Border information: if you are joining at Dakar, you will most likely enter Senegal at Dakar Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport (IATA code: DKR).Today is an arrival day with a pre departure meeting at 10:00am. Your leader will leave a note in reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport and insurance details at this meeting.The afternoon will be free to explore the cosmopolitan city and perhaps take an optional trip to the famous Île de Goree.Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Dakar 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 Dakar.
Today we head north through the dry Sahel region to the old colonial city of St. Louis, formerly the capital of French West Africa.
Today we will have a free day to explore the streets of the old city and take an optional trip to the Langue de Barbarie NP or the nearby Djoudj Birdlife Reserve.
Today we start our journey south to the small town of Toubakouta, situated close to the Sine-Saloum Delta. On the way we will see the landscape change as we enter the greener wetland region, and we will stop to see the Grand Mosque of Touba, one of the best known mosques in Senegal and most holy site in the Mouride branch of Islam.
On our full day in Toubakouta we will have an optional morning pirogue trip to a nearby village to see a slice of rural Senegalese life and to meet their charismatic female chief. In the afternoon we have an included pirogue trip to the mangroves, the 'Shellfish Island' and the 'Island of Birds' - if the weather is good, there are often some stunning sunsets across the delta.
Border information: Exit Senegal at Karang, enter The Gambia at Fass.
Today we will head across the border from Senegal into the small country of The Gambia, then cross the Gambia River on a local transport barge to arrive at the famous Tendaba Camp on the southern shore of the Gambia River. The ferry can be quite a chaotic local experience! Tendaba Camp was the first inland hotel in The Gambia, and is one of the most popular spots in the country for birdwatchers.
Tendaba is located opposite the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, one of the premier birdwatching sites in Africa. On our full day here we will have an included morning boat trip into the wetlands to spot some of the stunning area's wildlife and natural scenery. We will also have an opportunity to take an optional safari drive around the nearby forests of Kiang West NP.
Border information: Exit The Gambia at Soma, enter Senegal at Senoba.
Today we will cross the border into the southern Casamance region of Senegal, arriving at the beautiful beaches of Cap Skirring.
We will have 2 full days in Cap Skirring, where there will be good opportunities for optional activities such as swimming, biking, fishing, quad-biking and sun-bathing! While in Cap Skirring, your co-driver will travel to the nearby town of Ziguinchor to obtain Guinea-Bissau visas for the group at the consulate there.
On our final day here we can continue to enjoy the activities on offer, relax and recharge ready for the journey ahead.
Border information: Exit Senegal at Mpack, enter Guinea Bissau at São Domingos.
Today we will drive across the border into the very rarely-visited country of Guinea-Bissau, and drive to its capital of Bissau.
Today, we will have time to freely explore the city and the old Portuguese centre of Bissau Velho.
Border information: Exit Guinea-Bissau at Kandika, enter Guinea at Kandika.
From Bissau we will journey through Guinea-Bissau and into the remote hilly areas of northern Guinea on our way to the town of Labé, the gateway to the stunning Fouta Djallon highland region. The roads on this section are very challenging dirt roads which take us through some incredibly remote areas, and our speed will largely be determined by the state of these roads - although getting to these areas is very special and a great adventure, even more flexibility will be required on these days!
We will stop for 2 wild camps en route - the first is likely to be next to the Guinean border at Kandika, the second is likely to be in the highlands past the village of Seriba.
Today we continue our drive and find ourselves another stunning wild camp ready to reach Labe tomorrow.
From Labé we will set off for an included 2-day excursion to the heart of the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.
On the first day we will travel in 4x4 jeeps through very remote country roads to the small rural community of Aïnguel (approximately a 4 hour drive). After lunch there will be a short 3-hour trek to a waterfall viewpoint and to the nearby 'Pont de Pierre' rock bridge where we have the change to swim in a beautiful natural lagoon.
On this night we will stay in a very small and basic community-run guesthouse - please note that if the group is large, some people may need to sleep in tents just outside.
On the second day there is a long 8-hour trek through the surrounding hills and villages taking in the incredible scenery. We will stop for a picnic lunch next to a stunning waterfall, where we have the opportunity to swim in the lagoon beneath. In the latter stages of the trek, we hope to be able to get to the base of a much larger and incredibly powerful waterfall, although this is dependent on the ground waters having receded enough after the rainy season to make this route passable. Upon returning after this walk, we will immediately drive back in the 4x4s to Labe.
Leaving the Fouta Djallon region behind us, we head south through central Guinea to the town of Mamou.
Today we will continue our drive south through Guinea, stopping to wild camp close to the border with Sierra Leone.
Border information: Exit Guinea at Pamalap, enter Sierra Leone at Kindia.
Today we head to the stunning beaches of Freetown Peninsular, where we will spend 2 nights for some well-deserved relaxation after our journey through the tough roads of Guinea.
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.
We will have a full day for optional activities on the wonderful beaches - we could go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities, and of course relax on the beautiful beaches!
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.
Border information: if you are joining in Freetown, you will most likely enter Sierra Leone at Freetown Lungi International Airport (IATA code: FNA).
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 Freetown and it's surroundings.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Freetown 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 Freetown.
The fastest and most reliable way to Freetown from the airport is by water-taxi, as Lungi is across a bay from the city. The departure times for the water-taxis are linked to each flight in and out of the airport, so there will be transport available for you when you land. Exit the airport and walk to the right, and you'll see the water-taxi office at the end - you'll have to buy your ticket there for USD40 or EUR35, and check in your large bags. You'll take a minibus for 15 minutes, then the water-taxi for 30 minutes. The boat lands at the jetty, where you hand in your luggage ticket to get your large bags back.
The jetty is in the Aberdeen district of Freetown, only a 200m walk from our hotel. Just walk up the hill to the main road - the Raza Guesthouse is slightly further down and on the other side of the road.
Today we leave Freetown for the stunning beaches of Freetown Peninsular, where we will spend 3 nights.
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.
We will have 2 full days for optional activities on the wonderful beaches - we could go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities, and of course relax on the beautiful beaches!
Our final day on this beautiful beach we make the most of this time to relax before the journey continues.
Leaving the Freetown Peninsular behind, today we have a full day's drive through Sierra Leone to the Tiwai Island Sanctuary, one of Sierra Leone's largest inland islands.
Today, 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!
Over the next 2 days we will travel north up through Sierra Leone to the small town of Kabala. Kabala is famous for 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.
Today we will reach Kabala and should have the afternoon free to wander the twon or climb the famous Gbawuria Hill.
Border information: Exit Sierra Leone and enter Guinea at Gberia-Fotombu. The next 2 days we will spend travelling through the remote border region between Sierra Leone and Guinea, driving through scenic areas very rarely visited by tourists and wild camping for a night en route. >
We will arrive at the small Guinean town of Faranah today.
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.
Today 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 Gueckedou).
Today we will continue through the forested region of Guinea, visiting one of the famous vine bridges (Pont de Liana) en route. We will arrive at the small town of Nzerekore in the heart of Guinea's Forest Region.
Today, we will have free time to explore the town, the nearby villages and the surrounding forests.
Border information: Exit Guinea at Gbakore, enter Côte d'Ivoire at Gbapleu.The next 2 days are spent crossing the border and driving through central Côte d'Ivoire. These days 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.
Today we continue our journey through the wilds of Cote d'Ivoire. It is on days like this when you get to see just how untamed this area is and appreiciate how lucky you are to get a taste of life here.
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.
Today, 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.
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.
In the afternoon will have an included visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, and then have free time to further explore the small city.
Today we will drive to the Atlantic coast, arriving at the old French colonial capital of Grand Bassam situated east of Abidjan.
Today we will have free time to explore the old colonial town of Grand Bassam experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes of this amazing place.
Today is a day to relax on the beautiful beaches around our hotel.
Border information: Exit Côte d'Ivoire at Elubo, enter Ghana at Elubo. Today we cross into Ghana and then head east along the Atlantic coast to the beaches of Beru Akyinim near the historic town of Elmina.
Today, we will get involved with community projects currently 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 - we have 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 children!
We will also have time for an optional visit to Elmina Castle and to relax on the beautiful beaches on Ghana's Atlantic Coast.
Today we will head into the nearby town of Cape Coast for a fascinating and moving tour of the old slave fort there.
We will then drive inland to the rainforests of Kakum NP. 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 sancutary or stingless bee centre en route.
Today we have an early start with an included morning visit to the Kakum NP canopy walkways. These are a long series of hanging bridges at the forest canopy level that gives us a unique perspective of the rainforest - and at that time of the morning we will have the place to ourselves!
We will then journey north through Ghana's interior to the historic town of Kumasi.
Today, 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.
Today we will drive to Accra, the chaotic capital of Ghana! We will have free time on arrival to explore the city.
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.
This morning, we will apply for Togo visas at the Togolese Embassy in Accra. Once they are issued, we will leave Accra and head north to the village of Akosombo.
Today we will have an included visit to the nearby Akosombo Dam, a major project built in the 1960s to provide almost all of Ghana's energy needs. The rest of the day will be free to relax at our campsite in Akosombo.
Border information: Exit Ghana at Klouto, enter Togo at Klouto.
Today we will have a full day's drive to the spectacular Mont Klouto, crossing the border into Togo.
Today we will have a free day around the beautiful Mont Klouto region, with the opportunity to head out on optional forest walks or to visit Kpalimé town nearby.
In the evening, we will head to the village centre to see a spectacular show of drumming and dancing from the local villagers.
Over the next 2 days we will drive up the length of Togo, all the way through the remote northern border with Benin. We will wild camp for 1 night en route.
Border information: Exit Togo at Ketao, enter Benin at Ouaké.
Today we will cross the border into Benin, before continuing our journey to the Tata Somba region close to the town of Tanguiéta.
This morning we will go on an included walking tour of the nearby Tata Somba villages with some of the local villagers. This is a fascinating visit to an area rarely visited by tourists, where we will learn a lot about the local traditional way of life and explore the famous two-storey mud huts of the area.
In the afternoon, there is the option to walk through the stunning area to some nearby waterfalls.
From the Tata Somba region we have a short journey north to the beautiful Pendjari NP.
We will stay for two nights wild camping in the NP, where we will have freedom to explore and head out on game drives in the truck in search of wildlife.
Today we have the entire day to enjoy this national park. One of the only places left in West Africa where wildlife continues to thrive. A lot of work is put into maintaining this park by African Parks who are resposible for many of the lesser known national parks in Africa.
Today we have a full day's drive heading south through Benin. We will wild camp somewhere en route between the towns of Natitingou and Abomey.
Our journey today continues to Abomey, the ancient capital of the Dahomey kingdom. On arrival we will take an included tour of the Dahomey Palace and Museum.
Today we have a day off from the road and have the time to enjoy the sights and sounds of beautiful Abomey.
This morning we will drive to Abomey-Calavi (a port on the outskirts of Cotonou), where we say goodbye to the truck for the night and jump aboard motorised pirogues to Ganvie, a fascinating town built entirely on stilts in the middle of Lake Nokoué.
In Ganvie we will stay in the stilt village itself!
Today we will start with an included tour of the stilt town of Ganvie, exploring deeper on our pirogues and soaking up the unique way of life in the floating village. Following this, we will head back to land to re-join the truck and drive along the coastal road to Ouidah, where we may hopefully see many of the local fishermen bringing their catch in.
Today we will take a very interesting half-day tour of the sites in Ouidah, including the Voodoo Python Temple, the "Route des Esclaves" (Slave Route), La Maison du Brésil art gallery and the Ouidah Museum of History in the old Portuguese Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá.
After this, a short drive from Ouidah brings us to Grand Popo, where we have 2 nights of well deserved relaxation on the beaches!
Today we will have a free day at Grand Popo for relaxing on the beach or taking a pirogue trip around the nearby ocean and mangroves.
There is also an option this evening to visit an incredible local vodun (voodoo) ceremony in the nearby village, complete with very energetic dancing and incredible magic tricks! It may also be possible to take a night walk in search of Atlantic turtles, which lay their eggs on the beaches between November and March.
Border information: Exit Benin and re-enter Togo at Hilla-Condji.
Leaving the beach behind, our journey continues over the border from Benin and back into Togo. We will head to the small quiet town of Agbodrafo on the southern shores of Lake Togo.
This afternoon we will take an included pirogue trip to Togoville, the centre of Vodun culture, where you will have a guided city tour and church visit.
Border information: exit Togo at Lomé, enter Ghana at Aflao.
Today we will cross back into Ghana and head for Keta, where we will visit the very atmospheric and evocative ruins of the abondoned Fort Prinzenstein, built by the Danes 300 years ago as a transit point for transporting slaves to the Americas.
The final drive of this trip takes us back to Accra, the chaotic capital of Ghana!
Border information: if you are leaving in Accra, you will most likely exit Ghana at Accra Kotoka International Airport (IATA code: ACC).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Accra. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the 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.