Tour to Ghana, Togo And Benin: Voodoo Festival

January 10th is always a very special day in in Benin, a day for celebrating ancestral cults.

In particular all the Voodoo’s adepts meet in Ouidah and then convey in a long procession

to the Door of No Return, some on foot while others by motorbike or “taxi-brousse”.

They are all dressed up in traditional costumes, white being the dominant colour.

The Festival reaches its peak with the arrival of the Dagbo Houno, the chief “feticheur”.

Dances, libations, masks and some official speeches are all part of the morning programme.

Our fantastic cultural odyssey then heads inland, through northern savannah – we discover the Taneka

tribe on a rocky mountain, the Tamberma people with their fairy-tale clay castles and finally we enter

the Ashanti kingdom in Kumasi. We end our tour exploring the former Slave Coast, with its haunting European forts.

One of the most complete and spectacular tours in West Africa, and on a very unique occasion.

Great experience combined with the choice of good accommodation.

For travellers who want to get acquainted with this incredible region … and love Africa!

  • Duration: 12 days
  • Guide: English speaking
Price from 2.550 € Send request
Day 1

Accra, Gulf of Guinea

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

Day 2

AFRICAN METROPOLIS

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. Our tour ends 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.

Drive to Lomé and Togo border crossing (Aflao)

Day 3

FETISH MARKET

Lome city tour.

Lomé is the vibrant capital of Togo.
We will visit: the central market;the colonial buildings in the administrative quarter where the flavor of colonial time is still very present; and the fetish market where we can find an eclectic assortment of all the necessary ingredients for love potions and magical concoctions.

We move inland and step into voodoo world. Meeting with a traditional healer.

Day 4

VOODOO FESTIVAL

Every 10th of January in Benin is a national celebration day honouring traditional religion and all cults associated with it.

Ouidah in particular is where dozens of voodoo ceremonies are held, calling thousands of adepts, traditional chiefs and fetish priests.

Today Ouidah enjoys an Afro-Portuguese architecture, and the python temple faces the Catholic Cathedral. We end our city tour by following the “slave road” to the beach, the point of “no return” where slaves used to board ships.

As per the program of festivities, we will choose the best sites – the festival takes place in the entire region around Ouidah.

Day 5

AFRICAN KINGDOM

We cross Lake Nokwe with a motorized boat to reach Ganvie, the largest and most beautiful African village on stilts.

The approximately 25,000 inhabitants of the Tofinou ethnic group build their huts on teak stilts and cover the roofs with a thick layer of leaves. We then move to Abomey where we visit the Royal Palace.

The walls of the palace are decorated with bas-reliefs representing symbols of the ancient Dahomey kings. Now a museum listed on the Unesco World Heritage List, it displays items belonging to the ancient kings: thrones, cult altars, statues, costumes and weapons.

Day 6

FETISH HILLS

We stop at the Dankoli Fetish, an important place for the Voodoo cult: thousands of little sticks are pushed in the fetish as testimony of the countless prayers for a good harvest, a happy wedding, an easy delivery, success at school etc.

In the afternoon, we discover old Taneka villages . The villages are made up of round houses, covered with a conical roof protected, at the top, by a terra cotta pot. The upper part of the village is inhabited by the young initiated and by the fetish priests who only cover themselves with a goat skin and always carry a long pipe.

Day 7

FIRE DANCE

We enter the land of the Somba & Tamberma who live in fortified dwellings. Similar in form to medieval castles, they are one of the most beautiful examples of ancient African architecture. Their strong tradition beliefs are proved by the presence of big shrines – of phallic form – at the entrance of their homes. With the permission granted to us by the inhabitants we enter a few homes to better understand their way of life.

In the evening, fire dance. At the centre of the village a large fire lights up the faces of the participants, they dance to the hypnotic beat of the drums and eventually leap into the glowing embers, pick up burning coals, pass them over their bodies and even put them in their mouths … all this without hurting themselves or showing any sign of pain. It’s difficult to explain such a performance. Is it matter of courage? Self-suggestion? Magic? Maybe it really is the fetishes that protect the participants from the fire.

Day 8

RAINFOREST

Stop on the way in Atakpame, a typical African town built on a hill where it is possible to find all the products coming from the nearby forests. Through their skilled work on small weaving looms, the men of the region make the large brightly coloured fabric called “Kente”.

From Atakpame we then move to the tropical forests surrounding Kpalime, a town with a rich colonial past which is now an important trading center. Visit of the market and of the arts center.

At night, a walk in the forest to discover the mysterious world of the tropical forest and meet with the majesty of the tropical trees, the sounds of tam-tams and the echoes of wild animals. Under the guidance of a local entomologist, we will learn about endemic butterflies and insects.

Day 9

GLASS BEADS

The Monkey Sanctuary of Tafi Atome was created  to protect a community of sacred monkeys living in the forest. We will take a lovely walk in the forest, lead by a local guide, to encounter this great community of Monas and Colobus monkeys.

The area of Krobo is famous all around the world for its beads. Here they are produced and used for cults and aesthetic purposes. We will visit a factory specialized in their production and even follow the process of making one!

Day 10

ASHANTI

Kumasi is the historical and spiritual capital of the old Ashanti Kingdom.

The program includes a visit to the Ashanti Cultural Centre: a rich collection of Ashanti artifacts housed in a wonderful reproduction of an Ashanti house.

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.

Day 11

GOLDEN KINGDOM

In the morning continuation of the tour of Kumasi, with the visit of the Royal Palace Museum hosting a unique collection of gold jewels worn by the Ashanti court.

In the afternoon drive to the coast.

Day 12

SLAVES’ CASTLES

We start our day with the 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.

In the late morning drive to Accra and in the evening transfer to the airport for the flight out.

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