|11. November 2017||21. November 2017||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||2090 €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
|30. December 2017||9. January 2018||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||2190 €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
|20. January 2018||30. January 2018||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||tbd €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
|24. February 2018||6. March 2018||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||tbd €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
|24. March 2018||3. April 2018||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||tbd €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
|28. April 2018||8. May 2018||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||tbd €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
|10. November 2018||20. November 2018||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||tbd €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
|29. December 2018||8. January 2019||Abidjan in / Abidjan out||tbd €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
Tour to Ivory Coast: At The Heart Of West Africa
From liana bridges to cathedrals, from colored masks to initiation dances,
from sacred monkeys to kingdoms of gold, from communities of hunters to the skyline of Abidjan,from endless cocoa plantations to relaxing green lagoons.
Particularly, we will attend masks’ performances by Guere, Senoufo and Baule tribes.
We will be introduced into the magic world of Dozo hunters (Malinke) and Komians (Akan).
- Duration: 11 days
- Guide: English speaking
Arrival in Abidjan, meeting with the local guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Free time to relax.
Between tradition and modernity
If we look beyond the lagoon, the “plateau” (the City District)is growing very fast, not horizontally as in most African towns but vertically, with its large modern buildings and skyscrapers. Not much land is available and the little available has to be continually extorted from the waters of the Ebrié Lagoon.
The visit begins with a short boat trip for a general view of the “plateau”, a waters perspective. Then from the extremely lively market of Treichville we move to the peaceful and quiet “Cocody”, an elegant residential area hosting the Prime Minister’s office and some white colonial buildings. The national museum, housed in a decrepit colonial building, presents a fine collection reflecting the rich artistic heritage of 62 ethnic groups. We proceed to the new quarter of Youpugon, not far from the Banco River forest and the “Fanico”, the famous clothes washers.
Departure to Yamoussoukro.
A basilica in the savannah
Yamoussoukro, the country’s capital since 1983, is the native town of Houphouët-Boigny, the first President of the Ivory Coast as an independent republic.
We visit the Basilica of the Virgin of Peace, a copy of St Peter’s in Rome.
We continue our journey across immense plantations of rubber and coffee trees, dotted only by small villages. We enjoy the fragrance of the cocoa tree pods – the Ivory Coast is the world’s main producer.
When Mount Tonkpi and its “tooth” come into view we are not far from our destination for the day. Man was developed at the feet of 18 extremely green mountains and is the capital of the We and Guéré ethnic groups.
Liana bridges, to Danane and back
The rainforest that stretches between the Ivory Coast and Liberia is famous for its big liana bridges. For the local population the origin of these bridges is shrouded in mystery (they are secretly built by young initiated men over the course of only one night!). The crossing is not difficult provided taboos are respected and no heavy load or babies are carried along.
In the afternoon, we enjoy a short excursion in the Gbepleu rainforest with its sacred monkeys which hold the meaning of the origin of name of this town.
In a nearby tiny village, masks will emerge from the forest towards us. In the cosmogony of the Guéré people, there is a creator god that communicates with humans only through its intermediaries, the masks.
The masks dance
The day is dedicated to the encounter with the Yakuba, also known as the Dan.
We visit villages built on hillsides and characterized by big round huts with thatched roofs – some of the houses are decorated with frescos made by the women during ceremonial periods.
Amid scented branches of coffee trees and at the foot of an enormous Iroko tree, we visit a big pond inhabited by the venerated catfish, the custodian of ancestors.
The Malinké, descendants of the old empire of Mali, live near Odienne and have now almost all become muslim. Among the great names in the history of this ethnic group there is Samory Touré, a greatly supported champion who fought against the advance of colonialism. Among his best warriors there was the caste of the hunters – known as the Dozo -, reputed for its courage and mystic powers.
Encounter with the Dozo and walk in the savannah accompanied by some hunters, dressed in their traditional costume made of “bogolan” fabric and carrying their shotguns covered with amulets.
Continuation along a track across the savannah, inhabited by the Senufo.
We explore regions where we see the unmistakable Fulani nomads constantly in search of pastures for their herds of zebus.
We visit some of the villages, mostly inhabited by women and children.
Korhogo is a must stop for any traveller visiting the northern regions of the Ivory Coast. Its history dates back to the XIII century and today is the capital of the Senoufo, the tribe that has produced the greatest artworks of Africa, in almost every field: sculpture, weaving, painting and blacksmiths. We will visit villages where we will admire large clay granaries and sacred houses decorated with bas-reliefs.
Their most spectacular mask dances is the Boloy, or panther dance, performed by young initiated men – we will attend it late in the afternoon.
The Akan lineage
Today we meet the Baulé people, a tribe of the Akan lineage originating from Ghana. The Baulé share with their cousins, the Ashanti, a complex social hierarchy but they also have expanded their cultural traditions by taking cues from their neighbours. Their rich craftmanship shows this rich heritage: fine statues representing the world of spirits, sculpted weaving-loom pulleys and beautiful masks. Visit of a few villages.
Departure across a forest region.
The Akan people of the Ivory Coast use the word “Komian” to refer to trance, that is to say a spiritual possession. This term can also be applied to people and in this case it refers to those persons, mainly women, who have been initiated to communicate with the world of spirits through different divinatory ways, such as the throwing of shells, the vision on water or the dance.
We will meet a community of Komians, we will hear their stories, learn of their fetishes and, if possible, also interact with some of their patients.
The origin of the the Agni monarchy goes back to the Ashanti and is located not far from the border with Ghana. They share with the Akan from Ghana a similar life-style linked to the wealth of the forest and the cult of kings and of gold. At the royal palace, we will meet some senior members of the nobility, in their ceremonial robes, and the person in charge of the fetish protecting the throne. This special opportunity will enable us to understand the role of a traditional chefferie in a modern state.
Arrival at the Ebrié Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean.
Grand Bassam is a town built on a sand bank between the lagoon and the ocean. It was the former rich capital of the French colony and the maritime leisure resort for the Abidjanese. Many are the colonial buildings dating back to those old days.
Departure back home
Day of rest at the beach or optional excursion to enjoy the beautiful natural environment and to meet the many fishermen – by motor boat we navigate along the delta until the point where the Ebrié Lagoon meets with the Atlantic Ocean.
In the afternoon transfer to Abidjan airport for the flight out.