Ghana Explorer

Ghana is often touted as ‘Africa for beginners’, and is one of the best introductions to this enchanting part of the world. That doesn’t mean that it’s tame or unexciting, though….. This tour travels from the bustling capital of Accra along the coast to Elmina, home to ancient European castles that are among the oldest buildings on the continent, once used to hold slaves. We explore the rainforest on the canopy walkway at Kakum, then head north to the capital of the Ashanti people, Kumasi. After seeing the exuberant Akwasidae festival we continue to Ghana’s premier national park, Mole, to look for elephants, buffalo, and if we’re really lucky, lion.

We then meet the Dagomba people with their fortified traditional villages, and a settlement of ‘witches’, exiled from their homes. At Tafi Atome we walk in the forest amongst sacred monkeys, and before returning to Accra witness a voodoo festival, experiencing the complex belief systems of the local people.

Ghana is a kaleidoscope of culture and colour, home to incredibly friendly people, enigmatic wildlife and fascinating customs. Explore both the highlights and the lesser known secrets for a comprehensive introduction to the country.

Highlights

  • Look for elephants at Mole National Park
  • Witness an authentic voodoo ceremony
  • See the colourful Akwasidae Festival
  • Meet a village of 'witches'
  • The sacred monkeys of Tafi Atome

Day 1 - Accra

Arrive in Accra and transfer to your hotel. Overnight Villa Boutique or similar.


Day 2 - Accra - Anomabu

Explore Accra, visiting the old quarter of Jamestown, as well as the quarter where craftsmen design flamboyant coffins for the deceased – a uniquely Ghanaian experience. Later drive along the coast to Anomabu. Overnight Anomabu Beach Resort or similar. (BLD)

Accra
Ghana’s capital is one of Africa’s biggest cities, with the inevitable traffic, noise and mayhem. Despite being a fast growing, lively city, the people are friendly and welcoming and maintain many aspects of their tribal African roots. The National Museum houses one of West Africa’s best ethnographic, historical and art collections, which gives a good introduction to Ghana and surrounding areas. The old quarter of Jamestown is the heart of the old colonial town and is inhabited by the Ga people, who founded Accra in the 16th century. There are numerous bustling markets to explore where you can discover everything from food, clothing and household goods to traditional crafts. Most interesting is the area where coffins are made – here they make them with the most outlandish designs, in the shape of fish, aeroplanes, or just about anything else you can think of.

Day 3 - Kakum - Elmina

Drive to Kakum Forest National Park, which we explore via its canopy walkway, stretching through the tree tops. From here continue to the fishing town of Elmina, best known for St George’s Castle, the oldest European building in Africa and once used as holding centre for slaves. In the two itself we explore the old quarter with its unique Posuban shrines, made by the traditional ‘asafo’ societies which were once responsible for local defence. Overnight Anomabu Beach Resort or similar. (BLD)

Elmina
The pretty town of Elmina is dominated by the whitewashed St George’s Castle, which dates back to the 15th century. The fort is a rather sombre place when you realise that this is where slaves were held awaiting transportation to the new world, and the cells which they were held in still remain. Elmina is also home to the smaller Fort St Jago, perched on a hill and overlooking the town, as well as a 19th century Dutch cemetery, and the fishing harbour is a delight to explore, with colourful boats and fishermen bringing in their daily catch.

Day 4 - Kumasi

Continue to Kumasi, Ghana’s second city and home of the old Ashanti Kingdom. Explore the city including the Ashanti Cultural Centre, which gives a great insight into what once was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the region. If possible, we will be able to see a traditional Ashanti funeral, quite a spectacle at which visitors are welcome. Overnight Miklin Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Kumasi
Kumasi is the historical and spiritual capital of the Ashanti Kingdom. With its population of nearly one million, Kumasi is a sprawling city with a fantastic central market where traders from all over Africa come to sell their wares. Every kind of Ashanti craft (leather goods, pottery, kente cloth) is found here, along with just about every kind of tropical fruit, vegetable, and provision. We visit the Ashanti Cultural Centre, which has a rich collection of Ashanti artefacts, housed in a reproduction of a traditional Ashanti royal house

Ashanti people
The Ashanti people were one of the most powerful nations in Africa until the end of the 19th century, when the British annexed Ashanti country, bringing it into their Gold Coast colony. Originally from the northern savannah regions, the Ashanti people migrated south, carving farms out of the wild rainforest. The region was rich in gold, and trade in this precious metal developed quickly, with small tribal states developing and vying for control of resources. In the late 17th century the Ashanti ruler brought these states together in a loose confederation and the Ashanti Kingdom was born. Their social organisation is centred on the Ashantehene figure, the king of all the Ashanti. The Ashanti are the lords of the gold, so they dress themselves with it during ceremonies. The Ashanti Kingdom was famed for its gold, royalty, ceremony and the development of a bureaucratic judicial system.

 

Day 5 - Kumasi - Techiman

Continue exploring Kumasi, visiting the Royal Palace Museum. We will also attend the spectacular Akwasidae Festival, where the tribal chiefs and king of the Ashanti gather to celebrate their heritage – with the Ashanti nobility decked in gold jewellery and wearing traditional dress, this is one of West Africa’s most colourful events. Afterwards we transfer to Techiman. Overnight Encom Hotel or similar. (BLD)


Day 6 - Mole National Park

Drive to Mole, Ghana’s richest national park that is home to a wide variety of wildlife. On the way we stop at small villages and markets to meet local people and explore a little more of the local culture. Overnight Mole Motel or similar. (BLD)

Mole National Park
Mole National Park is Ghana’s largest wildlife refuge. The park is located in the northwest and is made up of grassland savannah and riparian eco-systems, with a sharp escarpment making up the southern boundary. The park is home to over 93 mammal species – including elephants, hippos, buffalos and warthogs – and is considered a primary African reserve for antelope species such as kobs, Defassa waterbucks, roan, hartebeests, oribi, bushbucks, red duikers and yellow-backed duikers. Sightings of hyenas, lions and leopards are unusual but possible. Olive baboons, black-and-white colobus, green vervets and pata monkeys are resident species. Among the 33 known species of reptiles recorded, it is worth mentioning the slender-snouted and dwarf crocodile. There are 344 listed bird species, and species to look out for include martial eagles, white-headed and palm-nut vultures, saddle-billed storks, herons, egrets, Abyssinian rollers, violet turacos and red-throated bee-eaters.

Day 7 - Mole National Park

A day to explore the park. We head out on safari in the early morning and late afternoon, when the wildlife is more active, in search of wildlife which includes elephants, buffalo, hartebeest, roan and others. Lions and leopard are also present here, but not often seen. The birdlife here is also prolific, with a wide variety of raptors, waterbirds and other species. Overnight Mole Motel or similar. (BLD)


Day 8 - Yendi

We head north east to meet the Dagomba people. The Dagomba are mainly farmers and build distinctive clay huts with thatched roofs. Overnight Kamil Legacy Hotel or similar. (BLD)


Day 9 - Nkwanta

Today we drive to a settlement inhabited by ‘witches’, who have been exiled from their villages due to local beliefs that they are responsible for unfortunate events and tragedies. Today they live together in one village, and our visit here gives us an opportunity to ask them about their lives and learn about the complex set of beliefs that shape rural life in Ghana. Overnight Gateway Hotel or similar. (BLD)


Day 10 - Wli

Head south, driving through the savannah to the tropical forest. We visit small villages and coffee plantations en route to the impressive Wli waterfalls, on the border with Togo. The falls drop around 60 metres to the forest floor, and the surrounding area is home to around two hundred species of birds. Overnight Wli Water Highs Hotel or similar. (BLD)


Day 11 - Tafi Atome - Akosombo

From here we head to Tafi Atome – in the forest here lives a population of mona and colobus monkeys that the local people consider to be sacred. As a result of this they are not harmed, and therefore not afraid of people, so your chances for seeing them are excellent. This afternoon we drive to Akosombo in the region of Krobo, known for its production of traditional beads. Overnight Afrikiko Resort or similar. (BLD)


Day 12 - Akosombo

Today we head to a nearby village to see a voodoo ceremony – a fascinating cultural experience only found in this part of West Africa. We then learn about the process for making the pretty traditional beads that are found here. Overnight Afrikiko Resort or similar. (BLD)

Voodoo
Voodoo, or Vodoun as it is known here, is one of the most important religions in this part of West Africa. Forget what you may have seen on TV about it being a form of black magic – here it has the same legitimacy as any other belief system and has been adopted as an official religion by Benin.

Voodoo is a complex and intricate way of seeing of the world, with literally hundreds of different gods responsible for various areas of daily life – some are benevolent, some less so, and in order to communicate with them and ask for favours local people will seek the assistance of followers, or adepts. There are numerous voodoo temples scattered around the coastal regions of both Benin and Togo, each headed by a priest who for a suitable donation will intercede on your behalf.

Voodoo is not limited to the temples though and travelling around the region it is not unlikely that you will see some ceremonies being carried out. Also worth looking out for are the Egunguns – earthly manifestations of the dead who roam the streets in outlandish costumes, striking fear into the heart of local people. Sacrifice and blood are important within voodoo rituals, and any ceremony worth its salt is likely to involve a chicken being killed, its blood spilled onto a shrine in order to seal the pact. You’re also likely to see fetishes dotted around villages – these are inanimate objects such as rocks or trees in which a spirit is believed to reside, often covered in candle wax, feathers and blood where sacrifices have been made. Gaining some understanding of voodoo allows you a glimpse into a magical world where nothing is quite as it seems, and is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of travelling here.

Day 13 - Accra

We return to Accra and see some more of the city, including local art galleries. Later transfer to the airport for your flight home. (BL)


We arrive in Accra in the afternoon of the final day and you should not book any departure flight before the evening.

Please note that we sell this trip in conjunction with our local partner and therefore you should expect people of different nationalities and a maximum group size of 16 on this tour

Ashanti gold jewellery - Ghana holidays and tours
Women in traditional dress at Ashanti funeral - Ghana holidays and tours
Local man in village of painted houses - Ghana holidays and tours

What's included?

  • Airport transfers

    We include arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers. Please note though that if you arrive earlier than Day 1 of the tour, and leave after the final day, we may need to make an additional charge for an airport transfer.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

    Please note that it is not always possible to secure twin rooms as many hotels in West Africa only have rooms with one large bed. If you would like a twin room you must check with us beforehand that this is possible.

  • Guides

    In most cases you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip – in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again. Please note that when meals are included, sometimes these will be in hotels, as often these are the most appropriate option, and will sometimes be set menus. Local restaurants are often lacking in variety, as well as the capacity to cater for groups. Drinks are not included and are at your own expense.

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as Travcour (www.travcour.com) can assist.

  • International flights

    Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If however you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.

Visas

Most travellers will require a visa to enter Ghana, which must be obtained before travel. You may need an invitation letter in order to obtain this, depending on the requirements of the embassy that you apply at – we can provide this for you. Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations you can also visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for entry to Ghana and you must bring this with you.

Insurance

It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover, which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.

Money

The local currency in Ghana is the cedi. It is best to bring US dollars or Euros for exchange purposes as the cedi is generally not obtainable outside of the region. US dollars should have an issue date of 2006 or later, otherwise you may find it difficult to exchange them.

It’s not difficult to change money in Ghana, either at banks or the hotels and your guide can assist with this. There are also an increasing number of ATMs in larger towns. However these are not always reliable and so it is best to think of them as a back up rather than a main means of obtaining money.

Credit cards are accepted in larger hotels and better restaurants (usually in larger cities only) but are not commonly accepted elsewhere. You should also be aware that credit card fraud is not uncommon in Ghana and so should you choose to use one, do bear this in mind.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place.

In addition, roads throughout the parts of Africa that we visit are often poorly maintained (if at all!) and distances between key sites of interest can be long. Travelling in Africa can be tiring, hot and dusty at times, and inevitably it can be frustrating. While there are some issues that we are able to solve, others are intrinsic to the countries that we travel through, and you should be aware that many of the countries that we operate in cannot be compared to others on the continent that have better infrastructure – for example the popular tourist destinations of east and southern Africa.

Although travelling in these countries can at times be an ‘unpolished’ experience, this is all part of the adventure. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and putting up with a pothole (or ten) is undeniably worth it for the amazing sights and cultural experiences you will encounter along the way.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to the Comoros Islands.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Please note that the information contained above is highly susceptible to change, and while we endeavour to keep up to date we recommend that you use this as a guide only. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Ashanti gold jewellery - Ghana holidays and tours
Women in traditional dress at Ashanti funeral - Ghana holidays and tours
Local man in village of painted houses - Ghana holidays and tours
Date(s)
Price (PP) Exc. Flights
Single Supplement
Trip Status
Date -
15 September 2021
Price (PP) -
£2,849
Single Supplement -
£465
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
08 December 2021
Price (PP) -
£2,849
Single Supplement -
£465
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
19 January 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,999
Single Supplement -
£475
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
02 March 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,999
Single Supplement -
£475
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
13 April 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,999
Single Supplement -
£475
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
06 July 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,999
Single Supplement -
£475
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
28 September 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,999
Single Supplement -
£475
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
21 December 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,999
Single Supplement -
£475
Trip Status -
Available