Discover West Africa on an overland adventure from Dakar to Accra

The quintessential West Africa overland trip, this tour from Dakar to Ghana leaves no cultural, natural or historical stone unturned on its eastbound journey across the continent. Very much off the beaten track, this is a fairly physically demanding tour that involves a lot of camping, hiking and trekking – though the bulk of it is undertaken in a comfortable overland truck. This is grassroots travelling at its very best; where you can really get involved in the communities and local people you meet along the way. Whether experiencing stunning birdlife and witnessing the last populations of West African lions, or getting involved in a community project in Ghana, this West African adventure takes in the best this part of the continent has to offer. From the wonderful and wacky city of Yamoussoukro to relaxing on the many serene beaches along the coast, West Africa is the ideal destination for travellers wanting a different travel experience.

TRIP CHANGES 2018:
• 1 night taken out of Yamoussoukro and an extra night added in Grand Bassam


Start
Dakar, Senegal
Finish
Accra, Ghana
Countries
Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland
Code
DDOCC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 6, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Relax on Ghana's beautiful Brenu Beach

  • Explore the dense jungles of Kakum National Park

  • Get absorbed in Bissau's buzzing arts scene

  • Discover Ghana's capital city of Accra

  • Embark on a pirogue trip through the Sine-Saloum Delta

  • Unlock the secrets of the historic Elmina Castle

  • Encounter the great mosques of Senegal

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2019 - 31 December 2019

Border information: if you are joining at Dakar, you will most likely enter Senegal at Dakar Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (IATA code: DKR).

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 afternoon will be free to explore the cosmopolitan city and perhaps take an optional trip to the famous Île de Goreé.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Dakar before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Dakar. 

In Dakar we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. 

Hotel for the night: Hotel Al Baraka
Hotel Al Baraka
35 Rue A. Karim Bourgi
Dakar
Senegal
Tel - +221 338 225 532 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Take a trip to the atmospheric and historic island of Goreé, exploring its ancient buildings and stepping back in time : XOF 5000

Freely explore Senegal's bustling and cosmopolitan capital, and see its magnificent Presidential Palace, Grand Mosque and busy Médina district : Free

Discover the incredible beaches of N'gor and Yoff on the northern edge of the Dakar Peninsular : Free

See the controversial African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, completed in 2010 - the tallest statue in Africa and built to symbolise Africa's emergence from European domination, it has been criticised by many for its 'Stalinist' design : Free

Visit the IFAN Museum of Arts (otherwise known as the Théodore Monod Museum), one of the best museums in Africa with 9000 objects of African art and culture from across the region, including traditional dress, masks, drums, and tools : XOF 2500

Visit the Village des Arts, Dakar's hub for local artists to display and showcase their work in a large garden space : Free

About Dakar:
Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital of Dakar is always bursting with life. This is a city of busy streets, colourful markets and vibrant nightlife - at first it can seem chaotic, but embrace the rhythms of Dakar's life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here.

The beautiful Île de Gorée is worth a visit, and you can learn about some of the appalling history of the Atlantic slave trade that was once common there in the 18th Century. The Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir (IFAN) Museum has some great displays of show masks and traditional dress from all across the country. 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 may be able to find some great live music here! 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 2 to 3 "

Today we head north through the dry Sahel region to the old colonial city of St. Louis, formerly the capital of French West Africa.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the streets of the old city and take an optional trip to the Langue de Barbarie National Park or the nearby Djoudj Bird life Reserve.

In St. Louis we will stay in a colonial-era hotel with good facilities. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Freely explore Senegal's atmospheric colonial city of St. Louis, the former capital of French West Africa : Free

Marvel at the abundant bird life in the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, the world's third largest protected area for birds : XOF 20000

Explore the incredible landscapes of the Langue de Barbarie National Park on the tip of the sandy peninsular near St. Louis : XOF 10000

Visit some of the museums of St. Louis, including the Jean Mermoz museum dedicated to the history of the pioneering French aviators that open up the air route from Africa to South America in the 1930s : XOF 600

Visit the nearby Guembeul Nature Reserve, the centre for a gazelle reintroduction program and home to the African Spurred Tortoise : XOF 20000

About St. Louis: 
St. Louis is an old French colonial town on the Atlantic coast of northern Senegal, nestled at the outflow of the Senegal River on the border with Mauritania. Founded in 1659 by French traders, the town became the capital of colonial Senegal - from 1895 it was also the capital of French West Africa, until both were moved to Dakar in 1902. St. Louis was once one of the most important urban centres in Africa, and although its status has become more diminshed since the rise of Dakar it still exhudes a relaxed atmosphere and remains very popular with travellers.

The old town on the river's island of Ndar contains many atmospheric old streets and colonial buildings. The nearby Langue de Barbarie sand spit and Djoudj National Reserves are havens for some amazign birdlife such as pelicans and flamingos.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 4 to 5 "

Today we start our journey south to the small town of Toubakouta, situated close to the Sine-Saloum Delta. On the way we will see the landscape change as we enter the greener wetland region, and we will stop to see the Grand Mosque of Touba, one of the best known mosques in Senegal and most holy site in the Mouride branch of Islam.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

On our full day in Toubakouta we will have an optional morning pirogue trip to a nearby village to see a slice of rural Senegalese life and to meet their charismatic female chief. In the afternoon we have an included pirogue trip to the mangroves, the 'Shellfish Island' and the 'Island of Birds' - if the weather is good, there are often some stunning sunsets across the delta.

In Toubakouta we will camp in the grounds of a small locally-run hotel.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Visit the stunning Grand Mosque of Touba, one of Africa's largest mosques and the holiest site of the Mouride Brotherhood, a sect of Islam that focuses on hard work as a form of salvation : Included in Kitty

Take an evening pirogue trip into the heart of the Sine-Saloum Delta to explore the fascinating islands and enjoy the spectacular sunset : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Head out by pirogue to a nearby village to meet the locals (including their female chief!) and learn all about rural village life : XOF 2500 

About Touba:
Touba is the second-largest city in Senegal and is the spiritual centre of the Mouride branch of Islam. The area was a remote wilderness until 1887, when Cheikh Amadou Bamba (the founder of the Mouride sect) is said to have had a moment of transcendence and decided to found the city of Touba here. The Mouride branch of Islam focuses on the doctrine of hard work, and sees working as holy an endeavour as prayer - Mourides make up about 40% of Senegal's population and are incredibly influential over the politics and culture of the country. At the centre of Touba is the Great Mosque, completed in 1963 and purported to be one of the largest mosques in Africa. The mosque has five minarets, three large domes, and is the burial place of Amadou Bamba.

About Toubakouta:
Situated amongst a maze of mangroves, the tiny town of Toubakouta is one of the most beautiful spots on the Sine-Saloum Delta. We base ourselves here to take boat trips into the Parc National du Delta du Saloum, which is teeming with birdlife, features some beautiful mangrove scenery, and is dotted with small islands and villages.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
" Day 6 to 7"

Border information: Exit Senegal at Karang, enter The Gambia at Fass.

Today we will head across the border from Senegal into the small country of The Gambia, then cross the Gambia River on a local transport barge to arrive at the famous Tendaba Camp on the southern shore of the Gambia River. The ferry can be quite a chaotic local experience! Tendaba Camp was the first inland hotel in The Gambia, and is one of the most popular spots in the country for birdwatchers.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-9 hours (depending on the ferry crossing).

Tendaba is located opposite the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, one of the premier birdwatching sites in Africa. On our full day here we will have an included morning boat trip into the wetlands to spot some of the stunning area's wildlife and natural scenery. We will also have an opportunity to take an optional safari drive around the nearby forests of Kiang West National Park.

In Tendaba we will stay in a basic guest house.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Explore deep into the stunning wetland delta of the Bao Balong Reserve on a motorised pirogue, discovering one of Africa's best birdwatching areas : Included in Kitty 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Take a fun safari truck ride through the dry deciduous forests of Kiang West National Park : GMD 350

About Tendaba:
Tendaba Camp, on the southern shore of the River Gambia, was the first inland hotel in the country. It remains incredibly popular with tourists and birdwatchers, many of whom return year upon year to immerse themselves in the wonderful bird life of the area. The nearby Bao Bolong wetlands and Kiang West National Park comprise of some wonderful mangrove and woodland Eco-systems, and are home to over 300 species of birds including vultures, harrier eagles, sand grouse, kingfishers, hawks and falcons! 

 
Accommodation
  • Rondavel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 8 to 10 "

Border information: Exit The Gambia at Soma, enter Senegal at Senoba. 

Today we will cross the border into the southern Casamance region of Senegal, arriving at the beautiful beaches of Cap Skirring.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have 2 full days in Cap Skirring, where there will be good opportunities for optional activities such as swimming, biking, fishing, quad-biking and sunbathing! While in Cap Skirring, your co-driver will travel to the nearby town of Ziguinchor to obtain Guinea-Bissau visas for the group at the consulate there.

In Cap Skirring we will camp in the grounds of a good beach hotel, where there will likely be the opportunity to upgrade to rooms. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Relax, sunbathe, swim and explore on the idyllic beaches of Cap Skirring and Kabrousse : Free

Head out on a fishing trip on the Atlantic near Cap Skirring, having your catch for dinner that evening! : XOF 15000

Go out on a great day trip on the pirogues along the coast of Cap Skirring and to some nearby scenic islands : XOF 15000

Hire bikes to explore the beautiful coastline of the Altantic near Cap Skirring : XOF 5000

Head on an exhilarating quad-biking expedition down the miles of sandy beaches on the Cap Skirring coast (when available) : USD 40

About Cap Skirring:
Cap Skirring is a town on the beautiful Atlantic coast of the Basse Casamance region of Senegal. It is a popular seaside resort with miles of palm-fringed sandy beaches and perfect ocean temperatures. The area has long been populated by fishermen, but the French immigrants first started to use the area for beach tourism back in the 1960s - today it is very popular with Senegalese and foreign tourists, and there are many optional beach activities available here. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (3 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
" Day 11 to 12"

Border information: Exit Senegal at Mpack, enter Guinea Bissau at São Domingos.

Today we will drive across the border into the very rarely-visited country of Guinea-Bissau, and drive to its capital of Bissau.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day, we will have time to freely explore the city and the old Portuguese centre of Bissau Velho. 

In Bissau we will stay in a local hotel.

About Bissau:
Bissau is the small capital city of Guinea Bissau - its old Portuguese colonial centre of Bissau is noted for its crumbling pastel-coloured buildings, bustling backstreets and busy dock area. Still bearing the scars of the civil wars of 1997-8, the city is quite under-developed - however, it does have a very unique atmosphere and is an interesting place to explore. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 13 to 15"

Border information: Exit Guinea-Bissau at Kandika, enter Guinea at Kandika.

From Bissau we will journey through Guinea-Bissau and into the remote hilly areas of northern Guinea on our way to the town of Labé, the gateway to the stunning Fouta Djallon highland region. The roads on this section are very challenging dirt roads which take us through some incredibly remote areas, and our speed will largely be determined by the state of these roads - although getting to these areas is very special and a great adventure, even more flexibility will be required on these days!

We will stop for 2 wild camps en route - the first is likely to be next to the Guinean border at Kandika, the second is likely to be in the highlands past the village of Seriba.

In Labé we will stay in a pleasant local hotel.

Estimated Drive Times - 9-10 hours each day.

About Labé:
The city of Labé is the second-largest in Guinea, and was founded around 1755 by the Muslim leader Karamoko Alpha mo Labé, who introduced Islam in the region in the 18th Century and founded a theocratic state in Fouta Djallon. The town is the gateway to the spectaclar Fouta Djallon highland region of northern Guinea
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
" Day 16 to 17 "

From Labé we will set off for an included 2-day excursion to the heart of the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.

On the first day we will travel in 4x4 jeeps through very remote country roads to the small rural community of Aïnguel (approximately a 4 hour drive). After lunch there will be a short 3-hour trek to a waterfall viewpoint and to the nearby 'Pont de Pierre' rock bridge where we have the change to swim in a beautiful natural lagoon.

On this night we will stay in a very small and basic community-run guesthouse - please note that if the group is large, some people may need to sleep in tents just outside.

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 dependent 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 Labé to spend the night in our guesthouse there.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Guided 2-day excursion to the stunning highland region of Fouta Djallon, with treks through the scenic hills to the incredible waterfalls and local villages, and an overnight stay in a community guesthouse : Included in Kitty

About Fouta Djallon:
The dramatic highland landscape of the Fouta Djallon region consists of many towering sandstone formations, beautiful plains and forests. Erosion by rain and rivers has carved deep canyons and valleys into the sandstone, and have produced some incredible waterfalls to visit- the area has some of the best hiking trails in West Africa, and during our time here we'll stay with a small local community in their tiny guesthouse! 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leaving the Fouta Djallon region behind us, we head south through central Guinea to the town of Mamou.

In Mamou we will stay in a local guest house.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. 

About Mamou:
Mamou is a city in a valley of the Fouta Djallon area of Guinea. It grew around the railway line from Conakry to Kankan and soon became the local administrative headquarters. Its main industry used to be until the 1990s decade meat processing. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will continue our drive south through Guinea, stopping to wild camp close to the border with Sierra Leone. 
 
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. 
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
" Day 20 to 21 "

Border information: Exit Guinea at Pamalap, enter Sierra Leone at Kindia.

Today we leave Freetown for the stunning beaches of Freetown Peninsular, where we will spend 2 nights for some well-deserved relaxation after our journey through the tough roads of Guinea.

There are a few different options for which beaches we could choose to visit, our favourites being Bureh Beach at the south of the peninsular and River Number 2 Beach in the western part. 

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have a full day for optional activities on the wonderful beaches - we could go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities, and of course relax on the beautiful beaches!

On Freetown Peninsular we will camp on the beach, with some options to upgrade to basic guest houses.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Relax on some of the best beaches in the world dotted along the Freetown Peninsular : Free

Take a boat trip to explore the beautiful and overgrown Banana Islands off the coast of the Freetown Peninsular : USD 25

Visit the orphan chimpanzees at Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary outside of Freetown, a wonderful organisation that rehabilitates rescued chimpanzees for their return to the wild : USD 15

Head out with the locals in their traditional wooden boats to try your hand at fishing : USD 10

Hire surfboards to take out onto the waves of Bureh Beach, one of West Africa's best surfing spots : USD 10

Head out on a diving trip around the reefs and shipwrecks off the Banana Islands : USD 180

Snorkel through the idyllic waters off the Banana Islands near Freetown Peninsular : USD 120 

About Freetown Peninsular:
Sierra Leone's capital city of Freetown is perched on the northern tip of a mountainous peninsular on the Atlantic coast. The peninsular is one of the most beautiful areas of Africa, and features some incredible tropical beaches - the beaches are lined with palm trees, have stunning white sands and glittering blue oceans, and are dotted with lively beach communities and fishing villages. We will normally camp on Bureh Beach, an idyllic stretch of coast on the southern peninsular which features some excellent surfing and boat trip opportunities. One highlight of a stay on the peninsular is to take a trip out to the nearby Banana Islands, a serene and historic island dotted with old buildings and ancient cannons. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we will have a short drive up the western side of the Freetown Peninsular to arrive in the Aberdeen district of the city of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

In Freetown we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

See the Freetown Cotton Tree, the city's most famous landmark and home to hundreds of bats that fly out at dusk : Free

See the King's Yard Gate, where the ancestors of all modern Creole people will have passed through on their way to a free life after their rescue from illegal slaving ships : Free

Learn about Sierra Leone's traditional history and cultures at the National Museum : Free

Take a boat to the overgrown ruins of the old slaving fort of Bunce Island, from where the ancestors of most modern African-Americans were shipped to the New World : USD 150

Visit the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, a remarkable collection of old trains that was hidden from destruction for 30 years : USD 5

About Freetown:
Freetown, the lively capital of Sierra Leone, is steeped in history and culture. In 1787, British philanthropists founded the "Province of Freedom" which later became Freetown, a British crown colony and the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade. By 1792, 1200 freed slaves from Nova Scotia joined the original settlers, and the city began to grow as the new home for freed slaves. The city became the capital of British West Africa between 1808 and 1874, and was the base for the Royal Navy's mission to enforce the ban on the Atlantic slave trading. In more modern times, Freetown saw a lot of fierce fighting during the Sierra Leonean civil war, and in ultimately unsuccessful attacks from the rebel armies. Today, Freetown is a thriving and bustling city and the centre of Krio culture in West Africa. There are some wonderful highlights nearby, including the famous Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the mountains overlooking the city. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border information: if you are joining in Freetown, you will most likely enter Sierra Leone at Freetown Lungi International Airport (IATA code: FNA).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport, visas, and insurance details at this meeting.

The afternoon will be free to explore Freetown and it's surroundings.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Freetown before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Freetown.

In Freetown we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

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 Guest house is slightly further down and on the other side of the road.

Hotel for the night: Raza Guest house
Raza Guest house
62 Sir Samuel Lewis Road
Aberdeen
Freetown
Sierra Leone
Tel - +232 3350 6305

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

See the Freetown Cotton Tree, the city's most famous landmark and home to hundreds of bats that fly out at dusk : Free

See the King's Yard Gate, where the ancestors of all modern Creole people will have passed through on their way to a free life after their rescue from illegal slaving ships : Free

Learn about Sierra Leone's traditional history and cultures at the National Museum : Free

Visit the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, a remarkable collection of old trains that was hidden from destruction for 30 years : USD 5

Take a boat to the overgrown ruins of the old slaving fort of Bunce Island, from where the ancestors of most modern African-Americans were shipped to the New World : USD 150

About Freetown:
Freetown, the lively capital of Sierra Leone, is steeped in history and culture. In 1787, British philanthropists founded the "Province of Freedom" which later became Freetown, a British crown colony and the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade. By 1792, 1200 freed slaves from Nova Scotia joined the original settlers, and the city began to grow as the new home for freed slaves. The city became the capital of British West Africa between 1808 and 1874, and was the base for the Royal Navy's mission to enforce the ban on the Atlantic slave trading.

In more modern times, Freetown saw a lot of fierce fighting during the Sierra Leonean civil war, and in ultimately unsuccessful attacks from the rebel armies. Today, Freetown is a thriving and bustling city and the centre of Krio culture in West Africa. There are some wonderful highlights nearby, including the famous Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the mountains overlooking the city. 

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 2 to 4 "

Today we leave Freetown for the stunning beaches of Freetown Peninsular, where we will spend 3 nights.

There are a few different options for which beaches we could choose to visit, our favourites being Bureh Beach at the south of the peninsular and River Number 2 Beach in the western part.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

We will have 2 full days for optional activities on the wonderful beaches - we could go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities, and of course relax on the beautiful beaches!

On Freetown Peninsular we will camp on the beach, with some options to upgrade to basic guest houses. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit the orphan chimpanzees at Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary outside of Freetown, a  wonderful organisation that rehabilitates rescued chimpanzees for their return to the wild : USD 15

Relax on some of the best beaches in the world dotted along the Freetown Peninsular : Free

Take a boat trip to explore the beautiful and overgrown Banana Islands off the coast of the Freetown Peninsular : USD 25

Head out with the locals in their traditional wooden boats to try your hand at fishing : USD 10

Hire surfboards to take out onto the waves of Bureh Beach, one of West Africa's best surfing spots : USD 10

Head out on a diving trip around the reefs and shipwrecks off the Banana Islands : USD 180

Snorkel through the idyllic waters off the Banana Islands near Freetown Peninsular : USD 120

About Freetown Peninsular:
Sierra Leone's capital city of Freetown is perched on the northern tip of a mountainous peninsular on the Atlantic coast. The peninsular is one of the most beautiful areas of Africa, and features some incredible tropical beaches - the beaches are lined with palm trees, have stunning white sands and glittering blue oceans, and are dotted with lively beach communities and fishing villages.

We will normally camp on Bureh Beach, an idyllic stretch of coast on the southern peninsular which features some excellent surfing and boat trip opportunities. One highlight of a stay on the peninsular is to take a trip out to the nearby Banana Islands, a serene and historic island dotted with old buildings and ancient cannons. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (3 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
" Day 5 to 6 "

Leaving the Freetown Peninsular behind, today we have a full day's drive through Sierra Leone to the Tiwai Island Sanctuary, one of Sierra Leone's largest inland islands.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day, we will enjoy various nature walks through the web of trails that weave through the Tiwai forest. We'll be in search of the rare and colourful primates that inhabit the sanctuary, and if we're very lucky we may spot a very rare pygmy hippo! 

In Tiwai we will stay for 2 nights sleeping in tents perched on covered platforms.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Visit the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, home to one of the densest populations of primates and pygmy hippos in Africa, and enjoy several included walks around the web of trails on the island : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Take an optional canoe or motor boat tour through the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary (if available) : USD 10

About Tiwai Island Sanctuary:
Tiwai is a small island on the River Moa in southern Sierra Leone, and is home to one of the highest concentrations of primates in the world. The island contains many rare and endangered species such as the Diana monkey, Red and Olive Colobus monkeys, as well as many wild chimpanzees, who use stones as hammers and tree roots as anvils to crack open hard nuts. There are also around 135 different species of birds, including 8 types of hornbills and the White-breasted Guinea fowl.

Webs of trails weave through the Tiwai forest, allowing visitors and researchers to explore up to 50kms of walking paths. If you move silently through the forest, you may be lucky enough to spot some of the island's colourful primates or even the unique and elusive pygmy hippopotamuses! 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Nature walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
" Day 7 to 8 "

Over the next 2 days we will travel north up through Sierra Leone to the small town of Kabala. Kabala is famous for being an oasis of cool air in the hills of northern Sierra Leone, and for its traditional Ronko-dyed clothes - shirts or gowns made of strips of cloth, typically dyed a rusty reddish-brown using local pigments.

We aim to wild camp near the town of Makeni en route, or we may stay in a local guest house depending on the size and wishes of the group. In Kabala we will stay in a basic local guest house.

Estimated Drive Times - 6-8 hours each day. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Freely explore the markets of Kabala or walk to the top of the nearby Gbawuria Hill : Free

About Kabala:
The small town of Kabala is up in the cool Wara Wara hills of northern Sierra Leone, and its cool atmosphere can be a welcome relief from the heat of the coast! Surrounded by forests and hills, it has a serene atmosphere and some pleasant walks around the area. It is famous in Sierra Leone for the traditional red fabric-dyeing technique known as Ronko. 
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
" Day 9 to 10 "

Border information: Exit Sierra Leone and enter Guinea at Gberia-Fotombu.

The next 2 days we will spend travelling through the remote border region between Sierra Leone and Guinea, driving through scenic areas very rarely visited by tourists and wild camping for a night en route. We will arrive at the small Guinean town of Faranah on the second day.

The road conditions in this area can be pretty tough going and unpredictable, and progress can be greatly affected by the weather conditions, so flexibility is very important over these days.

We will wild camp en route for the first night, and stay in a local guest house in Faranah on the second night.

Estimated Drive Times - 5-8 hours each day.

About Gberia Fotombu:
The roads between Faranah in Guinea and Kabala in Sierra Leone can be a serious challenge. Taking on narrow dirt forest roads, deep ruts and corrugations, fording rivers - this is rugged over landing at its best, truly off the beaten track in a remote part of West Africa! 
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we will travel through the central region of Guinea, stopping for a night in one of the towns en route (depending on how the drive goes, this may be Macenta or Guéckédou).

In Macenta or Guéckédou we will stay in a small locally-run hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours. 
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 12 to 13 "

Today we will continue through the forested region of Guinea, visiting one of the famous vine bridges (Pont de Liana) en route. We will arrive at the small town of Nzerekoré in the heart of Guinea's Forest Region.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

On the following day, we will have free time to explore the town, the nearby villages and the surrounding forests.

In Nzerekoré we will stay in a small locally-run guest house.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Trek to the Pont de Liana, one of the phenomenal old vine bridges in the forested region of Guinea : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Freely explore the forested region of Guinea and the market town of Nzerekoré on foot : Free 

About Forested Guinea
Forested Guinea (Guinée Forestière) is a forested mountainous region in south eastern Guinea, one of four natural regions in Guinea which covers around a quarter of the country. The region is known for its diverse ethnic population, including the Toma and Lissi groups, and also became a shelter for large numbers of refugees from the Sierra Leonean, Liberian, and Ivorian civil wars of the 1990s and 2000s.

The area is also famous for its traditional vine bridges that are dotted around the area - the bridges are masterpieces of utilising the natural environment, using only the vines to make sturdy crossings that span the wide rivers of the region. We will attempt to find a traditional 100-year old vine bridge on our journey through the beautiful area. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 14 to 15 "

Border information: Exit Guinea at Gbakoré, enter Côte d'Ivoire at Gbapleu.

The next 2 days are spent crossing the border and driving through central Côte d'Ivoire. These days take us through some very remote areas and some very poor quality dirt roads, so a great deal of flexibility is needed as our progress will largely be determined by the state of the roads.

Both nights will be spent wild camping en route.

Estimated Drive Times - 7-9 hours each day. 
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
" Day 16 to 17 "

Today we will drive through the lush countryside to the northern Ivorian town of Korhogo, famed for the multitude of crafts that are made there.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day, we will head out on an included tour around many of the handicraft workshops in the area, visiting painters, bead makers, wood carvers and cloth weavers. We will also have time to freely explore the town and its surroundings.

In Korhogo we will stay in a small local hotel.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Head out on a half day trip exploring the many local handicrafts from the area, including a painter's collective, a woodcarver's shop, a bead-making workshop and a cotton-weaving community : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

See a performance of drumming and acrobatic dancing in the villages near Korhogo : USD 5

About Korhogo:
The town of Korhogo in the north of Côte d'Ivoire is famed for its various traditional handicrafts. On a tour around the area surrounding Korhogo, we will gain a fascinating insight into the life of the local Senoufo people and see some of the traditional crafts being made. We will usually visit a collective of painters, a ceramic jewellery workshop, a district of wooden mask carvers and a village of cloth weavers. It's a wonderful place to search out some souvenirs - be prepared to haggle! 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of the local cloth weavers
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 18 to 19 "

Today we will drive to Yamoussoukro, the tiny and bizarre capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Yamoussoukro was the birthplace of Felix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of independent Côte d'Ivoire, and is also the unusual location of the colossal and breathtaking Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, the largest Christian church in the world.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On the following day we will have an included visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, and then have free time to further explore the small city.

In Yamoussoukro we will stay in a local hotel. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Visit the opulent Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix, the largest Christian place of worship in the world : Included in Kitty

About Yamoussoukro:
The tiny town of Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Côte d'Ivoire - although being much smaller and more isolated than the huge coastal city of Abidjan, Yamoussoukro was the hometown of the long-serving post-independence President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who decided it should be the country's capital and proceeded to spend exorbitant amounts of money on developing it. Most of that money was spent on his showpiece project, the Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix. Despite such a low percentage of the population actually being Catholic, the President spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this grand basilica - based on St. Peter’s in the Vatican, the basilica is the largest Christian place of worship in the world! The tiny town itself also boasts six-lane highways that lead nowhere, a bizarre 1960s-futuristic hotel, and the secretive Presidential Palace - Yamoussoukro is a surreal place that has to be seen to be believed! 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 20 to 21 "

Today we will drive to the Atlantic coast, arriving at the old French colonial capital of Grand Bassam situated east of Abidjan.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day, we will have a free day to explore the old colonial town and to relax on the beautiful beaches around our hotel.

In Grand Bassam we will stay in a local hotel on the beach. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Freely explore the stunning beaches and old colonial buildings of Grand Bassam, the original French capital of Côte d'Ivoire : Free

Visit the National Museum of Costume, which showcases the cultural dresses of the different tribes of Côte d’Ivoire : XOF 2000

About Grand Bassam:
The tiny town of Grand Bassam was for a short time the French colonial capital between 1893 and 1896, before a bout of yellow fever forced them to move the capital up the coast to Bingerville. Grand Bassam is a pleasant town with a small old colonial centre, and is a great place to kick back and relax on the serene beaches. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 22 to 23 "

Border information: Exit Côte d'Ivoire at Elubo, enter Ghana at Elubo.

Today we cross into Ghana and then head east along the Atlantic coast to the beaches of Beru Akyinim near the historic town of Elmina.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day, we will get involved with the currently community projects being run in the Elmina area by the SABRE Charitable Trust. The Trust does very valuable work in developing educational projects across Ghana, with a focus on providing early-years education - Dragoman has been visiting their projects and providing a day of help and a donation for many years, allowing us to give a little back and to experience a wonderful bit of community interaction. The exact experience will depend on what the Trust has a need for at the time, but we could be asked to help to paint a classroom, do a bit of gardening in one of the schools, or simply come and play some games with the kids!

We will also have time for an optional visit to Elmina Castle and to relax on the beautiful beaches on Ghana's Atlantic Coast.

In Elmina we will camp at a stunning beach resort.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Participate in a fantastic day of volunteering and community interaction at the Sabre Trust School project, a charity set up to provide early years education to kids across the Elmina region : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Freely explore the historic Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa built by the Portuguese in 1482 : GHC 20 

About Elmina:
The beaches along the Ghanaian coast near the town of Elmina are some of best in West Africa. The local people here rely heavily on fishing and cultivating coconuts, pineapples and groundnuts to make a living.

Over the last few years Dragoman have been involved with the Sabre Trust, a local grass-roots charity 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 largely due to the work of the Sabre Trust.

On Dragoman's overland trips through Elmina, we get involved with a variety of projects at the school. Depending on your group's 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. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Sabre Trust School project, Elmina
  • Elmina Castle
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we will head into the nearby town of Cape Coast for a fascinating and moving tour of the old slave fort there.

We will then drive inland to the rain forests of Kakum National Park. On arrival we will head out on an included evening walk through the forests in search of wildlife, bugs and snakes! We may also have the chance to visit a small animal sancutary or stingless bee centre en route.

In Kakum National Park we will camp in the grounds of the Park HQ.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-4 hours. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Learn all about the appalling history of the Atlantic slave trade with a tour of the historic Cape Coast Castle : Included in Kitty

Head on foot through the stunning jungles of Kakum National Park at night in search of wildlife : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Learn all about the area's stingless bees and their importance to the local ecology at the International Stingless Bee Centre near Kakum National Park (if time allows) : GHC 10 

Visit the Monkey Forest Resort Animal Sanctuary near Kakum NP, a sanctuary for animals rescued from poachers (if time allows)  : GHC 15 

About Cape Coast:
The bustling fishing town of Cape Coast is home to a huge old fort, one of many built by Europeans along the Atlantic coast in the 17th and 18th centuries. These forts were built to protect the various nations' interests in the trading of ivory, gold and slaves.

The Cape Coast Fort is the largest and one of the best-preserved of these forts - originally constructed by Swedish traders in 1653, it changed hands between Danish, Dutch, and eventually British powers, and was steadily extended into the huge structure that exists today. It became primarly used for slave trading throughout the 18th Century, until the British abolished slavery in 1807 and the fort became a base from which the Atlantic slave trade was fought against. A visit here is very thought-provoking and harrowing, seeing the same cells where unfortunate slaves were held in appalling conditions before being loaded onto ships to the New World.

About Kakum National Park:
Kakum National Park is a protected area of dense rain forest in southern Ghana, just inland of Cape Coast. The forest contains some very rare wildlife such as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo and an incredible array of bird life, which we may be lucky enough to spot on a night walk through the winding maze of paths that criss-cross through the trees.

We will also take an early morning walk along the canopy walkways that are set up amongst the tops of the trees, which offer a unique and unobtrusive way for travellers to experience the forest. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Entrance and Rainforest canopy walk, Kakum National Park
  • Entrance and Tour of Slave Fort at Cape Coast
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
" Day 25 to 26 "

Today we have an early start with an included morning visit to the Kakum National Park canopy walkways. These are a long series of hanging bridges at the forest canopy level that gives us a unique perspective of the rain forest - and at that time of the morning we will have the place to ourselves!

We will then journey north through Ghana's interior to the historic town of Kumasi.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day, we will have lots of time for free exploration of the fascinating town and its museums. Kumasi is the home of West Africa's largest market and was the centre of the Ashanti Kingdom.

In Kumasi we will stay in a local guest house. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Explore the incredible rain forest canopy from the unique suspended bridges in Kakum National Park : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Freely explore the bustling and colossal centre of Kejetia, the largest market in West Africa : Free

Visit the National Cultural Centre and the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum to learn all about the history and culture of the Ashanti civilisation, of which Kumasi is still the capital : GHC 5

Learn all about the life of a modern Ashanti ruler at the Manhiya Palace Museum, and see many of the evocative artifacts and photos on display : GHC 10

Find out all about the British-Ashanti Wars of the 19th century on a guided tour of the Ghana Armed Forces Museum in Kumasi : GHC 8

Escape the city and explore the shore of Lake Bosumtwe, a circular lake formed by a meteorite crash 100 million years ago : GHC 30

About Kumasi:
Kumasi is the ancient capital of the Ashanti Empire, once one of the most important powers in Africa and a well-studied military power that dominated the area between 1700 and 1954. Now it is a thriving, bustling, provincial city with a lively atmosphere, and enjoys semi-autonomous status as the centre of the modern Ashanti culture.

The locals are proud of their Ashanti heritage, and you can learn all about the fascinating history in the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and Manhiya Palace Museum. Kumasi also boasts the labyrinth-like Kejetia market - it is the largest market in the whole of West Africa, and well worth exploring. 
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will drive to Accra, the chaotic capital of Ghana! We will have free time on arrival to explore the city.

In Accra we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

About Accra:
Ghana's sprawling capital of Accra is a bustling coastal city boasting a lively atmosphere and some busy urban beaches full of musicians, acrobats and souvenir sellers.

The Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, and 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 nightlife, 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.
Border information: If you are leaving at Accra, you will most likely exit Ghana at Accra Kotoka International Airport (IATA code: ACC).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Accra. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit the famous Labadi Beach situated on the outskirts of Accra : GHC 5

Learn all about the history and culture of Ghana in the National Museum : GHC 40

Visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, dedicated to the founding father of independent Ghana : GHC 5

Freely explore the huge Independence Square and Black Star Arch in Accra, where independence was celebrated in 1957 : Free

Freely explore the area of Jamestown, Accra's oldest district and a vibrant fishing area : Free

Visit the outside of the famous Osu Castle, the seat of power in Ghana since the 1600s : Free 
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

24 breakfasts, 24 lunches, 24 dinners

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Pirogue (dugout canoe)

Accommodation

Camping ( 22 nights ), hotel / hostel / lodge / cabin ( 27 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

Dates & availability

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Important notes

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.

We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in The Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea and Senegal before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

Essential trip information

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