24 Day West Africa Tour
Duration: 24 Days Countries Visited: 8 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
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$1,000 USD
Countries in this tour:
Sierra Leone
Ivory Coast
Activity Level: 2

These are particularly busy tours that feature a lot of moving around, sometimes by train and short journeys on local transport. Walking tours of towns and cities are leisurely but you should be prepared to be on your feet for several hours. Some of our cultural trips that occur at high altitude and/or require greater independence with baggage handling (at hotels, airports, train stations) also fall into this category.
Tour Style: Cultural

These three- and four-star hotel-based, "soft adventure" trips concentrate on the culture, history, and natural attributes of our destination. Though there are no strenuous activities built into these tours, you need to be prepared for some full days with some early starts, plenty of walking on uneven surfaces through villages, cities and archaeological sites, and not a lot of "down time." Independence, reasonable fitness, and an ability to be steady on one's feet are critical in order for you to get the most out of these programs.

24 Day West Africa Tour

West Africa Odyssey Tour

24 Days

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

Tour Overview
Tour Overview

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Countries Visited: 8 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

Our West Africa Odyssey tour will help you discover 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 un-touristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour.

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.



Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices


Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.

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The above prices are subject to an additional $156 for taxes/fees levied on flights that occur as part of the tour. The internal airfares ARE included (any exceptions are listed in red below), but we list the taxes separately on your invoice as they are beyond our control and can change at any time.

Internal flights (value CA$1900/US$1500) are INCLUDED in above tour price. Due to the nature of these flights and other arrangements, this tour requires a $1000 per person deposit and an additional pre-payment of $2000 at time of 'guarantee.' Contrary to our usual terms governing deposits, once paid these funds become 100% non-refundable/non-transferable.

Optional Single Supplement: $2510 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $1850 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.

$1000 USD DEPOSIT REQUIRED per person
BASE PRICESelect Date first



Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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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 one of the largest slave-trading centres 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 of Gorée Island includes a visit to the ethnographic museum to learn more about 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 pass by the Presidential Palace and the picturesque residential district of Medina, as a well as pay a visit to the Musee des Civilizations Noires. We drive around 'Place de L'Independence', the beating heart of the city. Symmetrically designed, it contains majestic colonial buildings, including the Gouvernance (office of the French governor) and the Chamber of Commerce.

From there we drive past the Presidential Palace and drive on the Corniche through Medina.

Overnight in Dakar.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Dakar - Touba - Kaolack
As we depart Dakar, we visit, and can climb, the steps of the African Renaissance Monument. Built by North Korean funding, it represents 'looking to the future of Africa.' The monument is a 52m (171 ft) tall bronze statue located on top of one of the twin hills known as Collines des Mamelles. Originally scheduled for completion in December 2009, delays stretched into early 2010, and the formal dedication occurred on 4 April 2010, Senegal's "National Day", commemorating the 50th anniversary of the country's independence from France.

We then continue to the city of Touba. Along our journey we will have the chance to stop at a Wolof village where we learn about the local customs and way of life. 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 which we will visit. The mosque here is purported to be one of the largest in Africa, and 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 4 Kaolack - Senegambia Stone Circles, Senegal - Banjul, 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.

* The last part of our day's journey involves a ferry river crossing which can involve a bit of a wait and a rather slow boat once we are able to embark.

Overnight in Banjul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 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 will make 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 everything imaginable, including hair extensions, shoes, household and electrical wares and the myriad colours and flavours of the fruit and vegetable market.

We then proceed to the mhe museum assocoated with a nearby "crockodile pool", which is the true highlight of any stop here. Your should be able to get up-close-and-personal with the crocs, even touching them and taking a slefie with them!

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. Here we will visit the Abuko cattle market.

After lunch we take the bus to the Tanji Fishing Village, the hub of fishing in Gambia, where fishermen arrive and depart. All kinds of Atlantic fish are caught and sold here; we will see how they smoke the fish for export. This is a vibrant and busy beach market -- great for photos!

Overnight in Banjul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Banjul, Gambia - Ziguinchor, Senegal
This morning we say goodbye to the Gambia as we cross the border and enter the ‘other’ part of Senegal, the ‘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 a traditional Jola village where we learn about the customs and beliefs of the local 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.

This evening (before dinner), we will take a motorized pirogue for a sunset cruise along the Casamance River, which is all mangroves. Home to endangered Manatees (which we will probably never see). We are hunting for bottlenose dolphins, but we will potentially see: pelicans, pink or dwarf flamingos, ibises, herons, spoonbills, and storks.

Overnight in Ziguinchor.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Ziguinchor, Senegal - Bissau, Guinea-Bissau: City Tour
This morning we cross the border into Guinea-Bissau and head towards the capital, Bissau. Our route will take us via the settlements of 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 8 Bissau - Orango National Park
This morning drive to the main port where we board our private motorboat that will take us to 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.

The island of Rubane, where Ponta Anachana is located, is about 2 hours from Bissau via boat. It's an island that relies on tourism and fishing, but most of all it grows rice. After lunch at the resort we will do an exploration walk of the island, discovering the rice fields and the villages that are on the island.

Overnight at/near Orango.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Orango National Park
Orango Island is the third largest in the archipelago (after Formosa and Caravela) and is the centre of the Ilhas de Orango National Park. 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. The Bijagós Archipelago was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Bolama-Bijagós in 1996.

We will take our motorboat to Orango Island, passing by small islands and sandbanks (approx 2 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 was 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).

We'll walk about 1-1.5 hours to a poitn where we hope to see hippos. We will be looking for hippos while on foot -- these are wild hippos and, as it's very much like being on safari, we can never guarantee that we will see them.

Overnight at/near Orango.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Orango National Park: Ambuduco Village
This morning we depart for an island called Canhabaque; we depart by boat for a 30 minute ride. We'll walk for 30-40 minutes to reach one of the villages on the island. Here we interact with the kids and the villagers and perhaps watch the women do a traditional dance followed by the men's version. These villages here are remote and simple, where the kids may have never seen white people in the flesh before.

After our time in the village we return to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax in the beautiful surroundings, a welcome respite at this point in our journey.

Overnight at/near Orango.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Orango National Park - Bissau
This morning after breakfast we will return by boat to Bissau. We disembark in the town of Quinhámel where we connect with our bus for the short drive back into the city. We'll visit the local arts and crafts market to pick up any Guinea-Bissau souvenirs that might atch your eye.

Overnight in Bissau.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Bissau, Guinea-Bissau - Fly to Dakar, Senegal - Bandia Wildlife Reserve, Saly
Early this morning we fly to Dakar from where we drive to visit Bandia Park, where we enjoy a morning safari.

The small Bandia Reserve is a real ecological jewel in the crown of Senegal, and has succeeded in reintroducing much of the native flora and fauna that had gradually disappeared due to demographic pressure and poaching. Here in a setting of baobabs and thorny scrub vegetation we have the chance to see a variety of wildlife ranging from Burchell’s Zebra, giraffe, Roan Antelope, Cape Buffalo, Cape eland and Oryx to greater kudu, and Somali Ostrich. As well, there are over 120 bird species represented here.

Overnight in Saly.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 Saly - Joal Fadiouth, Senegal - Fly to Conakry, Guinea
After breakfast we head for the village of Joal Fadiouth. Joal Fadiouth is a sleepy 'twin village': Joal lies on the mainland while Fadiouth, linked by a narrow 400-meter wooden bridge, lies on an island built entirely of seashells. In the traditional Serere village we will see the cathedral, market place, and the famous cemetery where Muslims, Christians and Animists are buried.

Afternoon transfer to the airport for our flight to Conakry. This country is often confused with its neighbour 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 Touring & 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 islands are the villages of the fishermen. We will see one of the fishing camps during our visit. 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".

This afternoon, 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 Niger 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.

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.

* NOTE: this is a long and sometimes difficult drive, owing to poor road conditions. Our transit can also be made more difficult if it has rained recently.

Overnight in Freetown.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Freetown: City Tour & Chimpanzee Sanctuary
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.

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.

Overnight in Freetown.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Bunce Island Excursion, Sierra Leone - Fly to 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 then head to the airport by water taxi for our flight to Monrovia.

Overnight in Monrovia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 18 Monrovia: Village Visit & City Touring
This morning we will visit the Demeh Cultural Village. This tiny Liberian village is situated at the edge of 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 culture of this green African paradise. During our time here the local villagers will host an exciting presentation with local song, and dance. After the performance we will have the chance to walk through the village.

After our village visit we will return to the Monrovia - 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. We will 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 - Fly to Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Today we fly from Monrovia 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.

Our flight schedule today will most likely involve a connection in a neighboring country.
Time permitting, we will commence with some sightseeing in Abidjan upon arrival.

Overnight in Abidjan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 20 Abidjan Touring: National Museum & Grand Bassam
Today we spend touring in and around Abidjan, 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 a number of mansions that are home to most of the wealthy business people and ambassadors.

This morning we 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.

Back in the city, we'll visit the National Museum with its collection of Ivorian art, showcasing statues, masks, jewellery, tools, carved doors, and musical instruments from every region of the country (as of late 2019, this museum was either partially or entirely closed for renovation). We will also see the Saint Paul Cathedral (periodically closed, but we can visit the courtyard).

Overnight Abidjan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

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

We will be sure to make a stop to see the fanico -- a group of hardworking laundrymen. From dawn till dusk, dozens of men and a few hardy women make their living washing laundry by hand in the Banco River. Their name is a combination of the Dyula, or Jula, words fani, which means “fabric” or “clothes,” and ko, which means “to wash.” Thus, the Dyula word fanico means “someone who washes clothes.”

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 Touring
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 the 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 Museum of History and Ethnography (if not still under ongoing renovations) 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.


Included Meal(s): Breakfast



Trip Info
Trip Info

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.

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.

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 four of the countries for which we need passport scans and passport photos. There are fees associated with this, which has been ranging around USD 1050 per person, for which we will bill you in advance (subject to change).

The others are a combination of visa-in-advance (some online) and available upon arrival.

As some of the above have fees attached (in addition to the amounts listed above) and can vary depending on nationality. Full details are provided upon reservation and will be enhanced/updated as needed as we draw nearer to departure.


Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered between October & February, a time-frame that tends to have the best combination of heat and humidity, though this is a hot and sticky place at the best of times. Our fall (November) date tends to be slightly hotter on average.

We choose to visit at these times 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 sticky 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... or muddy!

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), air-conditioning is weak, 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.

The program is busy, with lots of moving around, full days of travel and activities, with some challenges to your comfort and health -- bad roads, extreme heat, early starts, remote locations. If you have a weak constitution, compromised immunity, or any pre-existing medical conditions that could call for readily accessible, modern medical care, you should very carefully consider your suitability.

Many past travellers have described this tour as "tough," "challenging," "tiring," and, of course, "totally worth it."

Please note that a government travel advisory currently applies to this tour, specifically and limited to our daytime journey to Guinea-Bissau on Day 8. Though we expect this journey to occur without incident, we encourage all travellers (as we do for any destination) to review online government advisories that provide guidance on, among other things, issues concerning security (please also refer to our general Booking Terms & Conditions under the “resources” tab on this page). We are presently very confident that your journey will be problem-free, and want to ensure that you feel likewise before choosing to join this adventure.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

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.

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



Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

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

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

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.

Novotel Dakar
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 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 and two bars invite you to sample regional cuisine in pleasant surroundings ... enjoy a cocktail beside the pool.
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Kairaba Beach Hotel
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 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 which to rest and unwind in complete comfort. The setting of The ... 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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African Princess Beach Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Banjul
Country: Gambia
African Princess Beach hotel is located directly on Kotu Beach, in The Gambia, West Africa. Africa’s smallest mainland country is known for its lush forests, superb beaches and its namesake river that ... runs through it, but it is not on everyone’s radar when it comes to a beach holiday.
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NOOM Hotel Conakry
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation
Location: Conakry
Country: Guinea
Who said you can't combine business and pleasure? At NOOM Hotel Conakry, in the heart of the Kaloum business district, you are in the perfect place to combine the two!

... it comes to pleasure, the unique facade of our hotel in Conakry, inspired by a cruise ship, the original alliance of African art and contemporary design, the tasty Afro-fusion restaurant, the cocktail bar , the modern gym and the infinity pool overlooking the sea, make the NOOM Hotel Conakry a real haven for travelers wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of the city after a busy day.
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Home Suites Boutique Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Freetown
Country: Sierra Leone
Strategically located on the quietest end of the Aberdeen Community, Freetown’s heart for Business and tourism, the Home Suites Boutique Hotel offers the ideal quietness whilst at the same time enjoying the ... scenes of the Lumley beach and the Aberdeen Creek from the comfort of your balcony. This luxury Boutique Hotel is easily accessible - The Freetown National Airport is just across the estuary, and can be reached in 30 minutes by water taxi or private speed boat
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Azalai Hotel Abidjan
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Abidjan
Country: Ivory Coast
Located in the heart of Abidjan near the 2 largest Commercial Centres, 6 km (10 min) away from Business district and 8 km (15 min) away from Abidjan International Airport, experience elegant ... style while submerging yourself in the vibrant Ivorian culture. Live in spacious guestrooms offering large bathrooms, 100% natural local products, free WiFi and air conditioned. High floors boast spectacular city and pool views.
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Accra City Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Accra
Country: Ghana
The Accra City Hotel became Ghana’s first international branded Hotel in 1988, and has since gone on to win numerous international awards for its standards of excellence and multiple amenities offered to ... guests. Located in Ghana’s commercial hub Accra. The first ISO certified Hotel in West Africa offers 196 well-furnished guest rooms ranging from Queen-size rooms to Studio units.
Read More






Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Please review our cancellation policy page for details.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").


What People are Saying
David S.
Toronto, ON - CA
I liked that there was the variety of things seen / done which combined to give me a good feel for this part of West Africa. The meals were excellent; when some meals are "best available" I appreciate "deluxe" meals when possible. I thought the market we visited in Abidjan had the widest and best choices of masks, carving and textiles. As far as I could tell, all hotels were good / best choices. Probably the best West Africa tour possible given the list of countries that can be reasonably safely visited today.
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