AUD 4883 / pp

DATES & RATES

Ouidah Voodoo Festival

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

Accommodation

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)

Transportation

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

Douglas Schroeder

Australia

Everything worked like clockwork, when someone was suppose to be there they were. Yuri and Cathrine were excellent guides in Moscow and St. Petersburg and we learned a lot from both. We chose the 4 star hotels, and were very satisfied. Would highly recommend this trip to anyone interested.

Francisco Caycedo

USA

Travelled to Russia FIFA World Cup 2018 with a family of 4 including (2 boys: 4 and 12 y/o) . What an amazing experience it was! Super well organized, transfers were always on time, hotels were good, we couldn’t ask for a more responsible tour guide, Phillip was awesome and in care of every little detail to make us feel like at home, would recommend the company with no hesitation at all!

Andrew Weifler

Australia

I decided to use the Tour Service of the World Cup after some extensive research into the tour alternatives. These guys seemed to differentiate its tour Service by providing a more culturally based service with a healthy dose of Football and Fun. My experience was that it as well run ie they delivered on their promises. They have a health mix of local staff and Australian staff. The Russian staff had a great empathy for the challenges for us Aussies traveling in a country where you had no language skills they bridged that gap with there wonderful help. I know there are many alternative tours but this one certainly lived up to its name. I felt I discovered part of Russia but there’s plenty more to go!’ Overall just a great experience

Rick, Emily and John Stewart

Australia

Impeccable service, incredible Trans Siberian! In fact, the great services provided by your team started from my first correspondence with Julie. She has been very professional with providing details of the itinerary and assuring and re-assuring that the trip will be well-planned, It was because of her assurance that gave us the confidence to take the next step and book our Trans Sibetian holiday. And everything ran like clockwork from Moscow to Vladivostok. The Russian people were extremely friendly throughout. The Trans Siberian was a great experience and fulfilled our dreams. The scenery and ever changing vistas were spectacular. The train facilities were adequate but perhaps a shower facility in 1st Class would have been nice. I will recommend your services in the future!

Jacinta Ami

Australia

Highly recommend!! Well organised, friendly and knowledgeable staff who go out of their way to make sure you have the best experience! If you ever intend on visiting Russia, definately try this company!

Stacey Filrose

Australia

Me and my family just returned from an Easter break to Moscow. I found the tour very good value for money and the company's assistance with the visa application was also helpful. Reservations, payment, visa letter, and pre-departure correspondence prior to trip (via email) was prompt and well explained with no problems. Final arrangements information were detailed. We knew exactly what to expect, who will be waiting for us, time and venue to meet even with any guides with us. Transport transfers and driver were punctual.

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