West African Kingdoms Trip Notes

Head off the beaten track and uncover the fascinating customs of West Africa. Explore Burkina Faso's famous Bobo-Dioulasso market, go game spotting in Benin's Pendjari National Park, encounter voodoo culture in Togo and enjoy the beaches of Ghana.

    • 21
    • DUKW
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $5,980
      CAD $6,060
      AUD $6,295
      EUR €4,380
      GBP £3,765
      NZD $7,465
      ZAR R57,300
      CHF FR5,395
      *
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    • Overland
    • Comfort
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Last Modified: 02 Apr 2014
West African Kingdoms
Trip code: DUKW
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
The allure of West Africa is calling on this truly off-the-beaten-path adventure from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Accra in Ghana. Meet a wealth of fascinating locals, admire a host of unique wildlife and witness the ins and outs of Togo, Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso on this cultural journey through four of West Africa's most impressive countries.
The operator for this Intrepid Comfort trip is our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Included activitiesTransportResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxEmergency contact
Experience Africa's wild West, an untamed land of sweeping deserts and empty beaches. But don't be fooled by its vast open spaces, West Africa is bursting with buzzing cities, traditional societies and unique customs, and is more than ready to extend a hearty welcome to those with a keen sense of adventure.
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Overland
Map
West African Kingdoms
Itinerary
Day 1 Ouagadougou
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Located right in the very centre of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou is an intriguing city that's definitely worth exploring. "Ouaga", as it's affectionately known by many travellers, may at first appear shabby and chaotic, but in many ways this is part of its charm. Persevere and you will find one of West Africa's most vibrant cities. This was the traditional capital of the Mossi empire, but all the country's major ethnic groups, religions and languages co-exist here with remarkable harmony. Life moves at a brisk pace and you'll find that contact with the people is much more immediate than in many other West African cities. The night life in Ouaga is famous throughout West Africa, with excellent music, bars and nightclubs and the music goes on all night, so make sure to pack your dancing shoes.
Accommodation
Independence Hotel - Twin (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Bobo Dioulasso
This morning we continue to Bobo-Dioulasso where we’ll spend two nights.
Bobo-Dioulasso is one of the most vibrant small cities in West Africa and capital of the Bobo tribe. It has an excellent market, which is a great place to buy the unique masks made in this area. Bobo is also a great place for a night out West Africa style; music and dancing is in the soul of Bobo.
We can also opt to take a walk through the Kibidwe District and partake in some fascinating people-watching, giving us an insight into the daily lives of the Kibidwe people.
Optional Activities
  • Kibidwe Old Town Tour - USD1
  • Musee Provincial de Houet - USD1
  • Sacred Fish Pond - USD5
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 4 Banfora
An hour's drive takes us to our next stop Banfora.
Banfora is located just to the south west of Bobo-Dioulasso, towards the border of the Ivory Coast and although the city itself has not many attractions, the surrounding areas certainly do.
We’ll spend the afternoon visiting the wonderful attractions in the surrounding area including some incredible rock formations.
An ideal short hike takes us to a narrow three-kilometre chain of sandstone hills that are occasionally crowned by more erosion-resistant pieces of rocks. Lake Tengréla is home to more than a hundred hippos and a wide variety of bird life – we’ll also get to meet the local fishermen.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Gaoua
Today we travel to Gaoua (210 kilometres south-east of Bobo), located in the heart of Lobi country, a fascinating and culturally distinctive area known for its unique architecture and age-old traditions. Lobi homes are made with high brick mud walls and have small slits for windows, not unlike a miniature fortress. Living in these remote rural areas, the Lobi are not used to foreigners, and may feel nervous when we visit.
Please refrain from taking any photos here without permission.
In the afternoon we’ll visit the ancient stone ruins of Loropéni which are the best-preserved of the larger Lobi ruins.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Ouagadougou
Located right in the very centre of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou is an intriguing city that's definitely worth exploring. "Ouaga", as it's affectionately known by many travellers, may at first appear shabby and chaotic, but in many ways this is part of its charm. Persevere and you will find one of West Africa's most vibrant cities. This was the traditional capital of the Mossi empire, but all the country's major ethnic groups, religions and languages co-exist here with remarkable harmony. Life moves at a brisk pace and you'll find that contact with the people is much more immediate than in many other West African cities. The night life in Ouaga is famous throughout West Africa, with excellent music, bars and nightclubs and the music goes on all night, so make sure to pack your dancing shoes.
We’ll then depart on a five-hour drive to Ouagadougou (pronounced waga-doo-goo) We arrive around lunchtime, after checking into our hotel and freshening up, we’ll have the chance to visit the local cultural centre where you can purchase excellent quality carvings, brass work and other handmade pieces.
On the 2nd day we take a full day excursion to the unique village of Tiebele – located just a few kilometres from the Ghanaian border and known for its unusual architecture. Tiebele dwellings are either square or round and are all elaborately decorated with black diamond patterns, illustrations of snakes, crocodiles and other sacred animals.
We’ll spend several hours exploring Tiebele compound and its surrounds before returning to Ouagadougou for the night.
Accommodation
Independence Hotel - Twin (1 nt), Hotel (1 nt)
Day 8 Pendjari National Park
Heading east we travel to the third country on our expedition - Benin. This relatively small, club-shaped country was once home to one of the most powerful empires in West Africa - the Dahomey Kingdom. It’s also considered the traditional home of the voodoo religion.
Pendjari National Park is situated in the north-west of Benin and is named for the Pendjari River which flows through the park. Known for its wildlife, Pendjari is home to some of the last populations of big game in West Africa, including elephants, West African lions, hippos, buffalo and various antelopes.
Please note however that the wildlife in west Africa is somewhat less in volume than in east and southern Africa.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 9 Natitingou
Enroute to Natitingou we stop at Tanougou Falls, where we’ll have the chance to enjoy a refreshing swim.
Natitingou is located at 440 metres above sea level and enjoys the pleasant climate found amidst the Atakora Mountains of northern Benin.
Here we visit the remote Betamaribé people, who still hunt with bows and arrows and live in the middle of their cultivated fields rather than in a village environment. Their small, fortress-like houses consist of three levels - ground floor for the animals, first floor for the kitchen and the top floor for living and sleeping.
You will arrive at your hotel in the early evening in time for dinner.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Abomey
This morning we continue south for 520 kilometres to Abomey, the ancient capital of the Dahomey Kingdom - previously one of the greatest empires in west Africa. Here we visit the must-see restored Royal Palace and learn about the incredible history of the Fon kings.
Abomey is the ancient capital of the Dahomey kingdom, once one of the most powerful empires in Africa.You can still see some of the original Dahomeyan palaces and temples here, and the Musée Historique d’Abomey is a good place to learn about the history of the region. The palace is full of gold, silver, thrones, tapestries of bloody battles, testament to the proidigous wealth of this once great kingdom.
The following evening we’ll experience an unforgettable performance of the unique Geleden Masked Dance (Dance Geleden des Fons) by the local Yoroba and Fon people who practise both the Voodoo religion and Christianity. They also worship Idols, which are represented on some of the masks used for the dance.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Ouidah
A short, two-hour drive takes us to the lake village of Ganvié, where we’ll take a trip on a 'pirogue' (dugout canoe), the traditional boat used by west African fishermen.
Benin is a country that takes Voodoo very seriously, so much so that it is recognised as an official religion and is practised by over 60% of the population. It all centres around the small town of Ouidah, which is the centre of voodoo culture in Benin; voodoo is part of everyday life here and Ouidah hosts many voodoo festivals and celebrations throughout the year. The Musée d’histoire d’Ouidah gives an interesting insight into voodoo history and culture in the area. The town also has a fascinating and colourful history, having been an important centre during the slave trade. The Portuguese, English and French all constructed forts here to protect their trading interests, one of which 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.
Whilst in Ouidah there is free time to explore some of the many sites on offer such as the Temple of the Python where the serpent deity Dangbe has been revered for years. You may also like to check out the Slave Route or 'Route des Esclaves', La Maison Bresil and the Ouidah Museum of History.
We’ll spend the afternoon driving the coastal highway and passing through small villages dotted with white flags that identify Voodoo practitioners. Our destination is Ouidah, a charming, tranquil town set on a beautiful beach.We’ll spend two nights here, so there’s plenty of time to relax in the shade of the coconut groves after our recent long days of travel.
Optional Activities
  • Route des Esclaves - USD3
  • Temple des Serpents - USD1
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 14 Lome
Today we’ll cross the border into Togo. We drive approximately 45 minutes to Lake Togo before continuing by boat to visit Togoville - a historic town renowned for its royal palace and colonial church. It was to here that Voodoo practitioners were taken before they were transported to Haiti as slaves. There’s still a strong Voodoo influence in the town today, with plenty of fetish stalls dotted throughout the streets.
We then continue to Togo's capital, Lomé. Our city tour includes the National Museum, which houses historical artefacts, potteries, costumes, traditional musical instruments, wood carvings and traditional medicinal remedies. There's also the opportunity (optional) to visit the various markets of Lomé such as the central market, arts market and the fetish market at Akedessewa, four kilometres from the town centre. Here you’ll find remarkable supplies of traditional medicines used by sorcerers including skulls of monkeys, snake skins, warthog teeth, lion skin, leopard skin and dried birds. Not for the feint-hearted!
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 15 Accra
We enter our final country, crossing the border into the English-speaking Ghana. It will certainly be a welcome adjustment after travelling through so many French-speaking countries! Accra the capital of Ghana you will enjoy exploring the city which includes the National Museum and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, dedicated to the founder of modern Ghana.
Accra, Ghana's sprawling capital, is a bustling coastal city with a whole load of beaches that would please even the most discerning sun worshipper. Some of the beaches are more touristy than others and they can all get very busy on Saturdays and Sundays; and whenever you go you should expect to be entertained by an endless stream of musicians and acrobats and pursued by souvenir sellers. Away from the beach, the Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, plus 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 night life, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 16-17 Kumasi
Today we head to Kumasi (approx. 4 hours), the one-time capital of the powerful Ashanti kingdom. Today, this hilly city is home to over one million people and enjoys quite a cosmopolitan ambience. We’ll take in a tour of Kumasi that includes the Manhyia Palace Museum, built in 1925 by the British and home to the Ashanti kings until 1974.
Kumasi was once the ancient capital of the Ashanti Empire. Now it is a thriving, bustling, provincial city with a lively atmosphere. It has the largest market in the whole of West Africa which is well worth exploring if you have the time. This city is one of the main centres of West Africa's cultural heritage and the National Cultural Centre and Museum are well worth a visit to see the famous Ashanti drums. Traditionally these drums were used to communicate over vast distances and today they are a integral part of modern Ghanaian music. The drums usually come in a set with different sizes. Bomaa drums are the biggest drums in West Africa and give the music that deep, melodic, festive feel.
We’ll also visit the Armed Forces Museum which tells the story of the many conflicts that have taken place particularly in the 20th century. We end our day with a visit to a nearby village known for its talented artisans who weave Ghana's beautiful kente cloth.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 18-19 Axim Beach
We travel south to Axim and enroute visit a Cocoa plantation tonight we stay a night at Ghana’s most isolated and luxurious beach resorts. Two kilometres from the hotel is historic Axim town. With a population of about 20,000, fishing is the main occupation here. The town also has several historic places of interest nearby the hotel including Fort St Anthony, built by the Portuguese in 1515 when they were settling the town as a trading port. Perched on top of a hill in nearby Princess Town is Fort Princess Town, originally known as Gross Friedrichsburg and built by the Prussians in 1683.
With two days to spend in this relaxing coastal haven, you’ll also have the opportunity to go forest trekking or whale watching (seasonal).
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 20 Elmina
Today we drive to Elmina, where we visit St George's Castle. Formerly known as one of the 'slave castles', it’s one of more then 20 such castles built along the shoreline of the Gold Coast - the former name of modern-day Ghana.
We’ll also visit a fishing village and the Pursubans animist shrines, then take a short 10-kilometre drive to Cape Coast, the centre of the British administration and capital of the Gold Coast between 1700 until 1877, and home to its own notorious 'slave castle'.
At end of the day we’ll return to Elmina for the final night of our adventure.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 21 Accra
Today we head towards the city of Accra, the rest of the day is spent at your leisure. For those of us who are flying out this evening, day rooms have been booked for our use at our Accra hotel where we can freshen up prior to our flight home.
An evening transfer is included to Accra's Kotoka International Airport, where our African expedition comes to an end. Please ensure you do not book flights out of Accra prior to 5.00pm this evening.
  • DUKW Single Supplement (DUKW)
    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.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Please note that some of our included activities are contingent on weather conditions. We'll arrange an alternative if an included activity is deemed unsafe.
    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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
    The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
    A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
    Money Exchange
    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
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Tipping
    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
    Departure tax
    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.
    Important notes
    OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
    FINISH TIME:
    This trip finishes in the city of Accra. Please do not book flights to depart Accra prior to 5pm.
    Day rooms have been booked for your use in Accra.
    A departure transfer to Accra's Kotoka International Airport is included this evening.
    Group size
    Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    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.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (18 nts), Independence Hotel - Twin (2 nts)
    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.
    Meals
    20 Breakfasts, 18 Lunches, 9 Dinners
    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.
    EUR 300.00
    Transport
    Minibus
    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.
    There are many 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.
    Group leader
    On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 crew members, a Group Leader and a Driver.
    Your Intrepid Group Leader’s role involves organizing the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip and managing trip logistics.
    Your Group Leader will work towards making the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid trips are built around the co–operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader.
    While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting, especially when tracking and identifying game - we think it's the best of both worlds.
    Our Group Leaders are chosen for their leadership skills and are wonderful ambassadors for our company and our beautiful continent and its people.
    Your Driver’s main responsibility is to get you to your destination safely; they are also responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles along the way.
    We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and driver; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
    Joining point
    Independence Hotel
    Avenue de la Resistance du 17 Mai
    Ouagadougou
    BURKINA FASO
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point
    Paloma Hotel
    PO Box 02394
    Osu
    Accra
    GHANA
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Melbourne Office can be reached on Tel: +61 3 9473 2650. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    GHANA:
    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
    For most nationalities a visa is required and needs to be obtained in advance. 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.
    BENIN:
    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.
    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.
    TOGO:
    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.
    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.
    This may be a good option if you are arriving in Accra before the trip however we advise that you check with your nearest embassy. Please bring at least 3 passport photos.
    BURKINO FASO: Visas can be obtained en route at the border. Allow US$20 cash.
    Issues on your trip
    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.
    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 and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    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.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    VALUABLES:
    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.
    CLOTHING:
    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. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
    BATTERIES/POWER:
    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. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
    Health
    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 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 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
    Safety
    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. 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 group 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 group 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:
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    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 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.
    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
    SWIMMING POOLS:
    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
    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 group 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.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    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.
    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 has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 609.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    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.
    Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.