Great Empires of West Africa

Book Now
  • Group Tour
  • Starting Price: $9,995
  • Length: 19 days
  • Operator: Travcoa
  • 866-591-0260
    Destinations: Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Togo
  • Difficulty Rating:
  • Comfort Rating:
  • Exclusivity Rating:

Tour Description

Visit the Africa that few others have seen. Experience cities that draw their heritage from ancient trade routes and retain a mystic quality. Explore teeming markets for indigenous crafts; travel into the Sahara desert and see the colorful dances of the Touareg tribesmen; see the biggest mud mosque in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; learn about the remarkable Dogon culture and see a thrilling Mask Dance performance; visit artisan villages of the Cape Coast and witness a stirring war dance of women before the king of Abomey in his palace.

  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Tireli, Cape Coast Castle, Accra and Timbuktu
  • Witness the traditional Dogon Mask Dance of this isolated tribe
  • Explore Ashanti craft villages
  • Experience the extraordinary Akwasidae Festival in Ghana
  • Journey across the Saharan sand dunes by camel to meet the Tuareg, the nomadic “blue men of the desert”
  • Visit Djenne’s spectacular mud mosque
  • A local expert will guide you through the voodoo market in Benin
  • Enjoy a special invitation to a private home for an authentic dinner in Accra

Itinerary

DAYS 1 - 3

Bamako, Mali

Upon your arrival on Day 2 you will be greeted and transferred directly to your hotel. For centuries, Mali was a crossroads when caravans crisscrossed the region. Slaves, gold and ivory were brought from the south and traded in the Middle East and Europe for weapons, jewelry and salt. Take a tour of Bamako on Day 3 and visit the National Museum, with exhibits on local crafts and Dogon artifacts. This afternoon, explore Bamako’s Maison des Artisans (artisan market), one of the largest markets in West Africa.

Azalai Hotel Salam, Bamako

DAY 4

Timbuktu

Timbuktu played host to an endless stream of European explorers during the 19th century. Visit Djinguereber Mosque; the famed Koranic Sankoré University and the House of Explorers. Later this afternoon, travel into the Sahara Desert by 4-wheel-drive to the encampment of the ancient Touareg people. You will receive a dramatic welcome - the traditional colorful dances of the tribesmen. Called the “blue men of the desert” (named for their indigo robes and turbans) they are an ancient nomadic tribe still eking out a desert existence.

Hendrina Khan Hotel or La Maison Hotel

DAYS 5 & 6

Mopti Djenné

Mopti has been a commercial crossroad since the 14th century and is the most important river port of the Niger River. On your morning tour of Mopti, see the Grand Mosque, built in 1806. At the market you can shop for masks, West Africa’s finest blankets, indigo Dogon cloth, gold and silver jewelry, wood carvings and much more.

Djenné was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for two main reasons: its mosque and its market. Your Djenné sightseeing includes the biggest mud mosque in the world, the Koranic schools, the architecture and the museum which is dedicated to the archeological site of Jenne Jenno. And you will have ample time to explore the colorful Djenné Monday market.

Hotel Kanaga, Mopti

DAY 7

Sangha Tireli

Board a 4-wheel-drive vehicle bound for Sangha. Your local expert will give a lecture about the Dogon culture during your panoramic tour. Continue your drive on to Tireli, a unique area of the Dogon Escarpment, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Witness a thrilling Mask Dance performance.

Hotel Cheval Blanc, Bandiagara

DAY 8

Songo Mopti

This morning drive to the Dogon village of Songo, set on the elevated plain of the Dogon Plateau. View the cave paintings; the vivid red of these ancient sketches of animals, warriors and prehistoric life will amaze you. This afternoon, board canoes for a ride on the Niger River. Your flotilla of canoes explores the region, visiting Fulani and Bozo villages.

Hotel Kanaga, Mopti

DAY 9

Mopti Bamako

This morning, fly back to Bamako. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax or explore the local area. Your hotel is located alongside the Niger River and walking distance to the bustling market and the Craftsmen House, and next to the National Museum of Mali.

Azalai Hotel Salam

DAY 10

Accra, Ghana

Late this morning, fly to Burkina Faso to connect to your flight to Accra in Ghana. Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana is a young republic that became independent from Britain in 1957 - the first black African colony to achieve its independence. Modern-day Accra is a low-rise city with plenty of shade trees.

Hotel Labadi Beach, Accra

DAY 11

Kumasi

This morning take a short flight inland from Accra to Kumasi. This afternoon explore Kumasi, the “Garden City of West Africa,” and the historic and cultural capital city of the Ashanti people. Visit Manhyia Palace and Museum, the Prempeh II Museum, the Ghana National Cultural Center and the Central Market - the largest open-air market in West Africa.

Golden Tulip Kumasi City, Kumasi

DAY 12

Akwasidae Festival Cape Coast

Visit several Ashanti artisan villages after breakfast to observe craftsmen at work and have the opportunity to purchase items from them. Return to Kumasi in late morning to attend the very special Akwasidae Festival. View the climax of the festival, with color, pomp, pageantry and endless traditional drumming and dancing. After lunch, depart Kumasi for Cape Coast in the Central Region.

Elmina Beach Resort, Cape Coast

DAYS 13 & 14

Cape Coast Accra

Start the morning with a visit to Kakum National Park, a 145-acre tropical rainforest refuge, with wildlife including the endangered Mona-meerkats, pygmy elephants, forest buffalos, civet cats, a wide array of birds, and over 500 species of butterflies. Next, explore Cape Coast Castle, dating from 1683.

On Day 14 visit the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum Park and the National Museum, housing a fascinating collection of Ghana’s historical treasures. Then stop at the Arts Center to bargain for a varied collection of Ghanaian handcrafted items. This evening, enjoy dinner at a Ghanaian home. Meet and interact with the residents, while dining on local specialties and enjoying traditional entertainment.

Hotel Labadi Beach, Accra

DAY 15

Lomé, Togo

The tiny country of Togo was first populated 600 years ago with the migration of the Ewe people from the kingdoms of the Niger Valley. After lunch at your hotel, explore Lomé, “the pearl of West Africa.” See the imposing government buildings with their unusual architecture, the National Museum, then the Grand Marche and Akodesewa Fetish Market where you can buy strange concoctions to ward off evil spirits in this mostly animist country.

Mercure Lomé Sarakawa, Lome

DAY 16

Ouidah Cotonou, Benin

Travel via Ancho, former capital of Togo, to Hlande village, famous for its voodoo practices. Witness the amazing performance of the Zangbeto, traditional night guardians. Later, arrive at the ancient Portugese city of Ouidah, where the first contact between European and African cultures was established. Tour the Sao Joao Batista Museum of History, a former Portugese slave fort, and learn about the Slave Route and “The Door of No Return.”

Benin Marina Hotel, Cotonou

DAYS 17 - 19

Aborney, Ganvie Depart for Home

Travel to Abomey, the capital city of the great Danhomey Kingdom. On arrival, visit the reigning king of Abomey, King Agoli Agbo. In his palace, witness the women warriors, “the Amazons,” perform a war dance in his presence.

On Day 18 take a breathtaking excursion to Lake Nokoue and the fishing village of Ganvie. Visit the Maison de la Francophonie, Lovers’ Lane and the floating market. Day rooms at Benin Marina Hotel allow you to freshen up before your transfer to the Cotonou airport for your late evening flight home (arriving the following day) or on to your next destination.

Benin Marina Hotel, Cotonou

Departures

Pricing Information

February 21, 2012

From $9,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

April 3, 2012

From $9,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

September 18, 2012

From $9,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

October 30, 2012

From $9,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

Journey Includes

  • Deluxe rooms in the best available hotels
  • Three meals per day, including our unique Dine-Around program that lets you enjoy any restaurant you choose with à la carte dining, or relax with room service when available*
  • A professional Travel Director as your personal concierge
  • Local sightseeing with professional English-speaking guides with unparalleled knowledge, including entrance fees for places visited
  • Active participation and up-close encounters to experience the cultures of your journey
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, coffee and tea included with meals; bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • All gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff and local guides and drivers Group or individual airport transfers on arrival and departure flights
  • TheTravcoAssist Travel Protection Plan, including emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage for injury or illness, and 24-hour Worldwide Live Travel Assistance through Travel Guard Assistance

*Due to remote or undeveloped locations on some journeys, accommodations may not always meet Western standards. Dine-Around opportunities will be limited in remote or unsecured locations.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes