(Accra, Elmina, Kumasi)
This premium tour features some of the best properties available through Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Head out each day with your own private guide and vehicle to explore cultural and historic sites that will reverberate through your soul. Starting in Accra, Ghana we will meet you upon arrival and transfer you to your hotel. The next day enjoy a day at leisure to explore the city, art centres, beaches, sign up for a drumming or dance lesson or simply relax. Then begin your journey through West Africa as you drive to the coast. Here you'll visit Kakum National park and the UNESCO Elmina and Cape Coast castles that used to house the slaves being shipped to the new world. Heading up to Kumasi you'll retrace the routes that the slaves used to be taken down before heading to Cape Coast and learn about the historic and famous West African arts. As you move towards Togo and Benin, learn about the history of Voodoo as you walk through its birthplace, Ouidah. The Doorway of No Return in Benin is a haunting reminder of the turbulent past. Finally you'll float through the city of Ganvie, all built on stilts. Customize your trip through the journey with your guide and sign up for optional activities and excursions along the way. An incredible and unforgettable trip that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Customize your trip by switching activities, adding days or upgrading/downgrading hotels. With so many sights and opportunities, modify this trip to suit you. Speak to your travel consultant for more details.
A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer to the airport.
Set amidst tropical landscaped gardens, overlooking one of Ghana’s most beautiful beaches is the famous Labadi Beach Hotel. The hotel is located in Accra, Ghana’s administrative, communications, and economic centre in close proximity to Kotoka International Airport and within the vicinity of business, financial and entertainment districts. Labadi is locally renowned for its food and the unique spirit of Ghanaian hospitality, and is located within easy access of both the city and airport.
Includes private guide and vehicle.
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.
Enjoy a meal with your guide at a local restaurant. Each meal includes one water or soda per person.
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.
Today enjoy time at leisure to explore on your own, sign up for tours, or simply relax at your hotel or along the beach. Visit and volunteer at the Cape Coast School for the Deaf, head out for the evening to listen to the Traditional Bamboo Orchestra, visit Kakum National Park where you can enjoy a guided tour through the rainforest or walk high above the forest on canopy rope bridges. Explore the town on foot walking past local shops, markets, visit the fisherman's dock and markets, or sit back and relax at a local restaurant or pub on the beach.
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.
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.
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!
After breakfast embark on a tour of Kumasi, the seat of the Ashanti Empire to explore the legends of the famous Ashantis, whose legacies are still evident today. Visit 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.
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.
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.
Today you will cross the border into Togo. Your guide will assist you with the border process before continuing on your journey.
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.
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.
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.
The Benin Marina Hotel is situated right at the beach and is an idyllic spot for you to unwind. Enjoy a game of tennis, relax by the pool or have a drink at the bar. In addition, the hotel prides itself on its superb cuisine, attentive staff and luxurious accommodation. The Benin Marina Hotel has various rooms available. The hotel offers 200 rooms, including 1 Royal Suite, 8 Junior Suites and 12 Bungalows. Our staff is present 24-hours a day to provide you with our excellent room service. All rooms have satellite television available and direct international telephone dial.
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.
This evening spend time at leisure or relax at your hotel.
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!
Depart from Accra international airport - end of itinerary.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Irene Saurwein ,
April 21, 2014
"I thought that both Raymond and Mike were outstanding guides. Our trip was wonderful. The only point I want to make that the food at the Farm House was not very good. Pretty disappointed. Our stay at the Serena in both locations was great. Overall great trip that we will never forget."
Francis Quinn ,
April 21, 2014
"The Mbugani Camps were nice but the beer was warm and they don't have ice. The owner was a great guy. Enjoyed Mara West. The staff and food were great. The second evening the loud mouth owner conducted a business meeting on the front porch disrupting a peaceful cocktail hour. It was totally inappropriate since he was very loud and discussed his business dealings with Kensington with others. They also need an ice machine. They ran out every night. Albert is probably the best guide I have ever had. Very knowlegeable. Mike was great too. Fabulous trip. You guys did a great job. We had a wonderful time."
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"Our party of 4 believe that we were given incorrect information regarding the type of suitcase that we should purchase for this trip. We were advised to buy a suitcase that was soft sided and no wheels. We arrived in Africa to see many others going on Safari with suitcases that had wheels. It was difficult for us to manouever our bags. I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We learned a great deal from Wasari . Our tour guide in the Mara was just ok . It would have been great to have the tour guide that we had in Serengeti for the complete trip. We understood that he could have crossed over from Tanzania into Kenya to get us . There was one flight within the country that we felt we may have been better off driving. We all believed that our Sales consultant could have spent more time with us on the phone going over the itinerary and guiding us through some of the decisions that we were making. For example Lake Manyara was not really necessary and perhaps we could have used that extra day in Zanzibar . These are some of the decisions that we felt our consultant could have assisted us with . 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!"
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
Frank Manna ,
April 21, 2014
"Our guided transfers were exceptionally accommodating even though our flights were considerably delayed. The Annavillanas Jungle Lodge was spectacular for location, accommodations and food. The Rio Carnival experience was unique and unforgettable and our seats were wonderful. Loved the location of our hotel in Rio.......right on the street of Copacabana Beach.......fantastic. The only negative during our entire trip was the routing of the airline flights. Was there no way to avoid the flight from Rio to Manaus and then Manaus to Rio for our flight home. We seem to have travelled 2000 miles to the same starting location. Next time I would appreciate a more thorough exploration of all possible routes that would be more expedient and less strenuous for the travelers. I realize that there are limitations but I rely on Kensington to assist me in making the best decision for my wife and me."
Michael Melvin Marsh ,
April 21, 2014
"The trip was very special and i credit Sunita Singh for helping to make it such. We worked on the itinerary for three months and she was very helpful, knowledgeable and present."
Lucy Gilkes ,
April 21, 2014
"The whole trip was wonderful but the guides were what made it for us. They were knowledgeable and thoughtful a pleasure to spend time with."
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!"
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