Discover West Africa on an adventure departing from Ghana

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.


Start
Accra, Ghana
Finish
Accra, Ghana
Countries
Benin, Ghana, Togo
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland
Code
DDOD
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 6, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • 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

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2014 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Meeng-gah-bou! Welcome to Ghana.
The trip begins with a group meeting at 10am.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are 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 details on hand to provide to your leader.
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 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We leave Accra after breakfast and head north to Akosombo by Lake Volta, where we stay at a campsite. (3-4 hours drive)
A small town, Akosombo is the home of the Akosombo Dam. Built as a hydroelectric scheme, this damming of the Akosombo gorge on the Volta River resulted in the creation of Lake Volta, the largest man made lake in the world, covering almost 4% of Ghana's land mass.

Day 3 is a free day to relax at our campsite in Akosombo and we will explore the dam and its workings.
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 of the year round, which has created the opportunity to find many local fisheries.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Visit Akosombo Dam
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have a long drive (5 hours), which brings us across the border into Togo, and to the spectacular Mt Klouto. We camp here for two nights, and there is also the option to upgrade to dorm accommodation. During our stay we will enjoy an evening of drumming and voodoo.
Hidden away in mountains of Togo, Mont Klouto is a couple of hours north of Lome, 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 five hundred different species can be found here, many of them incredibly beautiful. It's an ideal place for hiking and you can take a guided walking butterfly safari through the forests with a local naturalist guide.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Evening Drumming Performance
Optional Activities
  • Day's guided butterfly walking safari - USD20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Another full-day journey today as we head further north through Togo to the border with Benin. We will wild camp this evening.
Due to the unpredictable nature of this region, a spare day has added here to build some flexibility into the itinerary. This day will be used at the discretion of the leader and crew.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today's journey brings us to the Tata Somba region, close to the town of Tanguieta, where we will spend two nights in an eco-lodge. During our stay we will tour the fascinating local mud Somba houses.
The Tata Somba region is famous for their two-story fortified houses, from which the region takes its name. The ground floor is used for housing livestock at night, the internal alcoves are used for cooking, and the upper floor contains a rooftop courtyard used for drying grain and sleeping quarters.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Tour of Tata Somba houses
  • Walking Village Tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
From the Tata Somba region we have a short journey north to the stunning Pendjari National Park. We will camp for two nights in the park. Our days will be spent exploring the park, taking game drives in the truck.
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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have a full day journey heading south through Benin (approximately 10 hours). Tonight we will bush camp en route.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We continue the journey today to Abomey where we stay in a campsite (approximately 6 hours)
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.
We will also visit the Abomey Palace and Museum.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided Tour of Palace and Museum, Abomey
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we have a short drive to Abomey-Cavali before jumping aboard pirogues to Ganvie, a town built entirely on stilts in the middle of a lagoon. Tonight we will stay in the stilt village.
Ganvie is home to more than 10,000 people, even though it is built entirely on stilts in the middle of a lagoon and can only be reached by pirogue (dugout canoe). The ancestors of the Toffinu people used the lake as a refuge from the slave traders, and the Toffinu have lived on the lagoons ever since. Possibly the largest lake village in the whole of Africa, the local people here depend on fishing and fish farming for their livelihoods.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Stilt Village Boat Trip
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we take our pirogues back to the truck and continue a short distance to Ouidah where we camp in the grounds of an auberge.
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.
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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • La Maison Bresil at Ouidah - USD3
  • Temple des Serpents - USD1
  • Route des Esclaves - USD3
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
On the morning of Day 16 embark on a half day, guided city tour of Quidah.
A short drive from Ouidah brings us to Grand Popo where we have two nights of well-deserved relaxation on the beach. Here we will camp for two nights at an auberge.
Grand Popo is a great place for a bit of rest and relaxation on the beach, West African style. Located in south west Benin, the town originally grew as a port servicing the slave trade, although coastal erosion has destroyed most of the old buildings. Today it's a good getaway spot for travellers, a pleasant spot to spend a lazy couple of days.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Guided city tour of Quidah (Half Day)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leaving the beach behind, our journey continues over the border from Benin and into Togo. We head to the quiet town of Agbodrafo on the shores of Lake Togo, where we will camp for two nights at an auberge (approx 2 hours)
Agbodrafo, an old Portuguese city formerly known as Porto Seguri, is a quiet small town on the shore of Lake Togo. The real draw here is the lake itself, a 13 square kilometres. This is a really idyllic place to relax and do some watersports. There are a number of water resorts, which are very popular with the Togolese from Lome. The lake is surrounded by a number of small villages and fishermen ply the waters in dug-out canoes. It is possible to get a ride across the Lake to Togoville in a dug out canoe with the local fishermen. These 'pirogues' ply the lake between Agbodrafo and Togoville and if you wish to travel by pirogue, the truck will be driving around to Togoville.
During our time in Agbodrafo we take a pirogue trip to Togoville, the centre of the voodoo culture, where we have a guided city tour and church visit.
Togoville is a small town on the shores of Lake Togo, renowned as the historic centre of voodoo culture. Many practitioners of voodoo were taken from here to Haiti as slaves, which is why there is also a strong voodoo culture in Haiti even though it's thousands of miles away. There are still a few voodoo shrines and fetishes around the area today. Interestingly, there is also a German church here, dating back to 1910. Chief Mlapa III signed a treaty with German explorer Nachtigal in 1884, giving Germany the rights over all of Togoland. The church sits on a large terrace, dominating the lake with the village spread out in a semi-circle below, decorated with painting of African Saints and a statue of Our Lady of Lake Togo.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided city tour of Togoville
  • Pirogue (dug out canoe trip) on Lake Togo
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We cross back into Ghana today for a night stop at the beach in Keta, where we stay in a small, local hotel.
If you don't fancy lazing on the beach, perhaps check out the remains of Fort-Prinzenstein, a slave den built by the Danes 300 years ago as a transit point for transporting slaves to the Americas.
Keta is part of the Volta estuary region, comprising several small islands and a complex of lagoons. The area is abundant with bird, fish and butterfly species and also the endangered waterbuck. The Keta Lagoon Complex is the largest wetlands site in Ghana covering 1,200 sq. km. from the eastern shores of the Volta River to the international border with the Republic of Togo.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Fort Prinzenstein - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
One last drive day takes us back to Ghana's capital, Accra. We will most likely head out for a final group meal tonight before returning to our hotel.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Canoe, Overland vehicle

Accommodation

Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with facilities) (11 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (3 nights), Lodge (2 nights)

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

Dates & availability

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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

Essential Trip Information

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