Rhythms & Realms of West Africa
SAVE UP TO ₤281 on this tour

The myth of West Africa is that there is no wildlife left. After 2 nights of staying at the Tiwai Island Widlife Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, and seeing up to 11 different primate species, including chimpanzees, plus otters and sea turtles and even, perhaps, the elusive pygmy hippo, you will realise that this is a myth.

If it's tribal culture and wild scenery that you are after mingled with raw adventure and off the beaten track travel, then this really is a trip to consider. The roads through much of Guinea and the Ivory Coast can be very poor, but this is part of the experience, as we get to see stuff that others usually only see from an armchair on the TV.

In the forests of northern Guinea, we will seek out the amazing vine bridges, while in the north of Ivory Coast we will explore the culture, music and villages of the Korhogo peoples. Then there are the stunning Atlantic beaches; those in Ghana are particularly beautiful and a great place to relax.

  • Duration: 28 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline, Boating, Canoeing, Trekking, Hiking, Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites, Parks & Nature Reserves, Walking Tour
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Supplier Tour ID: ZFA2/158259
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Accra, Ghana
  • Finishes: Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Accra
  • Kumasi
  • Kakum National Park
  • Elmina
  • Cape Coast
  • Grand Bassam
  • Yamoussoukro
  • Korhogo
  • Western Côte d'Ivoire
  • Nzerekoré
  • Forested Guinea
  • Faranah
  • Guéckédou
  • Macenta
  • Kabala
  • Gberia Fotombu
  • Makeni
  • Tiwai Island Sanctuary
  • Freetown Peninsula
  • Freetown



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.


Day 2-3: Kumasi

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 guesthouse.


Day 4: Kakum National Park

Today we will drive south to the rainforests 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 sancutary en route.

In Kakum National Park we will camp in the grounds of the Park HQ.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.


Day 5-6: Elmina

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 rainforest - 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 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.

In Elmina we will camp at a stunning beach resort.


Day 7-9: Grand Bassam

Border information: Exit Ghana at Elubo, enter C te d'Ivoire at Elubo.

Today we will follow the Atlantic coast and cross into C te 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 two days, we will have free time 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.


Day 10: Yamoussoukro

Today we will drive to Yamoussoukro, the tiny and bizarre capital of C te d'Ivoire. Yamoussoukro was the birthplace of Felix Houphou t-Boigny, the first president of independent C te 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 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.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

In Yamoussoukro we will stay in a local hotel.


Day 11-12: Korhogo

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.


Day 13-14: Western Côte d'Ivoire

Over the next 2 days, we will drive through central C te 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: Nzerekoré

Border information: Exit C te d'Ivoire at Gbapleu, enter Guinea at Gbakor .

Today we will cross the border into Guinea arriving in the small far-eastern town of Nzerekor 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 Nzerekor we will stay in a basic local hotel.


Day 17-18: Faranah

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 Gu ck dou), 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 Gu ck dou and Faranah we will stay in small locally-run hotels or guesthouses.

Estimated Drive Times - 7-9 hours each day.


Day 19-20: Kabala

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 guesthouse in Kabala on the second night.

Estimated Drive Times - 5-8 hours each day.


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 guesthouse depending on the size and wishes of the group.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.


Day 22-23: Tiwai Island Sanctuary

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.


Day 24-26: Freetown Peninsula

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 guesthouses.


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.


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 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.

    • Visit to the stunning jungles of Kakum National Park and walk through the rainforests at night
    • Explore the incredible rainforest canopy from the unique suspended bridges in Kakum National Park
    • Visit and explore the historic Elmina Castle
    • Visit the amazing work of Global Mamas. They teach local ladies new skills, help them to set up businesses and teach them how to reinvest and develop the business. Take an educational tour and also visit a local batik business producing the patterns
    • Visit the opulent Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix, the largest Christian place of worship in the world

    • 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
    • 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
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
    • 45% Camping - 55% Hotels
Why book with us?

Trusted by travellers since 1979

We guarantee to beat any price

Low deposits, Book now. Pay later.

24/7/365 Help on the road

Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking & Trekking
  • History & Culture
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Overland Journey
  • Walks & Rambles