Dates: February 21st – March 6th, 2021
Optional Ghana extension – March 6th – 12th
Are you ready for a unique, two week West African adventure to Benin and Togo? Focusing on full immersion, we’ll weave through small tribal villages, national parks, bizarre fetish markets, voodoo ceremonies, historical sites and bustling cities. As we travel from the coast to the countryside, and across borders, our local contacts will ensure we get off the beaten path and truly gain an understanding of the rich culture and traditions of this welcoming region of the world.
Cotonou (Benin) – Ganvie – Porto Novo – Onigbolo – Cove – Dassa – Djougou – Kara (Togo) – Kpalime – Aneho – Togoville – Lome
The Wandering Earl Tour Experience
All of our unique tours focus on local interaction, local activities and first-hand education. We also keep our itineraries flexible so that you always get the absolute most out of your trip. While we definitely see the main stuff too, these trips are not standard, cookie-cutter group experiences. Always small groups, always laid-back, always diving straight into the heart of every destination we visit!
February 21st: [BENIN] COTONOU / ARRIVAL DAY
Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up at the airport by a private driver and taken to our hotel in the city center. Once everyone has arrived, we’ll have an orientation meeting and a group welcome dinner.
February 22nd: COTONOU
We’ll begin our first day in Benin with a guided tour through the lively port city of Cotonou. As we explore the bustling streets, we’ll experience the vibrant culture of Benin at it’s finest by wandering through the seemingly endless Grand Marche de Dantokpa, marveling at the French architecture from colonial times and getting our feet wet in the intriguing practice of voodoo at local fetish markets. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a local dinner as we discuss the first full day of our adventure.
February 23rd: COTONOU / GANVIE / PORTO NOVO
Getting an early start, we’ll head off to Ganvie, also known as the “Venice of Africa”, where we’ll interact with the local people to learn about life in this stilted lake village. We’ll then continue our drive to the country’s capital city of Porto Novo where we’ll tour the famous Ethnographic Museum to learn about the unique cultures and traditions of the tribes living in Benin.
February 24th: PORTO NOVO / ONIGBOLO / COVE
Leaving the cities behind, we’ll drive into the countryside to visit with local tribes and small villages that make Benin so culturally diverse. While riding through the lush and spectacular landscape towards Onigbolo, we’ll visit the Holi tribe to learn about their beliefs and traditions around sacrifice and voodoo. We’ll also spend time in the neighboring village of Cove to learn more about animistic traditions and their unique lifestyle.
February 25th – 26th: COVE / DASSA / DJOUGOU
Over the next two days we’ll immerse ourselves in northern Benin’s vibrant highland region by visiting two national parks and meeting nomadic cattle herders and villagers that live in the bush. We’ll wander through outstanding landscapes and admire unique local architecture while also enjoying a glimpse of regional culture through a traditional egungun masquerade performance.
February 27th – March 1st: DJOUGOU / TANEKA TRIBE / BOUKOUMBE / KARA
Over the span of three days we’ll make our way around the villages of Taneka, Somba, and Tamberma that all straddle the border between Togo and Benin. This area is one of the highlights of the entire region. In these villages we’ll find unique fortified houses constructed of mud and other natural materials that were designed specifically to defend against frequent invaders and slaving raids of the past era. We’ll also have the opportunity to meet and interact with the local people who still live there, many of whom maintain their ancestral way of life.
March 2nd – 4th: [TOGO] KARA / KPALIME
We’ll spend the next few days wandering through beautiful scenery as we drive south through Togo on our way to Kpalime. Along the way we’ll stop to take in the beautiful views of Mount Agou – the highest mountain in Togo – and take an excursion to the awe-inspiring Kpime Falls. While traveling through the jungle and rural regions of the country, we’ll stop to explore local, off-the-beaten-path sights and even visit the intriguing cave-dwelling villages where we’ll interact with and learn about daily life from its inhabitants.
March 5th: KPALIME / ANEHO / TOGOVILLE
For the last two days of our trip we’ll encounter villages that practice an intriguing blend of animism and christianity found in Togo. We’ll learn about their beliefs first-hand while touring villages, witnessing ceremonies and being invited into local homes. En route to Togoville, we’ll stop at important historical destinations linked to the old slave trade, including a slave house and the sombering island of Little Popo. We’ll also explore the enchanting Togo River in a dugout canoe and experience the cultural side of Togoville by meeting with local artists, wandering through the bustling markets and visiting a fishermen’s village. In the evening, we’ll have our farewell dinner as we relive the unforgettable experiences of the previous two weeks!
March 6th: LOME / DEPARTURE DAY
Today is our last day of the tour. For those flying out, you will be picked up at the hotel in Togoville by a private driver who will take you to the airport in Lome (1.5 hours) for your departing flight.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION – GHANA
This five day extension will take you around Ghana, one of Africa’s most lively and colorful countries.
March 6th: VOLTA REGION
After bidding farewell to the rest of the group, we’ll cross the nearby border and drive north to Ghana’s Volta Region on the eastern side of the country. It’s an area known for its rolling hills, rocky outcrops and waterfalls and to fully experience its splendor we’ll take an excursion down the river, have an exchange with some of the local population and trek into the forest to admire the diverse ecosystem and plant life.
March 7th – 8th: KUMASSI
We’ll spend two days traveling through the Ashanti Kingdom of Kumassi in central Ghana, learning about this unique ethnic group through visits to royal palaces, excursions on Lake Bosomtwe and adventures to a few area villages where we with learn about the unique Ashanti culture through immersion in daily and traditional life of the Ashanti people.
March 9th – 10th: CAPE COAST / ELMINA / KAKUM NATIONAL PARK
As we make our way to the coast, we’ll focus on learning the intriguing history of Cape Coast and Elmina by visiting castles and former colonial settlements. In the later afternoon we’ll switch gears and head back to nature on an excursion to Kakum National Park. Within the park resort we’ll have free time to enjoy a variety of leisure activities including hiking, horseback riding and simply relaxing among the beautiful scenery.
March 11th: ACCRA
In the early morning we’ll make our way to the lively capital city of Accra where we’ll spend some time wandering about the famous Jamestown district. We’ll then continue our walking tour by stopping at a few little known hangouts that our local hosts are excited to share with us. In the evening, we’ll have one last group meal together at one of the cities most famous eateries before our departure the following day.
March 12th: ACCRA / DEPARTURE DAY
A private driver will pick you up at our hotel and take you to the Accra airport in time for your departing flight.
INCLUDED – BENIN AND TOGO TOUR
– Small group (max 12 participants)
– Wandering Earl Tours group leader
– Local guides in each destination
– All accommodation (15 nights – 3* hotels and guesthouses)
– Breakfast every day, 8 lunches and 12 dinners
– Transportation in Benin + Togo (private coaster and jeeps)
– All activities mentioned and all entrance fees
– Bottled water throughout the trip
– Airport transfers (arrival in Cotonou and departure from Lome)
*For this tour, your arrival flight should be to Cotonou, Benin and your departure flight should be from Lome, Togo. If you wish to book a return flight from Cotonou, we can arrange transportation on the final day. The cost is $120 USD per vehicle and the trip takes approximately 4 hours.
INCLUDED – GHANA EXTENSION
– 5 nights accommodation at 3* hotels
– Breakfast every day, 3 lunches, 4 dinners in Ghana
– Transportation in Ghana (private vans)
– All activities mentioned and all entrance fees
– Bottled water throughout the trip
– Airport transfer in Accra
*For those who join the Ghana extension, your departure flight should be out of Accra, Ghana.
– Flights to/from Cotonou/Lome or Accra
– Passport/visa fees
– Meals and activities not mentioned
– Travel insurance (mandatory)
$4430 USD per person, single room (there are 6 single rooms available on this trip)
$3750 USD per person, twin-share room (solo travelers will be paired together in a room with two beds)
$2340 per person, single room
$1700 per person, twin-share room
*BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be 100% refundable until 3 months prior to the trip start date.