Day 1 Accra
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.
Hotel for the night: Niagara Plus Hotel
Niagara Plus Hotel
14th Lane (Behind Koala Osu)
Tel - +233 21 772404
Please note that in Accra there are 3 Niagara hotels: Niagara Hotel, Niagara Inn and Niagara Plus Hotel. The Niagara Plus is located in an area of Accra known as Osu, and this is where our groups stay.
Visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, dedicated to the founding father of independent Ghana : 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
Visit the outside of the famous Osu Castle, the seat of power in Ghana since the 1600s : Free
Freely explore the area of Jamestown, Accra's oldest district and a vibrant fishing area : Free
Freely explore the huge Independence Square and Black Star Arch in Accra, where independence was celebrated in 1957 : Free
Ghana's sprawling capital of Accra is a bustling coastal city boasting a lively atmosphere and some busy urban beaches full of musicians, acrobats and souvenir sellers.
The Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, and the National Museum houses one of the best collections in all of West Africa. Next to the museum you will also find a good craft market, perfect for a bit of souvenir shopping.
In the evening you can sample Accra's lively nightlife, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
Day 2-3 Kumasi
" Day 2 to 3 "
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 guest house.
Learn all about the life of a modern Ashanti ruler at the Manhiya Palace Museum, and see many of the evocative artifacts and photos on display : 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
Kumasi is the ancient capital of the Ashanti Empire, once one of the most important powers in Africa and a well-studied military power that dominated the area between 1700 and 1954. Now it is a thriving, bustling, provincial city with a lively atmosphere, and enjoys semi-autonomous status as the centre of the modern Ashanti culture.
The locals are proud of their Ashanti heritage, and you can learn all about the fascinating history in the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and Manhiya Palace Museum. Kumasi also boasts the labyrinth-like Kejetia market - it is the largest market in the whole of West Africa, and well worth exploring.
Day 4 Kakum National Park
Today we will drive south to the rain forests 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 sanctuary en route.
In Kakum National Park we will camp in the grounds of the Park HQ.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Head on foot through the stunning jungles of Kakum National Park at night in search of wildlife : Included in Kitty
About Kakum National Park:
Kakum National Park is a protected area of dense rain forest in southern Ghana, just inland of Cape Coast. The forest contains some very rare wildlife such as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo and an incredible array of bird life, which we may be lucky enough to spot on a night walk through the winding maze of paths that criss-cross through the trees.
We will also take an early morning walk along the canopy walkways that are set up amongst the tops of the trees, which offer a unique and unobtrusive way for travellers to experience the forest.
Day 5-6 Kakum National Park, Cape Coast, Elmina
" Day 5 to 6 "
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 rain forest - 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 the currently community projects 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 - Dragoman has 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 kids!
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.
Explore the incredible rain forest canopy from the unique suspended bridges in Kakum National Park : Included in Kitty
Learn all about the appalling history of the Atlantic slave trade with a tour of the historic Cape Coast Castle : Included in Kitty
Participate in a fantastic day of volunteering and community interaction at the Sabre Trust School project, a charity set up to provide early years education to kids across the Elmina region : Included in Kitty
Freely explore the historic Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa built by the Portuguese in 1482 : GHC 20
Learn all about the area's sting less bees and their importance to the local ecology at the International Sting less 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
About Cape Coast:
The bustling fishing town of Cape Coast is home to a huge old fort, one of many built by Europeans along the Atlantic coast in the 17th and 18th centuries. These forts were built to protect the various nations' interests in the trading of ivory, gold and slaves.
The Cape Coast Fort is the largest and one of the best-preserved of these forts - originally constructed by Swedish traders in 1653, it changed hands between Danish, Dutch, and eventually British powers, and was steadily extended into the huge structure that exists today. It became primarly used for slave trading throughout the 18th Century, until the British abolished slavery in 1807 and the fort became a base from which the Atlantic slave trade was fought against. A visit here is very thought-provoking and harrowing, seeing the same cells where unfortunate slaves were held in appalling conditions before being loaded onto ships to the New World.
The beaches along the Ghanaian coast near the town of Elmina are some of best in West Africa. The local people here rely heavily on fishing and cultivating coconuts, pineapples and groundnuts to make a living.
Over the last few years Dragoman have been involved with the Sabre Trust, a local grass-roots charity which is working to improve education for all of the children here. Originally the school here was in a terrible state of disrepair and extremely under-resourced, but gradually this is beginning to improve largely due to the work of the Sabre Trust.
On Dragoman's overland trips through Elmina, we get involved with a variety of projects at the school. Depending on your group's skills and the school's needs, you could be getting your hands dirty helping out with small building projects, participating in educational workshops, or even helping with the teaching. Getting involved at the school is a great opportunity to lend a hand and give something back to the local people here, albeit in a small way. It's also a great chance to experience everyday Ghanaian life at first hand, getting to know the local children and their families.
Day 7-8 Grand Bassam
" Day 7 to 8 "
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 day, we will have a free day 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.
Freely explore 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
About Grand Bassam:
The tiny town of Grand Bassam was for a short time the French colonial capital between 1893 and 1896, before a bout of yellow fever forced them to move the capital up the coast to Bingerville. Grand Bassam is a pleasant town with a small old colonial centre, and is a great place to kick back and relax on the serene beaches.
Day 9-10 Yamoussoukro
" Day 9 to 10 "
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.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
On the following day 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.
In Yamoussoukro we will stay in a local hotel.
Visit the opulent Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix, the largest Christian place of worship in the world : Included in Kitty
The tiny town of Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Côte d'Ivoire - although being much smaller and more isolated than the huge coastal city of Abidjan, Yamoussoukro was the hometown of the long-serving post-independence President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who decided it should be the country's capital and proceeded to spend exorbitant amounts of money on developing it. Most of that money was spent on his showpiece project, the Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix. Despite such a low percentage of the population actually being Catholic, the President spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this grand basilica - based on St. Peter’s in the Vatican, the basilica is the largest Christian place of worship in the world! The tiny town itself also boasts six-lane highways that lead nowhere, a bizarre 1960s-futuristic hotel, and the secretive Presidential Palace - Yamoussoukro is a surreal place that has to be seen to be believed!
Day 11-12 Korhogo
" Day 11 to 12 "
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.
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
See a performance of drumming and acrobatic dancing in the villages near Korhogo : USD 5
The town of Korhogo in the north of Côte d'Ivoire is famed for its various traditional handicrafts. On a tour around the area surrounding Korhogo, we will gain a fascinating insight into the life of the local Senoufo people and see some of the traditional crafts being made. We will usually visit a collective of painters, a ceramic jewellery workshop, a district of wooden mask carvers and a village of cloth weavers. It's a wonderful place to search out some souvenirs - be prepared to haggle!
Day 13-14 Western Côte d'Ivoire
" Day 13 to 14 "
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 Forested Guinea, Nzerekoré
" Day 15 to 16 "
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.
Trek to the Pont de Liana, one of the phenomenal old vine bridges in the forested region of Guinea : Included in Kitty
Freely explore the forested region of Guinea and the market town of Nzerekoré on foot : Free
About Forested Guinea:
Forested Guinea (Guinée Forestière) is a forested mountainous region in south eastern Guinea, one of four natural regions in Guinea which covers around a quarter of the country. The region is known for its diverse ethnic population, including the Toma and Lissi groups, and also became a shelter for large numbers of refugees from the Sierra Leonean, Liberian, and Ivorian civil wars of the 1990s and 2000s.
The area is also famous for its traditional vine bridges that are dotted around the area - the bridges are masterpieces of utilising the natural environment, using only the vines to make sturdy crossings that span the wide rivers of the region. We will attempt to find a traditional 100-year old vine bridge on our journey through the beautiful area.
Day 17-18 Macenta, Guéckédou, Faranah
" Day 17 to 18 "
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 guest houses.
Estimated Drive Times - 7-9 hours each day
Day 19-20 Gberia Fotombu, Kabala
" Day 19 to 20 "
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 guest house in Kabala on the second night.
Estimated Drive Times - 5-8 hours each day
Freely explore the markets of Kabala or walk to the top of the nearby Gbawuria Hill : Free
About Gberia Fotombu:
The roads between Faranah in Guinea and Kabala in Sierra Leone can be a serious challenge. Taking on narrow dirt forest roads, deep ruts and corrugations, fording rivers - this is rugged over landing at its best, truly off the beaten track in a remote part of West Africa!
The small town of Kabala is up in the cool Wara Wara hills of northern Sierra Leone, and its cool atmosphere can be a welcome relief from the heat of the coast! Surrounded by forests and hills, it has a serene atmosphere and some pleasant walks around the area. It is famous in Sierra Leone for the traditional red fabric-dyeing technique known as Ronko.
Day 21 Makeni
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 guest house depending on the size and wishes of the group.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.
Day 22-23 Tiwai Island Sanctuary
" Day 22 to 23 "
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.
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
Take an optional canoe or motor boat tour through the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary (if available) : USD 10
About Tiwai Island Sanctuary:
Tiwai is a small island on the River Moa in southern Sierra Leone, and is home to one of the highest concentrations of primates in the world. The island contains many rare and endangered species such as the Diana monkey, Red and Olive Colobus monkeys, as well as many wild chimpanzees, who use stones as hammers and tree roots as anvils to crack open hard nuts. There are also around 135 different species of birds, including 8 types of hornbills and the White-breasted Guinea fowl.
Webs of trails weave through the Tiwai forest, allowing visitors and researchers to explore up to 50kms of walking paths. If you move silently through the forest, you may be lucky enough to spot some of the island's colourful primates or even the unique and elusive pygmy hippopotamuses!
Day 24-26 Freetown Peninsular
" Day 24 to 26 "
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 guest houses.
Relax on some of the best beaches in the world dotted along the Freetown Peninsular : Free
Take a boat trip to explore the beautiful and overgrown Banana Islands off the coast of the Freetown Peninsular : 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 Peninsular : USD 120
About Freetown Peninsular:
Sierra Leone's capital city of Freetown is perched on the northern tip of a mountainous peninsular on the Atlantic coast. The peninsular is one of the most beautiful areas of Africa, and features some incredible tropical beaches - the beaches are lined with palm trees, have stunning white sands and glittering blue oceans, and are dotted with lively beach communities and fishing villages.
We will normally camp on Bureh Beach, an idyllic stretch of coast on the southern peninsular which features some excellent surfing and boat trip opportunities. One highlight of a stay on the peninsular is to take a trip out to the nearby Banana Islands, a serene and historic island dotted with old buildings and ancient cannons.
Day 27 Freetown
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.
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
Freetown, the lively capital of Sierra Leone, is steeped in history and culture. In 1787, British philanthropists founded the "Province of Freedom" which later became Freetown, a British crown colony and the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade. By 1792, 1200 freed slaves from Nova Scotia joined the original settlers, and the city began to grow as the new home for freed slaves. The city became the capital of British West Africa between 1808 and 1874, and was the base for the Royal Navy's mission to enforce the ban on the Atlantic slave trading.
In more modern times, Freetown saw a lot of fierce fighting during the Sierra Leonean civil war, and in ultimately unsuccessful attacks from the rebel armies. Today, Freetown is a thriving and bustling city and the centre of Krio culture in West Africa. There are some wonderful highlights nearby, including the famous Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the mountains overlooking the city
Day 28 Freetown
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 Dragoman 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.
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