Ouidah Voodoo Festival & Africa's ancient kingdoms

Benin

Ghana

Togo

Cultural immersion

This exciting two-week tour will take you across Ghana, Togo and Benin, where you’ll get the chance to witness Ouidah’s incredible voodoo festival. You’ll travel with a small group of likeminded travellers and experienced local guides on an adventure that will please Africa newbies and old hands alike.

Itinerary

Lome → Ouidah → Ganvie → Abomey → Savalou → Naititingou → Tamberma Villages → Defale → Defale → Sokode → Kloto → Koforidua → Kumasi → Anomabu → Elmina → Accra

Day 1: Lome

Arrive in Lome and transfer to your hotel. Overnight Hotel Ibis or similar.

Day 2: 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.

Day 3: 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 isan 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. Time permitting, we will visit the python temple, where snakes are venerated as representations of gods, the old Portuguese fort and finally head to the beach and the sombre ‘Gate of No Return’, the point from which slaves left Africa for the New World. Overnight Hotel Casa del Papa or similar.

Day 4: 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.

Day 5: 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.

Day 6: Tamberma Villages - Defale

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 spend time learning about their culture and customs, crossing into Togo and heading to the town of Defale for the night. Overnight Hotel Defale or similar.

Day 7: Defale – Sokode

Spend the morning exploring the villages of the Kabye and Moba people, in the Defale Mountains. We then head 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.

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 walk in the forest. Accompanied by a local entomologist we learn about the butterflies and other insects that live here. Overnight Hotel Gess or similar.

Day 9: Koforidua

We cross 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.

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.

Day 11: Kumasi – Anomabu

Continue our exploration of Kumasi by visiting the Royal Palace Museum, with its unique collection of golden jewellery. From here we drive to Anomabu on the coast. Overnight Anomabu Beach Resort or similar.

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 town 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. Overnight Hotel Villa Boutique or similar.

Day 13: Accra

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. Later transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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What's included

Acomodation

12 nights at the hotels

Meals

Day 2-12: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13: Breakfast and Lunch

Guided tours

Guided tours as per itinerary (only local guides)

Transport

Transfers as per itinerary

Support

24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line

English-speaking guide

ABTA and ATOL bonded

Not Included

International flights

Meals not mentioned

Optional tours and activities

Personal expenses

Highlights

Spend time in Ouidah, exploring the city

Experience the colourful annual voodoo festival

Visit Ganvie, the largest stilt village in Africa

Take a tour to Abomey, once the centre of the kingdom of Abomey

Witness a fire dance in Atakpame and Kpalime

Learn about Tamberma, one of the region’s most traditional groups

Book

Our reviews
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Victoria Peck

Australia

Thank you to Varya and her team for organising our trip to Russia for World Cup (June 2018). Before the trip, Alex was our main contact. He was very responsive to all our needs and developed a bespoke itinerary for us. Our trip took almost 2 months of planning, thank you Alex for being so patient. During the trip, Varya had a team of dedicated consultants, working 24 hours a day to ensure we were where we needed to be and safe. What was particularly impressive was that every transfer was taken care of and her team rang the drivers to confirm we had been picked up. Thank you World of Discoveries for making our trip to Russia an unforgettable and amazing holiday.

John Campbell

Scotland

We booked a tour for Euro 2020, in July 2021, tickets, accommodation, Hermitage and Cathedrals tour, all A++++. Great service, super support, nothing too much trouble at all, used the agency twice now. Super happy.

Michael Morcos

Australia

The team at World of Discoveries were awesome. Didn’t put a foot wrong at all, the tours great, the people even better. Alex who followed us around everywhere was fantastic and the organisation by Varya was exceptional. Everything was made easy and extremely helpful 24/7, I don’t think they slept the whole time. Thank you, my dad and myself loved it

Dave Kendall

Australia

Just travelled to Russia for the World Cup. World of Discoveries was the most organised and professional travel agency I have ever used. Everything was well organised by World of Discoveries from hotels, tours to transportation. Highly recommend anyone travelling to Russia to book through World of Discoveries!!

Gordon Ketelbey

Australia

World of Discoveries put an excellent tour together. All well organised with lots of side events all unplanned but the focus was on fun. Pity Australia can’t score goals but the party made up for it.

Alison Danesh

Iran / USA

We just returned from the World Cup in Russia where we followed Team Iran. This involved travel to three different stadiums many miles apart. Thank goodness we booked through World of Discoveries! They arranged our lodging and transport. They even set us up with local English speaking guides to take us to see the interesting and historical sights of this beautiful land. We had a blast. We met new friends, ate great food, drank great vodka and cheered our team on. It was a trip of a lifetime.