Day 1 - Dakar
Border information: if you are joining at Dakar, you will most likely enter Senegal at Dakar Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (IATA code: DKR).
Today is an arrival day with a pre departure meeting at 10:00am. Your leader will leave a note in reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport and insurance details at this meeting. The afternoon will be free to explore the cosmopolitan city and perhaps take an optional trip to the famous Île de Goreé. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Dakar before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have
extra time exploring Dakar. In Dakar we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Hotel for the night: Hotel Al Baraka
Hotel Al Baraka
35 Rue A. Karim Bourgi
Tel - +221 338 225 532
Activity Approximate Cost
Take a trip to the atmospheric and historic island of Goreé, exploring its ancient buildings and stepping back in time XOF 5000
Freely explore Senegal's bustling and cosmopolitan capital, and see its magnificent Presidential Palace, Grand Mosque and busy Médina district Free
Discover the incredible beaches of N'gor and Yoff on the northern edge of the Dakar Peninsular Free
See the controversial African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, completed in 2010 - the tallest statue in Africa and built to symbolise Africa's emergence from European domination, it has been criticised by many for its 'Stalinist' design Free
Visit the IFAN Museum of Arts (otherwise known as the Théodore Monod Museum), one of the best museums in Africa with 9000 objects of African art and culture from across the region, including traditional dress, masks, drums, and tools XOF 2500
Visit the Village des Arts, Dakar's hub for local artists to display and showcase their work in a large garden space Free
Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital of Dakar is always bursting with life. This is a city of busy streets, colourful markets and vibrant nightlife - at first it can seem chaotic, but embrace the rhythms of Dakar's life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here. The beautiful Île de Gorée is worth a visit, and you can learn about some of the appalling history of the Atlantic slave trade that was once common there in the 18th Century. The Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir (IFAN) Museum has some great displays of show masks and traditional dress from all across the country. Or you may prefer to just wander the streets, browsing the markets and soaking up the atmosphere. Dakar also has a lively arts scene and you may be able to find some great live music here!
Day 2-3 - St. Louis
Today we head north through the dry Sahel region to the old colonial city of St. Louis, formerly the capital of French West Africa. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here
are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
On the following day we will have a free day to explore the streets of the old city and take an optional trip to the Langue de Barbarie National Park or the nearby Djoudj Birdlife Reserve. In St. Louis we will stay in a colonial-era hotel with good facilities.
Activity Approximate Cost
Freely explore Senegal's atmospheric colonial city of St. Louis, the former capital of French West Africa Free
Marvel at the abundant birdlife in the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, the world's third largest protected area for birds XOF 20000
Explore the incredible landscapes of the Langue de Barbarie National Park on the tip of the sandy peninsular near St. Louis XOF 10000
Visit some of the museums of St. Louis, including the Jean Mermoz museum dedicated to the history of the pioneering French aviators that open up the air route from Africa to South America in the 1930s XOF 600
Day 4-5 - Touba, Toubakouta
Today we start our journey south to the small town of Toubakouta, situated close to the Sine-Saloum Delta. On the way we will see the landscape change as we enter the greener wetland region, and we will stop to see the Grand Mosque of Touba, one of the best known mosques in Senegal and most holy site in the Mouride branch of Islam. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
On our full day in Toubakouta we will have an optional morning pirogue trip to a nearby village to see a slice of rural Senegalese life and to meet their charismatic female chief. In the afternoon we have an included pirogue trip to the mangroves, the 'Shellfish Island' and the 'Island of Birds' - if the weather is
good, there are often some stunning sunsets across the delta. In Toubakouta we will camp in the grounds of a small locally-run hotel.
Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the stunning Grand Mosque of Touba, one of Africa's largest mosques and the holiest site of the Mouride Brotherhood, a sect of Islam that focuses on hard work as a form of salvation Included in Kitty
Take an evening pirogue trip into the heart of the Sine-Saloum Delta to explore the fascinating islands and enjoy the spectacular sunset Included in Kitty
Head out by pirogue to a nearby village to meet the locals (including their female chief!) and learn all about rural village life XOF 2500
Touba is the second-largest city in Senegal and is the spiritual centre of the Mouride branch of Islam. The area was a remote wilderness until 1887, when Cheikh Amadou Bamba (the founder of the Mouride sect) is said to have had a moment of transcendence and decided to found the city of Touba here. The Mouride branch of Islam focuses on the doctrine of hard work, and sees working as holy an endaevour as prayer - Mourides make up about 40% of Senegal's population and are incredibly influential over the politics and culture of the country.
At the centre of Touba is the Great Mosque, completed in 1963 and purported to be one of the largest mosques in Africa. The mosque has five minarets, three large domes, and is the burial place of Amadou Bamba.
Situated amongst a maze of mangroves, the tiny town of Toubakouta is one of the most beautiful spots on the Sine-Saloum Delta. We base ourselves here to take boat trips into the Parc National du Delta du Saloum, which is teeming with birdlife, features some beautiful mangrove scenery, and is dotted with
small islands and villages.
Day 6-7 - Tendaba
Border information: Exit Senegal at Karang, enter The Gambia at Fass. Today we will head across the border from Senegal into the small country of The Gambia, then cross the Gambia River on a local transport barge to arrive at the famous Tendaba Camp on the southern shore of the Gambia River. The
ferry can be quite a chaotic local experience! Tendaba Camp was the first inland hotel in The Gambia, and is one of the most popular spots in the country for birdwatchers. Estimated Drive Time - 6-9 hours (depending on the ferry crossing).
Tendaba is located opposite the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, one of the premier birdwatching sites in Africa. On our full day here we will have an included morning boat trip into the wetlands to spot some of the stunning area's wildlife and natural scenery. We will also have an opportunity to take an optional safari drive around the nearby forests of Kiang West National Park. In Tendaba we will stay in a basic guesthouse.
Activity Approximate Cost
Explore deep into the stunning wetland delta ofthe Bao Balong Reserve on a motorised pirogue,
discovering one of Africa's best birdwatching areas Included in Kitty
Take a fun safari truck ride through the dry deciduous forests of Kiang West National Park GMD 350
Tendaba Camp, on the southern shore of the River Gambia, was the first inland hotel in the country. It remains incredibly popular with tourists and birdwatchers, many of whom return year upon year to immerse themselves in the wonderful birdlife of the area. The nearby Bao Bolong wetlands and
Kiang West National Park comprise of some wonderful mangrove and woodland eco-systems, and are home to over 300 species of birds including vultures, harrier eagles, sand grouse, kingfishers, hawks and falcons!
Day 8-10 - Cap Skirring
Border information: Exit The Gambia at Soma, enter Senegal at Senoba. Today we will cross the border into the southern Casamance region of Senegal, arriving at the beautiful beaches of Cap Skirring.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
We will have 2 full days in Cap Skirring, where there will be good opportunities for optional activities such as swimming, biking, fishing, quad-biking and sunbathing! While in Cap Skirring, your co-driver will travel to the nearby town of Ziguinchor to obtain Guinea-Bissau visas for the group at the consulate there.
In Cap Skirring we will camp in the grounds of a good beach hotel, where there will likely be the opportunity to upgrade to rooms.
Activity Approximate Cost
Relax, sunbathe, swim and explore on the idyllic beaches of Cap Skirring and Kabrousse Free
Head out on a fishing trip on the Atlantic nearCap Skirring, having your catch for dinner that evening! XOF 15000
Go out on a great day trip on the pirogues along the coast of Cap Skirring and to some nearby scenic islands XOF 15000
Hire bikes to explore the beautiful coastline of the Altantic near Cap Skirring XOF 5000
Head on an exhilirating quad-biking expedition down the miles of sandy beaches on the Cap Skirring coast (when available) USD 40
About Cap Skirring:
Cap Skirring is a town on the beautiful Atlantic coast of the Basse Casamance region of Senegal. It is a popular seaside resort with miles of palm-fringed sandy beaches and perfect ocean temperatures. The area has long been populated by fishermen, but the French immigrants first started to use the area
for beach tourism back in the 1960s - today it is very popular with Senegalese and foreign tourists, and there are many optional beach activities available here.
Day 11-12 - Bissau
Border information: Exit Senegal at Mpack, enter Guinea Bissau at São Domingos. Today we will drive across the border into the very rarely-visited country of Guinea-Bissau, and drive to its capital of Bissau.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. On the following day, we will have time to freely explore the city and the old Portuguese centre of Bissau Velho. In Bissau we will stay in a local hotel.
Bissau is the small capital city of Guinea Bissau - its old Portuguese colonial centre of Bissau is noted for its crumbling pastel-coloured buildings, bustling backstreets and busy dock area. Still bearing the scars of the civil wars of 1997-8, the city is quite under-developed - however, it does have a very unique atmosphereand is an interesting place to explore.
Day 13-15 - Northern Guinea, Labé
Border information: Exit Guinea-Bissau at Kandika, enter Guinea at Kandika. From Bissau we will journey through Guinea-Bissau and into the remote hilly areas of northern Guinea on our way to the town of Labé, the gateway to the stunning Fouta Djallon highland region. The roads on this section are very challenging dirt roads which take us through some incredibly remote areas, and our speed will largely be determined by the state of these roads - although getting to these areas is very special and a great adventure, even more
flexibility will be required on these days!
We will stop for 2 wild camps en route - the first is likely to be next to the Guinean border at Kandika, the second is likely to be in the highlands past the village of Seriba. In Labé we will stay in a pleasant local hotel. Estimated Drive Times - 9-10 hours each day.
The city of Labé is the second-largest in Guinea, and was founded around 1755 by the Muslim leader Karamoko Alpha mo Labé, who introduced Islam in the region in the 18th Century and founded a theocratic state in Fouta Djallon. The town is the gateway to the spectaclar Fouta Djallon highland region of northern
Day 16-17 - Fouta Djallon, Labé
From Labé we will set off for an included 2-day excursion to the heart of the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea. On the first day we will travel in 4x4 jeeps through very remote country roads to the small rural community of Aïnguel (approximately a 4 hour drive). After lunch there will be a short 3-hour trek to a waterfall viewpoint and to the nearby 'Pont de Pierre' rock bridge where we have the change to swim in a beautiful natural lagoon.
On this night we will stay in a very small and basic community-run guesthouse - please note that if the group is large, some people may need to sleep in tents just outside. On the second day there is a long 8-hour trek through the surrounding hills and villages taking in the incredible scenery. We will stop for a picnic lunch next to a stunning waterfall, where we have the opportunity to swim in the lagoon beneath. In the latter stages of the trek, we hope to be able to get to the base of a much larger and incredibly powerful waterfall, although this is dependent on the ground waters having receded enough after the rainy season to make this route passable. Upon returning after this walk, we will immediately drive back in the 4x4s to
Labé to spend the night in our guesthouse there.
Activity Approximate Cost
Guided 2-day excursion to the stunning highland region of Fouta Djallon, with treks through the scenic hills to the incredible waterfalls and local villages, and an overnight stay in a community guesthouse
Included in Kitty
About Fouta Djallon:
The dramatic highland landscape of the Fouta Djallon region consists of many towering sandstone formations, beautiful plains and forests. Erosion by rain and rivers has carved deep canyons and valleys into the sandstone, and have produced some incredible waterfalls to visit- the area has some of the best
hiking trails in West Africa, and during our time here we'll stay with a small local community in their tiny guesthouse!
Day 18 - Mamou
Leaving the Fouta Djallon region behind us, we head south through central Guinea to the town of Mamou.
In Mamou we will stay in a local guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Mamou is a city in a valley of the Fouta Djallon area of Guinea. It grew around the railway line from Conakry to Kankan, and soon became the local administrative headquarters.
Day 19 - Southern Guinea
Today we will continue our drive south through Guinea, stopping to wild camp close to the border with Sierra Leone. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Day 20-21 - Freetown Peninsular
Border information: Exit Guinea at Pamalap, enter Sierra Leone at Kindia. Today we leave Freetown for the stunning beaches of Freetown Peninsular, where we will spend 2 nights for some well-deserved
relaxation after our journey through the tough roads of Guinea. There are a few different options for which beaches we could choose to visit, our favourites being Bureh Beach at the south of the peninsular and River Number 2 Beach in the western part. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
We will have a full day for optional activities on the wonderful beaches - wecould go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities, and of course relax on the beautiful beaches! On Freetown Peninsular we will camp on the beach, with some options to upgrade to basic guesthouses.
Activity Approximate Cost
Relax on some of the best beaches in the world dotted along the Freetown Peninsular Free
Take a boat trip to explore the beautiful and overgrown Banana Islands off the coast of the Freetown Peninsular USD 25
Visit the orphan chimpanzees at Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary outside of Freetown, a wonderful organisation that rehabilitates rescued chimpanzees for their return to the wild USD 15
Head out with the locals in their traditional wooden boats to try your hand at fishing USD 10
Hire surfboards to take out onto the waves of Bureh Beach, one of West Africa's best surfing spots USD 10
Head out on a diving trip around the reefs and shipwrecks off the Banana Islands USD 180
Snorkel through the idyllic waters off the Banana Islands near Freetown Peninsular USD 120
About Freetown Peninsular:
Sierra Leone's capital city of Freetown is perched on the northern tip of a mountainous peninsular on the Atlantic coast. The peninsular is one of the most beautiful areas of Africa, and features some incredible tropical beaches - the beaches are lined with palm trees, have stunning white sands and glittering blue oceans, and are dotted with lively beach communities and fishing villages. We will normally camp on Bureh Beach, an idyllic stretch of coast on the southern peninsular which features some excellent surfing and boat trip opportunities. One highlight of a stay on the peninsular is to take a trip out to the nearby Banana Islands, a serene and historic island dotted with old buildings and ancient cannons.
Day 22 - Freetown
Today we will have a short drive up the western side of the Freetown Peninsular to arrive in the Aberdeen district of the city of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. In Freetown we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost
See the Freetown Cotton Tree, the city's most famous landmark and home to hundreds of bats
that fly out at dusk Free
See the King's Yard Gate, where the ancestors of all modern Creole people will have passed through on their way to a free life after their rescue from illegal slaving ships Free
Learn about Sierra Leone's traditional history and cultures at the National Museum Free
Take a boat to the overgrown ruins of the old slaving fort of Bunce Island, from where the ancestors of most modern African-Americans were shipped to the New World USD 150
Visit the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, a remarkable collection of old trains that was hidden from destruction for 30 years USD 5
Freetown, the lively capital of Sierra Leone, is steeped in history and culture. In 1787, British philanthropists founded the "Province of Freedom" which later became Freetown, a British crown colony and the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade. By 1792, 1200 freed slaves from Nova Scotia joined the original settlers, and the city began to grow as the new home for freed slaves. The city became the capital of British West Africa between 1808 and 1874, and was the base for the Royal Navy's mission to enforce the ban on the Atlantic slave trading. In more modern times, Freetown saw a lot of fierce fighting during the Sierra Leonean civil war, and in ultimately unsuccessful attacks from the rebel
armies. Today, Freetown is a thriving and bustling city and the centre of Krio culture in West Africa. There are some wonderful highlights nearby, including the famous Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the mountains overlooking the city.
Day 23 - Freetown
Border information: If you are starting at Freetown, you will enter Sierra Leone at Lungi Airport.
The fastest and most reliable way to Freetown from the airport is by watertaxi, as Lungi is across a bay from the city. The departure times for the watertaxis are linked to each flight in and out of the airport, so there will be transport available for you when you land. Exit the airport and walk to the right, and you'll see the water-taxi office at the end - you'll have to buy your ticket there for USD40 or EUR35, and check in your large bags. You'll take a minibus for 15 minutes, then the water-taxi for 30 minutes. The boat lands at the jetty, where you hand in your luggage ticket to get your large bags back. The jetty is in the Aberdeen district of Freetown, only a 200m walk from our hotel. Just walk up the hill to the main road - the Raza Guesthouse is slightly
further down and on the other side of the road.
Today is an arrival day with a pre departure meeting at 10:00am. Your leader will leave a note in reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport and insurance details at this meeting. The afternoon will be free to explore Freetown and it's surroundings. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Hotel for the night: Raza Guesthouse
62 Sir Samuel Lewis Road
Tel - +232 3350 6305
Day 24-26 - Freetown Peninsular
Today we leave Freetown to spend 3 nights exploring the beaches of Freetown Peninsular. There are a few different options for which beaches we could choose to visit, our favourites being River Number 2 Beach and Bureh Beach. On the beaches there will the be chance to go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities and of course relax on the beach!
Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours. (Please note that all drive times are approximate estimates only - these times will vary due to road conditions, weather, roadworks, road closures, traffic jams, police checks, and many other mitigating factors - flexibility is an absolute necessity when travelling in West Africa!)
Day 27 - Tiwai Island Sanctuary
Leaving the Freetown peninsular behind we have a long drive southeast through Sierra Leone to the Tiwai Island Sanctuary, one of Sierra Leone's largest inland islands. We will stay here for 2 nights sleeping in tents perched on covered platforms. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours
About Tiwai Island Sanctuary:
Tiwai is a small island on the River Moa in southern Sierra Leone, and is home to one of the highest concentrations of primates in the world. The island contains many rare and endangered species such as the Diana monkey, Red and Olive Colobus monkeys, as well as many wild chimpanzees, who use stones as
hammers and tree roots as anvils to crack open hard nuts. There are also around 135 different species of birds, including 8 types of hornbills and the White-breasted Guinea fowl. Webs of trails weave through the Tiwai forest, allowing visitors and researchers to explore up to 50kms of walking paths. If you move silently through the forest, you may be lucky enough to spot some of the island's colourful primates or even the unique and elusive pygmy hippopotamuses!
Day 28 - Tiwai Island Sanctuary
Today is a full day on Tiwai Island to enjoy various nature walks through webs of trails that weave through the Tiwai Forest. We'll be in search of the rare and colourful primates that inhabit the sanctuary, and if we're very lucky we may spot a very rare pygmy hippo!
Day 29-30 - Kabala
Over the next 2 days we travel north up through Sierra Leone to the small town of Kabala. Kabala is famous for a being an oasis of cool air in the hills of northern Sierra Leone, and for its traditional Ronko dyed clothes - shirts or gowns made of strips of cloth, typically dyed a rusty reddish-brown using local pigments. We aim to wild camp near the town of Makeni en route, or we may stay in a local guesthouse depending on the size and wishes of the group. In Kabala we will stay in a local guesthouse. Drive times - 6-8 hours each day.
The small town of Kabala is up in the cool Wara Wara hills of northern Sierra Leone, and its cool atmosphere can be a welcome relief from the heat of the coast! Surrounded by forests and hills, it has a serene atmosphere and some pleasant walks around the area. It is famous in Sierra Leone for the traditional
red fabric-dyeing technique known as Ronko.
Day 31-32 - Gberia Fotombu, Faranah
Border information: Enter Guinea at Gberia-Fotombu The next 2 days are spent travelling through the remote border region between Sierra Leone and Guinea, wild camping en route. The road conditions in this area can be pretty tough going and unpredictable, and progress can be greatly affected by the weather conditions, so flexibility is very important over these days.In Faranah we will stay in a small local guesthouse. Drive times - 5-8 hours each day.
About Gberia Fotombu:
The roads between Faranah in Guinea and Kabala in Sierra Leone can be a serious challenge. Taking on narrow dirt forest roads, deep ruts and corrugations, fording rivers - this is rugged overlanding at its best, truly off the beaten track in a remote part of West Africa!
Day 33 - Macenta, Guéckédou
Once inside Guinea we travel through the mid region of Guinea stopping in one of the towns (depending on how the drive goes it may be Macenta or Gueckedou), on our journey south towards Forested Guinea (Guinée forestière). This particular region is both forested and mountainous. We will aim to stay in small locally run hotel or guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Day 34-35 - Nzerekoré, Forested Guinea
We keep on driving through the forested region of Guinea, visiting one of the famous vine bridges (Pont de Liana) en route. We'll base ourselves for 2 nights in the small town of Nzerekore in the heart of Guinea's Forest Region, where we will have free time to explore the town, the nearby villages and the surrounding forests. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours
About Forested Guinea:
Forested Guinea (Guinée Forestière) is a forested mountainous region in south eastern Guinea, one of four natural regions in Guinea which covers around a quarter of the country. The region is known for its diverse ethnic population, including the Toma and Lissi groups, and also became a shelter for large numbers of refugees from the Sierra Leonean, Liberian, and Ivorian civil wars of the 1990s and 2000s. The area is also famous for its traditional vine bridges that are dotted around the area - the bridges are masterpieces of utilising the natural environment, using only the vines to make sturdy crossings that span the wide rivers of the region. We will attempt to find a traditional 100-year old vine bridge on our journey through the beautiful area.
Day 36-37 - Western Côte d'Ivoire
Border information: Enter Cote d'Ivoire at Danane. The next 2 days are spent crossing the border and driving through central Cote d'Ivoire. These days take us through some very remote areas and some very poor quality dirt roads, so a great deal of flexibility is needed as our progress will largely be determined by the state of the roads. Both nights will be spent wild camping en route. Drive times - 7-9 hours each day.
Day 38-39 - Korhogo
We will reach the northern Ivorian town of Korhogo and stay here for 2 nights, famed for the multitude of crafts that are made there. We will get a chance to visit many of the craft artists in the area, from painters to bead-makers to cloth weavers, and also to enjoy some walks around the surrounding area. We stay in a small local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours
The town of Korhogo in the north of Côte d'Ivoire is famed for its various traditional handicrafts. On a tour around the area surrounding Korhogo, we will gain a fascinating insight into the life of the local Senoufo people and see some of the traditional crafts being made. We will usually visit a collective of painters, a ceramic jewellery workshop, a district of wooden mask carvers and a village of cloth weavers. It's a wonderful place to search out some souvenirs - be prepared to haggle!
Day 40-41 - Yamoussoukro
Today we will drive to Yamoussoukro, the tiny and bizarre capital of Cote d'Ivoire. Yamoussoukro was the birthplace of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, the first president of independent Cote d'Ivoire, and is also the location of the collosal and breathtaking Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, the largest Christian church in
the world. We will stay here for 2 nights in a local hotel, allowing lots of time to explore the sites on offer.
Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.
The tiny town of Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Côte d'Ivoire - although being much smaller and more isolated than the huge coastal city of Abidjan, Yamoussoukro was the hometown of the long-serving post-independence President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who decided it should be the country's capital and proceeded to spend exorbitant amounts of money on developing it. Most of that money was spent on his showpiece project, the Basilique de NotreDame de la Paix. Despite such a low percentage of the population actually being Catholic, the President spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this grand basilica - based on St. Peter’s in the Vatican, the basilica is the largest Christian place of worship in the world! The tiny town itself also boasts six-lane highways that lead nowhere, a bizarre 1960s-futuristic hotel, and the secretive
Presidential Palace - Yamoussoukro is a surreal place that has to be seen to be believed!
Day 42-43 - Grand Bassam
Leaving the capital behind us, we head south to the old French colonial capital of Grand Bassam situated east of Abidjan. We stay here for 2 nights in a local hotel allowing time for you to explore the old colonial town and to relax on the beautiful beaches around our hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
About Grand Bassam:
The tiny town of Grand Bassam was for a short time the French colonial capital between 1893 and 1896, before a bout of yellow fever forced them to move the capital up the coast to Bingerville. Grand Bassam is a pleasant town with a small old colonial centre, and is a great place to kick back and relax on the serene beaches.
Day 44 - Elmina
Border information: Enter Ghana at Elubo Today we cross into Ghana and then head east to the Atlantic coast and Brenu Akynin near Elmina.
We camp here for 2 nights at a beach resort allowing to time to visit Elmina castle and also to get involved with a local community project. Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.
The beaches along the Ghanaian coast near the town of Elmina are some of best in West Africa. The local people here rely heavily on fishing and cultivating coconuts, pineapples and groundnuts to make a living.
Over the last few years Dragoman have been involved with the Sabre Trust, a local grass-roots charity which is working to improve education for all of the children here. Originally the school here was in a terrible state of disrepair and extremely under-resourced, but gradually this is beginning to improve largely due to the work of the Sabre Trust.
On Dragoman's overland trips through Elmina, we get involved with a variety of projects at the school. Depending on your group's skills and the school's needs, you could be getting your hands dirty helping out with small building projects, participating in educational workshops, or even helping with the teaching.
Getting involved at the school is a great opportunity to lend a hand and give something back to the local people here, albeit in a small way. It's also a great chance to experience everyday Ghanaian life at first hand, getting to know the local children and their families.
Day 45-46 - Kakum National Park, Cape Coast
Today we head into Cape Coast for a fascinating and moving tour of the old slave fort there. Then we will then head up to Kakum National Park where we can go on an evening walk in the rainforests in search of wildlife, bugs and snakes! We may also have the chance to visit a small animal sancutary en route.
We will camp tonight in the grounds of the National Park HQ. Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours.
About Kakum National Park:
Kakum National Park is a protected area of dense rainforest in southern Ghana, just inland of Cape Coast. The forest contains some very rare wildlife such as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo and an incredible array of birdlife, which we may be lucky enough to spot on a night walk through the winding maze of paths that criss-cross through the trees. We will also take an early morning walk along the canopy walkways that are set up amongst the tops of the trees, which offer a unqiue and unobtrusive way for travellers to experience the forest.
About Cape Coast:
The bustling fishing town of Cape Coast is home to a huge old fort, one of many built by Europeans along the Atlantic coast in the 17th and 18th centuries. These forts were built to protect the various nations' interests in the trading of ivory, gold and slaves.
The Cape Coast Fort is the largest and one of the best-preserved of these forts - originally constructed by Swedish traders in 1653, it changed hands between Danish, Dutch, and eventually British powers, and was steadily extended into the huge structure that exists today. It became primarly used for slave trading
throughout the 18th Century, until the British abolished slavery in 1807 and the fort became a base from which the Atlantic slave trade was fought against. A visit here is very thought-provoking and harrowing, seeing the same cells where unfortunate slaves were held in appalling conditions before being loaded
onto ships to the New World.
Day 47-48 - Kumasi, Kakum National Park
Today we have an early start with a morning visit to the Kakum National Park canopy walkways. These are a long series of hanging bridges at the forest canopy level that gives us a unique perspective of the rainforest - and at that time of the morning we will have the place to ourselves!
After this we will drive north to Kumasi where we will base ourselves for 2 nights, allowing lots of time for exploration of the town and museums. Kumasi is the home of West Africa's largest market and was the centre of the Ashanti Kingdom. We will stay in a local guesthouse in Kumasi. Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.
Kumasi is the ancient capital of the Ashanti Empire, once one of the most important powers in Africa and a well-studied military power that dominated the area between 1700 and 1954. Now it is a thriving, bustling, provincial city with a lively atmosphere, and enjoys semi-autonomous status as the centre of the modern Ashanti culture. The locals are proud of their Ashanti heritage, and you can learn all about the fascinating history in the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and Manhiya Palace Museum. Kumasi also boasts the labyrinth-like Kejetia market - it is the largest market in the whole of West Africa, and well worth exploring.
Day 49 - Accra
The final journey of this section brings us to Accra, the chaotic capital of Ghana! We will most likely head out for a final group meal together tonight in Accra. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Ghana's sprawling capital of Accra is a bustling coastal city boasting a lively atmosphere and some busy urban beaches full of musicians, acrobats and souvenir sellers. The Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, and the National Museum houses one of the best collections in all of West Africa. Next to the museum you will also find a good craft market, perfect for a bit of souvenir shopping.
In the evening you can sample Accra's lively nightlife, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
Day 50 - Accra
Border information: if you are joining in Accra, then you will most likely enter Ghana at Accra Kotoka International Airport.
There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport, visas, and insurance details at this meeting. The afternoon will be free to explore the city of Accra. In Accra we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Hotel for the night: Niagara Plus Hotel
Niagara Plus Hotel
14th Lane (Behind Koala Osu)
Tel - +233 21 772404
Please note that in Accra there are 3 Niagara hotels: Niagara Hotel, Niagara Inn and Niagara Plus Hotel.
The Niagara Plus is located in an area of Accra known as Osu, and this is where our groups stay.
Day 51 - Akosombo
This morning, we will apply for Togo visas at the Togolese Embassy in Accra. Once they are issued, we will leave Accra and head north to the village of Akosombo. In Akosombo we will stay in a campsite next to the River Volta. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
The small town of Akosombo lies on the serene banks of Lake Volta, one of the world's largest artificially-created lakes. It was formed in the 1960s after the construction of the nearby Aksombo Dam, which supplies around 70% of the country's electricity demands.
Day 52 - Lake Volta, Akosombo
Today we will have an included visit to the nearby Akosombo Dam, a major project built in the 1960s to provide almost all of Ghana's energy needs. The rest of the day will be free to relax at our campsite in Akosombo.
About Lake Volta:
Lake Volta in Ghana spreads over a massive 3275 square miles and runs for over 320 miles from the most northern point, to the most southern point. The White Volta River and The Black Volta River combine to form the Volta River which eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. There are tropical temperatures most the year round, which has created the opportunity to find many local fisheries.
Day 53 - Mont Klouto
Border information: exit Ghana at Klouto, enter Togo at Klouto. Today we will have a full day's drive to the spectacular Mont Klouto, crossing the border into Togo. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours In Mont Klouto we will stay in a campsite, with the option to upgrade to dorm accommodation.
About Mont Klouto:
Hidden away in mountains of central Togo is the serene village of Mont Klouto - only a couple of hours north of Lomé, it is a welcome relief from the heat of the coast. The mountains here are covered in dense forest, punctuated by gently cascading streams and waterfalls. A nature reserve has been established in the area because Klouto is an important habitat for butterflies - over 500 different species can be found here, many of them incredibly beautiful. It's an ideal place for doing some short hikes, and you can take a guided walking
butterfly safari through the forests with a local naturalist guide.
Day 54 - Mont Klouto
Today we will have a free day around the beautiful Mont Klouto region, with the opportunity to head out on optional forest walks or to visit Kpalime town nearby. In the evening, we will head to the village centre to see a spectacular show of drumming and dancing from the local villagers.
Day 55-56 - Central Togo
Over the next 3 days we will drive up the length of Togo, all the way through the remote northern border with Benin. We will wild camp for 2 nights en route. Estimated Drive Times - 8-9 hours each day
Day 57 - Tata Somba region
Border information: exit Togo at Ketao, enter Benin at Ouaké. Today we will cross the border into Benin, before continuing our journey to the Tata Somba region close to the town of Tanguieta. In Tanguieta we will stay in a basic local eco-lodge. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
About Tata Somba region:
The Somba people (also known as the Tammari people) are an Oti-Voltaspeaking people in the far north of Benin and Togo. They are famous for their two-storey fortified houses, known as Tata Somba ("Somba house"). The ground floor is used for housing livestock at night, internal alcoves are used for cooking, and the upper floor contains a rooftop courtyard and is used for drying and storing grain as well as sleeping quarters. These evolved by adding an enclosing roof to the clusters of huts joined by a connecting wall that are typical of Gur-speaking areas of West Africa.
Day 58 - Tata Somba region
This morning we will go on an included walking tour of the nearby Tata Somba villages with some of the local villagers. This is a fascinating visit to an area rarely visited by tourists, where we will learn a lot about the local traditional way of life and explore the famous two-storey mud huts of the area. In the afternoon, there is the option to walk through the stunning area to some nearby waterfalls.
Day 59-60 - Pendjari National Park
From the Tata Somba region we have a short journey north to the beautiful Pendjari National Park. We will stay for two nights wild camping in the National Park, where we will have freedom to explore and head out on game drives in the truck in search of wildlife. Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours to the park, then as much time as required on game drives.
About Pendjari National Park:
The Pendjari National Park is situated in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. The park is named after the Pendjari River and is known for its wildlife. It is home to some of the last populations of big game in West Africa, and if you're very lucky you may spot elephants, hippopotamuses,
buffalo, baboons, various antelopes, and even West African lions! Even if you're not lucky enough to spot some of the larger wildlife here, the park is also famous for its richness in birdlife and it is one of the most scenic areas of West Africa.
Day 61 - Central Benin
Today we have a full day's drive heading south through Benin. We will wild camp somewhere en route between the towns of Natitinhou and Abomey. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Day 62 - Abomey
Our journey today continues to Abomey, the ancient capital of the Dahomey kingdom. On arrival we will take a tour of the Dahomey Palace and Museum. In Abomey we will stay in a campsite, with the possibility to upgrade to rooms. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Abomey is the ancient capital of the Dahomey Kingdom, once one of the most powerful empires in Africa.
The Dahomey Empire developed on the Abomey plateau in around the year 1600 CE, becoming an important regional power in the 18th Century after conquering key cities on the Atlantic coast. The Dahomey economy was built around conquest, slavery and international trade, and the civilisation was one of the most important practicioners of the Vodun religion in Africa. Theywere defeated by French colonial forces in 1894.
You can still see some of the original Dahomey palaces and treasures here, and the Musée Historique d’Abomey is a great place to learn about the history of the region. The palace is full of gold, silver, thrones, and tapestries of bloody battles, a testament to the prodigious wealth of this once-great kingdom.
Day 63 - Ganvie
This morning we will drive to Abomey-Calavi (a port on the outskirts of Cotonou), where we say goodbye to the truck for the night and jump aboard motorised pirogues to Ganvie, a fascinating town built entirely on stilts in the middle of a lagoon. In Ganvie we will stay in a basic hotel in the stilt village itself! Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.
Ganvie is a phenomenal feat of human ingenuity - home to more than 20,000 people, the village is built entirely on stilts in the middle of the large Lake Noukoue and can only be reached by pirogue (dug-out canoe). The ancestors of the Tofinu people used the lake as a refuge from slave traders from the Fon and
Dahomey tribes in the 17th Century and the Tofinu have lived on the lake ever since - the stilt village has slowly grown over the past few hundred years. The largest lake village in the whole of Africa, the local people here depend on fishing and fish farming for their livelihoods
Day 64 - Ouidah, Ganvie
Today we will start with an included tour of the Ganvie, exploring deeper on our pirogues and soaking up the unique way of life in the floating village. Following this, we will head back to land to re-join the truck and drive along the coastal road to Ouidah, where we may hopefully many of the local fishermen bringing their catch in. In Ouidah we will camp at an auberge on the beach. Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.
Benin is a country that takes the Vodun religion very seriously - it is recognised as an official religion and is practiced by over 60% of the population. Vodun is spread over wide areas of West Africa and spawned the related beliefs of Candomble in Brazil and Voodoo in the Caribbean. The tiny town of Ouidah is one of the centres Vodun culture, and hosts many voodoo festivals and celebrations throughout the year. The town also has a fascinating and colourful history, and was an important port town during the days of the Atlantic slave trade. The "Route des Escalves" is a 4km road between the Ouidah's History Museum and the beach, and is probably the same road along which thousands of slaves travelled on their way to board the slaving ships for the New World. The Portuguese, English and French all constructed forts here to protect their trading interests - the old Portuguese Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá now houses a museum that gives you a unique glimpse into the terror and destruction that the slave trade wreaked on this part of the world - interestingly the 5-hectare fort was once the smallest recognised enclave in the world, as it was officially part of Portugal until its final annexation in 1961 which expelled the last two occupants.
The town is also home to the fascinating Temple of the Python - the serpent deity Dangbé has been revered in the Ouidah area for centuries, and this temple in his honour is home to dozens of the sacred pythons which freely roam the grounds.
Day 65 - Grand Popo, Ouidah
Today we will take a very interesting half-day tour of the sites in Ouidah, including the Voodoo Python Temple, the "Route des Esclaves" (Slave Route), La Maison du Bresil art gallery and the Ouidah Museum of History in the old Portuguese Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá. After this, a short drive from Ouidah brings us to Grand Popo, where we have 2 nights of well deserved relaxation on the beaches! In Grand Popo we will camp at an auberge. Estimated Drive Time - 1 hour.
About Grand Popo:
Grand Popo, located in the far south west corner of Benin, is a great place for a bit of rest and relaxation on the beach. The town was originally a colonial port, although coastal erosion has destroyed most of the old buildings. It is a pleasant coastal village with a strong Vodun culture and some mangroves to explore
Day 66 - Grand Popo
Today we will have a free day at Grand Popo for relaxing on the beach or taking a pirogue trip around the nearby ocean and mangroves. There is also an option this evening to visit an incredible local vodun (voodoo) ceremony in the nearby village, complete with very energetic dancing and incredible magic tricks! It may also be possible to take a night walk in search of Atlantic turtles, which lay their eggs on the beaches between November and March.
Day 67 - Agbodrafo
Border information: Exit Benin and re-enter Togo at Hilla-Condji. Leaving the beach behind, our journey continues over the border from Benin and back into Togo. We will head to the small quiet town of Agbodrafo on the southern shores of Lake Togo. This afternoon we will take an included pirogue trip to Togoville, the centre of Vodun culture, where you will have a guided city tour and church visit. In Agbodrafo we will camp in the grounds of an auberge on the lake shore. Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.
Only 30 minutes east of the Togolese capital of Lomé is the small town of Agbodrafo, a quiet and serene town on the shore of Lake Togo. The lake is surrounded by a number of small villages, and fishermen drift on the waters in their dug-out canoes. As well as enjoying the lake and the beach, a highlight of our stay is to ride across the lake in a pirogue to the old German town of Togoville with the local fishermen.
Day 68 - Keta
Border information: exit Togo at Lomé, enter Ghana at Aflao. Today we will cross back into Ghana and head for Keta, where we will visit the very atmospheric and evocative ruins of the abondoned Fort Prinzenstein, built by the Danes 300 years ago as a transit point for transporting slaves to the Americas. In Keta we will stay in a small local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-8 hours (a time estimate for today is very difficult as
the border can be incredibly chaotic and busy sometimes).
Keta is a coastal town lying in the Volta estuary region, a wetland in the south east of Ghana which comprises of several small islands and a complex of lagoons along the coast. The town has some pleasant beaches and contains the haunting ruins of the Danish Fort Prinzenstein.
Day 69 - Accra
The final drive of this trip takes us back to Accra, the chaotic capital of Ghana! In Accra we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Day 70 - Accra
Border information: if you are leaving in Accra, you will most likely exit Ghana at Accra Kotoka International Airport. Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Accra, and is a free day to explore the city and soak up the atmosphere. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales Team if you would like to arrange some extra nights of accommodation here after your trip.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money