Location

Ghana, Togo, Benin

Category

Multi

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Ouidah Voodoo Festival 2023 | Benin, Togo & Ghana

In 1996, the government of Benin declared January 10, National Voodoo Day. Voodoo is practiced by 60% of the population and on this day, followers of the various voodoo cults gather at the ‘Door of No Return’ in Ouidah, the capital of the Voodoo religion.

Our journey starts from the capital of Benin, Cotonou. Visit Abomey, capital of the once powerful Dahomey Empire in Benin and the highlight of the tour is when we experience Voodoo in Allada and Ouidah where activities climaxes all others and finally Egungun dance ceremony a day after the festival in Ouidah. (Masked dancers supposed to represent the dead in the society)

Then depart Benin for drive to the Benin/Togo border and cross into Togo.  Continue to Lome and take a tour of Togo’s capital. Our adventure takes us up north to Sokode where we will witness the fire dance and then drive to the border town of Kpalime.

Cross a second border Togo/Ghana border into Ghana and to Atimpoku. Continue to Kumasi, capital of the old Ashanti Empire. You will travel to the Central Region towns of Cape Coast and Elmina at the coast to visit old historical European strongholds and an adventurous walk up a canopy 60 metres above the forest ground at Kakum National Park.

Our journey ends in Accra, where you will explore this 100 year old city and before you catch your flight back home

 

 

 

 

Min Group size 8pax
Accommodation Yes
Transportation Yes
Food Yes
Tour Guide Yes

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Single Occupancy: Get a quote

Min Grp size:  8pax

Includes:  Transportation, hotel accommodation in 2-3 star hotels, two meals daily – breakfast & lunch or dinner as indicated in the itinerary, entry fees and an English or French speaking Tour Guide

Excluded:  International flight to/from Benin and Ghana, visa fees to Ghana, Togo and Benin, travel insurance, meals not indicated in the itinerary, drinks and beverages at meals, COVID19 tests upon arrival and departure, things of a personal nature like phone calls, laundry etc, tips for driver, guide and other service providers, any item or service not specifically listed in the itinerary as included.

Note: Itinerary and costs are subject to change.

Disclaimer: Date for the celebrations of  Voodoo Festival is correct at the time of publication of this tour. Since organization is done by the office of the Ministry of Culture of Benin Sunset African Tours shall not be held responsible for cancellations or change of dates of the festival

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

 

Sun Jan 8, 2023:  Arrive Cotonou, Benin

Arrive at Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport. You will be met by a Sunset African Tours representative and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Cotonou

Mon Jan 9, 2023:  Cotonou – Abomey – Allada – Cotonou

Early today depart to Abomey. Arrive and take a tour of this former capital of the Dahomey Empire. This empire which lasted 300 years, rivals that of the Ashanti both of which established their power by constantly being at war and capturing prisoners for the Slave Trade. Visit one of the 12 magnificent palaces built by the Dahomey Kings which is now a Slave Trade Museum. We will visit the war room, the common grave of the 42 wives of King Glele and the throne room. Mid-morning drive back to Allada and witness the King and his people celebrate their own mini Voodoo festival at the royal palace. This is a curtain raiser to the main Voodoo festival in Ouidah. Witness costumed Zangbetos also known as ‘Guardians of the Night’ perform at the festival grounds. This ceremony is significant because the King of Allada is the head of all traditional kings in Benin and also Voodoo religion was established in the 13th century in Benin by Adjahounto, the founder of Allada, a forefather of Toussaint Louverture (father of Haiti.) Return to Cotonou in the late afternoon. Overnight in Cotonou (B & D)

Tues Jan 10, 2023:  Ouidah Voodoo Festival Day

Early today, depart Cotonou to Ouidah to witness a procession of Voodoo Chiefs to their various palaces. Mid-morning, followers of various voodoo cults will gather at the “Port of No Return”, a memorial dedicated to those who left the shores of Benin through slavery to celebrate the Voodoo Festival. In 1996, the government of Benin declared voodoo which is practiced by 60% of the population the official religion and on every January 10, there is a big festival to celebrate the religion. Experience the mysteries of Voodoo as the followers from various temples perform their own rites and rituals. At this ceremony, we will witness the dancers go into deep trances while possessed by ancestral spirits. At sundown we will attend a ceremony of Egungun dancers (Masked dancers who are said to represent the dead in the society) at the village square. Overnight in Cotonou (B & L)

Wed Jan 11, 2023:  Ganvie – Porto Novo – Cotonou

Today depart Cotonou to visit Ganvie, a village on stilts spread across Lake Nokoue and inhabited by a population of about 25,000 people. The ancestors of the Tofinu people who now live in this village created the settlement in the 16th century to escape being captured by the Dahomey army to be sold as slaves to the Portuguese. Later, visit Porto Novo, also known in Goun as Hogbonou and in Yoruba Adjatche. This town was named Porto-Novo in 1730 by Eucharistus de CAMPOS a Portuguese merchant because of the resemblance of the area to the Portuguese town of Porto. Visit the Ethnographic Museum, the 300 year-old Palace of King Toffa and also the Brazilian church turned into a mosque. Overnight in Cotonou (B & D) 

Thurs Jan 12, 2023:  Cotonou – Ouidah – Lome, Togo

After breakfast and check out, depart Cotonou to Lome, Togo. Stopover in Ouidah and visit Kpasse Forest where a 14th century chief is said to have hidden himself from his enemies by transforming himself into a tree. Also visit the Python Temple, where Ouidah’s ancient snake cult is still very much in practice. Snakes are still an important feature of many voodoo rituals, believed to be able to bring vitality and protection. Finally visit the 17th century Portuguese fort that depicts Benin’s turbulent past. Continue to the Benin/Togo border and cross into Togo. Arrive in Lome and transfer to your hotel for check in. Overnight in Lome (B & L)

Fri Jan 13, 2023:  Lome – Sokode

Take a city tour of Lome. Visit the National Museum, the independence square, cathedral and the ever colourful Grand Marche where you can find some very colourful African fabrics. Also, visit the Akodessewa market (Voodoo market) where everything from traditional charms and medicines to the most bizarre items including snake potions are sold. Lome is also a shopper’s paradise for high quality tribal masks and crafts. After lunch depart Lome through Notse, a town where the Ewe tribe in Ghana migrated from, Atapkame and also make a stopover in Anie, a town noted for its elaborate adornment of calabashes. Arrive in Sokode and check in your hotel. After dinner, attend a ceremonial dance (The Fire Dance) around a huge bonfire, where the villagers fearlessly eat and dance through hot flaming charcoal with no harm. Overnight in Sokode (B & L)

Sat Jan 14, 2023:  Sokode – Kpalime

This morning drive down south to the border town of Kpalime. Visit Kloto, known for her Arts and Crafts, batik, pottery and wood carvers. Due to its proximity to the Ghana border Kpalime has become a busy and important market (Market days are on Tuesdays and Saturdays) where local farmers sell their products along with the usual clothes, plastic, utensils etc. In the evening we will enjoy Akpesse dance by a local dance troupe (Akpesse dance is a Ewe dance. Ewes are a tribe found in Ghana, Togo and Benin). Overnight in Kpalime (B & D)

Sun Jan 15, 2023:  Kpalime – Atimpoku, Ghana

This morning depart Kpalime to the village of Kouma-Konda known for their coffee growing. Experience how the local people process the coffee beans into organically certified coffee. Continue to the Togo/Ghana border and cross into Ghana and to Atimpoku. Arrive and check in at your hotel. Enjoy lunch and a boat ride through the mangroves to Adomi Bridge at a river front hotel nearby. Overnight in Atimpoku (B & L)

Mon Jan 16, 2023:  Atimpoku – Kumasi

Depart to Atimpoku through the mountain range to Kumasi, seat of the Ashanti Empire which was built on similar basis as the Dahomey Empire (now Benin), i.e. through wars. Arrive in Kumasi and visit the Royal Manhyia Palace Museum, home and office of former Ashanti’s Kings. A regal history that dates back to 1700 is told with relics and artefacts. Later visit the Cultural Centre that features the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and various studios of brass makers, potters, drum carvers and batik makers. This museum also depicts the numerous exploits of the Ashanti’s especially their wars with British colonial rulers. Overnight in Kumasi (B & D)

Tues Jan 17, 2023:  Kumasi – Elmina

This morning visit the newly constructed largest market in West Africa, Kejetia market. Experience the market vendors display their wares and shout out to attract customers to their stands. Later visit the Ashanti craft villages to observe craftsmen at work and to purchase souvenir gift items. These villages are Ahwiaa; where woodcarvers produce Ashanti stools, fertility dolls & walking sticks etc. Ntonso where Adinkra cloth is processed and dyed (Dyes are extracted from the bark of the tree called Badie) and Bonwire where kente cloth is woven. Depart Kumasi through the country side to the coastal town of Elmina. Overnight in Elmina (B & D)

Wed Jan 18, 2023:  Elmina – Kakum – Cape Coast

Depart to Cape Coast and visit the Kakum National Park, a tropical rain-forest in the heart of the Attandaso reserve, for an adventurous and breath-taking walk on the Canopy Walkway. It is composed of 350 meters of a suspended bridge and six platforms at a height of 60 meters (100ft). Later visit the Cape Coast Castle built in 1667 by the Swedes and later taken over by the British. This was used during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade as a holding point for captives. Visit the West African Historical Museum. The guide will conduct you to the slave quarters and Negotiation Hall where captives were bargained for and sold. Finally visit Elmina Castle, the oldest European monument in Ghana built in 1482 by the Portuguese. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic Slave Trade. After this tour, take a short walk around the colourful fishing harbour next to the castle. Overnight in Elmina (B & D)

Thurs Jan 19, 2023:  Elmina – Accra City Tour

Depart Elmina to Accra. Arrive and take a tour of the century old capital of Ghana, Accra. Start the day with a drive and walking tour of the colonial section of Accra (Jamestown). Drive through the main street of the section and view the Ussher and James Forts built by the Dutch (1650) and British (1673) respectively and also the Light House which used to guide ships to the Accra Harbour in colonial days. Visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial park and museum, a monument dedicated to Ghana’s first post-independence President. Later, we visit the intriguing craftsmen at Nungua/Teshie who make fantasy coffins in the shape of vegetables, fruits, cars, aircrafts etc usually depicting the profession of the deceased. For example a fisherman might be buried in a coffin in the shape of a giant fish. Visit the National Ethnographic Museum and finally the Arts and Crafts market where you will find items from all over Ghana and West Africa. Overnight in Accra (B & L)

Fri Jan 20, 2023:  Departure

Spend the day relaxing at your hotel or doing your last minute shopping for souvenirs. Check out of your hotel later in the evening and depart to Accra airport for your international flight back home (B)

 

 

 

Jan 8 – 20, 2023

 

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