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Itinerary: Cultural Tour Through West Africa

Abercrombie & Kent | West Africa Tour

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Abercrombie & Kent introduces this sixteen-day, fascinating cultural odyssey to the vibrant West African nations of Ghana, Togo and Benin, home to some of the world’s most welcoming people. Explore bustling colonial cities, palm-fringed beaches and tiny fishing villages. You’ll be swept up in the colour and movement of local festivals, the healing magic of voodoo, tribal drumming and trance-dances on this enchanting journey to a surprising and still largely untravelled part of Africa.

Day 1

Accra, Ghana

On arrival into the Ghanaian capital, you are met and transferred privately to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before you will have a tour briefing and welcome dinner.

Day 2

Accra

Spend the day touring Accra, started with a guided visit to the National Museum and the old quarter of James Town. After lunch, visit the Africa Artist Alliance gallery showcasing artworks, sculptures and carvings from established and emerging African artists. The day ends with a unique visit to a fantasy coffin building workshop where you can admire the collection of special handcrafted coffins which reflect a variety of shapes from fruit and animals to fish, cars and planes. Then return to the hotel late afternoon with the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 3

Accra – Lomé, Togo

After breakfast, drive on to Lomé, the vibrant capital of Togo. Lomé is the only African city which was a colony of the Germans, the British and the French and has developed a unique identity reflected in the lifestyle of its inhabitants and in the architecture of the town. Then arrive at the hotel in time for lunch with the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 4

Lomé

A full day ahead of you in Lomé starting at the central market with its famous “Nana Benz”, which are the women who control the sale of the expensive colourful wax printed fabrics made world famous by the women of Togo. Continue to the administrative quarter with its colonial buildings, and then visit the voodoo market where an eclectic assortment of all the necessary ingredients used by traditional healers for magic charms is on offer. Later today meet a local artist in their workshop, the modern Togolese school of artists, which has become renowned with exhibitions of their work in Europe over many decades.

Day 5

Lomé – Ouidah, Benin

Depart Lomé and head to a remote village to visit a voodoo priest, commonly known as a witch doctor, to get a deep understanding of the voodoo culture and healing powers of its spirits. Then join in a voodoo ceremony: the frenetic rhythm of the drums and the chants of the mediums helps call in the voodoo spirit which takes possession of some of the dancers who fall into a deep trance. Afterwards cross the Benin border and board a boat for the journey to the coastal town of Ouidah. Stop along the way at remote fishing villages to see how the locals live, and learn about their traditional farming and fishing techniques.

Day 6

Ouidah – Ganvie – Abomey – Ouidah

Drive to Lake Nokwe and on by motor boat to Africa’s largest stilted village, Ganvie, situated in the middle of the lake. After lunch continue to Abomey and visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Royal Palace, which is now a museum. Return to Ouidah, stopping en route to attend an Egun dancing masks festival. Dressed in brightly-coloured clothing they emerge from the forest and form a procession through the village streets performing a kind of bull fight.

You will then have a day spent in Ouidah, one of the main slave ports in the 18th century. Visit the python temple and learn of its importance to voodoo culture. Then stop by the Catholic Cathedral and continue on foot to the Ouidah Museum displaying a collection of local contemporary art. After lunch visit the Portuguese Fort, which is now a museum of the history of Ouidah and the slave trade and continue to the nearby slave market where thousands of slaves were paraded and sold to the highest bidder. The city tour ends by following the “slave road” to the beach, the point of “no return”, where slaves were loaded on ships.

This morning drive to the Togo border and continue into the rainforest region that surrounds Kpalimé, a town with a rich colonial past, now an important trade centre. Along the way stop at local villages including Tado which is considered to be the 12th-13th century birthplace of the Aja people. Here you will see villagers preparing harvested goods for sale, family meals, locally brewed beer in village “bars”, and visit a village school.

A morning walk in the nearby tropical forest with an entomologist reveals many endemic butterflies and insects, and gain an understanding of how plants are used in local art and medicinal remedies. After lunch, optional tour available of Kpalimé visiting the colonial buildings, bustling market place and the local arts centre.

This morning head to the Ghana border crossing, and then on to the Monkey Sanctuary of Tafi Atome which was created in 1993 to protect a community of sacred monkeys living in the forest. Take a leisurely walk led by a local guide to see the resident mona and colobus monkeys. Arrive into Akossombo late this afternoon and check into your lovely resort overlooking the Volta River. You will then have this evening at leisure.

A full day at leisure to enjoy the resort facilities. This afternoon there is an optional visit to the bead factory where traditional techniques are still used to create brightly coloured beads from ground down scrap glass.

Today you will drive to Kumasi, the historical and spiritual capital of the old Ashanti Kingdom. The Ashanti were one of the most powerful nations in Africa until the end of the 19th century. You will visit the Ashanti Cultural Centre where a rich collection of artefacts is housed in a wonderful reproduction Ashanti house. Later, attend a traditional Ashanti funeral which is a festive and powerful community occasion where mourners wear beautiful red or black togas – a fascinating sacred experience.

This morning visit the Royal Palace Museum before attending the splendid Akwasidae Festival. This traditional ceremony maintains ancient Ashanti rituals with a procession of royal court attendants bringing gifts to the King, storytellers reciting ancient tales, dancers and drummers performing and trumpeters playing horns of ivory. Then this afternoon visit the sprawling central market, one of the biggest in Africa. Every type of Ashanti craft (leather goods, pottery, Kente cloth) is found here, along with just about every kind of tropical fruit and vegetable.

This morning drive to Elmina located on the south coast of Ghana. Ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British, Elmina has a rich history. Arrive at your seaside resort in the afternoon with time to relax before dinner.

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in Africa, erected by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the 19th century Dutch cemetery. Outside the castle is the local fishing village, where large colourful canoes are guided by skilled fishermen through strong ocean waves and currents to earn their living. In the old town, see the important Posuban shrines of the old Asafo companies and stroll through the alleyways of the old town with its lively atmosphere reminiscent of colonial times.

After lunch, return to Accra with a special farewell dinner tonight.

Much of today is at leisure before transferring to the airport for departure.

  • Breakfast

Cultural Tour Through West Africa

Travel Dates 2018

  • Jul 2, 2019 – Jul 17, 2019
  • Nov 5, 2019 – Nov 20, 2019

Prices

  • AU$12,875 per person

For more information and to enquire about this tour visit: www.abercrombiekent.com.au

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