Ghana, Togo & Benin Including the Annual Ouidah Voodoo Festival – Jan 2020

Ghana (Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast) Togo ( Lome, Togoville) Benin (Ouidah, Cotonou, Abomey)

In 1996 the government of Benin decreed that Voodoo was an official voodoo a religion practiced by more than 60% of Benin’s over 10 million residents.

For millions of Beninese, voodoo is an integral part of everyday life. It does have a dark side – and you cannot avoid the many voodoo dolls riddled with pins and nails. Ouidah is the spiritual capital of voodoo and was once a major slave-trading post

On January 10 every year ceremonies and festivities take place on the beach near the monument dedicated to the Place of No Return. Thousands of voodoo believers and adherents gather in Ouidah, the historic centre of voodoo religion to receive blessings from Ouidah’s voodoo chief. This is one of Benin’s most colorful and spectacular events.

The celebrations begin when the supreme voodoo priest slaughters an animal, usually a goat to honor the spirits. This is followed by singing, chanting, dancing, beating of drums and drinking of various spirits usually gin. The area is temporarily Benin’s yearly Woodstock.

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Activity
  1. DAY 1: ACCRA, GHANA – January 5, 2020

    Upon arrival in Accra – you will be met assisted and transferred to your hotel.

    Other activities today will depend on your arrival time and preference.

    Hotel Group A: Accra City Hotel

    Hotel Group B: Best Western Beach Accra

  2. DAY 2: ACCRA – January 6, 2020

    After breakfast go on a full day tour of Accra highlights will include:

    • Independence Square, see the enclosed flame of African liberation, which was lit by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1961.
    • The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, final resting place of Ghana’s first president. Set in attractive gardens, there is an adjoining museum, which contains photos, artifacts and an insight into Dr. Nkrumah’s life. Adjoining the park is the National cultural center, which is Ghana’s largest outdoor arts and crafts market selling traditional crafts from all over West Africa.
    • James Town—one of Accra’s most historic neighborhoods, where history resides on every corner. Best known for its lighthouses (the first of which was constructed in 1875 by the British) as a navigational aid for trading vessels sailing through the Gulf of Guinea. The original structure was ruined but a larger and more improved lighthouse completed in 1921 is still functioning today.
    • “Brazil House” learn about the seven Afro-Brazilians families who returned to settle in Ghana in 1836. Familiar Brazilian/Portuguese last names such as De Souza,    Palmares,   Azumah, Amorin, Da Costa, Santos, De Medeiros, and Olympio are abundant in this section of Accra.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Accra City Hotel

    Hotel Group B: Best Western Beach Accra

  3. DAY 3: ACCRA – LOME, TOGO-  January 7, 2020

    YOU MAY JOIN THE TOUR ON THIS DAY IN LOME

    Today we travel to Togo. After a 3 hour drive you will be assisted through Togo immigration then begin the city tour of Lome and vicinity. Visits include Independence square, the Artisans village, the national museum, the fetish market– the heart of traditional medicine, the fishing harbour, Art Street and the grand Marché, realm of the famous Nana Benz ladies.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Palm Beach

    Hotel Group B: MRode Hotel

  4. DAY 4: LOME – TOGOVILLE-LOME –  January 8, 2020

    Today visit the Akodesséwa fetish market and the slave house in Agbodrafo. Continue to Togoville, a red-earth village which was the homeland of numerous slaves taken to Haiti. Here you will find magic remedies and voodoo charms used by local sorcerers.  Late afternoon return to Lomé.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Palm Beach

    Hotel Group B: MRode Hotel

  5. DAY 5: LOME –OUIDAH, BENIN –  January 9, 2020

    After breakfast, drive to Ouidah the spiritual capital of voodoo religion and was once a major slave-trading post. You will visit the Voodoo Museum, the Sacred Forest, the Cathedral and the Temple of the sacred Pythons where you will see the 41 writhing pythons (41 is  voodoo’s magic number).

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Hotel Casa del Papa

    Hotel Group B: Hotel Casa del Papa

  6. DAY6: OUIDAH –  January 10, 2020

    Today’s you will experience the mysteries of Voodoo religion at Ouidah’s annual voodoo festival.  Although there are many festivals around the country, this is the largest and most revered.  You will see followers and adepts of the various voodoo gods, from the elaborately costumed Zangbetos, to the followers of Kokou. Around the edges of the main performance area groups from various voodoo temples perform their own rites and rituals.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Hotel Casa del Papa

    Hotel Group B: Hotel Casa del Papa

  7. Day 7:  OUIDAH- COTONOU –  January 11, 2020

    YOU MAY END THE TOUR ON THIS DAY IN COTONOU

    Today we complete our tour of Ouida including visits to   the common grave, the tree of forgetfulness and the “Gate of no Return”.  Late afternoon we continue to Continue to Cotonou

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A:  Best Western

    Hotel Group B:  Best Western

  8. Day 8: COTONOU – GANVIE- ABOMEY –  January 12, 2020

    Today we go by small boat to   Nokoue Laketo Ganvie, the biggest stilt village in Africa.  Visit the “Maison de la Francophonie”, the Lovers’ Lane and the floating market. After  Ganvié  continue to Abomey.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Hotel Sun City

    Hotel Group B: Hotel Sun City

  9. Day 9: ABOMEY –  January 13, 2020

    Tours today include the Royal Palace Museum where you may  have an audience with the King of Abomey.  Abomey retains many reminders of its magnificent past including the Palace, the Historical Museum and the Royal Sepulchers bearing witness to a brave and powerful people.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Hotel Sun City

    Hotel Group B: Hotel Sun City

  10. Day 10: ABOMEY-SOKODE- January 14, 2020

    Complete the tour of Abomey then travel to Sokode. Stop to visit Dankoli fetish, believed to be the most important fetish in Benin. Cross back into Togo and drive to Sokode. This evening you will experience a traditional fire dance.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Hotel Central

    Hotel Group B:  Hotel Central

  11. Day 11: SOKODE-KARA – January 15, 2020 

    Drive to Kara, home of the Tamberma people, straddling the border between Togo and Benin. Visit a traditional village where  each mud- house is built as a fortress.  You will have time to visit  several of these magical and enchanting structures, and meet the Tamberma people, some of whom still wear headgear made from the horns of gazelles. In the evening witness a traditional fire dance.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Hotel Kara

    Hotel Group B: Hotel Kara

  12. Day 12: KARA-DAGOMBA VILLAGES –  January 16, 2020

    Today you will cross the border into Ghana via Banjeli village known for Bassar iron works. The original inhabitants were known to live in the sacred forest of Kibre. Continue to Ghana. As soon as we cross the border, we will visit the Nani witch camp in one of the Dagomba villages.  You will learn about the traditions of these proud people who have maintained their culture through many centuries.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Gariba Lodge

    Hotel Group B: Gariba Lodge

  13. Day 13: BOABENG FIEMA MONKEY SANCTUARY – TECHIMAN – January 17, 2020

    After breakfast depart to Techiman,  enroute visit the impressive Kintampo Waterfalls before continuing on to the Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, an area of forest which is home to Mona and Colobus monkeys-considered sacred by the villagers.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A:  Premier Palace Hotel

    Hotel Group B:  Premier Palace Hotel

  14. Day 14: TECHIMAN- KUMASI – January 18, 2020

     We continue to South to Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Kingdom. Visit Manhiya Palace, official residence of Ashanti Kings (Asantehene) until 1974, now a museum containing treasured items relating to the Ashanti Kingdom. Visit the nearby Okomfo Anokye Sword, an important symbol of Ashanti unity that marks the spot where the Golden Stool “descended from the sky” and has been in place for 300 years. Legend says the Ashanti Kingdom would collapse should the sword ever be removed.

     Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Golden Tulip

    Hotel Group B: Noda Hotel

  15. Day 15: KUMASI – January 19, 2020

    After breakfast, visit the Ashanti craft villages:

    The woodcarving village of Ahwiaa, known for the talented craftsmen who fashion royal stools, walking sticks and fertility dolls from wood.

    Next visit the Village of Ntonso where artisan’s hand-stamp patterns on cotton cloth to make Adinkra textiles. You will learn how the black dye is made from the bark of trees.

    Next visit   the village of Bonwire, where the famous Kente cloth is handmade on looms in a time-honored tradition passed down through generations. You will see the Kente weavers in process of creating Kente cloth in various styles, and have the opportunity to try your hand at weaving.

    This evening you may visit Kumasi Central Market (also known as Kejetia Market), the largest open-air market in West Africa, where more than 10,000 vendors sell their wares. Here you will find just about everything, food, fabric, beauty products, handmade crafts

     Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Golden Tulip

    Hotel Group B: Noda Hotel

  16. Day 16: KUMASI-CAPE COAST – January 20, 2020

    Today we travel to Ghana’s Central Region We will stop at the Gold mine town of Obuasi, then at Assin Manso, the burial site of two former slaves from the U. S. and Jamaica whose remains were reinterred here. Visit the “Slave River” where captured Africans were washed before being confined in the Slave Castles to await shipment to the Americas and the Caribbean. This evening go on a guided tour through the ancient town of Elmina. At the harbor you will see the colorful fishing canoes getting ready to go to sea for another night’s task of fishing. This is a picture perfect opportunity for the photographers in the group.

    Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A: Elmina Beach Resort

    Hotel Group B: Elmina Beach Resort

  17. Day 17: KAKUM NATIONAL PARK/CAPE COAST/ACCRA –  January 21, 2020 

    (OPTIONAL DEPARTURE)

    This morning we visit Kakum National Park, one of Ghana’s most famous parks. Take a brief walking tour on the forest floor; see birds, butterflies, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the forests over 40 species of mammals including monkeys and the reclusive forest elephant. Proceed to the canopy walkway. Kakum is home to Africa’s only aerial walkway through the treetops, a 1000 foot long and seven-bridge walkway with viewing platforms that reach heights of over 150 feet above ground. After lunch return to Cape Coast and visit Cape Coast Castle and the Castle Museum for a guided tour. Cape Coast Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was one of the departure points for Africans being sent into slavery in the Americas. The castle is home to the infamous “Door of No Return”. This evening return to Accra.

     Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

    Hotel Group A : Accra City Hotel

    Hotel Group B: Best Western Beach Accra

  18. Day 18: ACCRA – DEPART –  January 22, 2020

     Today is at leisure.  You will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meal(s): Breakfast

Trip Includes:

  • Meeting and assistance upon arrival and departure
  • Round-trip airport/hotel transfers
  • Hotel accommodation in the listed properties
  • Transportation in private vehicle
  • Experienced tour guide
  • Admission to listed sites
  • Meals indicated
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