GHANA, TOGO & BENIN:  VOODOO FESTIVAL
11 NIGHTS // DECEMBER 30, 2017 - JANUARY 11, 2018

December 30:  Depart the United States for Accra, Ghana (ACC)

December 31:  Arrive in Accra, Ghana

Arrive in Accra, capital of Ghana, and transfer to Labadi Beach Hotel. Set amidst tropical landscaped gardens, this famous hotel overlooks one of Ghana’s most beautiful beaches.  

Overnight Labadi Beach Hotel.

January 1:  Winneba Masquerade Festival - Elmina, Ghana

After breakfast, we check out of the hotel and make our way to Winneba for the “Fancy Dress Festival,”  known locally as Kakamotobi, a masquerade festival held annually by the people of Winneba. This colorful festival features brass band music and costumes.  In the afternoon, continue to Elmina, check into the hotel and relax.  (Drive Time from Accra to Winneba- 2 hrs).

Overnight at Coconut Grove Beach Resort.

January 2:  Elmina, Ghana

Explore the old quarter of Elmina and the Castle of St George, the oldest European-constructed building in Africa. Also visit the unique Posuban shrines, structures once responsible for the defense of towns along Ghana’s coast.

Overnight at Coconut Grove Beach Resort.

January 3:  Elmina - Kumasi

Travel to the center of the Ashanti Kingdom, Kumasi. Begin the day with a visit to the Ashanti Cultural Centre featuring a rich collection of Ashanti artifacts. Kumasi is also home to a bustling market selling all manner of goods from crafts to everyday items. In the afternoon, observe a traditional Ashanti funeral, attended by mourners wearing beautifully red or black togas.  (Drive Time from Cape Coast to Kumasi- 3 hrs 30mins)

Overnight  at Golden Tulip Kumasi.  

January 4:  Kumasi

Visit the three famous Ashanti craft villages:  Ahwiaa, the wood carvers’ village; Ntonso, the home of Adinkra cloth; and Bonwire, the Kente weaving village. We will have an opportunity to see how African crafts are made andto buy directly from the artisans who make them. 

Overnight at Golden Tulip Kumasi.  

January 5:  Kumasi to Accra

After breakfast, early morning departure for a Accra. 

Upon arrival, enjoy a sightseeing city tour of Accra. We will drive through the administrative and economic districts of Accra, the capital of Ghana. Points of interest along the tour include the W. E. B. Dubois Centre for Pan African Culture, Independence/ Black Star Square and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. The tour ends at the Arts Centre where we will have an opportunity to photograph and shop in an open-air market renowned traditional artifacts and crafts.  (Drive Time from Kumasi to Accra - 4 hrs)

Overnight at Labadi Beach Hotel.

 

January 6:  Accra — Lome, Togo

After breakfast, drive to Aburi Botanical Gardens. This eco-paradise was created in 1890 for pleasure and scientific research and is a habitat for plants and butterflies from all
around the world. Later in the day, visit the wonderful Woodcarvers’ Village.  Transfer to Lome in the afternoon. (Drive Time from Accra to Lome- 4 hrs). Overnight at Ibis Lomé, Togo.

January 7:  Lome - Cotonou, Benin

After breakfast, depart hotel to tour highlights in and around Lome:  the Grand Marche, Marche des Feticheurs, Musee National, Place de I’ndependence Hotel Azalai Plage.  After lunch we depart for Cotonou, Benin. (3 hours drive). 

Overnight at Azalai Plage, Benin

January 8:  Lome - Ganvie, Benin

After breakfast, take a sensational visit to Ganvie, a village on the water commonly referred to as the ‘Venice of West Africa.’ Witness firsthand the people of Ganvie carrying out their daily routine as vendors in dugout canoes piled high with wares. Enjoy a day of photographing, shopping at the floating market, and relaxing on a canoe ride along the waterways of this exotic 300-year-old village.  Overnight at Azalai Plage, Benin.

January 9:  Ouidah, Benin

After breakfast, depart to Ouidah (1 hour drive) , the cradle of African Traditional Religion. Along the way, tour the temple dedicated to the sacred Python, which is believed to give vitality and protection. We will also visit the sacred forest which houses many shrines dedicated to various deities. 

In the afternoon, visit the historical Museum of Ouidah, located in
an old Portuguese fort built in 1721. This Museum portrays Benin's role in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Later, visit the Port of No Return, a monument built by the Benin Government to commemorate the Africans that were taken from the Dahomey Empire during the Slave Trade.

Overnight at Azalai Plage, Benin.

January 10:  Ouidah (Voodoo Festival), Benin

Spend today delving into the mysteries of voodoo at Ouidah’s annual voodoo festival. Although there are many festivals around the country, this is the largest. You can expect to see followers of the voodoo gods, from the elaborately costumed Zangbetos, to the followers of Kokou, renowned for injuring themselves as a way to reach the divine. Around the edges of the main performance area, you will discover groups from various voodoo temples performing their own rites and rituals. This visit promises fascinating insight into a much maligned religion and will be unlike anything you may have seen before! The celebrations will also be filled with singing, chanting, dancing, beating of drums and drinking various spirits usually gin.

Overnight at Azalai Plage, Benin.

January 11:   Cotonou, Benin – Accra, Ghana and return home

Morning departure for a return trip to Accra by road. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure in preparation towards your journey home in your Day Room (Coconut Grove Regency Hotel) . Drive Time from Cotonou to Accra- 6 hrs approximately. Book your flights out of Accra (ACC) in the evening.

Farewell Dinner and transfer to airport for check-in and final departure back home.