Step into the dazzling tribal world of Ghana, Togo, and Benin, with the most experienced trip leaders in the region!
The allure of West Africa is its mosaic of people, with their multiplicity of traditional cultures and flamboyantly colorful festivals—yet very few travelers experience it for themselves. Our trip leaders are pioneers in this part of Africa, and among the few who have the expertise to provide in-depth, genuine encounters with more than 10 fascinating cultural groups. From the great Ashanti Empire to the isolated Tamberma and Somba peoples, the region’s cultural vitality is on display in Yoruba mask ceremonies, vividly drawn Fulani face tattoos, and crimson togas at Ashanti funeral dances. We'll see it all as we traverse the region’s vast spectrum—from the colonial Portuguese city of Ouidah, to Ganvie, Africa's largest stilted village. We'll sleep in beach-front resorts and traditional tata desert huts, and savor the bright, strong flavors of the best local fare. Choose as your highlight the secret-society Gelede mask festival honoring the “Mother Spirit of the Earth,” or Ghana's Akwasidae festival, in the royal court of the Ashanti king. In true MTS fashion, we won’t stand on the sidelines—we’ll jump right in as participants in these joyful celebrations!
13 days of easy to moderate cultural touring, walking
- Meet more than ten fascinating cultural groups on this in-depth, genuine cultural experience!
- Enjoy the insights and expertise of MTS’ trip leaders, among the few who have the knowledge and connections to lead trips in this area
- Witness and participate in a different, vibrant festival or ceremony on every departure, in addition to many other spontaneous events
- Follow the colonial trade routes as you visit tribal villages, colonial outposts, palaces, and coastal castles
- Spot wildlife in the virgin rainforest of Kakum National Park via a canopy walk, the longest and highest hanging rope bridge in the world!
Duration: 13 days Start Location: Accra End Location: AccraDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Accra
Arrive into Accra, Ghana.
Day 2 : Lome and Lake Togo
We drive to Lome, the vibrant capital of Togo, where we visit the central market, colonial buildings and the fetish market. We end the day on the shores of nearby Lake Togo.
Day 3 : Voodoo and Ouidah
Today we witness an authentic voodoo ceremony before crossing the border into Benin. In Benin, we visit Ouidah, a former Portuguese slave port with a timeless atmosphere.
Day 4 : Ganvie (Gelede Festival on February trip)
Today we visit Ganvie, Africa's largest stilt village. On the February trip, we then experience the Gelede mask festival. On the October and November trips, we'll visit the Abomey Royal Palace instead.
Day 5 : Abomey Royal Palace
Today we visit Abomey, one of Benin's greatest attractions, with its painted voodoo fetish temples and the vestiges of former royal palaces. We then head north to the land of the Taneka, who live among the rocky cliffs of central Benin.
Day 6 : Taneka villages
Today we take a morning hike to discover the ancient villages of the Taneka people. In the afternoon, we visit a nomadic camp of the tattoed Fulani tribe.
Day 7 : Somba & Tamberma villages
We visit the lands of the Somba and Tamberma people before crossing the Togo border.
Day 8 : Bassar, Dagomba, and Konkomba villages
More tribal exploration in Togo and Ghana: we visit the Bassar, Dagomba and Konkomba villages.
Day 9 : Gondja villages and Kintampo waterfalls
A long driving day from Tamale to Kumasi, with a few interesting stops to visit the Gondja villages and some waterfalls in the Kintampo region.
Day 10 : Kumasi
City tour of Kumasi, the historical and spiritual capital of Ghana. Witness festive Ashanti funerals in the afternoon, if we are lucky.
Day 11 : Kumasi - Akwasidae Festival (October-November trips)
More touring of Kumasi and the Royal Palace Museum. October & November trips feature the Akwasidea Festival today-- the grand celebration at the palace of the Ashanti King.
Day 12 : Elmina
Today we visit the world's longest and highest hanging rope bridge rain forest canopy walk plus one of the oldest European buildings in West Africa, the Elmina Castle.
Day 13 : Depart Accra
Today we'll head back to Accra and enjoy a city tour before departing on evening flights home or beyond.
DATES: Best time to go: February, October - November Departures: Oct 3 - 15, 2013 This date features the Akwasidae Festival in Ghana
Hotel KaraKara, Togo
Hotel Kara is on the outskirts of town and is quite modern and clean. There are some nice chalets dotted around the pool and the grounds, plus rooms in the main, large concrete building.
Coconut Grove ResortElmina, GhanaThis beachfront resort is located in Elmina, close to Fort St. Jago and Elmina Castle. In addition to a restaurant, Coconut Grove Beach Resort features a golf course, tennis courts and a swimming pool. Guest rooms feature air conditioning, wireless Internet access (surcharge), and satellite television.
Hotel Casa del PapaOuidah, Benin
Casa Del Papa is a beach resort in Ouidah. The resort faces the beach and has independent cottages with cute beach decor. There is a continental restaurant by the beach...and fish is the delicacy here.
Hotel MiklinKumasi, Ghana
The Miklin Hotel in Kumasi is a two-story property with white-washed walls and ornate exterior balconies. The interior design is classically elegant, with Victorian-style furnishings and regal fabrics. The hotel offers a total of 60 guest rooms and suites, all of which offer individual climate controls, satellite TV, minibars, private safes and Internet access. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by a furnished terrace, a unisex hair salon and a business center. On-site dining and entertainment options include a restaurant serving Ghanaian and European dishes, a poolside bar and an Internet cafe.
Hotel Tata SombaNatitingou, Benin
The Tata Somba Hotel is cozy and built in the traditional “tata” style of the area. The clean, spacious rooms are arranged around the swimming pool. Meals are mostly served poolside.
Novotel HotelAccra, Ghana
The Novotel Accra City Centre is a 4 star hotel in Accra. Just over 4 miles from the airport and close to the conference centre and major banks, the hotel provides WiFi internet access. Guests on holiday in the Ghanaian capital will find the Makola Market, museums, theatre, golf and the beach all nearby. The hotel features a bar, restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, business centre, onsite parking and a tennis court.
Gariba LodgeTamale, Ghana
A simple, 2-star hotel in northern Ghana, but the best available in the area.
Hotel DakoBohicon, Benin
A basic hotel with air conditioning located in the Bohicon (Abomey) area of Benin.
Hotel du Lac TogoLake Togo
This simple but pleasant hotel is located on the shores of Lake Togo, just a short drive from both Lome and the border with Benin.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Alberto is Italian by birth but has the heart of a nomad. He's traveled extensively throughout West Africa since 1975 and been a resident of Togo since 1984. Alberto has fast friendships with chiefs and elders in many remote villages and works energetically to preserve and understand their ways of life. His expertise is well known: he did field research with Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith for their book African Ceremonies and past National Geographic articles on West Africa.