West Africa Overland Trip Notes

Travel from Dakar to Ghana on a road trip across this unspoilt and fascinating region of Africa, discovering the cultures, unique animals, stunning scenery and the warm smiles of the people of West Africa

    • 70
    • DDOBC
    • Trip Price tool tip
      USD $6,030
      CAD $6,535
      AUD $6,410
      EUR €4,410
      GBP £3,560
      NZD $7,155
      ZAR R64,115
      CHF FR5,335
    • Kitty tool tip
      USD $1,830
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $7,910*
      CAD $8,571*
      AUD $8,488*
      EUR €5,784*
      GBP £4,805*
      NZD $9,379*
      ZAR R84,106*
      CHF FR6,998*
      *
    •  
       
       
       
       
    •  
       
       
       
       
    • Overland
    • Basix
Book
‡ As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only - please click here to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
Print Version
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2014
West Africa Overland
Trip code: DDOBC
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2016
Table of Contents
StylePhysical ratingJoining point
ThemesGroup sizeFinish point
MapAccommodationEmergency funds
ItineraryMealsA couple of rules
Culture shock rating Transport
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Overland
Map
West Africa Overland
Itinerary
Day 1 Dakar
No ngoolu daa! Welcome to Senegal!
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.
You know when you've arrived in Dakar. Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital bursts with life. This is a city of busy streets, noisy markets, noisy, colourful markets and vibrant nightlife; at first it can seem chaotic but embrace the rhythms of Dakar life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here. In terms of conventional sightseeing, the beautiful Ile de Goree is certainly worth a visit, the bustling centre of the slave trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
If you're interested in West Africa culture you should also seek out the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir (IFAN) Museum, which has some great displays of show masks and traditional dress from all across the region. Or you may prefer to just wander the streets, browsing the markets and soaking up the atmosphere. Dakar also has a lively arts scene and you should be able to find some great live music here, there are venues all over the city and regular music and film festivals.
Optional Activities
  • Ile de Goree - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 St. Louis
Today we head north through the Sahel to the old colonial city of St. Louis, which was formerly the capital of French West Africa. We will have 2 nights here, giving us the opportunity to explore the streets of the old city and take an optional trip to the Langue de Barbarie National Park.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Toubakouta/Sine-Saloum Delta
Today we start our overland journey as we head south from Dakar to the small town of Toubakouta, situated close to the Sine-Saloum Delta. Along the way we will stop to see the Great Mosque at Touba and also the Medina Baay Mosque in Kaolack - one of the largest and best-known mosques in Senegal.
The capital of the Kaolack region, the town of Kaolack is an important market town. It is also Senegal's main peanut trading and processing centre, and a major centre of Islamic education. The Medina Baay mosque in Kaolack is one of the largest and best-known in Senegal.
In Toubakouta we will stay in a small, locally-run hotel or campsite.
Situated amongst a maze of mangroves, the tiny town of Toubakouta is one of the most beautiful spots of the Sine-Saloum Delta and is a great place in which to base ourselves for excursions into the Parc National du Delta du Saloum, which teems with wildlife.
The following day we head out to the Sine-Saloum Delta for a pirogue trip in search of the stunning array of birdlife that the Delta area hosts.
The Parc National du Delta du Saloum is a region of great biodiversity, consisting of estuaries, beautiful beaches, mangrove swaps, sand islands, and dunes. The area is rich in animal life and is home to a variety of birds including flamingos, pelicans, herons, gulls, terns, egrets and avocets. We hope to see many of these species as we head out in a pirogue to explore the lush greenery of the delta's labyrinthine waterways.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Tendaba/Kiang West National Park
We head across the border today from Senegal to The Gambia, and to the Tendaba Camp on the Gambia River.
The accommodation at Tendaba Camp is in simple round huts, in the African rondavel style. They are completely made out of natural materials from the bush. The camp is our base for our pirogue trip into Kiang West National Park.
We stay here for two nights and during this time will take an included pirogue trip into Kiang West National Park.
Established as a national park in 1987, Kiang West is now the largest national park in the Gambia. Situated on the south bank of the river it encompasses dry deciduous woodland, savannah, mangrove creeks and tidal flats. Over 300 species of birds have been sighted in the area, including 21 raptors: vultures, harrier eagles, sandgrouse, Blue-breasted, Kingfisher hawks, white-shouldered black tit and falcons. An ideal spot to watch birds is Tubabkollon Point. Also can be seen are the West African Manatee, otters, sitatunga and roan antelopes plus rarer sightings of animals include the hyenas, leopards and dolphins.
Accommodation
Rondavel (2 nts)
Days 8-10 Cap Skirring
We journey into the southern Casamance region of Senegal to spend 3 nights on the beautiful beaches of Cap Skirring, where there will be good opportunities for swimming, biking, fishing, quad-biking and sun-bathing!
Cap Skirring is a town on the Atlantic Ocean coast of the Casamance region of Senegal. It is a popular seaside resort with miles of palm-fringed sandy beaches and warm ocean.
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.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 11-12 Bissau
We leave our bush camp early and set off on another long drive to reach our destination of Bissau, where we spend two nights in a small, locally-run hotel.
Guinea-Bissau's capital, Bissau, has a laidback vibe. The old Portuguese colonial centre, Bissau Velho, is noted for its charming, washed out, pastel-coloured buildings and bustling backstreet cafes.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 13-15 Bush Camp
From Bissau we journey through Guinea Bissau to northern Guinea. We will spend 3 days driving to reach the town of Labe in the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.
We will stop for 2 wild camps en route - the first is likely to be just over the border at Kandika, the second is likely to be in the highlands past the village of Seriba. The roads on this section are very challenging dirt roads which take us through some incredibly remote areas.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
Days 16-17 Fouta Djallon
From Labe we will head off for an included 2 day excursion to the heart of the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.
The stunningly beautiful Guinean highlands known as the Fouta Djallon, are the traditional lands of the Fula people of Guinea. The highland climate here is cooler than the rest of the country which makes it ideal for walking and hiking.
On the first day we will travel in 4x4 jeeps through very remote country roads to the small rural community of Ainguel (approximately a 4 hour drive). After lunch there will be a short 3-hour trek to a waterfall viewpoint and to the nearby rock bridge ('Pont de Piedre') where we have the change to swim in a beautiful natural lagoon.
On the second day there is a long 8-hour trek through the surrounding hills and villages taking in the incredible scenery. We will stop for a picnic lunch next to a stunning waterfall where we have the opportunity to swim in the lagoon beneath. In the latter stages of the trek, we hope to be able to get to the base of a much larger and incredibly powerful waterfall, although this is dependant on the ground waters having receded enough after the rainy season to make this route passable.
Upon returning after this walk, we will immediately drive back in the 4x4s to Labe to spend the night in our hotel there.
Optional Activities
  • Bicycle hire - USD5
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 18 Mamou
Leaving the Fouta Djallon region behind us, we head south through Guinea to the central town of Mamou.
Tonight we aim to stay in a local guesthouse.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 19 Bush Camp
We continue our drive south through Guinea, stopping to wild camp close to the border with Sierra Leone.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 20-21 Bureh Beach
We cross the border from Guinea to Sierra Leone where it is time for some well-deserved relaxation on one of the stunning beaches of the Freetown Peninsula. We camp here for two nights.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Days 22-23 Freetown
Today's journey brings us to the capital of Sierra Leone - Freetown - where we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
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.
The afternoon and the following day are free to explore the many sites of Freetown.
Optional Activities
  • Sierra Leone National Museum - USD5
  • Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 24-26 Bureh Beach
Today we head to the Freetown Peninsula for some relaxation on one of the stunning beaches. We camp here for two nights.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 27-28 Tiwai Island Sanctuary
Leaving Freetown behind we travel southeast through Sierra Leone towards the Tiwai Island Sanctuary, 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.
Included Activities
  • Nature walk
Optional Activities
  • Canoe or motor boat tour - USD10
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 29-30 Bush Camp/Kabala
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.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt), Hotel (1 nt)
Days 31-32 Bush Camp/Faranah
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.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt), Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 33 Gueckedou
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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 34-35 Guinee Forestiere
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.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 36-37 Bush Camp
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.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 38-39 Korhogo
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.
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.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of the local cloth weavers
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 40-41 Yamoussoukro
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.
Optional Activities
  • Le Basilique De Notre Dame De la Paix - USD5
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 42-43 Grand Bassam
Leaving the capital behind, we head south to the old French colonial capital of Grand Bassam, 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.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 44-45 Elmina
Today is a long drive day 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.
Included Activities
  • Sabre Trust School project, Elmina
  • Elmina Castle
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 46 Kakum National Park
Journey to lush Kakum National Park. 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.
Included Activities
  • Entrance and Rainforest canopy walk, Kakum National Park
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 47-48 Kumasi
Today we will drive north 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.
Optional Activities
  • National Cultural Center, Kumasi - USD1
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 49 Accra
Today's drive takes us to Ghana's capital, Accra, where we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
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.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 50 Accra
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 nt)
Days 51-52 Akosombo/Lake Volta
We leave Accra after breakfast and head north to Akosombo by Lake Volta, where we stay at a campsite.
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 52 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.
Included Activities
  • Visit Akosombo Dam
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 53-54 Mount Klouto
Today we have a full day's drive, 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.
Optional Activities
  • Day's guided butterfly walking safari - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 55-56 Bush Camp
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 nts)
Days 57-58 Tata Somba Region
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.
Included Activities
  • Tour of Tata Somba houses
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Days 59-60 Pendjari National Park
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 nts)
Day 61 Bush Camp
Today we have a full day journey heading south through Benin. Tonight we will bush camp en route.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 62 Abomey
We continue the journey today to Abomey where we stay in a campsite.
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.
Included Activities
  • Guided Tour of Palace and Museum, Abomey
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 63 Ganvie
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.
Included Activities
  • Stilt Village Boat Trip
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 64 Ouidah
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.
Optional Activities
  • La Maison Bresil at Ouidah - USD3
  • Temple des Serpents - USD1
  • Route des Esclaves - USD3
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 65-66 Grand Popo
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 nts)
Day 67 Agbodrafo
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.
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.
Included Activities
  • Guided city tour of Togoville
  • Pirogue (dug out canoe trip) on Lake Togo
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 68 Keta
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.
Optional Activities
  • Fort Prinzenstein - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 69-70 Accra
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 nt)
      Culture shock rating

      The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
      Physical rating

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
      As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only. Follow the link below to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
      Group size
      Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
      Accommodation
      Camping (with facilities) (28 nts), Hotel (21 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (9 nts), Guesthouse (5 nts), Rondavel (2 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts), Lodge (2 nts)
      Meals
      All meals when camping
      USD 1000.00
      Transport
      Overland vehicle, Canoe
      Joining point
      Al Baraka
      35 Rue Abdoul Karim Bourgi
      Dakar
      SENEGAL
      Finish point
      Niagara Plus Hotel
      14th Lane
      Osu
      Accra
      GHANA
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, 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.
      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.