This mildly adventurous tropical African tour introduces clients to myriad aspects of little known West African life: the friendly Ghanaian people, their colourful culture, the flora and fauna of an equatorial climate, the undiscovered landscape - while you are lodged and transported in comfort and will feel welcome wherever you wander. . .
Visitors will tour southern Ghana from east to west in a chauffeur driven, comfortable air-conditioned vehicle, conveying you to a range of mountain, riverside, seaside and inland hotels. The tour includes opportunities to attend a festival with drumming and dazzling costumes, a rainforest canopy walk with wildlife spotting, and meals in an hotel restaurant set over a crocodile pond,[ the crocs are friendly- like all true Ghanaians!]. You can go boating in dugout canoes on the Volta river, be pampered in a riverside spa hotel, visit legendary African markets, take cookery lessons a la ghanaienne, mountain walk above Lake Volta and tour 16th and 17th century trading forts and castles. The last 3 days are for total relaxation in a beach hotel set in a botanical garden. On this immaculate crescent of palm fringed yellow sand, rainforest meets warm Atlantic surf. Swimming here is superb. Here too there are excursions to the local 17th century Dutch castle overlooking the bay and to hike – or drive- through the forest to the next beach. A visit to the local primary school will allow you to help in the classroom. At all times there is a choice between international and Ghanaian cuisine, with several gourmet dinners included in the package. The group leaves on a night flight back to Europe but during that day there will be opportunities to explore Accra craft markets and historical sites. Before checking in at the airport you may shower or swim and relax, drink and eat in the bar and other reception areas of a local 5 star hotel.
DAY 1 Arrive on evening flight, transfer to VILLA CISNEROS spa hotel at SOGAKOPE on the banks of the Volta River in eastern Ghana. Cold supper on arrival.[N.I.]
[Until 1919 the Volta was the frontier between German Togoland and the British Gold Coast colony. To this day the Ewe people east of the river speak the same language and share the culture of their Togolese cousins. Their ancient religion, YEVE, was carried with the slave trade to Haiti and other regions of the Americas as VOODOO.] Overnight at VILLA CISNEROS.
DAY2 After breakfast spa treatments and a stroll to the little town nearby. After light lunch[ N.I]] a half hour drive to DABALA to witness – and participate at - the DZAWUWU festival, in which the Ewe people, who also inhabit neighbouring Togo, celebrate the magical gift of an ivory stool and flute from a giant elephant in the mythical past. The entire community of Dabala and many other neighbouring villages and distant towns join in the festivities. Anyone and everyone can join in with the joyous dancing and general merry making. At sunset a 30 minute drive back to the hotel and dinner[ included in price].
DAY 3 EARLY MORNING : Breakfast at hotel. 120 minute drive to HO town to explore stalls and market Swim and lunch [N.I.] at CHANCES HOTEL . Before lunch we pay a brief visit to Kalapka forest reserve, to see bird and other fauna and flora. Another 90 minute drive to MOUNTAIN PARADISE LODGE in the AVATIME HILLS , a forested mountainous region where nights are cool enough to sleep without fan or air-con. The lodge serves its own home grown food and coffee and is magnificently situated on a mountain slope with fantastic views. In the cooler mountain air walking is highly recommended – in any direction. At Amedzope, highest town in Ghana, it’s possible to walk up the second highest peak in Ghana. It only takes about 15 minutes but views to Volta lake in one direction and Togo in another are terrific. Dinner at MOUNTAIN PARADISE included. Specialities here are local mushrooms cooked in different ways and a local classic, Yam in Palava sauce .
DAY 4 After Breakfast 30 min drive to TAFI ATOME MONKEY SANCTUARY, where our evolutionary little cousins are revered as sacred creatures. Fun guaranteed! On to nearby KPANDO to meet renowned women potters turning their wheels. As everywhere in Ghana, the potters will be only too happy to explain their work and let you too ‘have a go.’ PACKED LUNCH FROM HOTEL [N.I.] Possibility of a Yeve religious ceremony nearby, before returning to the lodge for walks and dinner[N.I.] Here is a good opportunity to sample more Ghanaian traditional dishes, like groundnut soup with sticky rice balls. Overnight at MOUNTAIN PARADISE LODGE.
DAY 5 After Breakfast 60 minute drive to AKOSOMBO where we have morning coffee or drinks at the Volta Hotel. From the balcony you can marvel at a tremendous view of the Volta Lake and hydro-electric dam. In the little town after refreshment we find under shady trees we visit a textile and food market full of life and dazzling colours. Fabrics galore. For lunch[N.I.],local freshwater fish and prawns are recommended at the restaurant in the picturesque botanical garden at AYLO’S BAY. In the afternoon canoe trips on the river and a walk over the ATIMPOKU suspension bridge and along the verdant river bank . An excellent – and extremely inexpensive pedicure and manicure centre [actually a very clean and well equipped roadside shack!] is nearby. You will be made very welcome by the expert beauticians. Drive [10 mins] to riverside AFRIKIKO HOTEL with swim pool and riverside garden and dining room for dinner.[N.I.]. Choice of international or Ghanaian dishes. Overnight at AFRIKIKO HOTEL.
DAY 6 After early breakfast, drive TO ABURI [2 hours ] where we lunch[N.I.] in the Rose Plot restaurant in the famous ABURI botanical gardens, embellished with a huge variety of trees and shrubs . From here we have a 4 hour drive through small towns and villages to KAKUM NATIONAL PARK and HANS COTTAGE BOTEL, where we find comfortable air conditioned rooms to overnight , while well fed crocs can be observed circling in a pond under the pier restaurant where we dine.[N.I.] There is also a filtered swimming pool as well – no crocs allowed! Overnight stay at HANS COTTAGE BOTEL.
DAY 7 Before dawn start for nearby [10 mins] KAKUM forest park to be elevated to the highest forest canopy walkway in Africa, possibly the world. . Far above the treetops, strung between the highest of towering rain forest hardwoods, walkers can be suitably staggered by the magnificent panorama beneath. Immediately apparent is the conference of many and various exotic birds, including rufus winged illadopsis, yellow casqued hornbill and yellow footed honeyguide[ among many others] winging their feathery flight paths above and below and around you. In the trees Colobus and Mona monkeys, young and old, play out their acrobatic, vegetarian lives in a fully natural habitat. After fresh fruit juice at ground level we take a short trek with an official drive into the rainforest. Back to HANS BOTEL for a swim pool, then a 30 minute drive to CAPE COAST for lunch at the Castle restaurant[N.I.] Walk about the old town , full of historic buildings. Dinner [N.I.] and Overnight at HANS BOTEL.
DAY 8 After breakfast we visit CAPE COAST castle on a guided tour[INCLUDED IN TOUR COST]. This is a world heritage site from which millions of slaves were held in irons before being transported to the Americas. Afterwards fresh fruit juice and snacks at nearby juice bar. [INCLUDED IN PRICE] On our progress westwards we detour to old world Elmina town for a brief exterior inspection of its imposing Portuguese medieval castle. 15 minute drive to lunch[N.I.] at ESTEEM KOFI’S MOTEL .Then a 90 minute drive through SEKONDI and TAKORADI to the legendary west coast of Ghana with its superbly undeveloped pristine beaches. Down remote forest roads we make for BUTRE, where we stay for 3 nights at HIDEOUT LODGE, an Oceanside side hotel right on the beach with alfresco restaurant and bar and individual bungalows set in a hibiscus and bougainvillea bedecked botanical garden. From your individual bungalow it’s only 30 seconds away from the emerald surf. We swim, and have fresh crayfish seafood dinner[INCLUDED IN PRICE] and overnight at HIDEOUT LODGE.
DAY 9 After breakfast and swim, a 20 minute drive to DIXCOVE where an old pirate’s castle towers over a busy fishing village. We drive on to BUSIA, a little town 3kms away on the next beach, for lunch at OKEREYE TREE café.[N.I.] Here is a major surf school on this enormous beach where swimming is delightful and safe. In the little seaside resort there are stalls, restaurants and hotels, providing a pleasant, bustling contrast to the much quieter Butre beach. In the early afternoon we drive back to Butre to relax. . Tonight we dine [INCLUDED IN PRICE] at FANTA’S FOLLY, a superb French restaurant with an African twist . This may well be highlight of our gastronomic experiences in Ghana. OVERNIGHT AT HIDEOUT LODGE.
DAY 10 A school visit to BUTRE Primary this morning. Cookery lessons can be taken in AGONA, and on various other occasions during the entire trip. We also climb the hill to a seventeenth century ruined Dutch fort with fantastic views over forest and ocean. A local boatman [PRICE INCLUSIVE] will be happy to punt clients up the nearby river to view birds and monkeys in the trees lining the banks. But if you don’t fancy going anywhere you can just relax on Butre beach. LUNCH at HIDEOUT LODGE [N.I.] On the beach you may - with luck - witness newly hatched turtles crawling down the beach to the sea. If the moon is bright, a beach walk is not to be missed. Small armies of luminous white crabs cartwheel down the beach in the moonlight and sometimes, if we are really lucky, plankton glows with the unearthly electric light in the salt billows. . . DINNER [N.I.] AND OVERNIGHT AT HIDEOUT LODGE.
Drive back to Accra, stopping at points of interest and lunch at BIRIWA BEACH HOTEL[N.I.] . In ACCRA the craft market by the sea offers every kind of Ghanaian craft work while INDEPENDENCE SQUARE with its vast, usually empty , parade ground, reminds us of Ghana’s temporary flirtation with Soviet Russian influence in the 1950s and early 60s. Elsewhere in Accra we visit historic Jamestown and Makola Market. In the early evening we repair to a 5* hotel very near the airport, to cool off in the pool, take a shower and hang out in the coffee bar where drinks and light meals are available.[N.I.] Flight to London overnight.
[N.I. = not included]