Be immersed in the less-explored west African destinations of Togo, Benin and Ghana on this once-in-a-lifetime cultural odyssey. Our journey provides a unique and interactive window into the ancient cultures found here—meet a great Ashanti chief, hear the story of a settlement of “witches”, discover villages of fetish priests that have existed almost unchanged for centuries, and much more. The highlight of our trip is participating in Benin’s mysterious Voodoo Festival, complete with traditional costumes, dancing, masks and processions. Travel to this off-the-beaten-track region with the details taken care of by us, including all meals, carefully selected hotels, and an incredibly unique program of tour activities.
|Price (From)||:||US$ 4095|
|International air not included|
Day 01: Arrive Lomé (TOGO)
Welcome to Lomé, Togo’s vibrant capital! Originally a village founded by the Ewe people in the 18th century, Lomé became the capital of the German colony of Togoland in 1897. Upon arrival at Lomé International Airport, we are met and transferred to our hotel. Check in time starts from 3:00 PM. Balance of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Hotel Sarakawa, Lome (1 night)
Day 02: Lomé/Ouidah (Drive) (BENIN)
Lomé offers a unique cultural identify reflected in its architecture, partly because it was the only African city that was a colony of the Germans, British and French. Nowadays, this small city is a meeting point of cultures, people and trade.
We start our exploration with a visit to the central market with its famous “Nana Benz”. These women control the market and its lucrative “pagne” (cloth) trade, where cloth comes from Europe and is sold all over West Africa. Please note that part of the central market has been destroyed by fire. Our next stop is the fetish market, a sort of pharmacy for those who practice the voodoo religion. The shops here stock everything from love charms to animal heads—all the necessary ingredients for love potions and other magical concoctions.
After our visit, we dive deeper into the unique voodoo world by meeting with a traditional healer who treats their patients with a combination of voodoo rites and their deep knowledge of ancestral herbs. It is believed that treatments can cure any ailment, even insanity!
Overnight: Hotel Casa del Papa, Ouidah (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 03: Ouidah
Today is Benin’s national day of celebration to honour traditional religion and all the cults associated with it. The city of Ouidah is the epicentre where dozens of voodoo ceremonies are held, attended by thousands of adepts, chiefs and priests dressed in fascinating and elaborate traditional costumes. The festival takes place in the entire region around Ouidah, and we will thoughtfully select the best and most interesting events and sites for you to attend.
Ouidah was conquered by the Dahomey army during the 18th century, and went on to become one of the main slave ports. The town itself boasts a unique interplay of Afro-Portuguese architecture—for example, a Catholic cathedral sits across from a python temple. We will take a walking tour exploring the city’s timeless atmosphere, visiting the Python Temple and the Portuguese Fort, now a museum on the history of Ouidah and the slave trade (presently under renovation). We end our city tour by following the “slave road” to the beach, the point of “no return” where slaves used to board ships. (B, L, D)
Day 04: Ouidah/Dassa (Drive)
We first cross Lake Nokwe by motorboat to reach Ganvié, the largest and most beautiful African village on stilts. Here, some 25,000 members of the Tofinou ethnic group build their wooden huts on teak stilts. The people here have managed to preserve their traditions and environment despite a long history of human presence in the region. The main industry in the area still remains fishing, and daily life unfolds in dugout canoes that adults and children row with ease using brightly coloured paddles. From these canoes, men fish, women sell their goods, and children attend school and play.
We continue to Abomey, and visit the Royal Palace* of the Dahomey kings. The economy of the Dahomey kingdom was long based on the slave trade. A permanent state of war made it possible for kings to capture thousands of prisoners to sell as slaves. The kingdom became prosperous and powerful, and at the height of its power, the king had up to 4,000 wives living in his harem. Nowadays, the royal palace is a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It houses items of the ancient kings, including cult altars, statues, thrones, costumes and weapons. In the centre of the royal courtyard, we discover a temple built with a mixture of clay, gold dust, and the blood from thousands of human sacrifices.
Overnight: Hotel Jeko, Dassa (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 05: Dassa/Natitingou (Drive)
Today is an interesting day, albeit a long one. We start with Dankoli Fetish, a unique shrine for ancient animistic cults that still practice today. Thousands of short sticks are pushed into place in and around the fetish, representing the countless prayers made here for a bountiful harvest, a happy wedding, or another good event of some sort. When practitioners pray for something to happen, they also make a promise to bring back a sacrifice or offering if it does. Fresh traces of sacrifice, palm alcohol and oil on the fetish bear witness to the many prayers that have been fulfilled.
In the afternoon, we explore a collection of ancient Taneka villages located on a mountain. The resident ethnic group has been living here since perhaps as far back as the 9th century, and the villages are veritable archaeological sites. The towns themselves are made up of round adobe huts and inhabited by young initiates, often naked save from their magical amulets, and older fetish priests, who only cover themselves with goatskin and carry a long pipe. We wander around the villages along paths bordered by rocks with ancient and mysterious carved marks, taking in the unique atmosphere that surrounds us.
Overnight: Hotel Tata Somba, Natitingou (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 06: Natitingou/Defale (TOGO)
Today, enter the land of the Somba and Temberma peoples, who live in eye-catching adobe dwellings that look like small medieval castles. These structures are one of the most stunning examples of African architecture. In fact, they impressed famed architect Le Corbusier so much he called them “sculptural architecture”. The houses are built by hand, with layer after layer of clay and accents of round mud balls. Large phallic-shaped shrines at the entrance of the dwellings represent the peoples’ animistic beliefs. Food supplies, family and livestock alike are all kept inside the fortified house for safety, in case of attack by enemies. With permission granted to us by the elders, we have the unique opportunity to venture inside one of these homes. We learn about the cosmology behind its construction, with the ground floor and its darkness representing death and the ancestors, and the second floor, open to the sky, representing life. When a new baby is born, the grandmother will stay with them on this “life” floor until they determine which ancestor has “returned” in the baby. The baby is then allowed to come down from the second floor and start its new life.
After our fascinating discovery of these one-of-a-kind homes, we cross the border into Togo
Overnight: Hotel Defale, Defale (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 07: Defale/Sokode (Drive)
Enjoy a half-day of easy walking as we experience a friendly welcome from the Kabye and Moba peoples, living in villages on the Defale mountains.
A drive into the mountains will bring us even closer to the Kabye ethnic group. Kabye homes, called “soukala”, are made up of several adobe huts joined by a wall, with each dwelling hosting a patriarchal family. Here, we step back in time as we learn about the local women who still make pottery using an ancestral technique that lacks a pottery wheel, and local men who still work with iron the same way as in the dawn of the Iron Age, using heavy stones instead of hammers and anvils. We will follow the process of shaping a hoe.
In the evening, we arrive at the villages of the Tem tribe in time to experience their thrilling fire dance. At the centre of the village, a large fire lights up the silhouettes of the participants as they dance to the hypnotic drum beat. Eventually, protected by the voodoo fetishes, they leap into the glowing embers, picking up burning coals and even eating them without showing any signs of burns or pain.
Overnight: Hotel Central, Sokode (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 08: Sokode/Tamale (Drive) (GHANA)
This morning, we cross the border into Ghana, one of West Africa’s most well-known countries. We pass through the savanna region where the Dagomba tribe lives, in villages of round clay huts with thatched roofs. In one of these villages, we will meet with a very large settlement of “witches”, exiled from their villages. We will have the chance to speak with them about their life in the village and how they are protected by a special shrine.
Overnight: Modern City Hotel, Tamale (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 09: Tamale/Techiman (Drive)
Today, we journey to the south of Ghana, stopping en route to visit Fulani encampments. Travelling in the Brong Afo region, we will leave the main road and follow a track into a sacred forest. The people who make their home here consider the Monas and Colobus monkeys as their totems. As a result, the largest group of these animals in the world lives in this forest. A walk through the giant trees allows us to meet many sacred monkeys.
Overnight: Encom Hotel, Techiman (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 10: Techiman/Kumasi (Drive)
We continue on to Kumasi, the historical and spiritual capital of the ancient Ashanti empire. From 1670 to 1957, when the British Gold Coast became an independent Ghana, the Ashanti people were one of the most powerful kingdoms in Africa. Nowadays, Kumasi is the second largest city in Ghana. It boasts a unique central market that is one of the largest in Africa, offering traditional leather goods, pottery beads, textiles and more, along with countless varieties of tropical fruit and vegetables.
We will first visit the Ashanti Cultural Centre, offering a lovely collection of Ashanti artefacts in a reproduction of an Ashanti house. In the afternoon, we have the splendid opportunity to participate in a traditional Ashanti funeral (subject to availability). Funerals here are actually a festive celebration, as the family celebrates the deceased’s return to their ancestors. Mourners gather wearing red or black togas to celebrate their memory. The chief arrives surrounded by his court under the shade of large umbrellas, while drums give rhythm to dancers making intricate and symbolic movements.
Overnight: Miklin Hotel, Kumasi (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 11: Kumasi
We continue exploring Kumasi today with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, offering a stunning collection of gold jewellery worn by the Ashanti court. We next enjoy a true cultural and tour highlight—the opportunity to meet a great Ashanti chief who follows in the traditions of the Ashanti kings of old. We are privileged to be allowed in the chief’s courtyard. Wrapped in traditional cloth and adorned with lavish antique jewellery, he will take a seat under his coloured umbrella and discuss his role as a traditional chief in modern Ghana.
In the afternoon, we visit some Ashanti villages known for their traditional clothing and carving. (B, L, D)
Day 12: Kumasi/Anomabu (Drive)
We make our way to Ghana’s beautiful coast. Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana’s coastline is home to more than 50 ancient forts and castles, reminiscent of the ancient gold, ivory and slave trade that once happened here. We discover Cape Coast castle, built by the Swedish in 1653. In the first 10 years after its construction, this castle changed hands many times. It was conquered by the Danes, the Dutch, the local Fanti people, the Swedes, and then finally, the British. Today, it is home to a museum on the history of the slave trade. From the top of the castle, we will enjoy a lovely view of the town. In Cape Coast, we will also visit Fort William, complete with a lighthouse.
Overnight: Anomabu Beach Resort, Anomabu (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 13: Anomabu
Jump into nature this morning as we explore Kakum National Park, offering one of the longest and highest rope bridges in the world. Making our way through the canopy walk strung between 120 and 150 feet above the ground, we will enjoy a breathtaking view into the tree tops of this tropical rainforest.
Afterwards, we continue on to Elmina Castle*, the oldest European building in Africa. Built by the Portuguese in the 15th century, the castle has been used as a warehouse to trade gold, ivory, and eventually, slaves. The renovated castle we will explore today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dutch Cemetery within the castle dates back to 1806. Outside the castle walls, we take in a scenic fishing village with many large and vibrant boats. Each day, resident fishermen use these wooden boats fight the ocean waves and earn a living. In the old town, we admire the Posuban shrines, recognizing Asafo warriors who used to place their offering on these large, colourful statues. Wandering the alleyways and taking in their lively atmosphere sweeps us back to colonial times, letting us know what it might have been like to live here hundreds of years ago. (B, L, D)
Day 14: Anomabu/Depart Accra (Drive)
We continue on to Accra this morning. Despite its fast-paced development of the last few decades, Accra has kept is unique identity. As the capital of Ghana, it offers a lavish administrative area dotted with elegant villas dating from the first half of the 19th century. We first explore James Town historic neighbourhood, inhabited by the Ga people. This unique village within a city is one of the oldest districts in Accra, emerging as a community in the 17th century. We next visit a workshop specializing in fantastical “fantasy coffins”. Started in Accra, these flamboyant coffin designs are now collected worldwide and exhibited in museums. The handcrafted coffins take the shape of animals, cars, airplanes, fruit, and more!
In the evening, we are transferred to the airport in time for our departure flight.
Rooms for day use until 6:00 PM (B, L)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
We accept payments in US$, CA$ as well as in other convertible currencies like EUR, AUD and GBP. Tour prices have been costed in US$. CA$ price shown below is an indicative amount reached at by using the conversion rate at the time of web posting and will be applicable if there is no change in the conversion rate. Should the currency conversion rate change, the US$ pricing will prevail. Bestway Tours & Safaris offers a conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here
|2024||Per Person on
|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|Departures||East Coast||West Coast|
|2024 tour now sold out.|
|2024||Per Person on
|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|Departures||East Coast||West Coast|
|2024 tour now sold out.|
This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 16 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at email@example.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.
Inquire About this Trip
Tour Application Form
Sign up for our Bestway Club newsletter and be the first to know about special discounts, new tours and travel updates!