Unexplored West Africa, 26 Days | Palace Travel

Unexplored West Africa, 26 Days

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Unexplored West Africa, 26 Days

Senegal (Dakar, St. Louis, Touba, Kaolack, Saloum Island, Ziguinchor) Gambia (Banjul) Guinea Bissau (Bissau, Quinhamel) Guinea (Conakry, Dalaba) Sierra Leone (Freetown) Liberia (Monrovia) Ghana (Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast)

West Africa is waiting to be explored! Have a pleasant tour of the West African coast, visiting the nations of Senegal, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Not only will you take in the vibrant atmosphere of all these countries’ capital cities, but you will also be able to visit their hidden jewels, such as Ghana’s Kumasi, center of the famed Ashanti kingdom.

Day 1: Dakar – November 23, 2018

Arrival in Dakar where you will be met assisted and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight at Djoloff Dakar

Day 2: Dakar -November 24, 2018

Today, go on a tour of Metropolitan Dakar. Visit the colorful markets including Tilen Market, famous for a variety of medicinal herbs and traditional healers. Visit the National Art Gallery and the picturesque district of Medina. In the afternoon visit Gorée Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home the “Door of No Return”. The tour includes a visit to the ethnographic museum and a lecture by the curator on the history of Gorée Island.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Djoloff Dakar

Day 3: Dakar / Pink Lake / St. Louis – November 25, 2018

After breakfast, depart to Saint Louis. On the way stop to visit Pink Lake, a rare natural phenomena caused by a unique combination of microorganism and high concentration of salts which gives the lake its pink color. Interact with the “Salt Harvesters.” This afternoon continue to St. Louis, Senegal’s former French colonial capital.
Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Residence Hotel

Day 4: Saint Louis – November 26, 2018

Early morning excursion to the Djoudj National Park, a world-class bird sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a pirogue ride to better view the many species of cormorants, pelicans, ducks, flamingos, various songbirds and more. You may also see crocodiles, boas, and wild boars. After Djoudj park, return to St. Louis and explore the narrow streets flanked by houses with carved wooden verandas.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight at Residence Hotel

Day 5: Saint Louis / Touba / Kaolack -November 27, 2018

After breakfast continue to Kaolack in the south of Senegal.   You will stop to visit the City of Touba with its Grand Mosque which is the largest and most magnificent in all of West Africa. You will see the tomb of Cheikh Ahmadou Mbacke the founder of Mouridism. You may spend a few minutes in the large library which holds thousands of volumes.  Learn about the history and legend of Touba one of the most significant cities in Senegal.  Touba is an autonomous city in Senegal much like the Vatican in Italy. After Touba, continue to Kaolack with stops in the villages of Wadiour and Keur Khaly.  Meet the locals and learn about their daily activities. Arrive in Kaolack and visit the nearby traditional hospital of Malango where you will meet with healers from different ethnic groups. You may also visit the large open air market in Kaolack.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Le Relais de Kaolack

Day 6 : Kaolack / Sine Ngayene / Banjul – November 28, 2018

After breakfast we continue to Sine Ngayene to see the Stones Circle.  Visit “The Sine Ngayene complex (Senegal) a UNESCO World Heritage Site – It consists of 52 circles of standing stones. In all, there are 1102 carved stones on the site. About 1km east of the circles, (outside the inscribed property) is the quarry from which the monoliths were extracted and where the source of around 150 stones can be traced. The site was excavated in the early 1970s.  The work established that the single burials appeared to precede the multiple burials associated with the stone circles” Early afternoon continue to Banjul, the Capital City of The Gambia, which is surrounded by beautiful scenery of tropical grassland and fascinating beaches.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Atlantic Hotel Banjul

Day 7: Banjul – November 29, 2018

Today, take journey “up-river” to one of Gambia’s most popular sites, the land of Alex Haley’s Roots Saga.  Cruise up-river from Banjul Port and go back 200 years in time. On  arrival at the ancient Trading Station of Albreda which gained fame in the period of slavery as a result of its Flag Pole, which many believed would guarantee freedom to any enslaved person  who touched it after escaping from nearby James Island. Observe the ruins of the Sao Domingo Church, reputed to be one of the oldest churches in West Africa, erected by the Portuguese during the 17th century. Then, take a fifteen minutes’ walk to the village of Juffureh where “Kunta Kinte” of Roots fame traced his ancestry. Visit the original home of Alex Haley’s great grandfather, which stands near to the mosque. It is still occupied by the Kinte family and may be visited during your time here. Continue to the small museum, which gives a good insight into the history of the area’s past. Board the boat for the short river cruise to James Island, steeped in slave trade history. Fortress ruins tell the tale of colonial rivalries, and the beads still buried deep in the sand conjure pictures of the hundreds of people  shackled together awaiting transport to an unknown future. Early evening, board the boat back to Banjul accompanied by the friendly Dolphins who will generally make an appearance. Arrive back in Banjul early evening.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Atlantic Hotel Banjul

Day 8: Banjul / Ziguinchor – November 30, 2018

After breakfast takes a short visit to the National Museum which details the history of The Gambia… We then take a short drive through Banjul to “see the sights,” stopping to visit the general market with much hustle and bustle, where anything from live chicken and vegetables to herbs and live animals  can be bought.

In the afternoon, visit Serrekunda the most densely populated town in The Gambia, then observe a display of “Tie & Dye” skills and beautiful Batik cottons. Late afternoon continue to Ziguinchor, stopping at in Joola villages on the way.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Kadiandoumagne

Day 9: Ziguinchor / Bissau – December 1, 2018

After breakfast depart from Ziguinchor, then cross the border into Guinea-Bissau, where you will visit Bissau, including the National Museum, where the folk art and handcrafted items are found, the Mercado (Central Market) for its vibrant atmosphere and  the ‘Centro Artistico Juvenile’, where young artists exhibit their wares. The old colonial center of Bissau Velho, Porto Pidjiguiti, the Presidential Palace and Fortaleza d’ Amura barracks which has a  memorial to Amilcar Cabral. Make   brief stops at the Guinea Bissau National Arts institute.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Hotel 24 Septembro

Day 10: Bissau / Quinhamel – December 2, 2018

After breakfast depart to visit Quinhamel along the Mar Azul (blue sea).  Visit the Quinhamel weaver’s workshop, see how local sugar cane rum, palm oil and cashew nuts are made Then visit the small market of Quinhamel and interact with local people.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Mar Azul

Day 11: Quinhamel / Bissau / Conakry – December 3, 2018

Travel to Bissau and board the flight to Conakry in the other Guinea in West Africa. Arrive in Conakry and begin the city tour of Conakry- visit the national museum, the people’s palace with the monument of liberty, the monument of Samory Touré, the emperor of Wassoulou, the mosque faycal, the craft and souvenirs markets.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Petit Bateau

Day 12: Conakry / Dalaba – December 4, 2018

Breakfast then tour of Mokebounyi. Visit the market place of Kindia. Drive to Dalaba in the Fouta Jalon region, an interesting farming and agricultural region, sometimes referred to as the African Switzerland. The area was a favorite second home for the late Mariam Makeba whose home, dating from the French colonial period is still immaculately kept.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at SIB Hotel Fouta

Day 13: Dalaba – December 5, 2018

Tour the city of Dalaba, the palace where Ahmed Sékou Touré, first President of Guinea   from 1958 to 1984 lived. Visit the artisans and drive to see the water falls of Kinkon in Pita.

Return to your hotel for overnight.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at SIB Hotel Fouta

Day 14: Dalaba / Voile del la Mariee / Conakry – December 6, 2018

After breakfast, drive to Conakry. Stop on the way to visit Water Falls, le Voile de la Mariee, (Wedding Veil), the Kilissi tourist site with a natural swimming pool and the Valley of Labota which affords a beautiful panoramic view of the region.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Petit Bateau

Day 15: Conakry / Freetown – December 7, 2018

Drive to Sierra Leone admiring the landscape and villages along the route. After border formalities arrive in Freetown and check in your hotel.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Ericson Resort

Day 16: Freetown – December 8, 2018

After breakfast, city tour of Freetown- visit the National Museum, the Big Market, which has wares ranging from crafts to bric-a-brac to traditional medicines and mystical materials.  Visit the historic sites around the center of the city. Travel to the University of Sierra Leone, Fourah Bay College at Mount Aureol.  Fourah College is the oldest University in West Africa.  It is worth a visit, partly because of the stunning view from the elevated location and also the opportunity to see the Botanical Gardens.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Ericson Resort

Day 17: Bunce Island / Freetown – December 9, 2018

Visit Bunce Island, declared a national monument in 1948, was famous as a major European commercial fort built during the slave trading era. It was a meeting place for European traders and African merchants.   Trading of slaves, gold, ivory, and sugar cane was thriving here during the 1800’s, and from where a large number of Africans sent to South Carolina and Georgia. See and feel the Island by touching the canons.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary, located about 40 minutes from the center of Freetown. The Sanctuary was established in 1995, and is committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees. The chimps enjoy a semi-wild life within the 100 acre reserve.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Ericson Resort

Day 18: Freetown / Monrovia – December 10, 2018

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Monrovia.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Bella Casa

Day 19: Monrovia – December 11, 2018

After breakfast, embark on a historical journey through the capital of Africa’s first independent Republic, Monrovia. Formally known as “the city of Christ” or Christopolis, this little city holds a tremendous amount of antiquity. Nestled in Monrovia’s highest point, Ducor Hill is Liberia’s first defense facility, Fort Norris, the country’s first lighthouse, a monument honoring the first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, and the remnants of Liberia’s first five-star hotel (the first in West Africa), The Ducor Hotel. This tour will leave you stunned as the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Saint Paul River serve as the backdrop.

The country’s Declaration of Independence was signed at Liberia’s oldest and most prestigious church, Providence Baptist Church on July 26, 1847. Treat yourself to a full walk through this sacred place which was built in the early 1800’s by returning Americo-Liberians. Monrovia’s historical gems also include the grave site of the country’s most distinguished president, William V.S. Tubman, the Centennial Pavilion, and Providence Island where Liberia’s first town was established in 1822. Drive to and wander in one of the crowded and colorful markets of Monrovia.  Return to your hotel early evening.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Bella Casa

Day 20: Monrovia – December 12, 2018

After breakfast drive to Gbarnga in Bong County.  Just outside of Gbarnga, the capital of Bong County, turn off onto a dusty road, through the rain forest and past tiny villages, where you’ll be mesmerized by the marvels of Kpatawee Waterfall. Covered by the lush canopy, this tumbling waterfall and large natural swimming pool offers a great way to relax and enjoy Liberia’s natural wonders.

Visit a Tribal Chief and experience the warm welcome of the villagers. Visit a few other tribal villages where you will be welcome by the chief and villagers. Learn about the history and culture of each village. Early evening return to Monrovia

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Bella Casa

Day 21: Monrovia/Accra, Ghana – December 13, 2018

You will fly today to Accra.  Akwaaba-Welcome to Ghana. On arrival at Kotoka International Airport, our expert cultural tour guide will meet, assist and transfer you to your hotel in our private vehicle.  Once you have checked in, your guide will brief you on what to expect during your stay here in Ghana.

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

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at La Villa Boutique

Day 22: Accra and vicinity – December 14, 2018

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” learns 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) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at La Villa Boutique

Day 23: Accra/Kumasi – December 15, 2018

Depart to Kumasi, the center of the Ashanti Kingdom. En-route stop at Bunso Arboretum, a protected reserve and a home to over 120 species of birds, some of which are very rare.

There is an herb garden in the Arboretum which contains over 200 different species of herbs with a wide range of uses, from food to medicinal to aromatic. It is a research center for the Plant Genetic Resources Centre.

Continue to Kumasi arriving late afternoon. Start the tour of Kumasi by visiting the Kumasi Cultural Center which houses Prempeh 11 Jubilee Museum, named after a former Asantehene, Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh 11. Exhibits include a replica of the famed Golden Stool, which is believed to have descended from the sky and is a spiritual symbol of unity for the Ashanti people.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Golden Tulip Kumasi

Day 24: Kumasi- Akwasidae Festival – December 16, 2018

After breakfast go on a tour of the Manhyia Palace Museum built as a residence for the Ashanti Kings – now a museum displaying the original furniture and assorted royal memorabilia.

Join the celebration including the pomp and pageantry of the scheduled Akwasidae Festival.

The Asantehene (King of Ashanti), riding in his palanquin and adorned in golden regalia, comes out to receive the homage of his sub-chiefs and people. It is a spectacular occasion with colorful canopies and umbrellas, skillful drummers, dancers and horn-blowers at this centuries old event held every 42 days in honor of the ancestors.

Visit   some of the traditional craft villages starting with the Woodcarving village of Ahwiaa, known for the talented craftsmen who fashion royal stools, walking sticks and fertility dolls from wood,

The next stop is Bonwire, famous as the birth place of Kente. Bonwire produces some of Ghana’s finest Kente cloths, many designs are woven here and some are exclusive only to this region. We will interact with the community, learning about the history behind the many designs.

On the way back to your hotel visit the village of Sokoban Krofrom where traditional brass casting has been the main source of income for generations. Wide selections of items ranging from beads and jewelry to traditional statues are made here. The methods used to produce these intricate brass works have not changed in centuries and during our time here we will see a demonstration of the skilled process.

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Golden Tulip Kumasi

Day 25: Cape Coast – December 17, 2018

Cape Coast Castle - Barry Williams

Cape Coast Castle – Barry Williams

After breakfast, depart for Cape Coast.  You will stop at Assin Manso to see the “Slave River” where captured Africans were washed before being confined in the Slave Castles to await shipment to the Americas and the Caribbean.

Later visit Cape Coast castle, a UNESCO world heritage site. The castle is a thought provoking monument to a sad period in the region’s history. You will journey through the castle which held more enslaved Africans than any other in the region, viewing the dungeons and the infamous “Door of no return”. There is a significant historical museum inside, which explains the history of the castle and of Cape Coast itself. You can purchase literature on Ghana’s forts and castles, as well as the cultural history and traditions of Ghana.

This evening we can enjoy the sights of the many colorful fishing boats bringing their daily catch into the harbor and take the opportunity to mix with the locals at the nearby market. A short distance from the market we visit the boat builders, still building colorful fishing boats using traditional tools and methods spanning centuries

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight at Coconut Grove Beach Resort

Day 26: Cape Coast/Accra/Depart – December 18, 2018

Kakum-walkway

After breakfast visit Kakum National Park, one of Africa’s famous rainforest and canopy walkways. This is a truly beautiful, tropical rainforest and the canopy walkway is sure to be a highlight of your time in Ghana. The walkway consists of a series of 7 bridges, attached to 7 emerging trees, 40 meters above the rainforest floor. Prepare to take a deep breath as you walk the suspended bridges. You will marvel at the outstanding views that stretch for miles across this breathtaking rainforest, as you rest on the tree platforms between the bridges. We are sure you will agree that this is an exciting excursion that won’t be forgotten. We return to the park headquarters where we find an excellent information Centre that offers an informative overview of the park’s flora and fauna. Over 40 different mammal species have been recorded within the park, which includes forest elephants, leopards and 6 primate species to mention just a few. We stop for refreshments at Han’s cottage Boatel, built over a lake containing Nile crocodiles and set in a beautiful location surrounded by tropical rainforest.

Return to Accra stopping at villages along the way.

Arrive in Accra where souvenir shopping opportunities are in abundance.

At the right time you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

OR EXTEND YOUR STAY IN ACCRA

Meal(s) Included: Breakfast

 

Tour Dates 2018

  • October 12 – November 6
  • November 23 – December 18

Tour Dates 2019

  • February 15 – March 12
  • September 13 – October 8
  • October 25 – November 19

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

  • Meeting and assistance upon arrival and departure
  • Roundtrip airport/hotel transfers and luggage handling
  • Hotel accommodation in the listed properties
  • Transportation in private vehicle
  • Experienced tour guides
  • Meals indicated
  • Admission to sites listed

TOUR PRICE DOESN'T INCLUDE

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Cost of Visa
  • Gratuities for driver and guide
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