Magical Benin, Togo & Ghana Including the Annual Ouidah Voodoo Festival
Join us on a magical journey through the West African countries of Benin, Togo, and Ghana, including a special visit to the annual Ouidah Voodoo Festival. This unique and immersive cultural experience will allow you to learn about the traditions and beliefs of the voodoo religion, as well as explore the vibrant cities and breathtaking landscapes of these three countries.
We will start our journey in the capital city of Benin, Porto-Novo, where we will learn about the history and culture of the region, including a visit to the Royal Palace of King Toffa. We will then travel to the coastal town of Ouidah, home to the annual Voodoo Festival, where we will witness traditional ceremonies and rituals, and learn about the history and beliefs of the voodoo religion.
From Ouidah, we will journey to the neighboring country of Togo, where we will visit the bustling market of Lome, the ancient ruins of Koutammakou, and the stunning waterfall of Kpalime. We will also have the opportunity to participate in traditional village life, learning about the daily customs and traditions of the local people.
Finally, we will travel to Ghana, where we will visit the vibrant city of Accra, explore the Cape Coast Castle and the Kakum National Park, and learn about the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Throughout our journey, we will stay in comfortable and culturally immersive accommodations and enjoy the delicious local cuisine. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about and experience the rich cultures and traditions of West Africa and participate in the annual Ouidah Voodoo Festival. So, don’t miss it!
BIENVENUE!!! WELCOME TO COTONOU, BENIN!!! On arrival at Cotonou Cadjehoun International Airport, proceed through immigration, claim luggage, and clear Custom procedures, exit and meet our expert cultural tour guide will meet, assist and transfer you to your hotel in our private air-conditioned vehicle. Check-in and refresh. Once you have checked in, your Bilingual (English/French speaking) guide, who will be with you throughout your stay, will brief you on what to expect during this trip. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Overnight at Best Western Nobila
After a leisurely morning, we embark on a city tour of Cotonou before our departure to Accra. We will visit the following sites; l The ‘Esplanade des Amazones’, a public square located which is home to the ‘Amazon’, a 30-metre-high statue built in homage to the world’s only all-female army. These Amazons belonged to the Kingdom of Dahomey, a West African empire that existed from 1625 to 1894. l The Remembrance Square which reveals the splendour and fascinating historic works of the city. Here you will find the Mathieu Garden, the former home of the late President of the Republic, Mathieu Kerekou now, transformed into a flowery area with a pleasant scent for visitors. l We will also visit the statue of the Wassangari warrior Bio Guéra on his horse while running. It glimpses the ardour and bravery with which the warriors fought to stop the colonial invasion. In addition, the Martyrs’ Square was refurbished to pay tribute to the soldiers and civilians who fell with their weapons in hand during the military aggression of 16 January 1977. Following lunch (on your own account) at a local restaurant, we return to the hotel.Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Best Western Nobila
This morning, travel to Ouidah, the former slave trading post and the birthplace of Voodoo. This unforgettable visit takes you to the Voodoo Museum, the Sacred Forest (Kpasse Forest), the Cathedral, and the Temple of the Pythons. Continue to the place of the common grave, the tree of forgetfulness, and the “Gate of No Return”. There may be a welcome reception from Dagbo Hounon, high priest of the voodoo cult. Late afternoon, continue to Cotonou for overnight Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Best Western Nobila
After breakfast, you depart to Ouidah to experience the mysteries of the Voodoo religion at Ouidah’s annual voodoo festival. Although there are many festivals around the country, this is the largest and most revered. You will see followers and adepts of the various voodoo gods, from the elaborately costumed Zangbetos to the followers of Kokou. Around the edges of the main performance area groups from various voodoo, temples perform their own rites and rituals. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Best Western Nobila
One of the highlights of any trip to West Africa is Ganvie, the African Venice. In ancient times people took refuge on Lake Nokoue from the attacks of the feared Dahomey warriors, who were forbidden by a deep belief to fight on water. The Ganvie people over time developed this unique lake culture and way of life which have made them famous. Our boat cruise takes us along tranquil waterways and fish farms to the lake community of Ganvie. We discover these curious built-on-stilt dwellings, small floating markets, and different aspects of local daily life. After lunch (on your own account), we make our way to Lome, Togo’s capital. Check in and relax. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Hotel Sancta Maria
Today, you’ll visit the slave house in Agbodrafo. From there you can easily travel by shared boat to Togoville, a red-earth village that was the homeland of numerous slaves taken to Haiti, who were members of the voodoo cult. Here you will find magic remedies and voodoo charms used to cast powerful spells. You are invited to sample some potent herbal teas prepared by a village herbalist today as well. Upon return to Lome, Togo’s capital thought to be the country’s most cosmopolitan city, enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city’s main features such as the Independence Square, National Museum, Craftsmen village, Central market where traditional articles can be found, the fishing harbour, Fetish market where sacred magic products are sold and the Grand Marche where pearls are sold. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Hotel Sancta Maria
After a well-deserving breakfast, we check out of our hotel for departure to Accra. At the Togo & Ghana border, we will go through immigration formalities before crossing into Ghana. We follow the coast dotted with Ewe villages, tranquil lagoons, and tropical vegetation. After lunch at the Volta Hotel, we enjoy a scenic drive to a small village- Krobo Odumase to witness the firsthand experience of beads made from specially crafted glasses- Cedi Beads Factory. We will have the opportunity to design our own beads using the traditional Krobo technique. The bead-making craft has a long history in Ghana. Beads have been used in ceremonies of birth, coming of age, marriage, or death for the past 400 years. You will watch and participate in the whole bead-making process from beginning to end. We continue to Akosombo, arriving late afternoon. Transfer and check in to your hotel. Dinner at the hotel. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Royal Senchi
Following breakfast, we depart to Kumasi, the seat of the Ashanti Empire to explore the legends of the famous Ashantis, whose legacies are still evident today. We will make a stop at the Aburi Botanical Gardens, to learn about the cultural and medicinal importance of the trees in these gardens. We will also visit the Boti Falls (where we see one of the best waterfalls in Ghana with its two falls: an upper fall and another the lower fall described by the locals as them as male and female). (There will be stops on the way for snack/lunch and bathroom breaks) Upon arrival, late afternoon, enjoy a drive through the city with monuments dedicated to the memory of the great Ashanti people. Check into your hotel and prepare for dinner. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Lancaster Kumasi
Following a leisurely breakfast, we visit the Ashanti Craft villages starting with the woodcarving village of Ahwiaa, known for the talented craftsmen who fashion royal stools, walking sticks, and fertility dolls from wood. You will have the opportunity to purchase hand-carved items. The next stop is the village of Ntonso where artisans hand-stamp patterns on the cotton cloth to make Adinkra textiles. The third village is Bonwire, where the famous Kente Cloth is handmade on looms in a time-honored tradition passed down through generations. You will see the various Kente weavers creating colorful Kente cloth in various styles and you might want to even try your hands on this special process. We complete the day’s tour at the Manhyia Palace Museum, the official residence of Ashanti Kings (Asantehene) until 1974, now a museum containing treasured items relating to the Ashanti Kingdom. This is where you obtain first-hand information on the legacies of this unified monarchy. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Lancaster Kumasi
Highlights: Assin Manso Slave River Elmina Township Today, we depart for yet another adventure of the Coastal lands of Ghana- Elmina & Cape Coast. En route, we will make a stop at Assin Manso, the burial site of two former slaves from the USA and Jamaica whose remains were re-interred in August 1998 during Ghana’s first Emancipation Day Celebration. A visit to “the Slave River or “Donkor Nsuo” offers the chance to see the place where captured Africans were washed before being conned in the Slaves’ Castles to await shipment to the Americas and the Caribbean. (There will be stops on the way for snack/lunch and bathroom breaks) Arrive in Elmina, enjoy the sights of the many colourful fishing boats bringing their daily catch into the harbour and take the opportunity to mix with the locals at the nearby market.A short distance from the market we visit the boat builders, still building colourful fishing boats using traditional tools and methods spanning centuries. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Ridge Royal Hotel
Highlights: Elmina/St. George’s Castle Cape Coast Castle Today we will visit Cape Coast castle, a UNESCO world heritage site. The castle is a thought-provoking monument to a harrowing period in the region’s history. You will take an emotional journey through the castle which held more enslaved Africans than any other in the region, viewing the dungeons and the infamous “Door of no return”. There is a significant historical museum inside, which explains the history of the castle and of Cape Coast itself. You can purchase literature on Ghana’s forts and castles, as well as the cultural history and traditions of Ghana. Next, we visit Elmina Castle another World Heritage site. Return to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Ridge Royal Hotel
This morning you visit Kakum National Park, one of Ghana’s most famous parks. Take a brief walking tour on the forest floor; see birds, and butterflies and perhaps catch a glimpse of the forest’s over 40 species of mammals including monkeys and the reclusive forest elephant. Proceed to the canopy walkway. Kakum is home to Africa’s only aerial walkway through the treetops, a 1000-foot-long and seven-bridge walkway with viewing platforms that reach heights of over 150 feet above the ground. We return to Accra after lunch (on your own account). Transfer to your hotel; dinner at the hotel. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner Overnight at Accra City Hotel
Our day tour begins with a visit will be the W.E.B DuBois Centre honouring the life of the prominent Pan-Africanist who chose to live and work in Ghana. We continue on a scenic drive through the principal streets of Accra and view the Flagstaff house (Ghana’s White House) on our way to the Ghana National Museum. Visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, the final resting place of Ghana’s first president driving past Independence Square where you will see the enclosed flame of African liberation, which was lit by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1961. The Memorial Park is set in attractive gardens and has a museum that contains photos, artifacts, and insight into Dr. Nkrumah’s life. Experience firsthand African shopping at the Accra Arts and Crafts Centre for authentic African arts, crafts, and wear. After lunch (on your own account) We will make a picturesque stop at the Independence Arch and the Black Star Square, Accra’s ceremonial grounds, and venue for all national events especially the Independence Day celebration, where you could also take some nice shots and add to your gallery. We complete the day’s exploration with a visit to the La Township to see uniquely-designed special caskets at the Teshie and Nungua areas which reflect the beliefs of the people in life after death (i.e. a bus driver may be buried in a bus, a waiter in a large beer bottle, etc.). Meal(s) Included: Breakfast Overnight at Accra City Hotel
You will be transferred on time to the airport for your onward flight. Meal(s) Included: Breakfast