Discover the wonders of West Africa from historic Freetown to alluring Accra

Encounter mountains, beaches and mud roads on this epic West African adventure. Begin the adventure in historic Freetown then get off the beaten track in Sierra Leone, fall in love with cheeky primates and be surrounded by dense rainforest on Tiwai Island. Journey on to Guinea and explore mountainous forested regions, incredible scenery, lush forests and fascinating villages. Cross the border into Cote d'Ivoire and appreciate colonial architecture in the old French capital Grand Bassam and stop in at bizarre Yamoussoukro. Travel along Ghana's stunning Atlantic coast to the beaches of Elmina and walk among tree canopies in Kakum National Park before ending the adventure in buzzing Accra. This challenging adventure showcases the best of West Africa.

Freetown, Sierra Leone
Accra, Ghana
Ivory Coast,
Sierra Leone
Explorer, Overland
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 18
Group size
Min 6 Max 22
Carbon offset
1 413kg pp per trip


  • Explore the historic Elmina Castle
  • Relax and unwind on Ghana's stunning Brenu Beach
  • Visit Kumasi, capital of the Ashanti culture
  • Visit the stunning jungles of Kakum National Park
  • Get to know the forested region of Guinea on foot
  • Nature walk through the Tiwai Island Sanctuary
  • Discover Freetown's history as a centre for freed slaves


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2014 to 20 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2018

Today is an arrival day with a pre departure meeting at 10:00am. Your leader will leave a note in reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport and insurance details at this meeting.
The fastest and most reliable way to Freetown from the airport is by water-taxi, as Lungi is across a bay from the city. The departure times for the water-taxis are linked to each flight in and out of the airport, so there will be transport available for you when you land. Exit the airport and walk to the right, and you'll see the water-taxi office at the end - you'll have to buy your ticket there for USD40 or EUR35, and check in your large bags. You'll take a minibus for 15 minutes, then the water-taxi for 30 minutes. The boat lands at the jetty, where you hand in your luggage ticket to get your large bags back.
The jetty is in the Aberdeen district of Freetown, only a 200m walk from our hotel. Just walk up the hill to the main road - the Raza Guesthouse is slightly further down and on the other side of the road.
Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains, Freetown is the lively capital of Sierra Leone, steeped in history and culture. A British colony in the late 1700s, Freetown became the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade and 1200 freed slaves from Canada came here in 1792 to join the original settlers. There are countless beautiful beaches within a short cab ride form the city centre, and a journey to the hilltops that surround the city provides truly breathtaking views.
Today we head to the Freetown Peninsula for some relaxation on one of the stunning beaches. We camp here for two nights.
Leaving Freetown behind we travel southeast through Sierra Leone towards the Tiwai Island Sanctuary (approximately 10 hours drive), one of Sierra Leone's largest inland islands. We stay here for two nights sleeping in tents perched on covered platforms.
During our stay we will take a nature walk through the webs of trails that weave through the Tiwai Forest in search of rare and colourful primates.
In the Mende language, Tiwai means 'big island'. It is one of a cluster of islands in the wide, open Moa River, which journeys from Guinea close to the tip of the river Niger, and south through Sierra Leone into the Atlantic Ocean. Tour the river in canoe or motorboat, watching river turtles surface or birds fly overhead. In the evening, take a night tour to search for the elusive and extremely rare pygmy hippopotamus. You can also explore on foot, on the web of trails weaving through the Tiwai forest. If you move silently, you can glimpse some of the most rare and colourful primates in the world, including the Diana and the Colobus monkeys.
Due to the unpredictable nature of this region, a spare day has been added here to build some flexibility into the itinerary. This day will be used at the discretion of the leader and crew.
The next two days are spent travelling north up through Sierra Leone, bush camping as we head towards Kabala. Once in Kabala we will stay in a locally-run hotel.
Kabala is famous for Ronko dyeing, where a shirt or gown is made of strips of country cloth and typically dyed a rusty reddish-brown using local pigments. While in Kabala there may be time to trek in the Wara Wara Mountains that lie just to the north-west of the town. Kabala is also famed as the centre of the cattle-tending area of the largely Muslim north, and its climate puts it among the best sources of fresh produce in the country.
The next few days are spent travelling from Sierra Leone to Guinea, bush camping along the way. Although distances are short, we've allowed a couple of days here as the roads can be tough and unpredictable. At times it is very narrow with deep ruts and corrugations. We may have to ford rivers if the bridges are not strong enough for the truck. This is truly off the beaten track - overlanding through a remote part of West Africa.
Once in Guinea we'll travel through the mid-region, stopping in one of the towns (possibly Gueckedou) on our journey south towards Guinee Forestiere. We will aim to stay in a small hotel or guesthouse.
We reach the forested mountainous region in south-eastern Guinea, and base ourselves here for a couple of nights in the surrounding area. We aim to camp here however might stay in a local guesthouse depending on the facilities in the area. During our time here you have the option of visiting nearby villages to see their famous vine bridges, or just exploring the surrounding area.
Guinee Forestiere is a mountainous forest region in south-eastern Guinea, extending into north-eastern Sierra Leone. Most of Guinea's people live in the forest region, so we will take the opportunity here to trek and explore Guinea on foot, learning about the fascinating culture and people of the region. This area is also rich in flora and fauna, and opportunities abound to trek across savannah, follow trails to the beautiful Soumba waterfalls, and track forest elephants at the Foret Classee de Ziama.
The next couple of days are spent driving from the forest region of Guinea, and across the border into Cote d'Ivoire. One night will be spent bush camping en route and the other we will either camp or stay in a small hotel in Odienne depending on the facilities available.
Odienne lies in the north-west of Cote d'Ivoire and it is known for its large mosque and nearby gold mines. Just to the west of the town is the solitary granite mountain of Deng Ke Le Massif, providing a striking backdrop.
Due to the poor conditions of the roads in this area, approximately 7-9 hours will be spent in the truck each day.
Heading due east to the north-central region of Cote d'Ivoire we travel to the town of Korhogo, where we stay in a small hotel. (7-8 hours on Day 16)
The northern town of Korhogo is famed for cloth-weaving, jewellery and antiques. Visiting the surrounding area will give you a fascinating insight into the life of the Senoufo people. Le quartier des sculpteurs is worth a good look around for souvenirs, but be prepared to haggle! Keep an eye out for Korhogo wood sculptures - a traditional art utilised by the Poro secret society.
After a fairly long drive, we arrive into the capital of Cote d'Ivoire, Yamoussoukro. We stay here for two nights in a local hotel, allowing time for you to explore the sites on offer.
The capital of Ivory Coast in name alone, Yamoussoukro was the hometown of long serving post-independence president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny who spent exorbitant amounts of money to make it the new, spectacular capital. Among his grand buildings are the Presidential Palace, where he is buried, and the Basilique De Notre Dame De La Paix. Despite a low percentage of the population actually being Catholic, the president spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the Basilica; almost an exact replica of St Peter's in the Vatican City. The town also boasts six-lane highways that lead nowhere, and grand hotels and monuments on a par with any other capital city in the world, but serving a relatively small settlement of just 250,000 people.
Leaving the capital behind, we head south to the old French colonial capital of Grand Bassam (7-8 hours on Day 20), situated east of Abidjan. We stay here for two nights allowing time to explore the town.
Grand Bassam was originally the French capital of Cote d'Ivoire before being moved due to outbreaks of disease. Explore the old colonial town, watch local artists at work, or kick back and relax on the serene beaches.
Due to the unpredictable nature of this region, a spare day has been added here to build some flexibility into the itinerary. This day will be used at the discretion of the leader and crew.
Today is a long drive day (7 hours) as we cross into Ghana and head to the Atlantic coast and Brenu Akynin, near Elmina. We camp here for two nights at a beach resort, allowing time to visit Elmina Castle and also to get involved with a local community project.
Home to a beautiful natural harbour, Elmina is a busy little fishing town situated on a narrow peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. The main tourist attraction of the town is St George's Castle; sub-Saharan Africa's oldest European structure.
Just outside of the town of Elmina is a small village right on the beach called Brenu Akyinin. The local people here rely heavily on fishing and cultivating coconuts, pineapples and groundnuts to make a living. The one small school here is located just a few metres from Brenu Beach, a stunning location for tourists, but far from ideal for the school children. They are distracted from their studies by the vehicles that pass through the school to access the beach, and often cut class in order to sell goods to the tourists or assist their parents with the farming and fishing. Over the last few years, we have got involved with a local grass-roots charity, the Sabre Trust, which is working to improve education for all of the children here. Originally the school here was in a terrible state of disrepair and extremely under-resourced, but gradually this is beginning to improve. On overland trips we stay in Brenu for at least a couple of nights, allowing us time to get involved in a variety of projects at the school. Depending on your groups skills and the school's needs, you could be getting your hands dirty helping out with small building projects, participating in educational workshops, or even helping with the teaching. Getting involved at the school is a great opportunity to lend a hand and give something back to the local people here, albeit in a small way. It's also a great chance to experience everyday Ghanaian life at first hand, getting to know the local children and their families.
Journey to lush Kakum National Park (3 hours). Try to spot pygmy elephants, forest buffaloes and colourful birdlife while ambling through the treetops - the canopy walkways are a unique way to experience this tropical rainforest.
The park has a long series of hanging bridges at the forest canopy level known as the canopy walkway giving us a close up experience of the park.

We will stay in a local guesthouse in Kakum for 1 night.
Today we will drive north (5 hours on Day 25) to Kumasi where we will base ourselves for 2 nights at a local guesthouse, allowing lots of time for exploration of the town and museums. Kumasi is the home of West Africa's largest market and was the centre of the Ashanti Kingdom.
Today's drive takes us to Ghana's capital, Accra, where we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. (6-7 hours on Day 27)
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.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Overland vehicle
Bush camp (no facilities) (4 nights), Camping (with facilities) (8 nights), Guesthouse (4 nights), Hotel (11 nights)
Included activities
  • Nature walk
  • Guided tour of the local cloth weavers
  • Sabre Trust School project, Elmina
  • Elmina Castle
  • Entrance and Rainforest canopy walk, Kakum National Park
  • Entrance and Tour of Slave Fort at Cape Coast


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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

Trip notes

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