Togo, Benin and Ghana
Ouidah Voodoo Festival

Ouidah Voodoo Festival Tour – a 12 day Small Group Tour from £2595 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 and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at Hotel Onomo or similar.

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

Lome has the perhaps unwelcome distinction of being the only African city to have been colonised by the French, British and Germans. This morning we embark on a tour of the city, first visiting Independence Square before continuing to the lively and colourful market that surrounds the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Next, we then head to the fascinating, if rather gruesome, fetish market where animal parts are sold for use in traditional medicines. Here, voodoo practitioners are on hand for consultations (see Notes for more information). After lunch we drive to the border and cross into Benin, travelling to Ouidah for the night. Overnight at Hotel Djegba or similar. (BLD)

We spend today delving into the mysteries of the occult at Ouidah’s annual voodoo festival. Although there are many festivals around the country, this is the largest. Expect to see followers and priests of the various voodoo gods, from the elaborately costumed Zangbetos, to the Kokou, renowned for injuring themselves in order to reach the divine. Around the edges of the main performance groups from various voodoo temples perform their own rites and rituals. This is a fascinating insight into a much-maligned religion, and probably unlike anything you’ll have seen before. Overnight at Hotel Djegba 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 trade is conducted from small boats. From here, we continue to Abomey, the centre of the once notorious kingdom of Dahomey, from where fearsome warriors struck terror into the hearts of 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 at Hotel Jeko or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: six hours)

Leaving Benin’s lush costal belt behind we 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 performed in order to garner the favour of the gods. In the afternoon we explore some former Taneka villages located on a mountain of the same name. The villages are made up of round houses with conical roofs, protected at the top by a terracotta pot. The upper part of the village is now inhabited by young initiates, and fetish priests wearing only goat skin and carrying long pipes. We wander along alleys bordered by smooth stones and explore the life of the tribe, who have inhabited archaeological sites for centuries. Overnight at Hotel Tata Somba or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: four hours)

The villages of the Tamberma people, straddling the border between Togo and Benin, are one of the undoubted highlights of the region. Each fortified house is built from earth, able to be defended against the slaving raids of old and capable of shielding an entire family and their livestock from invaders. Today we visit several of these structures and meet Tamberma people, some of whom still wear traditional headgear of gazelle horns, and pierce their lips with bones. Later, we cross back into Togo and drive to Sokode, in the evening witnessing a traditional fire dance. Overnight at Hotel Central or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

After breakfast we drive south, stopping at Atakpame, a typical African hillside town where you can find products from the nearby forest. We continue to the tropical forests surrounding Kpalime, a town with a rich colonial past and now an important trading centre. We visit the market and art centre before a guided night walk in the forest beginning around 6pm. Overnight at Gess Hotel or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

Crossing back into Ghana, we drive to Krubo, famous for its glass beads. We visit a factory specialising in their production. We continue to Koforidua for the night. Overnight at Hotel New Capital View or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

Today we travel to Kumasi, centre of the Ashanti kingdom, and 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 at Hotel Miklin or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: four hours)

Today we further explore Kumasi and visit nearby villages. Later, we head back to the coast and the fishing town of Elmina. Overnight at Anomabu Beach Resort or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

The day is spent exploring the old quarter of Elmina as well as the Castle of St George, the oldest European constructed building in Africa, dating from the late 15th century and once used for holding slaves. We also see the unique Posuban shrines, built by traditional ‘asafo’ societies 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)

There’s much to see in Accra, and today we try and cover the main sights, including the atmospheric old quarter of Jamestown, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and, something unique to Ghana, the city’s coffin makers. These craftsmen build elaborate coffins in many weird and wonderful shapes including fish, cars, animals and even aeroplanes. Later, day use hotel rooms are available until 6pm, prior to airport transfers for onward flights. (BL)

Mapped itinerary.

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Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Togo, Benin and Ghana - Ouidah Voodoo Festival Tour Map

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

Dates & Price.

  • Tour Code
    Start
    End
    Trip Status
    Pricing
     
  • Tour Code 21-01
    Start Friday January 8, 2021
    End Thursday January 21, 2021
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 12

    Adult ( 1 - 12 Pax ) £2,595.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Myanmar Beyond the Tourist Trail (BTT) Single Supplement
    £ 350.00 / 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

Tour single supplement from £445.

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 get in touch with Linda so that I can tailor your perfect tour of Ghana, Togo and Benin.

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)
  • 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