Ghana, Togo & Benin Trip Notes

Ghana, Togo & Benin

Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016
Ghana, Togo & Benin
Trip code: DDOD
Validity: 01 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017
This remarkable trip through Ghana, Togo and Benin boasts all of the best bits of these three diverse and fascinating West African countries. From the butterfly sanctuary of Mount Klouto to the ancient voodoo culture of Ouidah and the unbelievable two-storey mud huts of the Tammari people, there’s no shortage of authentic West African sights on this jaunt. Journeying from Ghana by truck and bush camping along the way presents bucketloads of opportunities to really appreciate the stunning landscapes and diverse scenery of this part of the continent. Wildlife lovers will be thrilled at the chance to witness elephants, hippos, buffalos and some of the last populations of West African lions in Pendjari National Park, while chill-seekers will get their kicks lazing on the lovely beaches of Grand Popo. This comprehensive 21-day adventure showcases these three wonderful countries and offers an unrivalled way to experience a healthy slice of West African life.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersFinish point
ThemesAccommodationEmergency contact
Why we love itMeals introductionVisas
MapMealsWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMoney mattersTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Included activitiesSafetyResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeJoining point descriptionFeedback
Why we love it
- Watch street musicians and acrobats in Accra
- Visit Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world
- Explore the dense forest around Mount Klouto
- Discover the incredible two-storey mud huts of the Tammari people
- Witness some of the last populations of West African lions
- Travel across Lake Togo on a pirogue dugout canoe trip
- Meet local fisherman on Benin’s Grand Popo beaches

Day 1 Accra
Border information: if you are joining in Accra, then you will most likely enter Ghana at Accra Kotoka International Airport (IATA code: ACC).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport, visas, and insurance details at this meeting.

The afternoon will be free to explore the city of Accra. 

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Accra before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Accra.

In Accra we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Hotel for the night: Niagara Plus Hotel
Niagara Plus Hotel
14th Lane (Behind Koala Osu)
Tel - +233 21 772404

Please note that in Accra there are 3 Niagara hotels: Niagara Hotel, Niagara Inn and Niagara Plus Hotel. The Niagara Plus is located in an area of Accra known as Osu, and this is where our groups stay. 


Visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, dedicated to the founding father of independent Ghana : GHC 5

Learn all about the history and culture of Ghana in the National Museum : GHC 40

Visit the famous Labadi Beach situated on the outskirts of Accra : GHC 5

Freely explore the huge Independence Square and Black Star Arch in Accra, where independence was celebrated in 1957 : Free

Freely explore the area of Jamestown, Accra's oldest district and a vibrant fishing area : Free

Visit the outside of the famous Osu Castle, the seat of power in Ghana since the 1600s : Free 

About Accra:
Ghana's sprawling capital of Accra is a bustling coastal city boasting a lively atmosphere and some busy urban beaches full of musicians, acrobats and souvenir sellers.

The Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, and the National Museum houses one of the best collections in all of West Africa. Next to the museum you will also find a good craft market, perfect for a bit of souvenir shopping. 

In the evening you can sample Accra's lively nightlife, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city. 
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Akosombo/Lake Volta
This morning, we will apply for Togo visas at the Togolese Embassy in Accra. Once they are issued, we will leave Accra and head north to the village of Akosombo.

In Akosombo we will stay in a campsite next to the River Volta.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Akosombo:
The small town of Akosombo lies on the serene banks of Lake Volta, one of the world's largest artificially-created lakes. It was formed in the 1960s after the construction of the nearby Aksombo Dam, which supplies around 70% of the country's electricity demands. 
Included Activities
  • Visit Akosombo Dam
    Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
    Day 3 Akosombo, Lake Volta
    Today we will have an included visit to the nearby Akosombo Dam, a major project built in the 1960s to provide almost all of Ghana's energy needs. The rest of the day will be free to relax at our campsite in Akosombo.


    Visit Akosombo Dam, the colossal 1960s project that provides almost all of Ghana's energy needs and created Lake Volta, one of the world's largest man-made lakes : Included in Kitty 

    About Lake Volta:
    Lake Volta in Ghana spreads over a massive 3275 square miles and runs for over 320 miles from the most northern point, to the most southern point. The White Volta River and The Black Volta River combine to form the Volta River which eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. There are tropical temperatures most the year round, which has created the opportunity to find many local fisheries. 
    Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
    Day 4 Mont Klouto
    Border information: Exit Ghana at Klouto, enter Togo at Klouto.

    Today we will have a full day's drive to the spectacular Mont Klouto, crossing the border into Togo. 

    Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

    In Mont Klouto we will stay in a campsite, with the option to upgrade to dorm accommodation.

    About Mont Klouto:
    Hidden away in mountains of central Togo is the serene village of Mont Klouto - only a couple of hours north of Lomé, it is a welcome relief from the heat of the coast. The mountains here are covered in dense forest, punctuated by gently cascading streams and waterfalls. A nature reserve has been established in the area because Klouto is an important habitat for butterflies - over 500 different species can be found here, many of them incredibly beautiful. It's an ideal place for doing some short hikes, and you can take a guided walking butterfly safari through the forests with a local naturalist guide. 
    Included Activities
    • Evening Drumming Performance
      Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
      Day 5 Mont Klouto
      Today we will have a free day around the beautiful Mont Klouto region, with the opportunity to head out on optional forest walks or to visit Kpalimé town nearby.

      In the evening, we will head to the village centre to see a spectacular show of drumming and dancing from the local villagers. 


      Head out for evening of energetic drumming and dancing from the local villagers in Mont Klouto, with dinner included : Included in Kitty


      Go on various guided walks around Mont Klouto looking for butterflies and enjoying the beautiful forest scenery : XOF 5000

      Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
      Day 6-7 Central Togo
      " Day 6 to 7 "

      Over the next 3 days we will drive up the length of Togo, all the way through the remote northern border with Benin. We will wild camp for 2 nights en route.

      Estimated Drive Times - 8-9 hours each day. 
      Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nt)
      Day 8 Tata Somba region
      Border information: Exit Togo at Ketao, enter Benin at Ouaké.

      Today we will cross the border into Benin, before continuing our journey to the Tata Somba region close to the town of Tanguiéta.

      In Tanguiéta we will stay in a basic local eco-lodge.

      Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. 

      About Tata Somba region:
      The Somba people (also known as the Tammari people) are an Oti-Volta speaking people in the far north of Benin and Togo. They are famous for their two-storey fortified houses, known as Tata Somba ("Somba house"). The ground floor is used for housing livestock at night, internal alcoves are used for cooking, and the upper floor contains a rooftop courtyard and is used for drying and storing grain as well as sleeping quarters. These evolved by adding an enclosing roof to the clusters of huts joined by a connecting wall that are typical of Gur-speaking areas of West Africa. 
      Included Activities
      • Tour of Tata Somba houses
      • Walking Village Tour
        Lodge (1 nt)
        Day 9 Tata Somba region
        This morning we will go on an included walking tour of the nearby Tata Somba villages with some of the local villagers. This is a fascinating visit to an area rarely visited by tourists, where we will learn a lot about the local traditional way of life and explore the famous two-storey mud huts of the area.

        In the afternoon, there is the option to walk through the stunning area to some nearby waterfalls. 


        Go on a guided tour of the Tata Somba villages of northern Benin, learning about the traditional culture and way of life and visiting their incredible 2-storey 'mud castle' homes : Included in Kitty 


        Head out on a guided walk through the beautiful scenery in the hills of the Tata Somba region to visit some local waterfalls : XOF 2500 

        Lodge (1 nt)
        Day 10-11 Pendjari National Park
        " Day 10 to 11 "

        From the Tata Somba region we have a short journey north to the beautiful Pendjari National Park.

        We will stay for two nights wild camping in the National Park, where we will have freedom to explore and head out on game drives in the truck in search of wildlife.

        Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours to the park, then as much time as required on game drives. 


        Visit the stunning landscapes of Pendjari National Park, famous for being one of the best wildlife reserves in West Africa : Included in Kitty

        About Pendjari National Park:
        The Pendjari National Park is situated in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. The park is named after the Pendjari River and is known for its wildlife. It is home to some of the last populations of big game in West Africa, and if you're very lucky you may spot elephants, hippopotamuses, buffalo, baboons, various antelopes, and even West African lions! Even if you're not lucky enough to spot some of the larger wildlife here, the park is also famous for its richness in birdlife and it is one of the most scenic areas of West Africa. 
        Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
        Day 12 Central Benin
        Today we have a full day's drive heading south through Benin. We will wild camp somewhere en route between the towns of Natitingou and Abomey.

        Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours. 
        Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
        Day 13 Abomey
        Our journey today continues to Abomey, the ancient capital of the Dahomey kingdom. On arrival we will take an included tour of the Dahomey Palace and Museum.

        In Abomey we will stay in a campsite, with the possibility to upgrade to rooms.

        Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. 


        Take a guided tour of the Dahomey Palace and Museum, the old royal enclave of the capital of the ancient Dahomey empire, one of West Africa's most important old kingdoms : Included in Kitty

        About Abomey:
        Abomey is the ancient capital of the Dahomey Kingdom, once one of the most powerful empires in Africa.

        The Dahomey Empire developed on the Abomey plateau in around the year 1600 CE, becoming an important regional power in the 18th Century after conquering key cities on the Atlantic coast. The Dahomey economy was built around conquest, slavery and international trade, and the civilisation was one of the most important practitioners of the Vodun religion in Africa. They were defeated by French colonial forces in 1894.

        You can still see some of the original Dahomey palaces and treasures here, and the Musée Historique d’Abomey is a great place to learn about the history of the region. The palace is full of gold, silver, thrones, and tapestries of bloody battles, a testament to the prodigious wealth of this once-great kingdom. 
        Included Activities
        • Guided Tour of Palace and Museum, Abomey
          Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
          Day 14 Ganvie
          This morning we will drive to Abomey-Calavi (a port on the outskirts of Cotonou), where we say goodbye to the truck for the night and jump aboard motorised pirogues to Ganvie, a fascinating town built entirely on stilts in the middle of Lake Nokoué.

          In Ganvie we will stay in a basic hotel in the stilt village itself!

          Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

          About Ganvie:
          Ganvie is a phenomenal feat of human ingenuity - home to more than 20,000 people, the village is built entirely on stilts in the middle of the large Lake Noukoue and can only be reached by pirogue (dug-out canoe). The ancestors of the Tofinu people used the lake as a refuge from slave traders from the Fon and Dahomey tribes in the 17th Century and the Tofinu have lived on the lake ever since - the stilt village has slowly grown over the past few hundred years. The largest lake village in the whole of Africa, the local people here depend on fishing and fish farming for their livelihoods. 
          Included Activities
          • Stilt Village Boat Trip
            Guesthouse (1 nt)
            Day 15 Ganvie, Ouidah
            Today we will start with an included tour of the stilt town of Ganvie, exploring deeper on our pirogues and soaking up the unique way of life in the floating village. Following this, we will head back to land to re-join the truck and drive along the coastal road to Ouidah, where we may hopefully see many of the local fishermen bringing their catch in.

            In Ouidah we will camp at an auberge on the beach.

            Estimated Drive Time - 1-3 hours. 


            Visit the incredible stilt village of Ganvie, where an entire community of fisherman live in a town entirely built on stilts in the middle of Lake Nokoué near Cotonou : Included in Kitty

            About Ouidah:
            Benin is a country that takes the Vodun religion very seriously - it is recognised as an official religion and is practiced by over 60% of the population. Vodun is spread over wide areas of West Africa and spawned the related beliefs of Candomble in Brazil and Voodoo in the Caribbean. The tiny town of Ouidah is one of the centres Vodun culture, and hosts many voodoo festivals and celebrations throughout the year.

            The town also has a fascinating and colourful history, and was an important port town during the days of the Atlantic slave trade. The "Route des Escalves" is a 4km road between the Ouidah's History Museum and the beach, and is probably the same road along which thousands of slaves travelled on their way to board the slaving ships for the New World. The Portuguese, English and French all constructed forts here to protect their trading interests - the old Portuguese Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá now houses a museum that gives you a unique glimpse into the terror and destruction that the slave trade wreaked on this part of the world - interestingly the 5-hectare fort was once the smallest recognised enclave in the world, as it was officially part of Portugal until its final annexation in 1961 which expelled the last two occupants.

            The town is also home to the fascinating Temple of the Python - the serpent deity Dangbé has been revered in the Ouidah area for centuries, and this temple in his honour is home to dozens of the sacred pythons which freely roam the grounds. 
            Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
            Day 16 Ouidah, Grand Popo
            Today we will take a very interesting half-day tour of the sites in Ouidah, including the Voodoo Python Temple, the "Route des Esclaves" (Slave Route), La Maison du Brésil art gallery and the Ouidah Museum of History in the old Portuguese Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá.

            After this, a short drive from Ouidah brings us to Grand Popo, where we have 2 nights of well deserved relaxation on the beaches!

            In Grand Popo we will camp at an auberge.

            Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours. 


            Visit the Ouidah History Museum at the old Portuguese Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá, and learn all about the terrible history of the slave trade in West Africa : Included in Kitty

            See the Vodun Temple of Pythons in Ouidah, dedicated to the voodoo snake Deity Dangbe and home to hundreds of revered pythons! : Included in Kitty

            Visit the Point of No Return, the UNESCO-built memorial to the thousands of slaves that last departed Africa at that point - there is also the option to walk the 4km route from the fort to this point, known as the Slave Route : Included in Kitty

            Visit La Maison du Brésil, an excellent exhibition of modern sculpture, paintings and photos, as well as a museum of voodoo culture and objects related to the African diaspora : Included in Kitty

            About Grand Popo:
            Grand Popo, located in the far south west corner of Benin, is a great place for a bit of rest and relaxation on the beach. The town was originally a colonial port, although coastal erosion has destroyed most of the old buildings. It is a pleasant coastal village with a strong Vodun culture and some mangroves to explore nearby. 
            Included Activities
            • Guided city tour of Quidah (Half Day)
              Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
              Day 17 Grand Popo
              Today we will have a free day at Grand Popo for relaxing on the beach or taking a pirogue trip around the nearby ocean and mangroves. 

              There is also an option this evening to visit an incredible local vodun (voodoo) ceremony in the nearby village, complete with very energetic dancing and incredible magic tricks! It may also be possible to take a night walk in search of Atlantic turtles, which lay their eggs on the beaches between November and March. 


              Relax on Benin's Grand Popo Atlantic beaches, meeting the local fishermen and soaking up the ambiance of the coast  : Free

              Observe a local voodoo celebration in the nearby village of Grand Popo, watch the hypnotic drumming and dancing of the 'Night watchman', and see some mind-blowing black magic! : USD 20

              Explore the rivers, mangroves and villages of Grand Popo on a pirogue trip around the local area : XOF 5000

              Head out at night to walk to the remote beaches where Atlantic Green Turtles are often seen laying their eggs between November and March (please note that sightings of turtles are not guaranteed, and the chances of seeing them are more like 50-50!) : XOF 5000

              Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
              Day 18 Agbodrafo
              Border information: Exit Benin and re-enter Togo at Hilla-Condji.

              Leaving the beach behind, our journey continues over the border from Benin and back into Togo. We will head to the small quiet town of Agbodrafo on the southern shores of Lake Togo.

              This afternoon we will take an included pirogue trip to Togoville, the centre of Vodun culture, where you will have a guided city tour and church visit.

              In Agbodrafo we will camp in the grounds of an Auberge on the lake shore.

              Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours. 


              Take a trip in a local non-motorised pirogue across Lac Togo to the famous village of Togoville, where you can explore the town and learn all about its history and culture : Included in Kitty


              Relax on the beach of the stunning Lac Togo at Agbodrafo : Free 

              About Agbodrafo:
              Only 30 minutes east of the Togolese capital of Lomé is the small town of Agbodrafo, a quiet and serene town on the shore of Lake Togo. The lake is surrounded by a number of small villages, and fishermen drift on the waters in their dug-out canoes. As well as enjoying the lake and the beach, a highlight of our stay is to ride across the lake in a pirogue to the old German town of Togoville with the local fishermen. 
              Included Activities
              • Guided city tour of Togoville
              • Pirogue (dug out canoe trip) on Lake Togo
                Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
                Day 19 Keta
                Border information: exit Togo at Lomé, enter Ghana at Aflao.

                Today we will cross back into Ghana and head for Keta, where we will visit the very atmospheric and evocative ruins of the abandoned Fort Prinzenstein, built by the Danes 300 years ago as a transit point for transporting slaves to the Americas.

                In Keta we will stay in a small local hotel.

                Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. 

                INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

                Visit the ruins of the small Danish slave fort of Fort Prinzenstein, and take in its haunting and moving atmosphere : Included in Kitty

                About Keta:
                Keta is a coastal town lying in the Volta estuary region, a wetland in the south east of Ghana which comprises of several small islands and a complex of lagoons along the coast. The town has some pleasant beaches and contains the haunting ruins of the Danish Fort Prinzenstein. 
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 20 Accra
                The final drive of this trip takes us back to Accra, the chaotic capital of Ghana!

                In Accra we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

                Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. 

                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 21 Accra
                Border information: if you are leaving in Accra, you will most likely exit Ghana at Accra Kotoka International Airport (IATA code: ACC).

                Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Accra. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. 
                Itinerary disclaimer
                We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip. Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.

                OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                Physical rating

                Included activities
                Visit Akosombo Dam
                Evening Drumming Performance
                Tour of Tata Somba houses
                Walking Village Tour
                Guided Tour of Palace and Museum, Abomey
                Stilt Village Boat Trip
                Guided city tour of Quidah (Half Day)
                Guided city tour of Togoville
                Pirogue (dug out canoe trip) on Lake Togo
                Important notes
                1. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
                2. A single supplement is not available for this trip.
                3. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman

                Group size
                Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
                Your fellow travellers
                GROUP TRAVEL
                As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                Camping ( 14 nights ), hotel / hostel / lodge / cabin ( 6 nights )
                Meals introduction
                While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple!

                If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.

                Your kitty covers the cost of any meals while staying at camp sites.

                A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal and something hot such as eggs or pancakes as well as tea and coffee.

                Lunch is almost always a sandwich with healthy salad and assorted fillings, sometime with fruit to follow. There may be a chance on occasion to buy your lunch.

                Dinner might be a BBQ, rice dish, pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some African food such as pap / ugali and stew.

                One thing is sure: you definitely won't go hungry or lose weight on your safari! When you're not camping you'll have the freedom to decide where, what and with whom you eat.
                No meals included
                Overland expedition vehicle, Pirogue (dugout canoe)

                Our trucks are purpose-built, self contained safari vehicles. Intrepid’s fleet of vehicles varies depending on your group size, trip route and style. In Southern Africa some departures may use vans and luggage trailers subject to group size and vehicle availability. Your vehicle type may differ from those listed above. It is also important to note that our overland vehicles are not air-conditioned, but all vehicles have windows that can be opened to allow for fresh air.

                There are many early starts with long hours spent driving on rough roads on all African itineraries. While most people love the chance to watch the changing landscape and daily village life, feedback shows that long periods of inactivity does not appeal to all clients. We provide the approximate distance covered each day and how many hours this normally takes to drive so that you can choose the safari experience which is right for you.

                African conditions are extremely tough on vehicles. While we fastidiously maintain our vehicles at our workshops, you should not expect Africa to be your traditional touring experience. While it's certainly our aim to avoid them, it's important that you set off on your trip knowing that the occasional breakdown can happen and are best treated as part of the African adventure. Due to wet weather there may be times when we have to take an alternative route which will mean longer travel times.
                Money matters
                On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund managed by travellers. It helps fund for breakfast and lunch on the boat and other small items such as ice, water, snacks and drinks. Travellers are responsible for the preparation of these meals onboard and to shop at port where supermarkets are often very close to the mooring. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases. On day 1, the skipper will talk through the kitty and how it will be managed (by yourself or fellow travellers) The kitty will be collected when you arrive at the welcome meeting or in stages throughout your trip.

                In West Africa we generally use Euros and not US$. Please note that although we quote kitties, personal spending and other items in US$ (because we operate globally), for trips passing through these countries you will want to use Euros and NOT US dollars for the kitty, tipping and personal spending. As the exchange rate is variable, the trip leader will confirm the exact exchange rate between US$ and Euros to be used for the kitty at the pre-departure meeting.

                You may pay your kitty in a mixture of Euros cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.

                If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.

                Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.

                KITTY CHANGES:
                We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.

                It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel. Do also bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!

                For obvious security reasons we hesitate to recommend you bring lots of cash with you, but in West Africa travellers cheques are almost impossible to change so for that reason we recommend a mix of cash and ATM cards. Please note that most ATMs only take Visa cards NOT Mastercard.

                You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and moneychangers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are dated from 2003 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Cash machines are readily available in most areas but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most commonly accepted, but be prepared for very high commission charges. Please do not rely on cards for daily use, as they are not always accepted outside of larger towns and cities. Please bring a mixture of small and large denominations as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over $50.

                SPENDING MONEY:
                When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.

                The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
                At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
                Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
                Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
                In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.

                Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

                Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.

                US$50 departure tax is required for all international departures out of Accra.

                Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
                Group leader
                On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.

                While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman trips use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.

                We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders

                On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
                Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:


                TRAVEL ADVISORY:
                Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:


                While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                The vehicle has fully lockable doors and windows, which is an obvious advantage, but it will probably be necessary to guard it at times and everyone should be prepared to share in this responsibility.

                In most areas there is very little to fear from the point of view of violence. But in all areas 'tourists' are a tempting target for pickpockets and con-men. Always be aware of this and be especially careful when leaving banks or money-changers, in any crowded areas, etc. NEVER leave things lying around - they will almost certainly get stolen. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to always be security conscious and to take all necessary precautions. Great inconvenience and distress can be caused by having your documents or possessions stolen.

                A few of our past group members have had the unhappy experience of having their belongings stolen before the trip starts. Beware of carrying your passport and other valuables around with you in cities. We strongly suggest you deposit your valuables in your hotel safe on arrival.

                UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
                On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.

                Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
                Joining point
                Niagara Plus Hotel
                14th Lane
                Joining point description
                Our hotel is located in Osu, a trendy area of Accra with plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes causing the main street to be nicknamed 'Oxford Street'.

                Rooms have private facilities, 24-hour hot water, TV and bar fridge. There is also a restaurant on site.
                Finish point
                Niagara Plus Hotel
                14th Lane
                Emergency contact
                Dragoman have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left home and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

                If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.

                Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

                For further contact details please use the following page:

                For general contact details please use the following page:

                While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                Dragoman: +44 (0) 7985106564
                Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                Australia: Yes - in advance
                Belgium: Yes - in advance
                Canada: Yes - in advance
                Germany: Yes - in advance
                Ireland: Yes - in advance
                Netherlands: Yes - in advance
                New Zealand: Yes - in advance
                South Africa: Yes - in advance
                Switzerland: Yes - in advance
                United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
                USA: Yes - in advance

                Visas need to be obtained before arriving, these allow for a stay of up to 60 days and can be a single or multiple entry. A Yellow Fever certificate may be required for the application. Visas must be used within three months of the date of issue. There is a Ghana consulate in Australia, and visas can be purchased through Visalink. For Australians it will take 10 business days and cost AUD 140.00. 4 copies and 4 passport photos needed. If you are entering Ghana on an overland trip please contact your local embassy to do this as it's no longer possible to obtain these visas en route.

                Australia: Yes - in advance
                Belgium: Yes - in advance
                Canada: Yes - in advance
                Germany: Yes - in advance
                Ireland: Yes - in advance
                Netherlands: Yes - in advance
                New Zealand: Yes - in advance
                South Africa: Yes - in advance
                Switzerland: Yes - in advance
                United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
                USA: Yes - in advance

                Please obtain your Benin visa in advance. We advise you to check current visa requirements with your nearest Embassy or Consulate. Australians & New Zealanders will need to apply through the Embassy in London.

                Please note however that visas are valid for three months from date of issue. If you send your application by post or courier, it will be returned the same.

                VISITORS WILL REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING: 1. Valid Passport 2. Valid Visa (See below) 3. Yellow Fever Certificate 4. Typhoid and Malaria Protection (Recommended)

                VISAS: Visas may be applied for by post or personal application at the Consulate. Callers at the Consulate will normally be able to obtain visas while they wait. All applications must be accompanied by the following: a. Valid Passport b. Complete application form c. 2 Passport type photographs d. Appropriate fee: 15 days =£50 Postal applications MUST be accompanied with a pre-paid registered or recorded envelope large enough to hold a passport for return.

                OPENING HOURS: The Consulate is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm You will need a letter of invitation to apply for the Benin visa. Please contact Peregrine for a copy of this invitation. Please allow between 2 -3 weeks for the courier and visa issue time.

                It may also be possible for most nationalities to obtain a visa for Benin in Accra, Ghana. An express visa in Accra takes 1-3 working days but may be subject to additional fees.

                Australia: Yes - In advance
                Belgium: Yes - In advance
                Canada: Yes - In advance
                Germany: Yes - In advance
                Ireland: Yes - In advance
                Netherlands: Yes - In advance
                New Zealand: Yes - In advance
                South Africa: Yes - In advance
                Switzerland: Yes - In advance
                United Kingdom: Yes - In advance
                USA: Yes - In advance
                Please obtain your visa to Togo in advance. We recommend that you check current visa requirements with your nearest Embassy or Consulate. For Australian passport holders, the French Consulate in Sydney is authorized to issue short stay visas on behalf of Togo for tourism. Alternatively, you can get a visa issued at the border crossing into Togo for 15,000 CFA franc (25 Euros). Make sure to have 4 passport size photos available for use if needed at the border.
                Please note that it may be possible to obtain a visa for Togo at the Togolese Embassy in Accra. It is sometimes possible to get this visa in 1 day (if you drop your application off in the morning – Weekdays only). However, visa information is subject to change on a regular basis.
                What to take
                What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


                LOCKER SPACE:
                The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different sized lockers however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than: length 15 inches, height 9.5 inches and depth 26.5 inches. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock with a long shackle.The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks shouldn't have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.

                A sleeping bag (we recommend a 3–4 season). It can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. If you're travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter the weather. Pillows are NOT provided so please bring a travel pillow along.

                We don't provide a mattress so please bring your own (a Thermarest / inflatable mattress is recommended).

                A simple plastic bag / waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures.

                Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

                We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

                You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.

                WATER BOTTLE:
                Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

                Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
                All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                YELLOW FEVER:
                A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

                It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

                DRINKING WATER:
                As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

                The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed an outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa, initially identified in forested areas of south eastern Guinea in March 2014. There are a large number of confirmed cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and multiple unconfirmed cases in Mali. We recommend that passengers closely monitor the advice provided by local health authorities and the WHO.
                Travel insurance
                Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                A couple of rules
                Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
                Responsible Travel
                We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.


                When packing be aware that dress standards can be conservative in some parts of Africa. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts in culturally sensitive areas: Mosques, small villages, etc. We recommend a mixture of loose, lightweight clothing and warm clothing for the evenings. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable through out the whole of Africa.

                The Intrepid Foundation
                Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.