Ghana, Togo and Benin
Voodoo Festival Group Tour

Ouidah Voodoo Festival Tour – a 13 day Small Group Tour from £2855 per person.


West Africa doesn’t suit the familiar ‘Out of Africa’ colonial fantasies promoted by Hollywood or indeed sold by some upmarket safari companies. The region’s surging, febrile, uncontrollable energy and intensity doesn’t make for a neat package. Voodoo ceremonies, encompassing trance-like possession, further emphasise that this ain’t Kansas…

Having travelled through Ghana, Benin and Togo, a linguistically diverse and culturally, hugely rich region, it’s likely that the meaning of Africa will probably have changed, forever.

 

 

This is a journey to the spiritual heart of West Africa, where myth, religion and reality intertwine to create an intoxicating blend of extraordinary experiences.

Stretching from the dusty borderlands of the north to the tropical coast in the south, Ghana, Togo and Benin encapsulate all that is special about West Africa, with great scenery and wildlife complemented by a joyous and exuberant people who will make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive.

Starting in Lome we visit its bizarre fetish market, and then head to Ouidah in Benin. Here we witness one of the region’s most incredible cultural experiences, the annual festival of voodoo, where people perform unique rituals and ceremonies in devotion to ancient gods, and where you can expect to bump into the earthly manifestations of voodoo spirits.

We learn about the history of the region in the once powerful kingdom of Abomey, discover the fortified houses of the Tamberma people, and travel to the heart of the Ashanti kingdom in Kumasi. Finally we end up back at Ghana’s coast, where we visit the castles of the first Europeans to reach these shores and relax on the beach.

Discover the soul of West Africa.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

Arrive in Lome to begin the Voodoo Festival tour and transfer to your hotel. For those arriving early in the day, the rest of the day is at leisure to explore. Overnight Hotel Sarakawa or similar. No meals nor guided excursions are included today.

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

Lome is the only African city to have been colonised by the French, British and Germans. This morning we will begin a city tour with a visit to Independence Square, before continuing to the lively and colourful market, with the Sacred Heart Cathedral in its midst. We then head to the fascinating- if rather gruesome- fetish market, where animal parts are sold for use in traditional medicines; Vodou healers and practitioners are on hand for consultations. After lunch we travel to the border to cross into Benin and travel to Ouidah for the night. Overnight Hotel Casa del Papa or similar. (BLD)

Spend today delving into the mysteries of voodoo at Ouidah’s annual voodoo festival. Although there are many festivals around the country, this is the largest. You can expect to see followers and adepts of the various voodoo gods, from the elaborately costumed Zangbetos, to the followers of Kokou, renowned for injuring themselves as a way to reach the divine. Around the edges of the main performance area you can find groups from various voodoo temples performing their own rites and rituals. This is a fascinating insight into a much maligned religion, and unlike anything you may have seen before. Overnight Hotel Casa del Papa or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

The stilt village of Ganvie, in the centre of Lake Nokwe is our goal this morning. We take a boat onto the lake and explore the village, hopefully seeing a local market where all the trade is conducted on small boats. From here we continue to Abomey. Abomey was the centre of the notorious kingdom of Dahomey, a fiercesome people who struck terror into the hearts of the surrounding tribes. We visit the Royal Palace, its walls reputed to be forged from the blood and bones of captives, to gain an insight into this once great African power. Continue to Dassa for an overnight stay. Overnight Hotel Jeko or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: six hours)

We leave the lush coastal belt of Benin behind and head north into a different landscape, where Islam replaces Voodoo as the dominant religion. We stop en route at the Dankoli fetish, the most powerful fetish in Benin, where we may see sacrifices being performed to ask for the favour of the gods. In the afternoon we discover old Taneka villages located on a mountain of the same name. The villages are made up of round houses with a conical roof, protected at the top by a terracotta pot. The upper part of the village is inhabited by the young initiated and the fetish priests who only cover themselves in goat skin and carry a long pipe. Wander along the alleys bordered by smooth stones and explore the life of the tribe, who have been living on archaeological sites for centuries. Overnight Hotel Tata Somba or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

The villages of the Somba and Tamberma people, straddling the border between Togo and Benin, are one of the undoubted highlights of the region. Each house is built out of earth as a fortress, able to be defended against the slaving raids of old and capable of shielding an entire family and their livestock from invaders. We spend today visiting several of these magical and enchanting structures, and meeting the Tamberma people, some of whom still wear headgear made from the horns of gazelles and sport bones through their lips. We then cross back into Togo and drive to Defale. Overnight Hotel Defalé or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

This morning we take an easy walk through Kabye and Moba villages and then continue our journey in the mountains to meet the Kabye ethnic group. Kabye dwellings called «Soukala» are composed by several adobe huts joined by a wall – each dwelling is the domain of a patriarchal family. In the villages located at the top of the mountains, women are potters using an ancestral technique without the wheel while men are blacksmiths still working iron with heavy stones instead of hammers and anvil as in the early down of Iron Age. We follow the process of shaping a hoe. This evening get to witness a fire dance. In the centre of the village a large fire lights up the faces of the participants, who dance to the hypnotic beat of the drums eventually leaping into the glowing embers. They pick up burning coals and pass them over their bodies and even put them in their mouths without injuring themselves or showing any sign of pain. It’s difficult to explain such a performance. Maybe it really is the fetishes that protect them from the fire. Overnight Hotel Central or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

Today we head south, stopping at Atakpame, a typical African town built on a hill where you can find all the products from the nearby forest. We continue to the tropical forests surrounding Kpalime, a town with a rich, colonial past and is now an important trading centre. Visit the market and arts centre before an afternoon walk in the forest. Overnight Gess Hotel or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

We cross into Ghana and drive to Krubo, famous for its beads. We visit a factory specialized in the production of glass beads. We continue to Koforidua for the night. Overnight Hotel New Capital View or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: four hours)

We travel to the centre of the Ashanti kingdom, Kumasi. We visit the Ashanti Cultural Centre with its rich collection of Ashanti artefacts. Kumasi is also home to a bustling market selling all manner of goods from crafts to everyday items. We may be lucky enough to witness an Ashanti funeral – a colourful and exuberant affair which gives a great insight into the complex culture of this once powerful kingdom. Overnight Hotel Miklin or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: four hours)

This morning we continue our tour of Kumasi, with the visit of the Royal Palace Museum which hosts a unique collection of gold jewels worn by the Ashanti court. Later, we drive to Anomabu on the coast. Overnight Anomabu Beach Resort or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

Explore the old quarter of Elmina as well as the Castle of St George, the oldest European constructed building in Africa once used for holding slaves. We also see the unique Posuban shrines, built by traditional local societies that were once responsible for the defence of towns along Ghana’s coast. Return to Accra for an overnight stay. Overnight La Vila Boutique or similar. (BLD)

Explore Accra, taking in its main sights including the atmospheric old quarter of Jamestown, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and something unique to Ghana – the coffin makers. These craftsmen build elaborate coffins in many weird and wonderful shapes including fish, cars, animals and aeroplanes! You can depart any time after 21:00 – please contact us if you are in doubt before to book your flights. This evening transfer to the airport for your departure flight at the end of the Voodoo Festival tour. Day use rooms are available until 18:00. (BL)

Dates & Price.

  • Tour Code
    Start
    End
    Trip Status
    Pricing
     
  • Tour Code 21-01
    Start Friday January 8, 2021
    End Wednesday January 20, 2021
    Guaranteed
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 1 - 16 Pax ) £2,855.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Togo, Benin and Ghana Voodoo Single Supplement
    £ 490.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 22-01 JAN
    Start Saturday January 8, 2022
    End Thursday January 20, 2022
    Guaranteed
     
    Available Seats: 16

    Adult ( 2 - 16 Pax ) £2,955.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Togo, Benin and Ghana Voodoo Single Supplement
    £ 490.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More

Tour Notes

The Voodoo Festival tour single supplement is from £525.

We include airport transfers in the price of your tour if you are arriving on the first day and leaving on the last day of the advertised itinerary. These will be provided by our local representative or on occasions by the hotel used for the first and last nights of the tour. When the transfer is provided by the hotel this will often be via a shared shuttle bus operated by the hotel. If you are planning to arrive before the start date, and/or leave after the end date of the tour, Undiscovered Destinations can arrange private transfers at an additional cost. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Please note that if you have arranged extra pre and/or post tour accommodation, either through Undiscovered Destinations or directly with the hotel or an agent, airport transfers are not included in the price of your tour. Please contact us if you would like Undiscovered Destinations to arrange private airport transfers at an additional cost.

Flights from London to Lome, and back from Accra start from £550. Please contact us for a quotation.

Twin rooms are quite scarce on this tour so are subject to availability at the time of booking.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please contact us so that we can tailor your perfect tour of Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers provided on a shared or private basis depending on location. On occasions the transfer will be operated by a hotel shuttle bus (*please see notes below Tour Exclusions)
  • Transport throughout
  • All accommodation
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader (there may be more than one guide with the group and the explanations may be in additional languages)
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
  • Visa support documentation if required

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips (discretionary)

*Please note that airport transfers will be provided on the advertised start and end dates of the tour. In addition arrival and/or departure transfers will be provided in conjunction with any pre and/or post tour accommodation that has been booked and paid for through Undiscovered Destinations. In all other cases charges may apply for airport transfers.

A quick introduction to a fascinating part of West Africa, the home of voodoo. With great knowledge about the local culture, our guide provided deep and fascinating insights – a wealth of information. Seeing voodoo rituals up front was thrilling, a priviledge surley reserved for few visitors.

 

Cecilia Harlitz, Sweden