Take the road less travelled on this West African adventure.

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

Start
Accra, Ghana
Finish
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Countries
Ivory Coast,
Ghana,
Guinea,
Sierra Leone
Themes
Explorer, Overland
Code
DDOF
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4 Max 22
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Visit and explore the historic Elmina Castle
  • Relax and unwind on the stunning Brenu Beach on Ghana's Gold Coast
  • Visit Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti kingdom and culture
  • Visit the stunning jungles of Kakum National Park
  • Get to know the forested region of Guinea on foo
  • Nature walk through Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Discover how Sierra Leone's capital Freetown became a centre for freed slaves

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2014 to 29 October 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2018

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.
The afternoon will be free to explore Accra.
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.
Leaving Accra behind we journey North towards Kumasi where we spend the next 2 nights in a local guesthouse (approx. 7 hours)
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.
From Kumasi we head to Kakum National Park.
Located in southern Ghana, Kakum National Park's 350 square kilometres of tropical rainforest protect the very rare and endangered Monameercat, as well as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo and an incredible array of birdlife. Visitors to the park can walk along towering canopy walkways through the tops of the trees, offering a unique and unobtrusive way for travellers to experience the forest. The park is also an important habitat for a variety of rare tropical plants, including many that are used by local people for medicinal purposes.
We head south again to the Atlantic Coast where we camp for two nights at a stunning beach resort in Brenu Akynin, near Elmina (approx. 3 hours). There is time here 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.
Today we leave Ghana and head west into Cote d'Ivoire, to the old French colonial capital of Grand Bassam (approx. 7 hours). We stay here for two nights in a local hotel.
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.
After a fairly long drive we arrive into Yamoussoukro - the capital of Cote d'Ivoire. 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.
Heading due north, we travel to the town of Korhogo where we stay in a small hotel (approx. 6 hours).
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.
Bush camp enroute to the central region of Cote d'Ivoire.
A mix of simple villages, stunning coastline, European architecture and modern cities, Ivory Coast is a country of surprises. Despite its turbulent history, there's a rousing spirit that travels the breadth of the country and its cultural diversity, friendly people and distinct landscapes are sure to enchant.
Drive time: Approx 7-9 hours per day
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 travelling from Guinea's forested region through the mid-region of Guinea, stopping in the towns of Gueckedou and Faranah. Both these nights we will aim to stay in small, locally-run hotels or guesthouses.
After stocking up on food and water in Faranah we leave Guinea and drive south into Sierra Leone, 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.
Today we reach our first big town in Sierra Leone - Kabala - where we spend the night in a small 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 day is spent travelling from Kabala south through Sierra Leone.
Our journey through Sierra Leone brings us to the Tiwai Island Sanctuary (approx. 6-8 hours), one of Sierra Leone's largest inland islands. We will 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.
Today we have a big drive across Sierra Leone to spend 3 nights exploring the beaches of Freetown Peninsula.

On the beach there will the be chance to go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities and of course relax on the beach!
Today we arrive at the capital of Sierra Leone - Freetown - where we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. There is plenty of time here to head out and explore the sites in and around Freetown, or go to more of the many nearby beaches for some well-earned relaxation.
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.
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

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (4 nights), Camping (with facilities) (8 nights), Guesthouse (4 nights), Hotel (11 nights)
Included activities
  • Entrance and Rainforest canopy walk, Kakum National Park
  • Sabre Trust School project, Elmina
  • Elmina Castle
  • Le Basilique De Notre Dame De la Paix
  • Guided tour of the local cloth weavers
  • Nature walk

Dates

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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

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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