MCWA WEST AFRICA ODYSSEY TOUR

SEARCH TOUR

With Martin Charlton

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

An 8-country West African discovery; Orango National Park on the Bijagós Archipelago; Goree Island exploration in Senegal; Freetown, Sierra Leone and the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary; UNESCO site of Grand Bassam - Ivory Coast; Cape Coast - Ghana; Guinea & Guinea Bissau Touring; Senegambia Stone Circles

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (see note below, if applicable) - All pricing reflects twin-sharing, per-person pricing for the TOUR AND INTERNAL FLIGHTS ONLY; however, we can book flights from your home airport to join the tour for an added cost. Contact us for a no obligation quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Thu 18 Oct 2018Sat 10 Nov 2018 $9300 USD FULL: Wait-list Only

Internal flights and taxes (value CA$1900/US$1500) are INCLUDED in above tour price. Due to the nature of these flights and other arrangements, this requires a $1000 per person deposit; additional pre-payment of $1000 at six months prior.

Optional Single Supplement: $1980 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $1500, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


This our was conceived by, and will be led by, senior Tour Leader, Martin Charlton, who invites you to join him on this special journey:

"West Africa is one of the most authentic and diverse regions of the world. Whether you are a history buff or a nature lover, there is something for everyone. Discover rarely visited gems on this unforgettable cultural journey through 8 countries, from Dakar to Accra.

Inhabited by an astonishing diversity of traditional peoples, West Africa presents an extraordinary sweep of iconic African terrain. Our adventure starts in the cosmopolitan Senegalese capital of Dakar on the western tip of the continent, and heads through the rarely-visited yet wonderful countries of Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone, before heading east through the remote roads of Liberia and the Ivory Coast before ending in Ghana.

West Africa is not the easiest place to travel, and for many travellers that is one of the reasons to go! Roads can be rough and things don’t always go as planned - but the unpredictable and spontaneous nature of journey is what keeps things interesting! Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humor. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be of as high a standard as one would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a region. Join me for a true adventure!"

Regions visited: North And West Africa
Countries visited: Senegal; Gambia; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea; Sierra Leone; Liberia; Ivory Coast and Ghana


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Dakar, Senegal
Sitting at the continent’s western-most tip, Senegal marks the fusion point of Africa’s Arabic north, with the diverse and colourful cultures of the region’s southern gulf.

Hemmed in by the ever-encroaching sands of the Sahel, the waves of the Atlantic and the dense jungle of the Casamance region, Senegal often seems to work a beat and rhythm all on its own. Emphatically Muslim, yet exuding French undertones, it evokes both the best in colonial-era architecture and the worst vestiges of the slave trade.

Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital of Dakar is always bursting with life. This is a city of busy streets, colourful markets and vibrant activity - at first it can seem chaotic, but embrace the rhythms of Dakar's life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here.

Overnight in Dakar.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Dakar: Goree Island Exploration & Dakar City Tour
This morning we take a short ferry ride to Gorée Island. The island of Gorée lies off the coast of Senegal, opposite Dakar. From the 15th to the 19th Century this was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast. Ruled in succession by the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, its architecture is characterized by the contrast between the grim slave-quarters and the elegant houses of the slave traders. Today it continues to serve as a reminder of human exploitation and as a sanctuary for reconciliation.

Our tour here includes a visit to the ethnographic museum and a lecture by the curator on the history of the island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon we will return to Dakar and continue with a city tour. We will visit the colourful markets, including Tilen Market, famous for a variety of medicinal herbs and traditional healers. We will stop by Dakar’s Grand Mosque, one of the most important religious buildings in the capital of Senegal. We will also pass by the Presidential Palace and the picturesque residential district of Medina. Before returning to the hotel we will enjoy a drive along the corniche.

Overnight in Dakar.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Dakar - Lompoul & St Louis
This morning we depart for Saint Louis, located in the north of Senegal. Along the way we will stop in the small desert region of Lompoul where we will enjoy a camel ride on the sand dunes. From the top of the dunes you will be able to enjoy a panorama view of coastline. We then continue on to Saint Louis where we will enjoy a city tour in the afternoon. With its crumbling colonial architecture, horse-drawn carts and peaceful ambience, West Africa's first French settlement has a unique historical charm – so much so that it's been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. The old town centre sits on an island in the Senegal River, but the city sprawls into Sor on the mainland, and on to the Langue de Barbarie, where we will discover the lively fishing community of Guet N'Dar.

Overnight in Saint Louis.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 St Louis - Djoudj - Touba - Kaolack
This morning we drive to the UNESCO protected Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary. Situated in the Senegal River delta, the Djoudj Sanctuary is a wetland of 16,000 ha, comprising a large lake surrounded by streams, ponds and backwaters. It forms a living but fragile sanctuary for some 1.5 million birds, such as the white pelican, the purple heron, the African spoonbill, the great egret and the cormorant.

We later continue to the city of Touba where we make a short visit before continuing to Kaoloack. Touba is the holy city of Mouridism, a large Sufi order most prominent in Senegal and the Gambia. At the heart of the holy city lies its Great Mosque, purported to be one of the largest in Africa. Since its completion in 1963 it has been continuously enlarged and embellished.

In the late afternoon we will arrive in the town of Kaolack. Situated on the right bank of the Saloum River, 95 miles (150 km) southeast of Dakar, this is an ocean and river port with an important export trade in peanuts (groundnuts) and salt.

Overnight in Kaolack.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Kaolack - Senegambia Stone Circles, Senegal - Banjul, The Gambia
After breakfast we depart for the Senegambia stone circles of Sine Ngayene, one of West Africa's greatest archaeological sites! As ancient monuments go, the stone circles of Senegal and Gambia may not be in the same league as other ancient ‘wonders’, yet this UNESCO World Heritage Site represents a remarkable cultural and architectural achievement of pre-historic western Africa. The site consists of four large groups of stone circles that represent an extraordinary concentration of over 1,000 monuments in a band 100 km wide along some 350 km of the River Gambia. The four groups, Sine Ngayène, Wanar, Wassu and Kerbatch, cover 93 stone circles and numerous tumuli, burial mounds, some of which have been excavated to reveal material that suggest dates between 3rd century BC and 16th century AD. Together the stone circles of laterite pillars and their associated burial mounds present a vast sacred landscape created over more than 1,500 years and reflecting a prosperous and highly organized society.

We then continue on to Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. This is the smallest country on the continent, surrounded by Senegal on 3 sides and bordered by the Atlantic to the west. Arab traders provided the first written accounts of the Gambia area in the 9th and 10th Centuries, and The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations.

Overnight in Banjul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Banjul City Tour
Today we will enjoy a tour of Banjul and it’s surrounding region. We will start our day at the National Museum where we are introduced to the culture and history of this country! As we drive through Banjul we witness many highlights, including a stop at the busy central market! Since its founding in the mid-19th century, the Albert Market, an area of frenzied buying, bartering and bargaining, has been Banjul's main hub of activity. This cacophony of Banjul life is intoxicating, with its stalls stacked with shimmering fabrics, hair extensions, shoes, household and electrical wares and the myriad colours and flavours of the fruit and vegetable market.

In the afternoon we will visit Serrekunda, the most densely populated town in The Gambia. Serrekunda is actually made up of nine villages which have all merged into an urban sprawl. We will visit the Serrekunda Market as well as the Abuko cattle market.

Overnight in Banjul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Banjul, Gambia - Ziguinchor, Senegal
This morning we say goodbye to the Gambia as we cross the border and enter the ‘other’ part of Senegal, ‘Casamance’. Casamance is the region of Senegal that lies south of The Gambia along the Casamance River. Much of the area that is now Casamance was once the kingdom of Kasa. Kasa’s king, or mansa, was a leading trader with the Portuguese, and Casamance takes its name from the Portuguese adaptation of Kasa mansa (king of Kasa).

This afternoon we will explore the traditional village of Diembering where we learn about the customs and beliefs of the Jola people. The Jola (Jolla / Diola) tribe are heavily concentrated in the Foni area of south west Gambia and Casamance in Senegal as well as parts of the north of Guinea-Bissau. According to Senegambian oral history, the Jola ethnic group is among the ethnic groups who have been settled for the longest period of time in the Senegambian region.

Tonight we will overnight in the town of Ziguinchor, a melting pot of all the ethnic groups co-existing in Senegal. Jola have been the majority of the population in the region since at least 1500, and culturally share much with the people of Guinea-Bissau.

Overnight in Ziguinchor.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Ziguinchor, Senegal - Bissau, Guinea-Bissau: City Tour
Early this morning we cross the border into Guinea-Bissau near the town of M’Pack, and we head towards the capital – Bissau. Our route will take us via Sao Domingos, Ingoré, Bula and Safim.

Remote and untouched are two words that would beautifully describe tiny Guinea-Bissau, one of Africa's least visited nations. Guinea-Bissau shares a beautiful Atlantic coastline with its neighbours Senegal and Guinea. Officially the Republic of Guinea Bissau, this was once a Portuguese colony (when it was known as Portuguese Guinea). Guinea-Bissau gained independence in 1974 following a protracted war of independence, and in the late 1990s a bloody civil war raged through the country, damaging the economy and infrastructure. The war ended in 1999, and today Guinea-Bissau remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The main source of foreign exchange is from the growing of cashew nuts.

Time-permitting, in the afternoon we will enjoy a Bissau city tour. The capital city of Bissau is a city suspended in time, with its crumbling colonial architecture, pastel coloured buildings, and narrow alleyways which are interesting to explore. Places that we will see include old Bissau (Bissau Velho), Palácio da Republica and the Port of Bissau (Porto de Pindjiguiti).

Overnight in Bissau.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Bissau - Bolama - Orango National Park
This morning drive to the port and cruise to Bolama in the Bijagos Archipelago. The Archipelago of the Bijagós is a place that few have discovered. Here one discovers a spattering of 88 palm-fringed-islands in the Atlantic Ocean, only 23 of them inhabited, off the coast of one of West Africa’s most dysfunctional yet beguiling states. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful places in the country.
The archipelago is a protected Biosphere Reserve.

We will tour Bolama and it’s many sights. Geographically closer to Bissau than any other island in the Bijagós, eerily beautiful Bolama feels worlds away, both aesthetically and socially. The Portuguese capital of Guinea-Bissau until 1943, Bolama's shores are awash with crumbling relics that were abandoned after independence. This place is now an atmospheric ‘ghost town’, with charming remnants of its former importance.

After lunch in Bolama we will take our motorboat to Orango Island, passing by small islands and sandbanks (approx 4 hours). Covering an area of over 150,000 hectares, the Orango National Park, created in 1998, is located on the Bijagós Archipelago just off the Guinea Bissau coast. This is the first area to be awarded the protected status in Guinea Bissau and one of the places with the greatest biodiversity in the country. The declaration of national park is justified as it is home to the most westerly population of the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). The Bijagós Archipelago was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Bolama-Bijagós in 1996.

Overnight in Bolama.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Orango National Park
Orango island is the third largest in the archipelago (after Formosa and Caravela). It is the centre of the Ilhas de Orango National Park and has one town/village, Eticoga. Our visit here will bring us closer to the Bijagó culture as we will visit different tabankas (villages) where we can learn about their traditions and rituals.

This morning we will visit Eticoga where we see the Tomb of the Queen Okinka Pampa and the Royal Family. We hope to be able to engage with members of the local community, and if possible we will visit the school.

We will return back to the hotel for lunch before heading out to the Anor (Anghor) region in the afternoon. Here will will visit one of the most spectacular places on Orango Grande Island where we have the possibility of observing saltwater hippos in their natural habitat (as well as crocodiles, birds, and other interesting fauna). Our walk takes us through mangrove forests and savannah's.

We later walk back to the boat and cruise back to the hotel in time for dinner.

Overnigh in Bolama.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11 Orango National Park
This morning we depart for the village of Ambuduco, the oldest in the National Park, taking us along the riverbed as well as through a peaceful mangrove region where we discover the true beauty of the Island. Upon arrival at the beach we walk to the village for some exploration.

After our time in the village we return to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax in the beautiful surroundings.

Overnight in Bolama.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 Orango National Park - Bissau
This morning is yours free to relax. You may choose to enjoy a guided kayak adventure along the shore with a picnic lunch at the beach. Or, perhaps you want to stroll on your own and do some birdwatching. Others may accompany the local women in their traditional shell-fishing activities. Our hotel is located right by the sea, with direct access to a large white and fine sandy beach!

This afternoon we return to Bissau.

Overnight in Bissau.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 Bissau, Guinea-Bissau - Conakry, Guinea
Today we fly to Guinea.

This country is often confused with it neighbor Guinea-Bissau to the north. For easier distinction, Guinea is commonly referred to as Guinea Conakry, Conakry being its capital city and the largest city. Despite its unique beauty and magnificence, Guinea is rarely visited by tourists. Guinea's mineral wealth makes it potentially one of Africa's richest countries, but its people are among the poorest in West Africa. Rarely visited by tourists, the tourism industry here is poorly developed.

Overnight in Conakry.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Conakry & Kassa Island Boat Journey
This morning we will drive to the port of Boulbinet from where we cruise to the Loos Islands (Îles de Los) in a motorized canoe. This island group lies just off the coast of Conakry, and here on the island of Kassa we will visit the village of the fishermen. We will also see the fishing camp of Mangellan. The exact time period of settlement on the islands is unknown, but historically they rose to prominence during the slave trade. In 1755 a gentleman by the name of Miles Barber of the African Company of Liverpool established a factory here employing workers skilled in ship repair as well as pilots for the local rivers. This led to Kassa being known as "Factory Island".

We later return to Conakry for our afternoon city tour. Situated on a peninsula, Conakry is thin and long with a bustling port on the Atlantic Ocean. Many sites of interest are situated in the old centre on Tombo Island, at the very end of the peninsula. Our touring will take us to the Conakry National Museum, home to a remarkable collection of artefacts, statutes, masks and ancient musical instruments. The museum is not so big in size, but its contents are rich in the cultural heritage of the Guineans.

We will visit the Nigerian market (Marché du Niger), a chaotic, colourful, smelly and fascinating place. This market is the city's most important place of local trade. The Conakry Grand Mosque was built by Guinea's first president Ahmed Sékou Touré in 1982, and is one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Time-permitting we will also visit the Marche Taouyah. This dark, covered market is a confusing warren of passageways and stalls piled high in fish, fruit, junk and even a few natural medicines, talismans and magic spells to ward off curses.

Overnight in Conakry.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Conakry, Guinea - Freetown, Sierra Leone
Early this morning we start our drive to Freetown, Sierra Leone, passing many small villages along the way. Sierra Leone has had more than a few challenges thrown its way. But, through it all, the country has survived and rebounded to become one of the true shining stars of the West Africa region. Today this welcoming and beautiful English-speaking nation is thriving again, and is surely one of the more interesting and under-explored countries on the continent.

This afternoon we will visit Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Tacugama was established in 1995 to rehabilitate confiscated, orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees with the aim to release back them into their natural habitat. The sanctuary now cares for about 75 chimpanzees in several forested enclosures. Our tour here is timed to coincide with feeding to give us the best opportunity to observe the chimpanzees.

*Variables such as road conditions, traffic volume and border crossing delays must all be taken into consideration today. For this reason the visit to the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary may take place tomorrow.

Overnight in Freetown.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Freetown: City Tour
Today we will explore Freetown, a city bubbling with energy, colour and charm.

The population of Freetown is ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse. The city is home to a significant population of virtually all of Sierra Leone's ethnic groups, with no single ethnic group forming a majority of the city's population. The city was founded in 1792 by Lieutenant John Clarkson and African American ex-slaves and free people called the Nova Scotian Settlers, who were transported to Sierra Leone by the Sierra Leone Company in 1792. The city of Freetown was a haven for free-born and freed African American, liberated African and Caribbean settlers; and their descendants are known as the Creole people. Freetown is the oldest capital to be founded by African Americans, having been founded thirty years before Monrovia, Liberia and is noted for its unique Creole architecture reflecting American and Caribbean influences.

Freetown feels very inviting, with its beautiful setting and welcoming people. The heart of the town is home to a collection of historical sights and vibrant markets, and the atmosphere is frenzied but friendly. The principal landmark in Freetown is a 500-year old tree known to locals simply as “The Cotton Tree.”

The Sierra Leone National Museum sits in the shadow of the tree. Small but thought-provoking, the collection includes many important artifacts. Just a few blocks from the Cotton Tree lies St. John's Maroon Church. Built in 1820, the small white building is known for its large windows and simple architecture.

For many travellers the most interesting parts of the country are the scenic islands in the Atlantic. Some of the most fascinating islands include Banana Islands, which we will visit in the afternoon. Here we experience a perfect local community setting of the former slave island with ruminants of Portuguese infrastructure during the 1800’s.

Overnight in Freetown.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Bunce Island Excursion, Sierra Leone - Monrovia, Liberia
Today we visit Bunce Island where we tour the site of an 18th Century British slave castle. Located about 20 miles upriver from Freetown, Bunce Island lies in the Sierra Leone River (also called the "Freetown Harbour"), the vast estuary formed by the Rokel River and Port Loko Creek. Although just a tiny island only about 1650 feet long and 350 feet wide, its strategic position at the limit of navigation in Africa's largest natural harbour made it an ideal base for European slave merchants. Founded around 1670, tens of thousands of African captives we exported from here to North America and the West Indies until the British Parliament finally closed it down in 1808. Bunce Island was one of about 40 slave castles, or fortified trading posts, that European merchants built along the coast of West Africa during the period of the Atlantic slave trade. Slave traders based at the castles purchased African captives, imprisoned them, and loaded them aboard the slave ships that took them on the infamous middle passage to America. Slave castles have been called "warehouses of humanity."

Later in the day we return to Freetown and head to the airport for our flight to Monrovia.

Overnight in Monrovia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 18 Monrovia City Touring
Today we tour of the capital of Africa's first independent state. After a complicated history, Liberia is back on its feet and looking ahead to a more prominent future. This West African country is one of the world’s lesser travelled destinations, and Monrovia is rich with important sites and a fascinating history!

We will stroll through the streets of Monrovia, stopping at the Provident Baptist Church (Liberia's oldest church), as well as the Centennial Pavilion and the National Museum. The great museum collection was depleted during the war years, but renovations (always ongoing) have created space for photo and art exhibitions as well as the ethnic and historical exhibits representing Liberian tribal cultures.

Later we enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the top of the Ducor Hotel ruins. The Ducor Hotel used to be one of the most prominent hotels not only in Liberia but in the whole Africa. Being the first international-class hotel constructed in Liberia (operated by Intercontinental Hotels), Ducor Hotel was frequented by politicians, diplomats and business people from across the continent. The hotel closed in 1989, just before the coup of Charles Taylor which led to the First Liberian Civil War. The hotel was damaged and looted during the war and eventually its rooms were occupied by displaced residents of many of Monrovia's slums. In 2007 the government evicted the squatters, and plans to renovate appear to be on hold. The Ducor Hotel remains abandoned until today.

We will also enjoy a walking tour of Waterside Market, the only one located in the heart of the city.

Overnight in Monrovia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 19 Monrovia, Liberia - Abidjan, Ivory Coast
This morning we will visit the Wolakor Cultural Village. This tiny Liberian village is situated in the rainforest just outside of Monrovia and offers a unique look into the rural life of Liberians. Here we have the chance to indulge in the fascinating culture of this green African paradise. During our time here the local villagers will host an exciting presentation with local folklore, song, and dance. After the performances and the cultural explanations we will walk in the village and nearby forest.

We later return to Monrovia in time for lunch before we head to the airport for our flight to Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). The Ivory Coast is another example of a country with a recent troubled past that is now once again accessible to intrepid travellers who are looking to delve into the amazing diversity of West African culture.

Overnight in Abidjan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 20 Abidjan: Bingerville & Grand Bassam
This morning we will drive to the nearby town of Bingerville where we will visit the botanical gardens. Here we will discover plants, insects, reptiles, and small mammals native to Ivory Coast. This small garden, dating back to the colonial era, offers a tranquil break from the city hustle. We will stroll down the shady paths meandering through creaking bamboo clumps to observe different species of trees and flowers.

Later this morning we return to the economic powerhouse of Abidjan and visit of the National Museum with it’s collection of Ivorian art -- showcasing statues, masks, jewellery, tools, carved doors, and musical instruments from every region of the country. We will also see the Saint Paul Cathedral.

Abidjan is perhaps the most sophisticated and modernized town in West Africa. The district of Plateau or “Little Manhattan” is a business area where one finds the most important departmental and administrative offices, multinational firms and banks. Cocody is an upmarket suburb of Abidjan with an abundance of mansions that are home to most of the wealthy business people and ambassadors.

Later we will head to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Grand Bassam. This historical settlement served as the capital city of the French colonial masters between 1893 and 1896, making it Cote d’Ivoire’s first capital. The city lost its capital status when a major outbreak of yellow fever drove the French colonialists away. In 2012, Grand Bassam was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, thanks to the historical and cultural value of its amazing range of colonial architecture marked by ancient buildings with galleries, verandas and gardens.

We later return back to Abidjan.

Overnight Abidjan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 21 Abidjan Touring - Accra, Ghana
This morning we will visit the new district of Yopougon as well as the indoor Treichville market. We then enjoy an excursion by motor boat on the Ebrié Lagoon for a general view of the “plateau”.

The Ébrié Lagoon is separated for almost all of its length from the Atlantic Ocean by a narrow coastal strip. The 100km (60mi) long lagoon is linked to the sea by the Vridi Canal, while the Comoë River flows into it. The lagoon averages 4km (2½ mi) in width, and 5m (16ft) in depth. Abidjan and towns such as Grand Bassam and Bingerville lie on the lagoon.

Later today we transfer to the airport for our flight to Accra, Ghana. Ghana is considered one of the more stable countries in West Africa since its transition to multi-party democracy in 1992. Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana gained independence from Britain in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan nation to break free from colonial rule.

Overnight in Accra.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 22 Accra: Cape Coast & Kakum National Park
We depart early this morning and head towards Kakum National Park. Our route takes us through the historic Denkyira Kingdom. The Denkyira were once a powerful nation of Akan people that existed on the peninsula from the 15th Century, and at one time dominated the trade with Europeans.

Kakum National Park is one of West Africa’s last surviving coastal tropical rainforests. Extending over 360sq km, Kakum is the home to a remarkable population of forest elephants as well as other endangered animals. The park is also home to approximately 250 bird species as well as many species of butterflies, flora and fauna. We will enjoy a 2km nature walk through the forest and discover the wide variety of exotic floral species and the medicinal values they offer. During our time here we will take a walk on the canopy walkway, a series of seven bridges hanging above the forest floor.

After lunch we will embark on a tour of the infamous forts, castles and slave dungeons of Ghana. History will unfold the story of the slave trade which the impact is still felt beyond the shores of Africa today. We will visit the Cape Coast Castle that was built by the Swedes in 1653 and later taken over by the British. Cape Coast Castle is one of roughly 40 “slave castles” along West Africa’s Gold Coast, and was the final stop for some enslaved Africans on the “middle passage” trading route to the Americas. Visiting the castle provides us with some insight into the dark history of slavery in Africa. The castle houses the West African Historical Museum, established by the Smithsonian Institute in collaboration with the Ghanaian Government in 1994.

Overnight in Accra.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 23 Accra: City Tour
Today we will enjoy a full day tour of Accra. Our tour will take us to the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, named after the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The park was formerly known as the polo grounds where Dr. Kwame Nkrumah stood to declare independence for Ghana, and it the final resting place for the late President and his wife.

We will drive through Makola Market to the Old City of Accra -- James Town, with its vibrant local community. Jamestown boasts a fascinating history, and we will learn of its tragic slaving past to its colourful present. We will also visit the W.E.B. DuBois Center, honoring the life of one of the most prominent Pan-Africanists who chose to live and work in Ghana.

Our city touring will also include a stop at Independence Square, Accra’s open-air ceremonial grounds where all national celebrations are held. We will be sure to visit the uniquely designed coffin workshops at Teshie-Nungua. While most people in Ghana celebrate funerals lavishly in the belief that by honoring the deceased in proper fashion will grant favours for the family left behind, it is only the Ga people of Ghana who create extraordinary fantasy coffins for such occasions.

At the National Theatre we will see the "female and male" drums which are used during state ceremony, and at the National Museum of History and Ethnography we will observe exhibits that reflect the heritage of Ghana throughout history.

Overnight in Accra.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 24 Departure from Accra
Today we say our farewells and head home.

SAFE JOURNEY!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Dakar Novotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Dakar
Country: Senegal

This 4 star hotel offers 245 air-conditioned rooms as well as two meeting rooms for conferences and seminars. Our restaurant
... two bars invite you to sample regional cuisine in pleasant surroundings or enjoy a cocktail beside the pool.
Read More.

Hotel la Residence

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Saint-louis
Country: Senegal

Located on the River Senegal, the former capital of French West Africa. Discover the wealth of its architectural heritage, the
... of its people with its customs and traditional festivals, but also its fauna and flora, as well as exceptional landscapes and varied crafts.
Read More.

Kairaba Beach Hotel

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Banjul
Country: Gambia

Situated on the magnificent golden beach of Kololi, The Kairaba Hotel offers a unique ambiance of relaxation and tranquility in
... to rest and unwind in complete comfort. The setting of The Kairaba oozes serenity and tranquility. In the middle of 40 acres of lush tropical gardens and miles of pristine sandy beaches, it is the perfect location to put the hectic pace of everyday life behind you and enjoy a place of peace and beauty.
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Millenium Suites Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Conakry
Country: Guinea

Built along the Atlantic coast, Millenium Suite Hotel offers luxury accommodation in the heart of the Guinean capital. Ideally located
... the Landréah district, Millenium Hotel is ten minutes away from the city center and about five minutes from the highway leading you to the airport.
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Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Freetown
Country: Sierra Leone

Set on Lumley Beach, this oceanfront luxe hotel is 9 km from Freetown and 35 km from Lungi International Airport.
... neutral tones with accent color and plush fabrics, the contemporary rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, tea and coffeemaking facilities, and 24-hour room service.
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Azalai Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Abidjan
Country: Ivory Coast

Situated on Boulevard Valery Giscard d’Estaing in Marcory, Azalaï Abidjan Hotel offers the perfect combination of comfort and convenience. Ideally
... the hotel connects guests to business hubs and shopping districts such as Le Plateau and Centre Commercial Playce. Azalaï Abidjan Hotel allows to you balance work with cultural attractions such as national parkland, international restaurants, historic landmarks and more.
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Accra City Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Accra
Country: Ghana

This refined, warmly decorated hotel in the city centre is an 11-minute walk from the National Museum and 8 km
... Kotoka International Airport. The posh rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screens, and tea and coffeemakers, plus safes and sofabeds.
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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner (local restaurants and hotels) daily and some lunches. All transport (including internal flights and taxes), accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving/late departing passengers who book their extra nights through us.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, most lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), visa fees (see below), and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance (strongly recommended for this trip). Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs, shopping, and visas.

VISAS
As we include 8 countries on this tour, one can expect a good number of bureaucratic hoops to jump through with respect to entry requirements for each one visited on this trip. In brief:

On your behalf, we will apply for pre-clearance for three of the countries for which we need passport scans and passport photos. There are fees associated with this adding up to CAD840/USD650 per person for which we will bill you in advance.

The other 5 are a combination of visa-in-advance (some online), available upon arrival, or waived as we are spending less than 5 days.

As some of the above have fees attached (in addition to the amounts listed above) and can vary depending on nationality, you can review current requirements by referring to our two preferred visa services:

Canadians: www.siatcs.com
US Passport holders: www.traveldocs.com

Full details are provided upon reservation and will be enhanced as we draw nearer to departure.

A YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATE IS REQUIRED FOR THIS TOUR

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered in October, which tends to have the best combination of heat and humidity with neither being too high, relatively speaking. This is also the dry season (and heading into rainy in some areas), though temperatures can soar due to hot, dry seasonal desert winds, especially in Senegal. We choose to visit at this time as seasonal heavy rains at other times can make roads impassable and some locations may be closed. Breezy seaside locations enjoy relief from the heat year-round; that said, we will experience considerable HEAT on this trip.

Transport and Travel Conditions

The itinerary has been designed to be as comfortable as possible, but many parts of West Africa are still largely undeveloped. Many road journeys are long and rough and sometimes dusty.

In most countries we visit the land transport will be by private AC bus, Toyota Coaster or equivalent with approx 25+ seats. Sometimes 2 smaller vans may be used instead of a larger bus.

In general, this is a tour with a lot of variables and things that can "go wrong" -- roads wash out, tires go flat, hot water simply stops (or never starts), and road journeys can take longer than anyone expects. One must be open-minded, patient, and focused on the task at hand: enjoying the region's myriad cultures, sights, and sounds, and its friendly hospitable peoples.

All areas visited on this tour are well-policed and currently stable. As always, we encourage you to review all advisories posted by DFAIT (Canada) and the US Department of State before deciding to travel anywhere.

Accommodation

In major cities the hotels are generally of international standard (3-4 star). Outside of major cities the hotels tend to be more rustic & simpler properties where AC may or may not be functioning properly and a fan will then be used. All hotels have en-suite toilet & shower. Though more and more rare these days, you must be prepared for power and/or water failure in some more remote locales. Please note that, due to a lack of space, singles may need to pair up for the three nights at Orango National Park (Guinea-Bissau).

Hotel porterage is generally available (see inclusions) though you must be independent with luggage. Single rooms are limited in number and will likely be smaller than twins.

Please click on 'Map & Hotels' link for full information. In general, most travellers are pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of accommodation, service, and amenities of hotels used on this trip.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local guides, drivers.

Group Size

Maximum 16 plus Tour Leader, Martin Charlton