(Accra, Elmina, Kumasi)
Culture, nature and history is the theme of this Grand Journey through West Africa. The main highlights of these uniqe areas are: the Isle of Goree and the salt gatherers at the unusual Lac Rose in Senegal, the slave castles at Cape Coast in Ghana, fetish markets in Togo and Ouidah, the birthplace of Voodoo in Benin. On the Isle of Goree you will learn about the turbulent past as you walk through the Maison des esclaves (house of slaves). You'll speak to salt harvesters at the Pink Lake and learn about the techniques of extracting salt. You'll also explore the streets and markets of Bamako with your local guide. Then continue on to Ghana, Togo, and Benin where you'll explore historic slave castles, learn about ancient kingdoms, cultures, voodoo and more. Finish by visiting a local village for your own naming ceremony where you'll receive your traditional Ghanaian name. Return to Accra for some final souvenir shopping and sight seeing before flying home from this unforgettable adventure! Includes internal transfers, accommodations, and meals as listed.
Airport transfer with private vehicle and guide.
Visit of the various Markets of the capital city of Senegal: Kermel, Sandaga, and the handicraft market of Soumbedioune, you will also go through Tilen market famous for its medicinal herbs and its traditional healers Visit of the Great Mosque, stop at the president’s palace and the parliament house. Going to Cheick Anta Diop University you will visit the picturesque district of Medina and the residential district of Fann.
Just twenty minutes from Dakar Port, the ferryboat will arrive at Goree. Goree Island carries the heavy burden of 300 years slave trading in West Africa. The island ranks today among the classified monuments of the World Patrimony. You will visit the Slave-House and will listen to a lecture delivered by the curator. Visit of the auction block, the ethnographic Museum, the fort and interact with the inhabitants.
Enjoy todays visit to Lake Retba, also known as the “Pink Lake” located northeast of Dakar. This lake is considered an anomaly as it boasts one of the rarest natural phenomenon in the world. The lakes pinkish hue is as a result of the excessive amount of Dunaliella salina algae in the water that produce a red pigment used to absorb light, which in turn than provides the algae with life-energy. The pink color is particularly visible during the dry season. The lake is also known for its abundantly high salt content. Today you will meet the “salt harvesters” with their colorful tackle, and interact with the Fulani ethnic groups living in the surrounding villages. You will then have lunch in a typical restaurant and after proceed to the fishermen village of Cayar where you will attend the colorful arrival of the big game fishing parties.
A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer to the airport.
Relax as your guide navigates you through the administrative and economic districts of Accra, the capital of Ghana. This 131 year-old city has a blend of colonial and modern architecture that summarize Ghana's history. You will visit the W. E. B. Dubois Center for Pan African Culture and the Independence / Black Star Square and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. The mausoleum and monument provide visitors with information about the prominent Ghanaian leader Kwame Nkrumah, who spearheaded Ghana's independence in 1957; leading Ghana to become the first independent country in sub-Saharan Africa. Then visit the Arts Centre where you will have the opportunity to use your bargaining skills to shop from an open-air market. This is Accra's largest open air market which has different sections for fabrics, clothing, wooden carvings, jewellery and more - from Ghana and West Africa.
Drive from Accra to Kakum National Park, one of West Africa’s surviving tropical rainforests. Extending over 360sq km, Kakum is the home to over 40 large mammals and 400 bird species as well as many species of butterflies, flora and fauna. Enjoy this drive as you pass through villages, towns, and along the coast to the rainforest. The drive from Accra to Elmina takes approximately 3hrs plus stop time.
Enjoy a meal with your guide at a local restaurant. Each meal includes one water or soda per person.
Drive through the historic Denkyira Kingdom to Kakum National Park, one of West Africa’s surviving tropical rain forests. Extending over 360sq km, Kakum is the home to over 40 large mammals and 400 bird species as well as many species of butterflies, flora and fauna. The most popular attraction is the Canopy walkway which is made up of seven bridges extending 330m, hanging 30m (100 feet) above the forest floor. Choose between a 2 km nature walk through this forest to discover the wide variety of exotic floral species and the medicinal values they offer or take a walk on the canopy walkway.
Includes private guide and vehicle for the day.
Embark on a tour of the infamous Forts, Castles and Slave Dungeons of Ghana. Learn and watch as history unfolds the story of the slave trade in West Africa. Begin with visiting Cape Coast Castle. The largest of its kind, this castle was built by the Swedes in 1653 and was later taken over by the British. Walk the path of slaves as your guide takes you through each section. This castle also houses the West African Historical Museum established by the Smithsonian Institute in collaboration with the Ghanaian Government in 1994. It is filled with artifacts, stories, photos and more.
After lunch, visit the Elmina Castle. Built by the Portuguese in 1482, it is also known as St. George's Castle. This castle was the first European structure built in Sub–Saharan Africa and is the oldest castle in Ghana on the West African slave trade route. The colorful harbor nestled below the Elmina Castle, full of pirogues preparing to go to sea offers one of West Africa’s greatest photo opportunities.
Drive from Elmina to Kumasi. Drive through the forest zone to Kumasi, the seat of the Ashanti Empire to explore the legends of the famous Ashantis, whose legacies are still evident today. En route visit Assin Manso, the site of the “last bath” where slaves were taken for bathing before being shipped to the new world. It is also the burial place of two former slaves whose remains were returned to Ghana from the US and Jamaica. Then continue on to Kumasi. This transfer takes approx 3-4hrs, but can take more time depending on how long you spend at Assin Manso and stops made along the way.
Visit the Manhyia Palace Museum, to obtain firsthand information on the legacies of the Ashanti kingdom. A regal history that dates back to 1700 is told with relics and artifacts. Enjoy a drive through the city with monuments dedicated to the memory of the great Ashanti people. End the day’s tour at the National Cultural Center which features the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and various studios of the brass makers, potters and batik makers.
Includes private guide and vehicle.
This day is devoted to visiting the three famous craft villages in Ashanti: Ahwiaa - the wood carvers’ village, Ntonso - the home of Adinkra, and Bonwire - the Kente weaving village. You will have the opportunity to see how African sculptures are craved, how Adinkra wax prints are made and how the famous kente cloth is woven using an amazing local technology. You will also have the opportunity to buy directly from the artisans who make each craft.
Drive from Kumasi to Accra. En route stop at Besease to visit the traditional shrine of the Ashantis. Explore the beliefs, history and bravery of the Ashantis. You will be captivated by the Ashanti historic oral account as it is told by an old and knowledgeable Ashanti traditional linguist. From here, continue on to Accra. This transfer takes approx. 6hrs, but can take longer depending on time spent at Besease and any stops made along the way.
In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to relax.
Drive between Accra, Ghana and Lome, Togo today. Your guide will help you at the border crossing and point out interesting sights along the way. Just ask! This drive will take approximately 3 hrs.
After lunch, embark on an insightful city tour of Lome, a city where tradition and modernism overlap for the great delight of the visitor. Discover this metropolis with its Musee National, Place de I' Independence, fishing harbour, and the Grand Marche - the realm of the famous “Nana Benz “. Continue with a visit to the Art Street with its craft vendors, the Artisans' Village and climax the day at the Marche des Feticheurs (fetish market) - the heart of voodoo cult.
Set out to explore some of the city of Lome's most popular and visited locations, beginning with a visit to the Grand Marche. This large marketplace offers a wide range of goods, and takes an entire city block. Merchants from all across the continent display their products for potential customers to purchase. These vendors sell everything from fresh fruit and produce to brightly designed, handcrafted African printed clothing. Next, visit a site that is a popular draw for locals and tourists alike. The Fetish Market is very unique, there are a myriad of stalls displaying items that are used for traditional herbs and medicine, and some unusual voodoo inspired product as well including, skulls and snakeskin’s, crocodile heads, powders and charms.
Today will be a full day. You will drive today from Lome, Togo via Ouidah to Cotonou, Benin. Stop along the way for sights and tour. This drive will take approximately 3-4hrs.
Today visit the cradle of African traditional Religion, Ouidah. Tour the temple dedicated to the sacred Python, which is believed to give vitality and protection; you will also visit the sacred forest which houses many shrines dedicated to various deities. Visit the historical Museum of Ouidah located in an old Portuguese fort built in 1721. This Museum portrays Benin's role in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Later visit the Port of No Return; a monument built by the Benin Government to commemorate the Africans that were taken from the Dahomey Empire during the Slave Trade.
Enjoy this sensational visit to Ganvie (the village on water), commonly referred to as the Venice of West Africa. Witness firsthand, the people of Ganvie carrying out their daily routine as vendors in dugout canoes make transactions with one another and with tourists. Try shopping amongst the local vendors in the floating market whilst taking a relaxing canoe ride on the waterways of this exotic 300-year-old village. After lunch, drive through the multicolored center of the administrative and commercial capital of Benin to view it’s many statues and monuments.
Depart for Accra. Today will be a full day of driving with a stop for lunch in Lome. This drive will take approximately 9hrs.
Today you will cross the border into Togo. Your guide will assist you with the border process before continuing on your journey.
This evening spend time at leisure or relax at your hotel.
Depart for a scenic drive along the Accra plains to the beautiful village of Torgorme located on the lower course of the splendid Volta River. You will have the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the paramount chief and elders amidst traditional drumming and dancing by the villagers and also participate in a naming ceremony, where you will be given traditional African names! After the sensational naming ceremony amidst drumming and dancing in your honor, choose among embarking on an event village tour of Torgorme, participate in a passionate do-it session on pottery making or an educative kente weaving session. Transfer time approx. 1.5hrs from Accra.
Visit the Arts Centre where you will have the opportunity to use your bargaining skills to shop from an open-air market for artifacts from Ghana and West Africa. For finer artwork, check out the beautiful art gallery next to the market. For musical instruments, see artists at near the front of the market. Ask them for a lesson in drumming and negotiate a price, then groove to Afro-beats!
King Fahad Palace sits proudly on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean in the capital of Senegal. Surrounded by 35 hectares of luxuriant green foliage, it offers a beautiful setting for guests, with breathtaking views of the sea and easy access to water sports, deep-sea fishing, golf and tennis. Comprising 374 rooms and suites, the large atrium in the centre of the property gives a sense of spaciousness that is reflected in the rooms. The decor within the rooms varies from lush, muted tones to a natural colour palate. There is a restaurant that overlooks the ocean, as well as a bar lounge, an outdoor swimming pool, steam bath, fitness centre, 9-hole golf course, 4 floodlit tennis courts, night club, hairdresser and gift shops that are all located on the property.
Welcome to Golden Tulip Accra, a four-star Superior First Class Hotel, situated in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. This African-style hotel with 238 rooms is delightfully landscaped over spacious grounds with extensive tropical gardens and lush vegetation. The hotel is a safe haven for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel's central location makes it easily accessible to the city centre and other commercial areas of the city of Accra. It is also within easy reach of nightclubs, shops, museums and beaches.
Coconut Grove Beach Resort and Conference Centre is located in Mmoframa Akyinim, on the coast of Elmina the historic Capital of the Gold Coast. All rooms are air-conditioned, with hot and cold water, mini bar, satellite multi channel TV reception, and Wi – Fi connection. The Ocean View Restaurant has an enviable reputation for the best sea food served fresh in the region.
Golden Tulip Kumasi City is the only four star hotel of international standards in Kumasi, only 20 minutes away from the airport and located close to the city center of the second biggest city of Ghana. This remarkable hotel, the Golden Tulip Kumasi is set in extensive tropical gardens in the central business district. This magnificent hotel has 160 rooms with various room types, a well- equipped Business Centre, a Forex Bureau for your finanacial transactions, a swimming pool specially designed for adults and another one for children. Enjoy this first class African style experience!
The Mercure Sarakawa hotel sits at the heart of a 62 acre (25 ha) coconut grove on Lomé Beach, close to the center of Lomé. The hotel has 211 rooms, including 82 with a sea view, and offers two restaurants (including the gourmet "Le Mercure" restaurant), two bars, an Olympic-size pool, two tennis courts, a golf course and a riding center.
The Novotel Orisha Cotonou is a 3 star hotel enjoying a seaside location in the centre of Cotonou, close to the two major convention and events centres, the Palais du Congres and the CIC. The hotel offers 110 air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant and two bars. The hotel also features a private car park, a swimming pool and a tennis court. The hotel has 2 restaurants that feature both French and local specialties.
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We all agree that Kensington has first class staff working for them in Africa. All the camps that we stayed at were absolutely beautiful except perhaps for the one in Lake Manyara. All in all it was a spectacular trip!"
Janine Chey ,
April 21, 2014
"Our trip to Masai Mara via Kensington ran very smoothly. We stayed at the Mara West Lodge. Beautiful location atop a ridge overlooking the Masai Mara plains. Our luxury tents were quite comfortable and the staff/service at the lodge were great. Meals were very nice especially the daily soups. Our guide, Steve, was also great...so knowledgeable and eager to show us many interesting things. He planned our daily game drives and took us on a nature hike one afternoon. He clearly knows and understands this ecosystem. He has an amazing eye, finding animals in fields of tall grasses. Our entire family had an amazing time, trip of a lifetime...would love to go back!"
Justin Yax ,
April 21, 2014
"Once again, a perfect trip. From Elizabeth's planning to Godfrey's guiding, we could not have asked for a more thorough and well planned safari. I can't wait to come back and do it again, this time with a Kilimanjaro climb added onto the trip!"
Nancy Frierson ,
April 21, 2014
"The entire trip was superb - all the transfers, the lodging and the food, the safari experience and the knowledgeable guides. The guide's ability to spot an animal and identify it at a great distance allowed us to see and photograph all the animals on our list and then some. The lodgings were even better than we had hoped and the staff could not possibly have been better. Our trip of a lifetime turned out to be just that."
Avi J.Moskovitz ,
February 03, 2014
"We finally returned from the most magical vacation in Morocco and we cannot thank Lily and Kensington Tours enough!! This trip was beyond amazing and we are so appreciative for everything done to make this trip happen last minute for us!
We had a spectacular tour guide that spoke 8 languages, Ismail, and the friendliest and warmest driver, Said, whom made the experience absolutely phenomenal! Not only did we learn and see, but we laughed, danced, ate like pigs, kissed camels and snakes, ran in the Sahara desert under the stars, and enjoyed life - the best gift of all!
Ebony Hoskins ,
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
July 26, 2013
"Our family of 6 traveled to Morocco for a 9 day Imperial cities discovery, I was absolutely amazing. Our guide Lahcen Zaaim was the best guide we have EVER had and we have traveled to many countries. There was not one subject that he was not knowledgeable about. He made the trip sooooo memorable. He was so flexible and when he picked us up in the mornings to head out, he was talking nonstop to tell us soo much about everything we were seeing. There was soooo much to see in Morocco and he made sure we saw it all.. He truly has a gift in the touring business, you feel as if your leaving your best friend when the trip is over. When we got to the airport in casablanca, he spotted us before we saw him and of course, we asked him, how did you recognize us? He even went as far as to get the King of Moroccos artist to meet us at our riad the night before we left to return home late to do our names in moroccan arabic to frame, They were beautiful, He showed us a picture of the Kings Face he had done for the Palace! Lily Baffour from Kensington planned our trip and she was amazing, planning everything as she thought we would like based on what I told her. She did an Outstanding job and literally sent our Iteniaries by next day air in a beautifully done spiral bound personally book for each family that was going on the trip, SOOOOOO IMPRESSED and she even got the guide we requested!!!! I cant say enough about this trip and Kensington, we will definitely use again!!! We experienced a VERY different culture in going to Morocco and thats what we wanted, a Very different exotic trip and thats what we got!!!! Again our accomodations we Top Notch, staying in the TRuly authenic Riads, they were SOOOOO Luxurious, Plan on taking another suitcase or buying one there because you will buy more things to bring home than any other trip because of all the Handicrafts there, especially in Fes!!!
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