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West Africa: Festivals, Tribes and Wildlife

Looking for a rich cultural experience well and truly off the tourist trail? West Africa is a captivating and unforgettable journey and is quite incomparable to anywhere else in the world. We’ve teamed up with TransAfrica to offer some truly unique and immersive trips to witness fascinating festivals, colonial history, beautiful tribal art and awesome wildlife.

Ghana, Togo & Benin: Festivals and Traditions

Embark upon a 12 day journey of discovery through these amazing countries, among the richest and most interesting of West Africa. Meet remote and scarcely-known tribes in the Northern regions and uncover a colonial past juxtaposed with voodoo celebrations in the South. Explore the Ashanti Kingdom, where we aim to attend the great traditional Akwasidae Festival.

Akwasidae festivals are held by the Akan people of Ghana every 6 weeks, honouring the Ashanti King and ancestors, and commemorating the date the Ashanti Golden Stool was brought down from heaven. The ornate ceremony features a lavish Golden Stool and the Ashanti King, adorned in golden finery, is carried on a palanquin and paraded in front of the reverent Ashanti people. The celebration also includes a procession of drummers, dancers, horn blowers and singers with colourful canopies and umbrellas. The lavish golden decor of the Ashanti King has to be seen to be believed!

Aside from Akwasidae the trip includes visits to bustling markets, traditional stilt villages, the Abomey Royal Palace, adobe castles, a village of exiled witches, fire dances and a ‘sacred monkey’ sanctuary!  Another highlight of the tour is the opportunity to attend a Voodoo ceremony in a remote, hidden village in Togo. In this mesmerising ritual, frenetic drums and chants call the voodoo spirit who takes possession of the dancers. They fall into a deep trance, with eyes rolling back, grimacing faces, convulsions and inability to feel pain or the heat of fire. In West Africa the saying goes “in your churches you pray to God, in our voodoo shrine we become God!”.

Benin, West Africa, Colourful Locals

Between Sahara and Ocean: Ultimate Expedition Marrakech to Dakar-Bijagos Archipelago

From the remote mountains of Djebel Sarho in Southern Morocco to the Bijagos Archipelago off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, this epic 28 day expedition traverses unique and changing landscapes.  Discover the beauty of the Rio de Oro, pioneer the undiscovered Western Sahara after 40 years of closure, and 4x4 through wild dune ranges to the remote oasis of Chinguetti in Mauritania. Cross the Sahel Savannah of Northern Senegal to the sacred forests of Casamance and end with a sail through the Bijagos Archipelago, reaching the longest stretch of mangrove in Africa.

This exciting trip takes you in nine different forms of transport from dunes to ocean, forests and lagoons to estuaries and islands. Following the flyways during the seasonal migration, birds are a constant and discreet presence along the journey, as we discover the richest ornithological sanctuaries on earth.

The two unique departure dates have been chosen to correspond with the migratory periods: in autumn, when millions of birds fly from Europe and Russia to spend the winter months in Africa, and in spring, when the birds fly back North. This special itinerary is a balanced mix of culture, nature and adventure in authentic TransAfrica style.

Burkina Faso: Masks Festival

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see the unique ‘Masks’ festival of Burkina Faso. Every year at the start of the rainy season, villages in the region around Bobo Dioulasso organise an animistic ceremony to 'call for’ good rains, with masks in the shapes of various animals acting as intermediaries to the Gods.

This 9 day tour begins in the capital of Ouagadougou where village life fuses with city living in a colourful kaleidoscope. Meet with the Gurunsi tribe living in adobe fortified buildings decorated with amazing black, red and white African frescoes. Women are the artists of this tribe, using natural colours on an okra background: an excellent example of authentic African tribal art.

Head to Leo to meet with the Dagarti people and the shy Lobi tribe of Burkina; visit their fortress-like homes of clay adorned with carved wooden statues honouring their ancestors. Witness the Loropeni World Heritage Site and meet with a chief of the Gan Dynasty at Obire, taking the unique chance to ask questions about the role of traditional chiefs in modern Africa.

Witness the ‘Dance of the Leaves’ in Bobo-Bwa, an annual purification ceremony in the villages of Bwaba and see Sudanese and Colonial architecture in Bobo Dioulasso before heading to the climax of the trip, the Mask Festivals of Dedougou.

West Africa, Burkina Faso, Local Girl

Ivory Coast: At the Heart of West Africa

An 11-day exploration venturing into the beating heart of Côte d’Ivoire; a country wonderfully rich in culture and natural attractions, where modernity juxtaposes with tribal tradition. See sky-scrapers and the world’s largest Catholic Church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, followed by lagoons, stunning coastline and lush jungle.

Cross liana bridges through the rainforest to see sacred monkeys and witness ‘Mask Dances’ of the Guéré people. Encounter the Malinké, descendants of the old empire of Mali, and walk with the Dozo, the traditional hunters of the tribe.

Visit the nomadic Fulani tribe and the historic town of Korhogo, home to the Senoufo who produce some of the greatest tribal arts in West Africa.  Take the opportunity to visit a Senoufo village and experience the traditional ‘Boloy’, or panther dance, performed by young men.

In the Eastern regions, learn about the complex social hierarchy of the Baulé people, closely related to the Ashanti of Ghana and see their rich craftsmanship in carved wooden statues representing the spirit world, and intricate ceremonial masks. Visit the Royal Palace to meet nobility and experience the wealth of the forest and the cult of Kings and gold.

Meet a community of Komians, people (mainly women) who have been initiated to communicate with the spirit world through divination; hear their stories and learn about their fetishes and ceremonies.

Finish by relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Grand Bassam and exploring the French-Colonial Charm of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.


If you would like to experience an adventure off the beaten track in Africa contact us today to discuss your options.

 

 

 
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