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Duration: 10 days - Group Size: 6
Location: Ghana
Starting Price: $1,713
Single Supplement: $690
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About This Tour
In addition to the spectacular Panafest events, this tour will treat you to the taste of three West African countries: Ghana, Togo and Benin. Panafest is a biennial festival hosted in Ghana to celebrate and promote the ideals of unity and development. The festival is held for the enjoyment of Africans, people of African descent, and for all who are committed to the wellbeing of Africans both on the continent and in the Diaspora. The festival involves historical reenactments and drama, cultural drumming, dancing and much more. Panafest unites individuals and groups through arts and culture, and by highlighting the rich traditions of a people that have survived through years of change and movement.

This tour gives you a taste of the warm Ghanaian people and their impressive history. Notice the differences in culture as you move from Anglophone to Francophone West Africa. You will first visit Togo, a country noted for its beautiful countryside. Be stunned by the streets filled with vibrant markets, friendly people and good food. Visit the central Independence Monument, the Congressional Palace that houses the national museum that exhibits West African jewelry, masks, musical instruments and pottery. Be amazed by the largest voodoo market in Lomé which has a supply store for fetishes, charms and anything needed for traditional worship.
Be startled by Vodoun tradition, a religion practiced by groups of people within the West African countries when you visit Ouidah, the heart of African traditional religion in Benin. This tour takes you to the temple of pythons, a place where snakes are worshipped and revered. These snakes are harmless and a major icon for followers of Vodoun.

Nature and cultural lovers will be enthralled with a boat ride over the vast expanse of Lake Nokoué to visit Ganvie, a village built entirely on water and commonly referred to as the “Venice of west Africa.” You will be fascinated as you watch market women row their dugout canoes, piled high with goods. Watch how the locals shop on a floating market and as fishermen skillfully and artfully throw their nets into Lake Nokue, providing you with a wonderful photo opportunity. This is a “National Geographic” experience and you may pinch yourself in disbelief that you are truly in the midst of it all.

  • Accra city tour
  • Visit the W. E. B Dubois Center for Pan African Culture
  • Tour Elmina and Cape Coast slave castles and dungeons
  • Explore Kakum National Park
  • Attend the Emancipation Durbar at Assin Manso
  • Lome city tour
  • Cotonou city tour
  • Visit Ganvie, the village on stilts
  • Visit Ouidah, the home of African traditional religion

Day 1

(28th July) Akwaaba - Arrival
Arrive in Accra, Ghana. Transfer from the airport to your hotel for a fantastic traditional welcome ceremony, including cultural drumming and dancing (for daylight arrivals only), pouring of libations, welcome drink and orientation. Spend the rest of the day at leisure or by the pool soaking up the African sun. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 2

(29th July) Accra City Tour - Elmina
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and embark on a sightseeing city tour of Accra. You will drive through the administrative and economic districts of Accra, the capital of Ghana. This city is well over 100 years old and has a blend of colonial and modern architecture that summarize her history. You will visit the W. E. B. Dubois Center for Pan African Culture, the place where Dr. Dubois (an American academic and civil rights champion) spent the last two years of his life working on a Pan-African encyclopedia under the invitation the first Ghanaian president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Next, you will visit Independence/Black Star Square and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, significant landmarks in the city which are of immense historical and cultural value. Lunch will be on your own in a local Ghanaian restaurant. The Accra tour will end with a visit to the Arts Center, where you will have an opportunity to use your bargaining skills to shop for artifacts from Ghana and West Africa in an open-air market. Depart for Elmina. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 3

(30th July) Kakum National Park
After breakfast, depart for a 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, 400 bird species, and a breathtaking array of butterflies, flora and fauna. The most popular attraction is the canopy walkway, which is comprised of seven bridges that span 330m and hang 40m above the forest floor. You may choose to traverse the canopy walkway or enjoy a 2 km nature walk through the forest to discover the wide variety of exotic floral species and the medicinal values they offer. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 4

(31st July) Memorial at Elmina Castle,
Reverential Night
This morning you will visit Elmina Castle, built by the Portuguese in 1482 and originally known as St. George's Castle. This castle was the first European structure built in Sub-Saharan Africa. Explore the grounds and rooms full of haunting history. Stroll down to the beach for a memorial ceremony where each participant will throw bread into the waters in remembrance of ancestors. A wreath with a candle is solemnly cast out to sea a respectful moment of silence is observed in remembrance of those who died in the middle passage.
After lunch, savor a walking tour of Elmina. The rich history of this colonial town is captured in its buildings. They tell the stories of the people of Elmina and their interaction with those who came from outside West Africa. Visit the colorful Asafo houses, which were used as a place for warriors to prepare mentally and spiritually before going to war. They are wonderful examples of how art is used in daily lives of Africans.
After dinner, you will have the opportunity to participate in “Reverential Night.” There will be candle light processions and a vigil to commemorate the Africans who died in the slave trade. There will also be a moving ceremony and re-enactment of the slave passage through the “Door of No Return,” followed by a midnight declaration of Emancipation Day. This is the highlight of the Panafest celebration. Overnight at your hotel.

 

Day 5

(1st August) Emancipation Durbar At
Assin Manso
After breakfast, check out of your hotel for a drive through the former slave route to Assin Manso. This was the final transit point for enslaved Africans before being shipped off to the new world. You will have the opportunity to visit the slave dungeons as well as the final resting place for two ancestors whose mortal remains were returned from the USA and Jamaica and re-interred in Ghana.
The Emancipation Day Celebration is opened with a Grand Durbar of traditional Chiefs and people of the Central Region. Witness this grand, colorful and spectacular event that showcases the pomp and pageantry of Ghana's traditional rulers, dressed in rich Kente and adorned in glittering gold jewelry. Discover the African rhythm in you as you dance to the beat of the 'fromtomfrom' drums.  Overnight at your hotel.

Day 6

 (2nd August) Accra – Lome, Togo
After breakfast, depart Accra for a scenic drive through the countryside to Togo’s capital city, Lome. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel briefly and then embark on an insightful tour of the city. Visit the monuments and sights that will allow you to fully experience Togolese and West African life and culture. Included in your visits for the afternoon are:  Grand Marche, Marche des Feticheurs, Musee National, and Place de I’ Independence. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 7

(3rd August) Lome – Ouidah – Cotonou
After breakfast, depart for a visit to Ouidah, the cradle of African traditional religion. Tour the temple dedicated to the sacred python (believed to give vitality and protection) and the sacred forest which houses many shrines dedicated to various deities. Visit the historical Museum of Ouidah. Located in a Portuguese fort built in 1721, this Museum portrays Benin's role in the transatlantic slave trade. Later, visit the “Port of No Return,” a monument built by the Benin government to commemorate the Africans taken from the Dahomey Empire during the slave trade. Continue the journey northwards to Cotonou. Overnight at your hotel in Cotonou

Day 8

(4th August) Cotonou – Ganvie
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then make a sensational visit to Ganvie (the village on water), commonly referred to as the “Venice of West Africa.” Witness first-hand as the people of Ganvie carry out their daily routines in dugout canoes piled high with wares, transacting commerce with one another and tourists. You will enjoy shopping on the floating market and taking a relaxing canoe ride on the waterways of this exotic 300-year-old village.
Later, drive through the multicolored center of the administrative and commercial capital of Benin to view its many statues and monuments. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Benin.
Join the group for “kasa” (talk time). Kasa provides an opportunity to learn more about Ghanaian culture or simply talk to each other and share impressions of the tour experience. Kasa discussions are led by your tour leader or tour guide. (This activity is optional)

Day 9

( 5th August) Cotonou – Accra
After breakfast, depart Cotonou for Accra via Lome. Stopover in Lome for lunch and then continue on to Accra. Overnight at your hotel.

Day
10

(August 6th) Shopping / Departure
Today is reserved as a day for leisure or last minute shopping. Early evening transfer to the airport for check-in and departure.