G H A N A
april 15th - may 1st 2023
I'm looking for travel companions, which means I'll pay like anyone else. I'll take advantage from the fact that in a small group I will spend much less than traveling alone, in addition to having organized it according to my interests and in a period in which I can travel.
It will to all intents and purposes be a self-guided trip among friends, I'm not a travel agency and not even an escort, I don't assume responsibility in any way and those who join do so voluntarily knowing that it is not an organized trip. Flights, visas and vaccinations and anything else necessary you will have to get them yourself, even if obviously I am available to share info and to coordinate us as best as possible. Those who wish can arrive earlier and/or leave later, as long as they are present when following the itinerary below.
(Sorry for my poor English)
Krobo women with "kente" clothes (photo by David Olive - Pixabay)
Journey with a strong ethnographic connotation in one of the most interesting countries of the Gulf of Guinea where different aspects of traditional culture are still alive. Two-week itinerary designed by me together with a local agency, quite demanding in terms of travel but very complete. Not only there are the traditional highlights included in the classic tours (the capital Accra, colonial fortresses on the coast, Kumasi, village on stilts of Nzulezu, canopy walking at Kakum N.P.) but also several places and situations that are rare to find on organized tours (usually shorter and tending to focus on the coastal area). The tour takes place in this specific time frame in order to be able to attend particular events that are held only in this period.
(follow the orange links for more info)
Arrival at Accra airport, with airport pickup. Overnight in the capital.
Whole day dedicated to visiting the capital. We will visit Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Makola Market and Independence Square. In the afternoon we will go to visit famous custom coffin builders. Private guide, transfers by public transport, overnight in Accra.
Transfer from Accra to what was once the territory of the British colony of the Gold Coast, so-called for the huge deposits of the precious mineral that were found in the area. We will visit the posuban of Anumabo and Mankessim, coming into contact with the complex culture of the Fante people. If it will be possible, we will deepen the knowledge of the "asafo flags" produced by the ancient warrior companies. In the afternoon transfer to the west. Private guide/driver, overnight in Beyin area.
We will visit the picturesque stilt village of Nzulezo and the lake on whose shores it is located, also much visited by the Ghanaians but undoubtedly nice. In the afternoon, returning to Elmina, we'll stop at Kakum National Park, where we'll be able to do canopy walking and birdwatching in the heart of a rainforest, on rope bridges suspended about 40 meters above the ground. We will spend the night in a small hotel located close to a beach surrounded by palm trees, from which it is possible to admire the local fishermen intent on their activities at dawn and dusk. Private guide/driver, overnight in Ampeni Point area.
Cape Coast Castle (photo by Oladapo Olusola - Pixabay)
Whole day dedicated to the visit of Elmina. We will start from the historic Elmina Castle, the oldest colonial building in all of sub-Saharan Africa and one of the 32 colonial buildings included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, places for centuries linked to the slave trade and more. We will not fail to dive into the colorful fish market, in the midst of hundreds of fishing boats returning from the sea and noisy buyers, surrounded by a lively African atmosphere. Private guide/driver, overnight near Ampeni Point.
Visit the mighty Cape Coast Castle to learn about its not always crystalline past under the various European powers that have taken turns there. We will complete the day by entering fishing villages on the coast, to see their way of life up close. In the afternoon transfer to the Volta Lake area. Private guide/driver, overnight in Dodowa/Amrahia area.
We are in an area with little tourism where, thanks to the local contacts of our guide, we will be able to approach the world of voodoo, also popular in this area even if it does not reach the widespread diffusion of nearby Benin. We will be able to learn about the tradition of traditional glass beads, still highly sought after by the locals, and to see the everyday life of the locals. Private guide/driver, overnight in Dodowa/Amrahia area.
Whole day dedicated to Dipo, the initiation rite of young women of the Krobo people, which lasts about a week but sees the most significant days as the weekend. On this day the girls, virgins who at the end of the ceremony will be considered ready for marriage, are shaved and wear a cloth that covers them from the chest to the knees. Private guide, transfers by public transport, overnight stay in the Krobo villages area.
The following day the girls are subjected to a ritual bath and "blessed" by washing their feet with the blood of a goat offered by their parents, in order to prevent infertility. When there will be some downtime, we will be able to take a short trek to nearby Mount Krobo, where the Krobos come from and from where, in addition to a beautiful view of the surrounding plain, the archaeological remains of their ancient settlements can be visited. Private guide, transfers by public transport, overnight stay in the Krobo villages area.
Transfer day. We will first reach Accra from which we will take a domestic flight to Tamale, where an expert local guide will take us to visit remote villages in the north, with typical traditional architecture. We will enter an authentic witch village, where women accused of witchcraft - who risked being lynched for this - have taken refuge over the years. The village is home to three different generations of these unfortunate people. We will also have the opportunity to come across the shepherds of the Fulani people. Private guide/driver, overnight in Karamenga.
Architectures of a traditional Northern Ghana village (photo di Iapping - Pixabay)
Today we will reach the Tongo Hills which host the Tengzung shrine, in the area inhabited by the Tallensi people. Afterwards we will visit the colorful traditional village of Sirigu and, if there is time, we will drop by the interesting Bolgatanga market. Private guide/driver, overnight in Karamenga.
Return true Tamale to visit the atypical mud mosque of Zayaa and the surrounding beautiful traditional villages of the Dagomba people. Private guide/driver, overnight in Tamale.
Visit the beautiful mud mosque of Larabanga in the typical architectural style of this part of the Sahel and the nearby village of Mognori inhabited by the Gonja people. Private guide/driver, overnight in Tamale.
Long transfer on a comfortable tourist bus, arriving in Kumasi, formerly the capital of the pre-colonial Ashanti Empire, the second largest city in the country by population and center of culture of Asante people. In the afternoon we will begin to know this interesting city. Overnight in Kumasi.
Full day dedicated to deepening knowledge of Asante culture, famous since the colonial era for the abundant gold in these lands. From the trade of the precious metal arose the tradition of producing brass weights which have reached a remarkable level of refinement, becoming collectors' items. No less interesting are the kente and adinkra cloths, the latter decorated with a complex series of symbols. We will visit the traditional Ashanti houses which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. During the day it will likely come across one of the amazing funerals held in this period. Private guide, transfers by public transport, overnight in Kumasi.
Closing in beauty with the Akwasidae Festival, the parade that Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the 16th Asantehene (King of the Ashanti), holds on the last Sunday of each month (the Ashanti calendar is made up of 9 months of 6 weeks). It is an opportunity to show off one's power and wealth, which is mostly accomplished through the immoderate display of royal gold. Private guide, transfers by public transport, accommodation to be decided according to the time of the return flight.
Possible return to Accra, return flight.
Several of the planned visits touch places not accustomed to tourism, therefore the program could undergo variations with respect to what has been established or the order of the visits could be changed. Flexibility and a spirit of adaptation to the situations that arise are necessary. However, we will always have a valid local guide with us who will do everything to make us enjoy such a complex journey to the fullest.
Mud mosque in Larabanga (photo by Iapping - Pixabay)
I have chosen mid-range category hotels (cost between 30/50$ for a double room) to keep costs low. With the advice of the local guide, I looked for places that were clean and with a private bathroom, avoiding the big hotels with swimming pools and international food usually offered to foreigners (more expensive and impersonal). In the north of the country the choice is decidedly smaller than in the south, the accommodations will be rather simple. Breakfasts are included in the cost of the hotel, lunches and dinners are not (and free).
If you are interested in doing this trip with me, please contact me for more details on costs and other important things, such as visas and vaccinations.
Asantehene during 2016 Akwasidae Festival (photo by Wikimedia)