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Itinerary: Ghana, Togo, Benin - Ouidah Festival

Ghana, Togo, Benin - Ouidah Festival

Discover the voodoo traditions of a magical land on this two week trip that takes you right to the heart of the magic of Africa. Witnessing the extraordinary spectacle of the annual voodoo festival, attended by worshippers from across the country - this is one of Africa's most vibrant ceremonies

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Ghana, Togo, Benin - Ouidah Festival

Day 1 - Accra
Arrive in Accra and transfer to your hotel. For those arriving early in the day, the rest of the day is free to explore. Overnight Accra City Hotel or similar.

Day 2 - Accra - Lome
Spend the morning exploring Accra, visiting the National Museum and the old quarter of Jamestown, as well as the quarter where craftsmen design flamboyant coffins for the deceased - a uniquely Ghanaian experience. From here we cross the border into Togo and head to Lome, the only African city to have been colonised by the French, British and Germans. Overnight Ibis Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 3 - Lome - Ouidah
Explore the city including its central markets and the fascinating - if rather gruesome - fetish market, where animal parts are sold for use in traditional medicines. We also meet a traditional healer who can cast more light on the traditional customs found here. Later, we cross into Benin and head to Ouidah for the night. Overnight Hotel Casa del Papa or similar. (BLD)

Day 4 - Ouidah Voodoo Festival
On the 10th January each year Benin holds a national celebration day in honour of its traditional religion and of the cults associated with it. Ouidah in particular is a focus for these ceremonies, and thousands of adepts, traditional chiefs and fetish priests gather here to perform fascinating rites and rituals. This is
an amazing opportunity to witness the traditional culture of the region, where devotees assume the identity of gods and spirits and the realm of the magical is close at hand. Overnight Hotel Casa del Papa or similar. (BLD)

Day 5 - Ganvie - Abomey
Today we head out onto Lake Nokwe to visit Ganvie, the largest stilt village in Africa situated in the middle of the water. The 'village' is home to around 25,000 people, most of whom go about their daily lives without setting foot on dry land. From here we continue to Abomey, once the centre of the powerful kingdom of Dahomey, and home to an impressive Royal Palace. The palace is now a museum displaying various artefacts from that time. Overnight Hotel Jeko or similar. (BLD)

Day 6 - Savalou - Naititingou
Stop at the Dankoli fetish, the most important voodoo shrine in Benin, where we may be able to witness rituals taking place. From here head north to visit the villages of the Taneka people, a small but very traditional ethnic group, and meet their 'feticheurs' (traditional priests). Overnight Hotel Tata Somba or similar. (BLD)

Day 7 - Tamberma Villages - Sokode
Drive into the lands of the Tamberma, one of the region's most traditional groups who live in fortified houses known as 'tatas' - quite a spectacular sight. We cross back into Togo and head north to the town of Sokode. This evening we witness a fire dance, where the participants use burning coals in their performance - another fascinating demonstration of local beliefs and customs. Overnight Hotel Central or similar. (BLD)

Day 8 - Kloto
Drive south to the tropical forests, stopping first in Atakpame to see traditional crafts and then continuing to Kpalime. Explore its markets and continue to nearby Kloto, where we take a night walk in the forest. Accompanied by a local entomologist we learn about the butterflies and other insects that live here. Overnight Auberge Nectar or similar. (BLD)

Day 9 - Koforidua
We cross back into Ghana and drive to the Volta region. This is a centre for the Krobo people, and we see how they create exquisite beads using traditional methods. Overnight Hotel New Capital View or similar. (BLD)

Day 10 - Kumasi
Continue to Kumasi, Ghana's second city and home of the old Ashanti Kingdom. Explore the city including the Ashanti Cultural Centre, which gives a great insight into what once was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the region. If possible, we will be able to see a traditional Ashanti funeral, quite a spectacle at which visitors are welcome. Overnight Miklin Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 11 - Kumasi - Anomabu
Continue our exploration of Kumasi by visiting the Royal Palace Museum, with its unique collection of golden jewellery. We hope to be able to meet a traditional Ashanti chief who can tell us about the customs of his people. From here we drive to Anomabu on the coast. Overnight Anomabu Beach Resort or similar. (BLD)

Day 12 - Elmina - Accra
We visit the fishing town of Elmina, best known for St George's Castle, the oldest European building in Africa and once used as holding centre for slaves. In the two itself we explore the old quarter with its unique Posuban shrines, made by the traditional 'asafo' societies which were once responsible for local defence. From here we drive back to Accra, where day use rooms are available to freshen up before your flight. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (BL)

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Ghana, Togo, Benin - Ouidah Festival

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