Tour to Ghana: hiking and walking

A “slower” and gentler way to discover the rich variety of landscapes and peoples of this fascinating region on the Gulf of Guinea.

In West Africa a few hundred meters off the main road you enter a totally untouched reality – this is exactly what we will experience when we get out of our vehicles and walk into the “bush”.

The perfect way to discover the coastline, the rain forest and the savannah and to visit remote villages.

In the Volta region we climb up Mt Afajato – with its 885 meters it is the highest peak of Ghana – and we trek up rivers reaching refreshing water falls.

Ghana is also the country where it is possible to encounter incredibles peoples and see many interesting sights, such as castles dating back to the slave trade, the Kakum Rainforest with wealth of botanical species, voodoo ceremonies …

  • Duration: 15 days
  • Guide: English speaking
Price from 2600 € Send request
Day 1

In the Gulf of Guinea, Accra

Arrival in Accra and transfer to the hotel. Free time to relax.

Day 2

The Shai Hills

Hike of the day: approximately 2 hours;  level of difficulty: easy.

W e move to the eastern side of the country.

The Shai Reserve is a comparatively small fenced wild-life park, with a surface of about 52 sqkm and made up largely of savannah covered plains, interspersed with a series of hills. A unique mosaic of forest covers the hills, thicket and grassland with a low stature and dry forest found in intervening canyons.  We will walk accompanied by a guide who is well-versed on the history of the Shai tribes who used to live in the hills, as well as on the flora and fauna of the beautiful coastal savannah .

By car we reach the area of Krobo, famous all around the world for its beads. We will visit a factory specialized in the production of those beads and even follow the process of making one! The craftsmen have now been making beads following the same long lasting traditional technique for centuries.

Day 3

Lagoon

We drive down the coastline and leave the main road to explore the lagoons of Keta. Keta lies surrounded by the ocean near the mouth of the Volta River. It is built on a sandpit separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Keta Lagoon.  We will cross the magic environment where the border between water and ground is uncertain. We will have walk over endless beaches and if lucky we will be able to see fishermen pulling up their nests.

All along the coast of Ghana, Togo and Benin, voodoo is a religion that has been passed on by the ancestors and is still fervently practiced. Although for many Europeans voodoo is only a vulgar form of black magic, in truth voodoo is a true religion, far richer and more complex than people often think. In a remote hidden village we will join a Voodoo ceremony: the frenetic rhythm of the drums and the chants of the adepts help calling in the voodoo spirit who then takes possession of some of the dancers.

Day 4

Forest

Walk of the day: approximately 2 hours; level of difficulty: easy.

We drive to the Volta Region.

The Monkey Sanctuary of Tafi Atome was created in 1993 to protect a community of sacred monkeys living in the forest. According to century-old traditions, in this village monkeys and tortoises are considered sacred species thus demanding respect and protection . We will take a lovely walk in the forest lead by a local guide to encounter this great community of Monas and Colobus monkeys.

We continue by vehicle across a very luxuriant region of forests offering very nice views over mountains and waterfalls.

Day 5

The highest peak

Hike of the day: approximately 2 hours; level of difficulty: moderate.

Today we will climb Mt Afadjato, the highest mountain in Ghana and part of the Agumatsa Range which runs along the Ghana-Togo border. From the top, magnificent views of the surrounding communities, forests, mountains, deep valleys, and, in the distance, also of Lake Volta. Mount Afadjato is covered with luxuriant tropical forest and is well-known for its interesting biodiversity – over 300 recorded species of butterflies and 33 species of mammals.

Path is quite steep however the reward is guaranteed. During the hike we will also stop at Tagbo Waterfall which flows from an almost circular cliff into a refreshing pool.

Day 6

Waterfalls

Hike of the day: approximately 4 hours; level of difficulty: moderate.

Wli, Ghana’s highest waterfall is great to admire in many respects: for the sheer grandeur of the water falling from a height of approximately 60 meters down a steep cliff into a large pool below; for the massive mountain formations and soaring peaks, part of the Akwapim Mountains; and for the lush forests around, currently designated as the Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary.

Day 7

Savannah

Today we drive northwards, leaving the forest behind and entering into savannah country. We transit across a seldom visited region, it is here that the Dagomba live. They build round clay huts with thatched roof. The house of the village chief is easily recognizable thanks to its larger size and style: it has a central pole supporting the roof and the entry is framed with pieces of burned clay. It’s here that the council of the elders meet.

Day 8

Witches…

Today we take a track leading to Tamale and along the way we meet a very large settlement of … witches! All exiled from their villages because found guilty of terrible events such as the death of a teenager, a mysterious disease or a bad harvest…they now live all together in a specific place. We will chat with them about their life and about the special shrine which protects them, “cleaning” their spirit from bad will. Their warm welcome dramatically contrasts with the gravity of the stories that justify them being here.

 

Day 9

Wildlife

Hikes of the day: 2 walking safaris of approximately 2 hours each;  level of difficulty: easy.

Mole National Park is Ghana’s largest wildlife refuge. The park is located in the northwest and is made up of grassland savannah and riparian eco-systems, the average elevation is 150 m a.s.l. with a sharp escarpment making up the southern boundary. The park is home to over 93 mammal species – including elephants, hippos, buffalos and warthogs – and is considered a primary African reserve for antelope species such as kobs, Defassa waterbucks, roan, hartebeests, oribi, bushbucks, red duikers and yellow-backed duikers. Sightings of hyenas, lions and leopards are unusual but possible. Olive baboons, black-and-white colobus, green vervets and pata monkeys are resident species. Among the 33 known species of reptiles recorded, it is worth to mention the slender-snouted and dwarf crocodile. 344 the listed bird species, with very good chances to spot: martial eagles, white-headed and palm-nut vultures, saddle-billed storks, herons, egrets, Abyssinian rollers, violet turacos and red-throated bee-eaters. We enjoy two guided walking safaris, early in the morning and late in the afternoon when animals are more active.

Day 10

Back in the forest

Hike of the day: approximately 1 hour;  level of difficulty: easy.

Drive south. Hidden inside the forest, visit of the lovely Kintampo Waterfalls to admire the waters of the Pumpu River fall from a height of 70 meters down beautiful rocky steps, before they continue their journey towards Black Volta River. A nice refreshing stop.

In the Brong Afo region we leave the main road and follow a track to a sacred forest. The locals living here consider Monas and Colobus monkeys as their totems, as result we can encounter the largest community of these species in the world. During a walk in the forest, accompanied by the emerald green light filtered by the giant trees, we will see plenty of sacred monkeys.

Day 11

Kumasi

Kumasi is the historical and spiritual capital of the old Ashanti Kingdom. The tribute paid today to the Asantehene (=King) is the best evidence of their past splendour and strength. With nearly one million inhabitants, Kumasi is a sprawling city with a fantastic central market, one of the biggest in Africa. Every type of Ashanti craft (leather goods, pottery, Kente cloth) is found here, along with just about every kind of tropical fruit and vegetable.

In the afternoon we participate – if available – in a traditional Ashanti funeral, attended by mourners wearing beautifully red or black togas. We say “funerals” but it means a “festive” celebration: the deceased in fact is believed to be still with his/her family and through this ceremony he/she becomes an ancestor. Relatives and friends gather, socialize and celebrate his/her memory. The chief arrives surrounded by his court under the shade of large umbrellas while drums give rhythm to the dancers whose intricate moves are highly symbolic.

Day 12

Royal Festival

I n the morning continuation of the tour of Kumasi, with the visit of the Royal Palace Museum . The program includes also a visit to the Ashanti Cultural Centre: a rich collection of Ashanti artifacts housed in a wonderful reproduction of an Ashanti house.

Awukudae Festival.

In the Ashanti calendar certain days each year are set aside for very special celebrations in Kumasi and this traditional ceremony takes place in one of the last African Kingdoms which has maintained its ancient rituals still alive.

The ceremony is celebrated around the traditional chiefs in order to benefit from the constant protection of the guardian spirits and also to strengthen unity between the people and their chiefs. People kneel down to pay their respects to their chiefs.

After libations are poured over the thrones of the former kings here comes the time of the great happy ceremony. During this celebration, the chief sits under a spectacular colorful umbrella, is adorned in vivid cloth and massive centuries old jewelry (Ashanti gold jewelry and masks are considered masterpieces of African art) and is surrounded by the Ashanti elders and advisors, all under the authority of the Royal Speaker who holds in his hands the symbols of power. A narrow passage of dignitaries is also formed, representing all roles and positions of power within the kingdom: sword and knife bearers, armed guards, carriers of beautiful ostrich feathers fans etc. The ceremony is then made up of a procession of royal court attendants bringing gifts, storytellers reciting the history of the Ashanti Kings, drummers & trumpeters playing horns of ivory. Corpulent dancers dressed in vivid red costumes perform an erotic dance. We will witness and experience the splendor, the flavor and the atmosphere of one of last great African monarchs of the forests.

Day 13

Kakum National Park

Hikes of the day: approximately 1 hour;  level of difficulty: easy.

We reach Kakum National Park, covering a surface of 357 sqkm of mostly undisturbed virgin rainforest. We are at the easternmost extent of the Guinean Forest of West Africa, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the African continent. Park rangers are here specifically trained in the medical and cultural significance of the local plants.

 

Day 14

Castles

Hike of the day: approximately 1 hour;  level of difficulty: easy.

In the morning, we will experience the thrill of a “canopy walk” right in the deep forest of the Kakum National Park: one of the world highest suspended rope bridges held by steel cables. Perched 37 meters (120 feet) above the earth, you will enjoy a stunning view of the rainforest .

In the afternoon visit of Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in Africa, erected by the Portuguese in the 15th century. At different times the castle has been used as a warehouse to trade gold, ivory, and eventually slaves. The castle we visit today is the result of successive extension works and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Outside the castle, a wonderful fishing village with lots of large colorful fishing boats – every day these canoes are guided by skilled fishermen across strong ocean waves and currents, “fighting” to earn a living. The alleys in the old town have a very lively atmosphere, bringing us back to a time when Elmina was a busy colonial town.

 

Day 15

African city

Accra, the capital of Ghana, has maintained its unique identity despite the fast paced development currently underway in this intriguing African city.

The program includes a visit to the National Museum, one of the first works of independent Ghana  We explore the old quarter of James Town, inhabited by the local population known as the Ga. Facing the Ocean is where local native people life fully unfolds: a village surrounded by the city!

Our tour continues with the visit of a workshop where they specialize in building fantasy coffins. These special handcrafted coffins can reflect any shape: fruits, animals, fish, cars, airplanes…. the only limit being imagination! Started in Africa, these flamboyant coffin designs are by now collected worldwide and exposed in museums.

Time available for some last minute shopping at the craft center.

in the evening transfer to the airport for the flight out.

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