West Africa is a world of colour, rhythm, festivity, dance – experience how music vibrates through Burkina Faso like the beat of the Djembe drum.

  • Be swept away by the rhythms of West Africa during a night of dinner and dancing in one ofBobo Dioulasso's top live djembe music venues.

  • Uncover Burkina Faso’s answer to Stonehenge in the geological wonderland of rock cones that is Sindou.

  • Look out for hippos (believed to be sacred in this area) on a boat ride with local fisherman on Lake Tengrela.

  • Witness the stunning intricate ornamentation of the pottery-like houses of the Kassena people in Ouagadougou and the nearby village of Tiebele.

  • Explore the eclectic collection of traditional medicine and ritual supplies at the Akodessewa fetish market, then see them in use at a traditional voodoo ceremony

  • Visit a plastic bag recycling project to see how a local environmental initiative is changing the lives of underprivileged West Africa women.

  • Rub shoulders with the chiefs of Kumasi and the King of Ashanti at the Akwasidae Festival at Manhyia Palace

Is this trip right for you?

  • Please be aware that due to local custom it is not uncommon to see animal sacrifices in these areas.

  • Unfortunately vegetarian dishes are not common in Ghana. Vegetarians can expect vegetables with French fries and/or rice.

  • Accommodation in Banfora, Gaoua and Kumasi are below the usual Peregrine standard, but are among the best in their respective areas.

Itinerary

Welcome to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. On arrival at Ouagadougou International Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel (approximately 20 minutes). There will be a meeting sometime this evening, or first thing tomorrow morning (depending on what time the group arrives), where you’ll meet your Peregrine tour leader and your fellow travelling companions. If you arrive with time to spare, there’s much to soak-in 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. If you feel like a bit of a party then the nightlife in Ouaga (as it’s affectionately known) is famous throughout West Africa, with excellent music, bars and nightclubs and the music goes on all night. Otherwise simply pull up a chair by an outdoor eatery and watch the colourful local scene unfold.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Les Palmiers or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Travel into the green, lush and cooler climes of the west today to the town Bobo-Dioulasso (approximately 5 hours), where you will spend the next two nights. No highlight in Bobo-Dioulasso is greater than its music, with the town known as the Music Capital of Burkina Faso. The country boasts folk music from over 60 different ethnic groups, and this afternoon you’ll visit the music museum to learn about the traditional instruments used by the different groups. There is also a listening area to hear local artists and get in touch with the musical side of Burkinabe life. After dinner this evening you will experience the romance of live Djembe (a goblet shaped drum) music at one of the several local marquees. In Burkina Faso an instrument is about more than the sound it creates – it carries a deep cultural and spiritual significance, and drums are the base of all music in the country.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Les 2 Palmiers or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bobo Dioulasso - Music Museum Visit
  • Bobo Dioulasso - Djembe Music Experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Bobo’s tree-lined streets give it a calming feel, but at its centre lies the busy, bustling Grand Marche, renowned as the crossroads of numerous tribes and an excellent place to experience the colour and atmosphere of a typical city market. It’s filled with everything one could ever think or want to buy, from food and clothing, to household goods and a great selection of tribal arts from all over West Africa. You will also visit a women’s plastic bag recycling project, which combines environmentalism with employment creation. Purses, clothing and dolls are created from plastic yarn that has been spun from the plastic bags that once littered the ground and were a danger to livestock. In the Kibidwe District, the oldest part of town, you’ll visit skilled blacksmiths, potters and weavers using ancestral methods. Here you’ll be treated to a musical performance. Later perhaps visit the Grande Mosque, which is a fine example of Sudanese mud-brick architecture and holds a dark, austere interior.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Les 2 Palmiers or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bobo Dioulasso - Grand Marché Visit
  • Bobo Dioulasso - Kibidwe District Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will take a short drive (approximately 3 hours) to one of Burkina’s prettiest towns – Banfora. This serene, sleepy town is set against lush greens hills of sugarcane, surrounded by waterfalls, small lakes and wonderful natural places to visit. You’ll spend the day visiting the attractions in the surrounding area, including some incredible rock formations. Take a short hike to a narrow three-kilometre chain of sandstone hills – the Sindou Rock Formations. This is a geological wonderland of rock cones stretching towards the sky, shaped and sculpted by the elements. After taking in this stunning moonscape, you’ll continue on to Lake Tengrela, known for being home to more than a hundred hippos. Climb aboard a boat to sail across the tree-fringed lake and search for the wide variety of birdlife and for hippo families, and meet with local fishermen who know exactly where to spot the huge animals. You’ll then make your way though an impressive 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. Then it’s back to Banfora for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Canne a Sucre or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Banfora - Lake Tengrela Boat Ride
  • Banfora - Rock Formations
  • Banfora - Karfiguela Waterfalls
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive south-east (approximately 3 hours) towards Gaoua, a place of secret rituals, wooden fetishes (objects believed to have supernatural power), and steeped in ancestral significance. It is home to the guarded Lobi people, and is a fascinating and culturally distinctive area known for its unique architecture and age-old traditions. Today will be a full day of sightseeing and regular stops as you drive through the various villages, before finally settling at Gaoua in the late afternoon. On the way you will come into contact with the Lobi; living in these remote rural areas, the Lobi are not used to foreigners, and may feel nervous when you visit. Please refrain from taking any photos here without permission. You will see Lobi homes, made with high brick mud walls and have small slits for windows, not unlike a miniature fortress. Visit the ruins of an actual fortress in Loropéni, a World Heritage site that’s at least 1,000 years old but whose origin remains a mystery. Discover the role of traditional chiefs in modern Africa with a visit to the Gan Kings, and then discover more about the local religion, sacred rights and beliefs by meeting with a traditional ‘fetish’ man.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hala or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gaoua - Gan King visit
  • Gaoua - Loropeni Ruins
  • Gaoua - Lobi Fetish Man Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will return to the Burkinabe capital (approximately 5 hours), arriving in Ouagadougou in the early afternoon. Check into your hotel and freshen up before visiting the local cultural centre. Here you can learn more about the culture of Burkina Faso and purchase excellent quality carvings, brass work and other handmade pieces.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Les Palmiers or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ouagadougou - Cultural Village Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning set off for a full day excursion to the unique village of Teibele, close to the Ghanian border and home to the Kassena people (approximately 3 hours). The town is known for its unusual architecture – pottery-like mud houses that are elaborately decorated. Variously square, round, or figure-eight shaped, the houses have stunning intricate ornamentation on the outside, geometric patterns of black diamonds and stripes, illustrations of snakes, crocodiles or perhaps a tortoise, the sacred totem of the royal family. While the men do the building, women are in charge of the painting. The geometric patterns represent the calabash – the multi-use skin of this vegetable is a lifelong kitchen companion for women and is the only object authorised for worship. You will spend several hours exploring the fascinating architecture and culture of the Tiebele compound and its surrounds before returning to Ouagadougou for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Les Palmiers or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ouagadougou - Tiebele Village Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take an included flight to Lome, the capital of Togo, one of Africa’s smallest countries. This city was once a colony of the British, Germans and French, and is one of the few capitals to sit on a border with another county. This has lead to the development of a unique lifestyle and architecture, a cross between people, trades and cultures. This afternoon we drive the short distance 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. Explore this fascinating town before returning to Lome for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ibis or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Togoville - Town Visit
  • Lake Togo - Boat Ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and meet your new fellow travellers.
This morning you’ll take a city tour, including a visit to the Musée International des Arts and the fetish market at Akodessewa, four kilometres from the town centre. As well as getting across the context of Togo's history, the museum is home to everything from preserved musical instruments, weapons and dolls to collections of traditional pottery and jewellery. In the fetish market you'll find a different side to the country – a remarkably eclectic collection of supplies for 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! This afternoon you'll get the unique opportunity to witness a traditional voodoo ceremony. This often misunderstood religion seeks to restore the harmony between humans and the universe though herbal, mineral, animal and spiritual rituals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Ibis or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lome - Voodoo Ceremony
  • Lome - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Leave Lome and travel west into English-speaking Ghana and the capital, Accra (approximately 4 hours). This afternoon you will visit the National Museum in Accra, which is filled with fascinating displays on the country’s history and culture – indigenous arts and crafts, musical instruments, Stone Age artefacts, and an exhibition about the slave trade. Also worth a visit is the site where Ghana’s first president and one of its founding fathers declared independence in 1957. The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was erected in memory of both. In the evening you can sample Accra's lively nightlife, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
Accommodation
  • Coconut Grove Regency Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Accra - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Leave Accra and drive inland (approximately 6 hours) to the ‘Garden City’ of Kumasi. This one-time capital of a powerful kingdom is nicknamed for its beautiful flora. The city is the beating heart of Ashanti history and is seen as the home of Ghanaian culture. It’s also a busy, cosmopolitan city, a place where traditions mix with the urbanity of the developing world. According to legend it was in Kumasi that, in order to gain Ashanti independence from a rival state, the Priest Okomfo Anokye called down a Golden Stool (containing the spirit of the people) from Heaven and then drove an irremovable sword into the ground as a symbol of Ashanti unity. On arrival you will visit the Armed Forces Museum in a former fort, built by the British on the ruins of the Asante Fort they had destroyed. The museum tells the story of the many conflicts that have taken place in Ghana, particularly the British-Ashanti wars of the 19th and 20th centuries. The last of these took place because the British Governor of the Gold Coast demanded that he be given the sacred Golden Stool to sit on. The rest of the day is free for you to spend at your leisure. The city has the largest market in the whole of West Africa, well worth exploring if you have the time.
Accommodation
  • Sir Max Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kumasi - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Kumasi is a royal city, home to the Ashanti King, who resides at the new Manhyia Palace. Today you will visit the museum of the palace, which sits close to the current royal residence. It was built by the British in 1925 and was home to the Ashanti Kings until 1974. In the museum you will learn about the functions of each room and see artefacts belonging to the kings. Today you'll also experience the unique atmosphere of the Akwasidae Festival. Celebrated every 42 days at the palace, the festival is held to honour Ashanti ancestors, the king, and the Golden Stool. Ashanti chiefs from all over the kingdom, dressed in traditional kente cloth, come to pay their respects. The king attends the festival, meeting his subjects and sub-chiefs in the palace courtyard, and is paraded on an elaborately decorated palanquin accompanied drummers, dancers, and horn blowers. You will then continue your tour of the Kumasi area with a visit to a nearby village, where you’ll meet talented artisans who weave Ghana’s beautiful kente cloth, an icon of African cultural heritage around the world.
Accommodation
  • Sir Max Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kumasi - Akwasidae Festival
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Leave the Ashanti Kingdom behind and travel south to Axim. En route, you will visit a cocoa plantation. Ghana is the second largest exporter of cocoa in the world, and their beans are held up at the best around. At the plantation you’ll find out more about the history of the bean and its many uses. You’ll then continue on to the coastal town of Axim (total driving time today of approximately 7 hours). You will spend tonight at Ghana’s most isolated and luxurious beach resort. Stay on a palm-covered tropical hillside with kilometres of deserted beaches spread out before you. Close to the accommodation is historic Axim town, where fishing is the main occupation for the 20,000 residents. The town also has several historic places of interest near to the hotel, including Fort St Anthony, built by the Portuguese in 1515 when they were settling the town as a trading port. Also near by, perched on top of a hill in Princess Town is Fort Princess, originally known as Gross Friedrichsburg and built by the Prussians in 1683.
Accommodation
  • Axim Beach Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Axim Beach - Cocoa Plantation Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Take the day to soak up the utterly relaxed atmosphere of the beach and simply sit back, relax, or stroll the quiet shores. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more energetic then you can take part in one of the many activities that Axim Beach offers. If the waves are right then paddle a board out to surf, or go underneath the water instead with some snorkelling. There’s also fishing for a more relaxed activity. Otherwise, head into the forest for some hiking or bird watching.
Accommodation
  • Axim Beach Resort or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning you’ll get on the road back towards the end of your adventure, with today’s destination as Elmina (approximately 3 hours). In the city you’ll discover the dark history of the slave trade at St George’s Castle. The fortification is one of 20 or so ‘slave castles’ that were built along the shoreline of the Gold Coast – the former name of modern-day Ghana. Built between the 15th and 18th centuries by European trading powers, these castles became the point from which an estimated 12 million Africans were shipped to the Americas. Walk the atmospheric grounds of the castle, past the oppressive dungeons where thousands of slaves were kept while officers lived in light and spacious quarters above, and through to a small door – the ‘Door of No Return’. Here slaves left the fort and were put on to ships; for many the sight across the sea was their final image of home. Continue to explore this busy little fishing town situated on a narrow peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. On the final night of your Ghana journey, take a walking tour and discover the Pursubans animist (the traditional religion of Ghana) shrines.
Accommodation
  • Coconut Grove Beach Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Elmina - St George's Castle
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today return to the capital city of Accra, stopping en-route for a short walk in the township of Cape Coast and a visit to the slave castle (total driving time 3 hours). Here, in what was the centre of British administration and capital of the Gold Cost between 1700 and 1877, see the colonial architecture of an easy-going fishing town that is still haunted by the ghosts of the brutal slave trade. When you return to Accra, the rest of the day is free. For those flying out this evening, day rooms have been booked for use at our Accra hotel, where you can freshen up prior to your flight home. An evening transfer is included to Accra's Kotoka International Airport, where your African expedition comes to an end. Please ensure you do not book flights out of Accra prior to 6.00pm this evening.
Included Activities
  • Elmina - Walking Tour
  • Cape Coast - Castle Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Meals

15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

4WD vehicle, Minibus, Pirogue (narrow canoe)

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nights), Beach Resort (3 nights)

Included Activities

  • Bobo Dioulasso - Music Museum Visit
  • Bobo Dioulasso - Djembe Music Experience
  • Bobo Dioulasso - Grand Marché Visit
  • Bobo Dioulasso - Kibidwe District Visit
  • Banfora - Lake Tengrela Boat Ride
  • Banfora - Rock Formations
  • Banfora - Karfiguela Waterfalls
  • Gaoua - Gan King visit
  • Gaoua - Loropeni Ruins
  • Gaoua - Lobi Fetish Man Visit
  • Ouagadougou - Cultural Village Visit
  • Ouagadougou - Tiebele Village Guided Tour
  • Togoville - Town Visit
  • Lake Togo - Boat Ride
  • Lome - Voodoo Ceremony
  • Lome - City Tour
  • Accra - City Tour
  • Kumasi - City Tour
  • Kumasi - Akwasidae Festival
  • Axim Beach - Cocoa Plantation Visit
  • Elmina - St George's Castle
  • Elmina - Walking Tour
  • Cape Coast - Castle Visit

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
An optional single supplement is available on this trip. Please contact your booking agent for further information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.