Ghana is often described as a microcosm of Africa, there is so much for travelers to experience with rich culture, wildlife, and adventure. In the south of Ghana there are the beautiful beaches, stunning rain forests, traditional belief systems along with Christianity, and lush wetlands. In the north the green jungles give way to rolling grassland and shrub lands with the wildlife that is usually identified with Africa, like the gazelles, elephant, hippos, and many others. There is a shift in religion to Islam along with other traditional beliefs. But what remains constant is the welcoming hospitality of Ghanaian’s and their amazing culture.
This is a great tour to get to know the whole of Ghana. It is so easy to just focus on the south of the country with all that there is to do and see but there is so much more to Ghana in the north. Some people describe it almost like traveling to another country when going to the north. The landscape is the most drastic change, but there is also the architecture, religion and languages of the people. This is part of what makes Ghana so amazing when you have a country, and villages that have both Christians and Muslims living side by side in harmony with those that practice traditional beliefs. There are not many places in the world where you can experience this kind of tranquility and tolerance for different beliefs.
Ghanaian’s are said friendliest people in Africa. Combine this with amazing hospitality and the majority of the population speaking English it is hard to believe that the wonderful beaches you will experience on this vacation are not crowed with tourists. But lucky for you Ghana is an undiscovered paradise for travelers and often you won’t even see another tourist on a beach other than right in front of some hotels. With the exception of a few places in the cities (just like any major city in the US) it is safe to explore and walk around, and check out the surroundings.
Our guides are extremely knowledgeable about the locales in which they serve; they are fluent in English, potentially French, and at least a handful of local languages. You will have a driver who will also serve as your guide and cultural ambassador. He will travel with you to take care of any issues or needs that you may have and answer all of your questions about Ghanaian culture. In addition to your primary driver/guide, other local guides will be used in various areas the country to provide more specific knowledge about their communities.
Upon arrival at the Accra airport you will be met by your guide (driver/Guide/cultural ambassador) who will introduce you to the amazing Ghanaian hospitality that you will come to love. You will be driven to Rising Phoenix Magic Resort for your first night in Ghana.
After settling in and relaxing a bit, you will have dinner with your guide so you can begin to get to know each other. Soon it will be time to turn in for the night to get some good rest before the next day’s adventures.
After exploring Accra it is time to head north to the Second largest city in Ghana, Kumasi. Arriving in the afternoon the first stop will be the cultural center where you will learn about the Ashanti people and their significance in Ghana. In the evening you will head a little way out of the city to lake Bosomtwe for the night at Lakepoint Guest House.
In addition to being the center of the Ashanti Empire, Kumasi is also the center of a number of traditional trade and crafts. There are two villages on the outskirts of Kumasi that are great to visit to see some traditional crafts and also purchase them. Adanwomase is a community based tourism site where you will see how the famous Kente cloth of Ghana is made, it is also a great place to buy cloth at decent prices. Because of the formation of the Community Based Tourism site you can take photographs of people freely and get a tour around the village. You can even try to do some weaving yourself if you wish. You will then visit a market on the outskirts of Kumasi to buy wood carvings, you will see these crafts everywhere you go in Ghana, but the prices here will be better than the typical road side. In the late afternoon you will leave Kumasi driving North West into the Brong Ahafo region to Nkoranza.
In Nkoranza you will stay at a lovely guest house called Hand in Hand, or Peace and Christ guest house depending on who you talk to. This place was originally set up as a charity to help the handicapped orphans in the country. The guest house was started to help support the mission of the Orphanage. You will stay the night in one of the bungalows on the property and in the morning there will probably be some excited kids wanting to interact with you.
After the morning interaction with the Children at Hand in Hand you will drive a short distance to the Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary. Two villages in the area believe that their ancestors came from the Mona, and Colombus monkeys that inhabit the area. Because of this it is taboo to harm the monkeys in any way. This has allowed a portion of the forest to be protected along with the two different types of monkeys. This is a great example of traditional based African conservation. The Mona monkeys will come down out of the trees to greet visitors especially if they have bananas. It is ok to feed the wildlife here because they are already accustomed to living side by side with the people of the village so there is not much fear of them becoming a nuisance. The Colombus monkeys only eat from the trees and will not come down to the forest floor, so you will be very lucky if you get a glimpse of them.
Following the monkey business you will have another short drive to the Community based tourism site of Tano Sacred Grove. Tano Sacred Grove is a place of immense spiritual importance to the village in proximity, also to all of the Akan tribes because it is where they believe their people first settled after coming out of the ground to inhabit the earth. A local guide will walk with you into the sacred grove where you will first come across an overhang of rock which was the shelter for the first inhabitance of the Grove. There is evidence of their settlements here. Hiking a little further you will then climb up the rocks into the giant rock formations that form the area. The early settlements used this area as a natural fortress, during the significant Bono wars that shaped the power structure of the area.
After an interesting day you will return to Hand in Hand for another night.
In the morning you will continue north into the Northern Region of Ghana. This is where the landscape really begins to change and resemble that of pictures you may have seen of East Africa with rolling grass and shrub land with Baobab trees sticking up in the distance, and red lines of roads and foot trails bisecting the landscape. The architecture and religion also change, there are two ancient mosques that you will stop and take a look at along the road to Wa the capital of the Upper West region.
In the afternoon you will reach Wa where you will check into your accommodations for the night and spend the afternoon walking around Wa or relaxing.
Leaving Wa in the morning you will head to the west down a dusty road for a short drive to Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary, this will be the highlight of the trip for many. After stopping at the visitor center where you will meet your river guide you will head down to the river where the canoes await for your river safari. This community based conservation project was started when 17 communities living along this stretch of the Black Volta River came together to protect 40 km of the river and the Hippos that reside in it. They say that the hippos have really mellowed out since they are no longer at threat of being hunted. On your canoe trip there is a good chance that you will get to see the hippos feeding in the river, the tops of their heads will be visible, they occasionally open their mouths and shoot air and water out of their noses. It is unlikely that you will get to see them out of the water though because they do their feeding on land at night.
Following the river safari your guide will take you on a guided walk through one of the compounds in the area of the Lobi people. They build their homes in a really interesting way using mud, the insides remain amazingly cool and their agricultural existence is reflected in the design with grain silos built into the homes, and flat roofs for trying crops and sleeping on during warm nights. The proceeds from tourism here go to developing the area for the inhabitance including boor holes, schools, and other programs. In the afternoon you can either go on another canoe trip or explore and relax in Wa again.
* For the adventurous you can sleep in the sanctuary on a Hippo Hide (an elevated wood platform) on the side of the river where you may hear the Hippos feeding around you at night below, and possibly see them out of the water in the early morning or around dark. It is also possible to stay at the very basic guest house at the sanctuary, either place you stay if it is a clear night you will get to see the most amazing sky full of stars with very little light pollution in the area.
Leaving the Upper West region behind you will back track south a little ways then east down a long gravel road before reaching the treasure of National Parks in Ghana, Mole National Park. Here you will check into the Mole Motel, where you can spend the warm afternoon swimming.
Mole Motel is on the top of a hill overlooking a watering hole in the park below, there is a chance that you may see some animals or Elephants without even leaving the pool area before you go on your walking safari. There is also a great place to see an amazing sun set.
Mole is one of the only national parks in Africa where you can still take a very affordable walking safari where there is a good chance you will see some wildlife. The walking safari in the morning will be with an armed guard who knows where the wildlife usually is and so much more information that he can share with you. You will hopefully get to see bush buck, antelope, crocodiles, baboons, and elephants. The elephants are definitely the draw of Mole, the proximity of the Hotel to the watering increases the odds that you will get to see these amazing animals and since you will be on walking safari you can get pretty close for great pictures.
If you did not get to see the elephants on the walking Safari in the morning you may get another chance. Since the pool area and restaurant overlook the watering hole as you eat breakfast and take a swim you can keep an eye out. If the elephants come to the watering hole the guide will take you back down the hill to see them close up. The best time to see the wildlife is during the dry season because the grass is lower and other watering holes have usually dried up.
After spending some time around the Motel to see if the Elephants show up at the
watering hole again you will take a shot trip outside of the park to Mognori Eco-Village. Mognori is the full package of community based tourism destinations in Ghana. At Magnori you will take a canoe safari on a river back into the park, this is a great way to see another side of the park and so many different kinds of birds. After the canoe safari you will return back to the Village where one of the local guides will take you on a walk through the village. You will get to see how they make their livings, what agricultural products are important to them, meet the traditional medicine man, and learn about the importance of pigeons in their traditional culture. After dark dancing and drumming around a fire can be arranged.
* A homestay for a night an Magnori village can be substituted for those interested.
Leaving Mole behind you will drive to Tamale in the morning which is the Capital of the Northern Region of Ghana where you will have lunch before continuing up the road to Bolgatonga the capital of the Upper East region. Here you will settle in for the afternoon at Com ci Com ca your accommodations for the night.
The first visit of the day will be to the Bolgatonga market which is known for the baskets that the women make in the area called Bolga baskets, they are hand woven and of very high quality. It is even possible to get them now made from recycled waste plastic. The market is also a great place to pick up on some textiles like the smocks that the men wear in the north.
A little north of Bolgatonga will be the next stop at Tongo-Tengzug, the area around these villages is a very unique landscape with many balancing rock outcroppings, shrines, and caves with importance to the inhabitance of the area. During the time of harmattan winds there is a whistling sound that can be heard in the area which is the wind blowing through the limestone formations around. You will also be invited to explore the village seeing how people live, tasting their food and interacting with them.
A little further down the road you will arrive at the painted village of Sirigu, this community based tourism project was started by the women of the area to show case the beautiful paintings of the village and the pottery which is known throughout the country. Here you can take a walk through the village to see the wonderfully painted walls of the homes and compounds, you will also learn about how this method of architecture has helped protect them from wildlife and slave traders. There will also be opportunity to buy crafts if you wish.
Depending on the time you will either drive back to Bolgatonga for the evening or continue onto Navrongo to see the large Chatholic Cathedral and grotto, this town is known for as the origin of Chatholisim in the north of Ghana.
Waking for another day in Bolgatonga, this day will be spent exploring some more of the sights around Bolgatonga. First stop will be the Gambaga Escarpment where you will have a nice morning hike onto the escarpment where you will have amazing views of the surrounding area and a number of different kinds of birds.
A little further down the road you will make a stop at the village of Nalerigu where you will explore the village and see the Nigeria wall which was a protection for the people against the slave trade.
On the way back to Bolgatonga for the night you will stop in Walewale to see a unique very old mosque with distinct Moorish tower.
After your last night in Bolgatonga it is time to drive south again. Part way through the hot landscape you will take a break and hike a little ways in a forest to Kintampo falls which are said to be around 75 feet tall, there is a pool at the bottom which would be refreshing for a swim. In the afternoon you will pull back into Kumasi where you will stay at the lovely Four Villages Inn which is a very nice home converted into a guest house by the owners who also live there and will take good care of you.
The last day of your trip will be spent driving back to Accra. You will then wind down and reminisce about your great adventure. We will either say farewell to you at this point or if you would like to do an add on tour or a volunteer experience we would be happy to help you with this.
Summary of Accommodation:
Night 1 and 2: Rising Phoenix Magic Resort, in Accra
Nights 3:LakePoint Guest House, Lake Bosumtwi
Nights 4-5: Peace and Christ Guest House, Nkoranza
Nights 6-7: Upland Hotel, Wa
Night 8-9: Mole Hotel, Mole National Park
Night 10-12: Comme Ci Comme Ca, Bolgatonga
Night 13: Four Villages Inn, Kumasi
Single Traveler $2462
Two Travelers $2232/person
Four Travelers $1440/person
What does this tour include?
This tour includes:
- Transportation during the length of the tour while in Ghana
What does this tour not include?
You will be responsible for the following costs:
- Airfare to and from Ghana (usually around $1300 to $2000)
- Activities and entrance fees (budget around $250)
- Lunch and Dinner (budget around $350)
- Survivors and crafts