Travel to Ghana, a beautiful land of many contrasts sitting on the Gulf of Guinea between Togo and the Ivory Coast with Burkina Faso lying along its northern border. In the south the low lying, sandy coastline is fringed with palm trees and dotted with small saline lagoons, to the east stretch rich grassy plains. Dense verdant rainforests grow in the west and towards the north, after crossing a range of green hills the savannah opens up giving way to the arid Sahel. In the east, Akwapim hill, the highest in the country, runs northwards along the Togolese border. The Volta Rivers – the Black Volta and the White Volta flow into Ghana from Burkina Faso and they join to form Lake Volta, which is the world’s largest artificial lake.
Voodoo originally started in the south of Togo and Benin and is still the most widely established religion in the local culture, in the region around Aneho. Evidence of this is seen everywhere with temples, altars and fetishes scattered across the countryside and in the villages. Whenever there is a special occasion the voodoo initiates of the village, often more than a hundred people, are led by the “feticheur”, a high voodoo priest.
A travel to Benin is very interesting because although a small country, Benin has much to offer. Added to an authentic taste of African bush country, there are a whole range of natural and human curiosities to be found and they can all be characterised by one simple word: charm. We use the word “charm” first to describe the extraordinary Beninese women, which social emancipation was not a recent development. In the last century they were famed for making up the battalions of Amazon warriors who served the King of Abomey. Their pugnacity still manifests today in their business dealings in the markets, where they reign supreme. Their spirited presence together with their natural air of authority and the richness and magnificence of their appearance is captivating.
Travel to Burkina Faso, the smiling country where the people are always nice and laid back, is a simple and forgotten world. It is also the “country of an integrated people”, so named for the past 40 years. This is a territory of savannahs, wooded regions in the South, which little by little, become the Sahel, which is punctuated by yellow acacias and shrubs, pastures of horses and sheep. To the Northeast the first dunes appear among the shining pools, precious watering holes for the herds of zebus with horns in the shape of lyres, which are tended by the Fulani shepherds. To the West rises the Banfora Cliff, with small waterfalls, lakes, green trailing sugar cane and lunar landscapes of rock, which over time are sculpted into images of the shape of pickaxes and arrows.
Guinea Bissau is a country the size of Belgium with a few characteristic features making it a unique place in the world. For instance : With only 1.5 million inhabitants, Guinea Bissau is one of the countries with the most important linguistic variety as no less than 36 different dialects are spoken!
Senegal, a country with so much to offer to travellers. It begins in Dakar, a large and lively African metropolis that was the intellectual and cultural “capital” of French West Africa. Facing Dakar, Goree Island, which was sadly the collection point of the slaves who were destined for the Americas. Numerous traces from this period still remain. Currently the island has become the goal of excursions not only for its history but also for its pleasant climate always cool thanks to the sea breeze, and its many nice little restaurants and shops.
In the Ivory Coast there are approximately sixty ethnic groups (Malinké, Senoufo, Lobi, Dan, Krou, Baoule, Akan …) and each have many rich customs and rites of passage. On an artistic level, these ethnic groups, particularly the Dan and Baoulé, have produced masks and statues of curious beauty, which are now among the most sought-after works of the African art market. Most of the ethnicities are animists, i.e. only venerate a single god widely present throughout the universe.