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12 day Africa and beyond time Safari

DAY 1: Accra, Gulf of Guinea - GHANA
Arrival in Accra (Ghana) and transfer to the hotel. Free time to relax.

Meals own arrangements
Overnight Novotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 2: African Metropolis, from Accra to Sogakope (120 km – 3 hr) - GHANA
Accra, the capital of Ghana, has maintained its unique identity despite the fast paced development currently underway in this intriguing African city. The luxuriant administrative area, punctuated with elegant villas built during the first half of the 19th century, reminds us that Ghana was one of the most flourishing British colonies in West Africa.
The program includes a visit to the National Museum, one of the first works of independent Ghana - the idea inspiring the Museum is to relate Ghanaian art to the rest of the continent and to prove the existence of an African history as part of the general history of humanity. We explore the old quarter of James Town, inhabited by the local population known as the Ga. Facing the Ocean is where local native people life fully unfolds: a village surrounded by the city! Here all economic activities follow very different rules from the ones governing “the city” (business area), just a few hundred meters away. Our tour continues with the visit of a workshop where they specialize in building fantasy coffins. These special handcrafted coffins can reflect any shape: fruits, animals, fish, cars, airplanes…. the only limit being imagination! Started in Africa, these flamboyant coffin designs are by now collected worldwide and exposed in museums.
Departure to the Volta region to attend a Voodoo ceremony: the frenetic rhythm of the drums and the chants of the adepts help calling in the voodoo spirit who then takes possession of some of the dancers. They fall into a deep trance: eyes rolling back, grimaces, convulsions, insensitivity to fire or pain. Sakpata, Heviesso, Mami Water are just some of the voodoos divinities who can show up. In this narrow village, surrounded by the magic atmosphere of the ceremony, we will finally understand what people mean when they say: “In your Churches you pray God; in our voodoo shrine we become God!”
Voodoo is a religion that has been passed on by the ancestors and is still fervently practiced. Although for many Europeans voodoo is only a vulgar form of black magic, in truth voodoo is a true religion, far richer and more complex than people often think.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Cisneros Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 3: Waterfalls, from Sogakope to Wli (180 km – 4 hr) - GHANA
The Monkey Sanctuary of Tafi Atome was created in 1993 to protect a community of sacred monkeys living in the forest. According to century-old traditions, in this village monkeys and turtles are considered sacred species thus demanding respect and protection - in particular monkeys are the “spokesman” of turtles. We will take a lovely walk in the forest to encounter this great community of Monas and Colobus monkeys.
We will also discover the beautiful Wli Waterfalls, on the border with Togo, where water falls from a height of 60-80 meters. The walk to reach the falls, is approximately 45 minutes (nice flat path) and it will allow us to sight some of the 200 species of birds and the 400 species of butterflies which have been identified in the region.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Wli Water Highs Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon and fan)

DAY 4: Savannah, from Wli to Nkwanta (150 km – 4 hr) - GHANA
Volta Region: from tropical forest to northern savannah. Visits of coffee and cocoa plantations in a luxuriant region; stops in small villages inhabited by a very friendly population, happy to welcome the rare visitors.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Gateway Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 5: Witches, from Nkwanta to Yendi (180 km – 4 hr) - GHANA
It is here, in this savannah, that the Dagomba live, a tribe that represents one eighth of the entire Ghanaian population. They are mainly farmers and have always shared their territory with other tribes such as the Kokomba. They build round clay huts with thatched roof. The house of the village chief, where the council of the elders meets, is easily recognizable thanks to its larger size and style: it has a central pole supporting the roof and the entry is framed with pieces of burned clay.
Further ahead we meet a very large settlement of … witches! All exiled from their villages because found guilty of terrible events such as the death of a teenager, a mysterious disease or a bad harvest…they now live all together in a specific place. We will chat with them about their life and about the special shrine which protects them, “cleansing” their spirit from bad will. Their warm welcome dramatically contrasts with the gravity of the stories that justify them being here.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Kamil Legacy Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon and fan, basic)

DAY 6: Oracle, from Yendi to Bolgatanga (230 km – 5 hr) - GHANA
We take an interesting walk to discover a sacred hill. Locals believe that this mysterious place - where many high stone pinnacles are stacked up in an unbelievably irregular way – is the former home of the Gods. Inside a deep crack on the higher side of the mountain there is the oracle’s cave, an important place of pilgrimage however people are allowed inside only if accompanied by adepts. In this mountain live the Talensi people. Their typical fortified house, where around sixty people can live together, is made of clay and wood. It looks like a maze and is only accessible through the single entrance door. Alleys, small stairs, egg-shaped rooms and terraces all make up a harmonious whole of a great beauty.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Crystal Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 7: African frescoes, from Bolgatanga to Wa (320 km – 6 hr) - GHANA
In the morning we meet with the Gurunsi tribe living in adobe fortified buildings decorated with amazing black, red and white African frescoes. Their society is organized around gender: men are in charge of constructions while women take care of painting and decorating, using natural colours on an okra background. Men build houses by putting different layers of clay over support pillars and arches, walls and terraces are then made waterproof by spreading a mix with zebu dung. It is at this point that women take over and paint amazingly beautiful and intricate frescoes. An excellent example of African art where architecture and painting merge and give life to a “fluid” masterpiece, the kind of sculptural architecture that highly influenced the work of Le Corbusier. And the only way to really understand and appreciate the intense beauty of this art-work is to see it first hand.
Continuation to Wa, a city dating back to the XVIIth century, at the junction of important communication roads. The Royal Palace reflects the Sudanese architectural style brought in from the Sahel through marabous, traders and storytellers. Meeting with the King of Wa (Wana) if he is available.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Upland Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 8: Fortified villages, Wa - GHANA
Day dedicated to the meeting with some members of the Lobi tribe. Each family lives in a big fortified building made of clay, protected by a high wall with no access and made up of a rectangular granary surrounded by different rooms and a cowshed. Entering their house, you will be surprised by the light: a mainly dark environment where only a few “rays” penetrate, the result is a very supernatural atmosphere.
In Lobi society, the chief of the family represents the only authority. In charge of everything and everyone before the elders’ council or the government, he is responsible for shrines as well as for the organization of labour in the fields. The Lobi are also very talented in art: they excel in music (in particular in playing balafon) and the little wooden statues they carve for the cult of their ancestors are highly valued by African art collectors.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Upland Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 9: Adobe Mosques, from Wa to Techiman (330 km – 6 hr) - GHANA
We start our journey Southwards, leaving the dry savannah backdrop to enter the livelier and more colored forest landscape. Our dusty road follows the tracks of the former caravan road that used to connect the main trading centres of the Sudanese kingdom such as Djenné or Timbuktu to the region of Kumasi, very important for gold mining and for the production of cola nuts. The presence of mosques in Sudanese style is proof of the successful trading deals between peoples of the savannah and peoples of the forest.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Encom Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 10: Ashanti, from Techiman to Kumasi (130 km – 2 hr) - GHANA
Late morning arrival in Kumasi, the historical and spiritual capital of the old Ashanti Kingdom. The Ashanti people were one of the most powerful nations in Africa until the end of the XIXth century, when the British annexed Ashanti Country to their Gold Coast colony. The tribute paid today to the Asantehene (=King) is the best evidence of their past splendour and strength. With nearly one million inhabitants, Kumasi is a sprawling city with a fantastic central market, one of the biggest in Africa. Every type of Ashanti craft (leather goods, pottery, Kente cloth) is found here, along with just about every kind of tropical fruit and vegetable.
The program includes a visit to the Ashanti Cultural Centre: a rich collection of Ashanti artifacts housed in a wonderful reproduction of an Ashanti house.
In the afternoon we participate – if available – in a traditional Ashanti funeral, attended by mourners wearing beautifully red or black togas. We say “funerals” but it means a “festive” celebration: the deceased in fact is believed to be still with his/her family and through this ceremony he/she becomes an ancestor. Relatives and friends gather, socialize and celebrate his/her memory. The chief arrives surrounded by his court under the shade of large umbrellas while drums give rhythm to the dancers whose intricate moves are highly symbolic

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Miklin Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 11: Golden Kingdom, from Kumasi to Anomabu (230 km – 5 hr) - GHANA
On a Sunday morning, Kumasi wakes up slowly and the streets of the city, not too busy, become like a charming and interesting stage to any curious traveller: the colonial buildings around the market, the very original hand-painted advertisement signs (real urban art!), the railway lines crossing the central market, the devotees going to church in their Sunday clothes - so out of fashion to actually be of great fashion!
We also will visit the Royal Palace Museum - hosting a unique collection of gold jewels worn by the Ashanti court – and a few nearby villages specialised in weaving the traditional Kente cloth, praised by the socially important people and used to make special ceremonial stools.
Akwasidae Festival. On the Ashanti calendar certain days each year are set aside for a very special celebration at the Royal Palace in Kumasi and this traditional ceremony takes place in one of the last African Kingdoms which has maintained its ancient rituals still alive.
During this celebration, the King sits under a spectacular colorful umbrella, is adorned in vivid cloth and massive centuries old jewelry (Ashanti gold jewelry and masks are considered masterpieces of African art) and is surrounded by the Ashanti elders and advisors, all under the authority of the Royal Speaker who holds in his hands the symbols of power. In front of the King a narrow passage of dignitaries is also formed, representing all roles and positions of power within the kingdom: sword and knife bearers, armed guards, carriers of beautiful ostrich feathers fans etc. The ceremony is then made up of a procession of royal court attendants bringing gifts, storytellers reciting the history of the Ashanti Kings, drummers & trumpeters playing horns of ivory. Corpulent dancers dressed in vivid red costumes perform an erotic dance. The mother queen also joins the ceremony accompanied by her attendants. We will witness and experience the splendor, the flavor and the atmosphere of one of last great African monarchs of the forests.
In the late afternoon transfer down to the coast.

Meals included in a local restaurant or pic nic and at the hotel
Overnight Anomabu Beach Resort or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

DAY 12: Slave trade castles, from Anomabu to Accra (170 km – 3 hr) - GHANA
In the morning visit of Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in Africa, erected by the Portuguese in the 15th century. At different times the castle has been used as a warehouse to trade gold, ivory, and eventually slaves. The castle we visit today is the result of successive extension works and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old Dutch Cemetery in Elmina goes back to 1806. Outside the castle, a wonderful fishing village with lots of large colorful fishing boats - every day these canoes are guided by skilled fishermen across strong ocean waves and currents, “fighting” to earn a living. In the old town we will see the Posuban, the shrines of the old “Asafo companies” - the warriors who used to put their offerings on the large colorful statues. The alleys in the old town have a very lively atmosphere, bringing us back to a time when Elmina was a busy colonial town.
In the late morning drive to Accra and in the evening transfer to the airport for the flight out.

Meals breakfast and lunch included in a local restaurant and at the hotel; dinner own arrangement
Day-use Rooms in day-use till 18.00 hrs (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)
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Listing Details

+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Based on 6+ Pax 2210 Euro
Based on 2 - 5 Pax 2471 Euro
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