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West Africa - the heartbeat of Voodoo
The Voodoo Nations of Africa Expedition
world heritage sites, historic, dark slave trade castles, voodoo dancing, beautiful national parks
Apr 07 - Apr 19
Few other parts of the world remain as unexplored and misunderstood as West Africa, and despite a turbulent past, Togo, Benin, and Ghana are absolutely full of awe inspiring, but little visited, UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Join WANT Expeditions on this incredible tour through Ghana, Togo, and Benin as we witness authentic voodoo ceremonies, visit isolated national parks, trace historic colonial slave trade routes, and learn from remote and isolated, but extremely welcoming and dynamic tribal peoples, and more! On this trip we will also see powerful Voodoo Shrines and villages that have gained world notoriety, yet few outsiders have dared to venture to. Along the way, we will also learn about the dark side of this superstitious region by visiting a controversial "Witch Village" where hundreds of women and children are banished to after being accused of practicing witchcraft in their village. Equally not to miss features on this trip include visits to former slave trade castles and markets, and especially the Gate of No Return, where millions of slaves were held captive before exiting through the notorious “Door of No Return” to be transported and resold in the new world, split apart from their families, and never to return to African soil. Wildlife and nature also abound in this region, and we will have the opportunity to see elephants, buffalo, hippopotamus, huge numbers of bird species and more! Don't miss this trip. Sign up today!
Detailed itinerary:
Apr 7 Arrival/Accra/Elmina
  Upon arrival at Accra airport (to escape the city and traffic), we will immediately head to Elmina Bay where we can refresh and relax until our Welcome Orientation and Dinner this evening. Don't forget to bring your cameras to dinner for an exciting surprise!
  Accommodation: Beach Resort
Apr 8 Elmina/Ankasa Conservation Area
  After an early breakfast, we will head out to explore Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle. As the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, Elmina is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara, Elmina Slave Castle is also a World Heritage Site and was one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Cape Coast Castle, also a World Heritage Site, was the last remaining bastion of slavery and acted as the channel to open Ghana up to missionaries when slavery collapsed. After our visit here, we'll enjoy a lovely beach BBQ, then head a few hours west to the Amansuri Wetland and Ankasa Conservation area. Once we reach our accommodation, we will check in, quickly refresh, then take a short walk down the beach to Fort Apollonia, one of the other few remaining slave trading forts still standing on the coast.
  Accommodation: Beach Resort
Apr 9 Kumasi
  During breakfast, our luggage will be loaded onto our vehicles, then we set off for Kumasi bright and early. Kumasi, known as "The Garden City" or "heart beat" of Ghana, is home to the famous bustling Kumasi Central Market. Before heading to the market, we will quickly check-in to our hotel, refresh, and enjoy lunch. The market is exciting enough to spend several hours cruising its corridors, visiting the spice merchants, vegetable sellers, meat market, and more. Its incredible to see how nothing is wasted and items are reused; hubcaps are cut, heated, and made into buckets. Shoes are torn apart, re-soled and made anew. After we have had our fill of the market, we head back to our hotel for an early dinner and an early bedtime, as we have a very early start tomorrow morning.
  Accommodation: Beach Resort
Apr 10 Kumasi/Kintampo Falls/Mole National Park
  Today might prove to be our earliest start of the trip. We've got a lot of road to cover, but a refreshing stop will help break up the monotony of the road. From Kumasi we drive to Kintampo Falls. These falls have three stages and are a wonderful place to cool off in the hot African sun. We will enjoy lunch at a nearby rest-stop. This bustling place serves up some of the best local fare in the region, so be sure to try Fufu, Banku, or Red-Red, all freshly prepared from local ingredients. After lunch we'll pile back into our (thankfully!) air-conditioned vehicles, and head to Mole, crossing the Black Volta en route. Once we arrive to Mole mid-afternoon, we will immediately commence our afternoon game drive until sunset. Unfortunately, due to heavy poaching, the animals here are extremely skittish, but very unique; Mole is the largest National Park in Ghana and is home to 93 mammalian species, 33 reptiles, 9 amphibians and an estimated 300 species of birds! After our exciting game drive, we return to our rustic accommodation and enjoy a nice dinner after sun down.
  Accommodation: National Park Accommodation
Apr 11 Mole National Park/Mognori EcoVillage
  As most of the seasoned WANT Expeditions guests know, wildlife is most active at dusk and dawn, so we start today, before breakfast, with an early morning game drive in the park. We will return to the lodge and enjoy a big breakfast, then set out to visit Mognori EcoVillage. Mognori is unique, because it is an authentic, working community that provides guided tours of the area, and the funds generated by visits such as ours help to directly sustain the community while offering a real glimpse of village life in West Africa. We will enjoy our lunch and a short siesta back at our lodge, before heading out to visit Larabanga Mosque (one of the oldest mosques in Africa) and the legendary Mystic Stone. As the evening lights appeal to photography and wildlife viewing, we return to the park for yet another game drive, then meet in the restaurant for another great dinner before retiring the evening.
  Accommodation: National Park Accommodation
Apr 12 Mole NP/Dagomba Village/Gnani Witch Camp/Kokomba Village/Kara
  For those of you craving another day at the spa, today is your day as we drive to Kara. After breakfast we head out to visit Dagomba drummers. Dagomba peoples possess a very sophisticated tradition woven around drums and other musical instruments, that for centuries served the same purpose as of modern telecommunications in terms of carrying messages across hundreds of kilometres. Next we push on to a controversial and interesting site in need of much cultural understanding, education, and empowerment - Gnani Witch Camp. The camp is home to hundreds of women, and their children, who have been accused of witchcraft, such as causing the untimely death of a community member, or bringing some sort of misfortunes into their communities, and are now exiled to Gnani where they will spend the rest of their lives barely existing, unless a family member is kind enough to provide some meager amount of support. From here we cross into Togo, and head to Kara. We expect to check into our hotel late in the evening and take an absolutely deserved shower before gathering for dinner.
  Accommodation: National Park Accommodation
Apr 13 Kara/Kaby Mountains/Koutammakou/Somba/Natitingou
  After an early breakfast, we drive to the Kaby Mountains and visit a region famous for its blacksmiths and potters. We will have the opportunity to photograph, observe, and purchase some of their unique works, before proceeding to Losso land. Visit the soukala (typical Losso people habitat), before we drive to Koutammakou. Also a world heritage site, Koutammakou is a traditional settlement that is still living and dynamic, and subject to traditional and sustainable systems and practices. The land itself is home of the Somba - famous for their two-story mud-fortified houses, known as Tata Somba ("Somba house"), in which the ground floor is used for housing livestock at night, internal alcoves are used for cooking, and the upper floor contains a rooftop courtyard and is used for drying grain, sleeping quarters, and granaries. After Somba, we head to our final destination for the evening: Natitingou. Another well-deserved shower will refresh us for a dinner, with which we celebrate Benin, the third country on our voyage.
  Accommodation: Hotel
Apr 14 Natitingou/Pendjari National Park
  Although Natitingou is nice, a much more exciting destination awaits us today – Pendjari National Park. En route to Pendjari, we drive through the Atakora Mountains (one of the most scenic areas of Benin), stopping at a small waterfall, just before reaching the park gates. Once inside the park, we will game drive to the north, stopping at a waterhole enroute, until we reach our camp for a late afternoon lunch. Soon after we head off for another great game drive. Due to its proximity, Pendjari is an isolated park and one of the most interesting in West Africa. Being home to almost 300 different species, the park is renown for its bird life. We will also keep our eyes peeled for elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, Roan Antelope and hippopotamus. Our drive will last as long as park rules allow, before returning to our lodge for a great dinner and a good night's rest.
  Accommodation: Hotel
Apr 15 Pendjari National Park/Dankoli Shrine/Abomey
  Today is our other long drive, as we head to southern Benin. After enjoying an early morning breakfast, we depart from our lodge for one more game drive, en route to the gates of the park. Its a short stop for lunch, then back on the road to visit the world famous Dankoli Shrine – the most powerful Voodoo fetish shrine in Benin! Be prepared for what you are about to witness, as that this experience may prove to be the most authentic and intense Voodoo experience on this trip! From here we continue on to Abomey where we enjoy a delightful shower and a great dinner prepared by our hosts.
  Accommodation: National Park Accommodation
Apr 16 Abomey/Ganvie/Ouidah
  Following our breakfast, we will jump into our vehicles to visit one of the most famous and historically significant traditional sites in West Africa: the Royal Palaces of Abomey. Now a World Heritage Site, the palaces are earthen structures build by the Fon people in the 17th and 19th centuries. We will explore the town, its structures and the violent warrior past of its inhabitants. From here we drive to Abomey-Calavi harbor of Lake Nokoue and enjoy a relaxing boat tour to Ganvie. This village is often referred to as Venice of Africa, because Ganvie is entire built on stilts - all 20,000 inhabitants use boats to get in and around in the village. Ganvie was established in the height of the Fon kingdoms, when other tribes fleeing from the invaders built their houses on water, knowing that the Fon warriors are prohibited by their religion from fighting on water. Once back on our vehicle, we drive to Ouidah, and have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the gorgeous surf or lovely pool. During dinner, a Gelede mask dance has been organized for our visit, so make sure you have plenty of battery power and storage space on your cameras!
  Accommodation: Hotel
Apr 17 Ouidah/Aneho/Lomé
  Ouidah is a special place for many reasons. It is considered to be the capital of Voodoo or Vodun religion, and is home to the Kpasse Sacred Forest – one of the few such mystical forests in Benin, open to visitors. But before we explore its Voodoo Roots, we will visit the Gate of No Return, followed by a visit to the only remaining slave trading fort in Ouidah, which houses an excellent museum. Next we visit the Temple of Sacred Pythons, where 50 adult pythons are housed, worshipped, and set free each night when the doors of the temple open. In the evenings, it is not unusual for a python to make its way into the living room of a Beninese household and fed. After our exploration here, we quickly visit the Kpasse Sacred Forest, then cross into Togo, stopping in Aneho for lunch, and an incredible and very authentic voodoo ceremony. From Aneho, we drive to Lomé, the country's capital, and enjoy the rest of the evening in our beautiful hotel, complete with an Olympic sized swimming pool!
  Accommodation: Beach Resort
Apr 18 Lomé/Dzodze/Akosombo
  After a relaxing breakfast, we will explore the famous Voodoo Fetish Market of Lome. The number and array of skulls, skins and other unusual treasures used in Voodoo will leave us in awe. After a fair amount of time spent, we will head off to visit another voodoo village where we participate in another impressive voodoo ceremony with dancing, drumming and chants. Our next destination from here is Akosombo, Ghana. We expect to reach our accommodation late afternoon, then we have the rest of the evening to enjoy on the shores of River Volta, before we gather for a great Farewell Dinner. Although the next day is still packed with adventure, this is our last night in Ghana, and we will celebrate our wonderful adventures overlooking the largest man-made lake in the world!
  Accommodation: Hotel
Apr 19 Akosombo/Volta River Cruise/Accra/Departure
  This morning is your chance to sleep in, in preparation for a homeward journey, or the refresh and gear up for our exciting Accra to Dakar cruise! Following a late breakfast, we board the famous local cruise boat Dodi Princess, for a relaxing day trip on River Volta where we will enjoy lunch and lively music on board. During the cruise, we'll have a short stop at Dodi Island, where we can get off, stretch our legs, and observe the various musical groups who are awaiting our arrival. After returning to port around 4:30, we'll say our goodbyes, and either drive directly to Accra Airport and check in for our late evening flights to Europe, or back to our hotel to gear up for our exciting cruise to Dakar. This marks the end of our Voodoo Nations program, and the beginning of our West Africa cruise. Have a safe trip home and we'll see you again soon!
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Ghana, Togo, Benin Trip mapCopyright © WantExpeditions

Trip price: in double room: USD 6,999
  in single room: USD 7,199

Trip images:
Friendly local boyCopyright © WantExpeditions
Soccer on Cape CoastCopyright © WantExpeditions
Elmina CastleCopyright © WantExpeditions
Trying on a beautiful necklace at the Temple of PythonsCopyright © WantExpeditions
A man who has been exiled to Gnani Witch CampCopyright © WantExpeditions
Happy safari goers with WANT Expeditions!Copyright © WantExpeditions
Forest Elephants in Mole National ParkCopyright © WantExpeditions
Tata Somba VillageCopyright © WantExpeditions
A man hanging his fishing nets in GanvieCopyright © WantExpeditions
Beautiful Canopy Walk at Kakum National ParkCopyright © WantExpeditions
Tata Somba WomanCopyright © WantExpeditions
The Gate of No ReturnCopyright © WantExpeditions
Roan Antelope in Penjari National ParkCopyright © WantExpeditions
Child sleeping fishing nets on Ghana's coastCopyright © WantExpeditions
Tata Somba Village in KoutammakouCopyright © WantExpeditions
Women dancing at a Voodoo CeremonyCopyright © WantExpeditions
The beautiful fishing vessels and their canoe menCopyright © WantExpeditions
Curious childrenCopyright © WantExpeditions
A village chiefCopyright © WantExpeditions
A Voodoo fetish marketCopyright © WantExpeditions
Baboons in Mole National ParkCopyright © WantExpeditions
Buffalo and Saddlebill storks in PenjariCopyright © WantExpeditions
Beautiful Dix Cove and Steel Cross FortCopyright © WantExpeditions
Voodoo TempleCopyright © WantExpeditions
Elmina CastleCopyright © WantExpeditions
Kintampo FallsCopyright © WantExpeditions
Nile Crocodiles wait to entertain guestsCopyright © WantExpeditions
A young girl poses in traditional dressCopyright © WantExpeditions
Tata Somba WomenCopyright © WantExpeditions
Boys on the VoltaCopyright © WantExpeditions

Trip price: in double room: USD 6,999
  in single room: USD 7,199
Price includes:
· all accomodation
· all meals
· all activities mentioned in the program
· all land transportation
· Water in transport vehicles
· all airport and local transfers
· all national park fees
· all entrance fees
· all local guiding fees
· international tour leader
· all government taxes and levies
· photography education and assistance

Price excludes:
· international flights
· travel insurance
· personal expenses at accommodation
· departure taxes at airports
· visa fees
· any other items not mentioned above