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Rhythms & Realms of West Africa Accra - Freetown

Trip Overview

The myth of West Africa is that there is no wildlife left. After 2 nights of staying at the Tiwai Island Widlife Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, and seeing up to 11 different primate species, including chimpanzees, plus otters and sea turtles and even, perhaps, the elusive pygmy hippo, you will realise that this is a myth.

If it's tribal culture and wild scenery that you are after mingled with raw adventure and off the beaten track travel, then this really is a trip to consider. The roads through much of Guinea and the Ivory Coast can be very poor, but this is part of the experience, as we get to see stuff that others usually only see from an armchair on the TV.

In the forests of northern Guinea, we will seek out the amazing vine bridges, while in the north of Ivory Coast we will explore the culture, music and villages of the Korhogo peoples. Then there are the stunning Atlantic beaches; those in Ghana are particularly beautiful and a great place to relax.

28 DAYS THROUGH Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana (+ 2 more countries)
RATING:
of 8 reviews
PRICE FROM:
$2,700 (USD) + 880 KITTY (EUR)
DURATION:
28 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle, Pirogue (dugout canoe)
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
ACCOM:
45%
55%
MEALS:
Breakfasts x 7, Lunches x 12, Dinners x 6
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ZFA
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  Explore Freetown and visit the National Museum

  Relax on the beaches of Freetown peninsular in Sierra Leone

  Visit Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary and try and spot a rare Pygmy hippo

  Shop for Ronko-dyed clothes in the market at Kabala

  Try out the famous vine bridges of Guinea

  Overland through Cote d'Ivoire

  Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, the largest Christian church in the world

  Explore the old colonial town of Grand Bassam

  Visit a Dragoman supported community project in Elmina, Ghana

  Jungle visit at Kakum National Park

  Shop at West Africa's largest market in Kumasi

  Enjoy a fine meal and cool drink in one of Accra's many restaurants

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

This is a tough and very much off the beaten track journey. Roads can be poor, and the climate challenging, but it is very rewarding for someone who wants to connect to everyday West African life. To try to make life easier, we mix camping with some nights in hotels, but expect to camp in the wilds of Africa.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Accra ( 16th Feb 2020 )

Border information: if you are joining in Accra, then you will most likely enter Ghana at Accra Kotoka International Airport (IATA code: ACC).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport, visas, and insurance details at this meeting.

The afternoon will be free to explore the city of Accra.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Accra before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Accra.

In Accra we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the fascinating and chaotic Ghanaian capital city of Accra

GHC 5

Learn all about the history and culture of Ghana in the National Museum

GHC 40

Visit the famous Labadi Beach situated on the outskirts of Accra

GHC 5

Freely explore the huge Independence Square and Black Star Arch in Accra, where independence was celebrated in 1957

Free

Freely explore the area of Jamestown, Accra's oldest district and a vibrant fishing area

Free

Visit the outside of the famous Osu Castle, the seat of power in Ghana since the 1600s

Free
Day 2-3 - Kumasi ( 17th Feb 2020 to 18th Feb 2020 )

Leaving Accra behind us, we journey north through Ghana's interior to the historic town of Kumasi.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day, we will have lots of time for free exploration of the fascinating town and its museums. Kumasi is the home of West Africa's largest market and was the centre of the Ashanti Kingdom. 

In Kumasi we will stay in a local guesthouse.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit to Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti kingdom and culture

GHC 10

Freely explore the bustling and colossal centre of Kejetia, the largest market in West Africa

Free

Visit the National Cultural Centre and the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum to learn all about the history and culture of the Ashanti civilisation, of which Kumasi is still the capital

GHC 5

Find out all about the British-Ashanti Wars of the 19th century on a guided tour of the Ghana Armed Forces Museum in Kumasi

GHC 8

Escape the city and explore the shore of Lake Bosumtwe, a circular lake formed by a meteorite crash 100 million years ago

GHC 30
Day 4 - Kakum National Park ( 19th Feb 2020 )

Today we will drive south to the rainforests of Kakum National Park. On arrival we will head out on an included evening walk through the forests in search of wildlife, bugs and snakes! We may also have the chance to visit a small animal sancutary en route.

In Kakum National Park we will camp in the grounds of the Park HQ.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit to the stunning jungles of Kakum National Park and walk through the rainforests at night

Included in Kitty

Explore the incredible rainforest canopy from the unique suspended bridges in Kakum National Park

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn all about the area's stingless bees and their importance to the local ecology at the International Stingless Bee Centre near Kakum National Park (if time allows)

GHC 10

Visit the Monkey Forest Resort Animal Sanctuary near Kakum NP, a sanctuary for animals rescued from poachers (if time allows)

GHC 15
Day 5-6 - Elmina, Cape Coast, Kakum National Park ( 20th Feb 2020 to 21st Feb 2020 )

Today we have an early start with an included morning visit to the Kakum National Park canopy walkways. These are a long series of hanging bridges at the forest canopy level that gives us a unique perspective of the rainforest - and at that time of the morning we will have the place to ourselves!

We will then head back south to the Atlantic coast and into Cape Coast for a fascinating and moving tour of the old slave fort there.

We will then move to our stunning beach resort in Brenu Akynin near the town of Elmina.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-4 hours.

On the following day, we will get involved with community projects currently being run in the Elmina area by the SABRE Charitable Trust. The Trust does very valuable work in developing educational projects across Ghana, with a focus on providing early-years education - we have been visiting their projects and providing a day of help and a donation for many years, allowing us to give a little back and to experience a wonderful bit of community interaction. The exact experience will depend on what the Trust has a need for at the time, but we could be asked to help to paint a classroom, do a bit of gardening in one of the schools, or simply come and play some games with the children!

We will also have time for an optional visit to Elmina Castle and to relax on the beautiful beaches on Ghana's Atlantic Coast.

In Elmina we will camp at a stunning beach resort.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit and explore the historic Elmina Castle

Included in Kitty

Visit the amazing work of Global Mamas. They teach local ladies new skills, help them to set up businesses and teach them how to reinvest and develop the business. Take an educational tour and also visit a local batik business producing the patterns.

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn all about the appalling history of the Atlantic slave trade with a tour of the historic Cape Coast Castle

Free
Day 7-9 - Grand Bassam ( 22nd Feb 2020 to 24th Feb 2020 )

Border information: Exit Ghana at Elubo, enter Côte d'Ivoire at Elubo.

Today we will follow the Atlantic coast and cross into Côte d'Ivoire, arriving at the old French colonial capital of Grand Bassam situated east of Abidjan.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following two days, we will have free time to explore the old colonial town and to relax on the beautiful beaches around our hotel.

In Grand Bassam we will stay in a local hotel on the beach.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Discover the stunning beaches and old colonial buildings of Grand Bassam, the original French capital of Côte d'Ivoire

Free

Visit the National Museum of Costume, which showcases the cultural dresses of the different tribes of Côte d’Ivoire

XOF 2000
Day 10 - Yamoussoukro ( 25th Feb 2020 )

Today we will drive to Yamoussoukro, the tiny and bizarre capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Yamoussoukro was the birthplace of Felix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of independent Côte d'Ivoire, and is also the unusual location of the colossal and breathtaking Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, the largest Christian church in the world.

In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, and then have free time to further explore the small city.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

In Yamoussoukro we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the opulent Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix, the largest Christian place of worship in the world

Included in Kitty
Day 11-12 - Korhogo ( 26th Feb 2020 to 27th Feb 2020 )

Today we will drive through the lush countryside to the northern Ivorian town of Korhogo, famed for the multitude of crafts that are made there.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On the following day, we will head out on an included tour around many of the handicraft workshops in the area, visiting painters, bead makers, wood carvers and cloth weavers. We will also have time to freely explore the town and its surroundings. 

In Korhogo we will stay in a small local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Head out on a half day trip exploring the many local handicrafts from the area, including a painter's collective, a woodcarver's shop, a bead-making workshop and a cotton-weaving community

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See a performance of drumming and acrobatic dancing in the villages near Korhogo

USD 5
Day 13-14 - Western Côte d'Ivoire ( 28th Feb 2020 to 29th Feb 2020 )

Over the next 2 days, we will drive through central Côte d'Ivoire and then cross its western border into Guinea. This journey will take us through some very remote areas and some very poor-quality dirt roads, so a great deal of flexibility is needed as our progress will largely be determined by the state of the roads.

Both nights will be spent wild camping en route.

Estimated Drive Times - 7-9 hours each day.

Day 15-16 - Nzerekoré, Forested Guinea ( 1st Mar 2020 to 2nd Mar 2020 )

Border information: Exit Côte d'Ivoire at Gbapleu, enter Guinea at Gbakoré.

Today we will cross the border into Guinea arriving in the small far-eastern town of Nzerekoré in the heart of Guinea's Forest Region.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-9 hours.

On the following day, we will have free time to relax after our journey and explore the town, the nearby villages, and the surrounding forests.

In Nzerekoré we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Freely explore the forested region of Guinea and the market town of Nzerekoré on foot

Free

Trek to the Pont de Liana, one of the phenomenal old vine bridges in the forested region of Guinea

Free
Day 17-18 - Faranah, Guéckédou, Macenta ( 3rd Mar 2020 to 4th Mar 2020 )

Over the next 2 days we will travel through the central region of Guinea, stopping for a night in one of the towns en route (depending on how the drive goes, this may be Macenta or Guéckédou), and then arriving at Faranah near the Sierra Leonean border. En route we will stop to visit one of the region's famous vine bridges (Pont de Liana).

In Guéckédou and Faranah we will stay in small locally-run hotels or guesthouses. 

Estimated Drive Times - 7-9 hours each day.

Day 19-20 - Kabala, Gberia Fotombu ( 5th Mar 2020 to 6th Mar 2020 )

Border information: Exit Guinea and enter Sierra Leone at Gberia-Fotombu.

The next 2 days are spent travelling from Guinea over to Sierra Leone through the remote border near Kabala, driving through scenic areas very rarely visited by tourists. 

The road conditions in this area can be pretty tough going and unpredictable, and progress can be greatly affected by the weather conditions, so flexibility is very important over these days.

Kabala is famous for a being an oasis of cool air in the hills of northern Sierra Leone, and for its traditional Ronko-dyed clothes - shirts or gowns made of strips of cloth, typically dyed a rusty reddish-brown using local pigments. We will have free time to explore the area on arrival.

We will wild camp en route for the first night, and stay in a local guesthouse in Kabala on the second night.

Estimated Drive Times - 5-8 hours each day.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Freely explore the markets of Kabala or walk to the top of the nearby Gbawuria Hill

Free
Day 21 - Makeni ( 7th Mar 2020 )

Today we start our journey south through Sierra Leone towards the Tiwai Wildlife Sanctuary. 

We aim to wild camp near the town of Makeni en route, or we may stay in a local guesthouse depending on the size and wishes of the group.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Day 22-23 - Tiwai Island Sanctuary ( 8th Mar 2020 to 9th Mar 2020 )

Today we will arrive at the Tiwai Island Sanctuary, one of Sierra Leone's largest inland islands.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

On the following day, we will enjoy various nature walks through the web of trails that weave through the Tiwai forest. We'll be in search of the rare and colourful primates that inhabit the sanctuary, and if we're very lucky we may spot a very rare pygmy hippo!

In Tiwai we will stay for 2 nights sleeping in tents perched on covered platforms.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, home to one of the densest populations of primates and pygmy hippos in Africa, and enjoy several included walks around the web of trails on the island

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take an optional canoe or motor boat tour through the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary (if available)

USD 10
Day 24-26 - Freetown Peninsula ( 10th Mar 2020 to 12th Mar 2020 )

Today we have a full day drive across Sierra Leone to the stunning beaches of the Freetown Peninsular, where we will spend 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

There are a few different options for which beaches we could choose to visit, our favourites being Bureh Beach at the south of the peninsular and River Number 2 Beach in the western part.

On the beaches there will the be chance to go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities, and of course relax on the beautiful beaches!

On Freetown Peninsular we will camp on the beach, with some options to upgrade to basic guesthouses.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Relax on some of the best beaches in the world dotted along the Freetown Peninsula

Free

Take a boat trip to explore the beautiful and overgrown Banana Islands off the coast of the Freetown Peninsula

USD 25

Visit the orphan chimpanzees at Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary outside of Freetown, a wonderful organisation that rehabilitates rescued chimpanzees for their return to the wild

USD 15

Head out with the locals in their traditional wooden boats to try your hand at fishing

USD 10

Hire surfboards to take out onto the waves of Bureh Beach, one of West Africa's best surfing spots

USD 10

Head out on a diving trip around the reefs and shipwrecks off the Banana Islands

USD 180

Snorkel through the idyllic waters off the Banana Islands near Freetown Peninsula

USD 120
Day 27 - Freetown ( 13th Mar 2020 )

Today we will have a short drive up the western side of the Freetown Peninsular to arrive in the Aberdeen district of the city of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

We will have plenty of time to head out and explore the sites in and around Freetown, before heading out for a final group meal together!

in Freetown we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the Freetown Cotton Tree, the city's most famous landmark and home to hundreds of bats that fly out at dusk

Free

See the King's Yard Gate, where the ancestors of all modern Creole people will have passed through on their way to a free life after their rescue from illegal slaving ships

Free

Learn about Sierra Leone's traditional history and cultures at the National Museum

Free

Visit the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, a remarkable collection of old trains that was hidden from destruction for 30 years

USD 5

Take a boat to the overgrown ruins of the old slaving fort of Bunce Island, from where the ancestors of most modern African-Americans were shipped to the New World

USD 150
Day 28 - Freetown ( 14th Mar 2020 )

Border information: if you are leaving in Freetown, you will most likely exit Sierra Leone at Freetown Lungi International Airport (IATA code: FNA).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Freetown. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Airport information - the fastest and most reliable way to the airport from Freetown is by water-taxi, as Lungi is across a bay from the city. Our hotel in Freetown is a 200m walk to the jetty where the water-taxis depart from - the departure times for the water-taxis are linked to every flight in and out of Lungi airport (usually around 4 hours before the time of the flight). We advise that when the trip arrives in Freetown, you go to the jetty to check the timetable for the water-taxis for your flight and purchase a ticket in advance (USD40 or EUR35) - your trip leader will be able to assist with this. The ticket counter at the jetty is open 24 hours a day. 

You should arrive at the jetty 30 minutes before the departure time, as you have to check in your large bags and take a luggage ticket. The water-taxi takes approximately 30 minutes, then you take a minibus for another 15 minutes to arrive at Lungi airport. Your large bags will be waiting for you at the water-taxi office on the left-hand-side of the airport entrance, just hand in your luggage ticket to get them back.  

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the Freetown Cotton Tree, the city's most famous landmark and home to hundreds of bats that fly out at dusk

Free

See the King's Yard Gate, where the ancestors of all modern Creole people will have passed through on their way to a free life after their rescue from illegal slaving ships

Free

Learn about Sierra Leone's traditional history and cultures at the National Museum

Free

Visit the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, a remarkable collection of old trains that was hidden from destruction for 30 years

USD 5

DATES & PRICES

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Trip Notes
Departing: 17 Dec 2019
Returning: 13 Jan 2020
Duration: 28 days
Route: Freetown - Accra
$2,700 USD + €940 Kitty (EUR)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: Full Payment
limited
Departing: 16 Feb 2020
Returning: 14 Mar 2020
Duration: 28 days
Route: Accra - Freetown
$2,700 USD + €880 Kitty (EUR)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 1 Dec 2020
Returning: 28 Dec 2020
Duration: 28 days
Route: Freetown - Accra
$2,730 USD + €940 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 15 Dec 2020
Returning: 11 Jan 2021
Duration: 28 days
Route: Freetown - Accra
$2,730 USD + €940 Kitty (EUR)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 14 Feb 2021
Returning: 13 Mar 2021
Duration: 28 days
Route: Accra - Freetown
$2,730 USD + €880 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 30 Nov 2021
Returning: 27 Dec 2021
Duration: 28 days
Route: Freetown - Accra
$2,800 USD + €940 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 14 Dec 2021
Returning: 10 Jan 2022
Duration: 28 days
Route: Freetown - Accra
$2,800 USD + €940 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 13 Feb 2022
Returning: 12 Mar 2022
Duration: 28 days
Route: Accra - Freetown
$2,800 USD + €880 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
available

REVIEWS FROM OUR PASSENGERS

The guides helped to make the trip memorable.
Donovan V
The local people were so friendly and happy to see us
Bradley S
The group expierience was very important to me. This experience was made possible by the overlanding concept of living together, receiving a role and a task by working in the cooking group and caring for the truck. That´s what a group needs to build. I cannot imagine going on a group tour again only sitting around doing nothing.
Felix B
Lots of fun!
Sofia G
Instead of doing it on my own, this is much safer. I enjoyed sharing with like minded people.
Sofia G
Guinea and Sierra Leone were amazing.
Philippe M
Was a great way to visit those countries!!
Peter Johannes Georg N
it is the journey...
Peter Johannes Georg N