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Uncover three of West Africa's most intriguing nations on this compact insight into Benin, Togo and Ghana. From Ouidah, Lome and Togoville, where voodoo still forms an important part of everyday life, on to the museums of Accra and pristine shores of Anomabo Beach, this snapshot of Benin, Togo and Ghana is as humbling as it is relaxing. Meet practitioners of the misunderstood religion and talented local artisans, discover stately former palaces engage in either the Voodoo or Akwasidae Festivals.
CotonouBonjour! Welcome to Benin. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm in the hotel, where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until this important meeting, but if you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so bring those along to give to your leader. After the meeting, you may wish to go out for dinner to get to know the other members of your group – your local leader will be able to recommend some places to try local food such as Kuli Kuli – a fried nut fritter.
OuidahAfter breakfast, head off on a 30-minute drive to the lake village of Ganvie. Here you’ll take a pirogue, a traditional boat used by West African fishermen, and be guided out on Lake Nokoue to visit the stilt village and learn about how the ‘water men’ as they are known fish to support their community. From here you’ll make the hour-long journey to Ouidah, which will be your base for the next two nights.
OuidahThis morning after breakfast you’ll head out on a guided city tour of Ouidah, the historic centre of voodooism in Benin. The tour includes a visit to the History Museum, the Avenue d’Esclaves as well as many other notable sites. It will end with a traditional voodoo dance performance, a ritual used to call on or pray to spirits. The rest of your day and evening will be free to relax and soak up the atmosphere in Ouidah.
LomeThis morning you’ll cross the border into Togo and make the five-hour journey to Lome via Lake Togo. Once you’ve arrived at the lake you’ll board a boat to visit Togoville, a historic town renowned for its royal palace and colonial church. It was here that voodoo practitioners were taken before they were transported to Haiti as slaves. There’s still a strong voodoo influence in the town today, with plenty of fetish stalls dotted throughout the streets. Afterwards continue to Lome, the capital of Togo, one of Africa’s smallest countries. This city was once a colony of the British, Germans and French, and is one of the few capitals to sit on a border with another country. This has lead to the development of a unique lifestyle and architecture, a cross between people, trades and cultures. In the afternoon there is an option to take an orientation walk with your leader before enjoying a free evening.
AccraAfter breakfast you’ll leave Lome and travel for about 5.5 hours west into Ghana and the capital, Accra. This afternoon stretch your legs by taking a walking tour through the fishing village of Jamestown, and Accra's oldest district. Walk through laneways and meet locals as they prepare for evening meals, while kids play football and other games. Also worth a visit is the site where Ghana’s first president and one of its founding fathers declared independence in 1957. The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was erected in memory of both. 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.
KumasiLeave Accra and drive inland for about six hours to the ‘Garden City’ of Kumasi. This one-time capital of a powerful kingdom is nicknamed for its beautiful flora. The city is the beating heart of Ashanti history and is seen as the home of Ghanaian culture. It’s also a busy, cosmopolitan city, a place where traditions mix with the urbanity of the developing world. According to legend it was in Kumasi that the Priest Okomfo Anokye called down a Golden Stool (containing the spirit of the people) from Heaven and then drove an irremovable sword into the ground as a symbol of Ashanti unity. This resulted in Ashanti independence from a rival state. Today, this hilly city is home to over one million people and has quite a cosmopolitan feel about it. After lunch visit the nearby Kejetia Market, the largest open-air market in West Africa. Here you’ll be able to buy a variety of knick-knacks, clothes, jewellery and Ghanaian food.
KumasiKumasi is a royal city, home to the Ashanti King, who resides at the new Manhyia Palace. Today you’ll visit the museum of the palace, which sits close to the current royal residence. It was built by the British in 1925 and was home to the Ashanti Kings until 1974. In the museum you will learn about the functions of each room and see artefacts belonging to the kings. You’ll then continue your tour of the Kumasi area with visits to nearby villages, where you’ll meet talented artisans; weavers of Ghana’s beautiful kente cloth and sculptors of wood carvings.
ElminaToday is a long travel day so you may want to bring a book or a pack of cards to enjoy with your fellow travellers – although there’s plenty of fascinating scenery to keep you occupied. The drive to Elmina will take about seven hours, and on the way, you’ll stop at a cocoa plantation to learn about how this global commodity is grown and harvested. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, enjoy a free evening to explore the fishing port town or relax on the beach after your travels.
Anomabo BeachThis morning after breakfast you’ll visit St George's Castle. The fortification is one of 20 or so ‘slave castles’ that were built along the shoreline of the Gold Coast – the former name of modern-day Ghana. Built between the 15th and 18th centuries by European trading powers, these castles became the point from which an estimated 12 million Africans were shipped to the Americas. Walk the atmospheric grounds of the castle, past the oppressive dungeons where thousands of slaves were kept while officers lived in light and spacious quarters above, and through to a small door – the ‘Door of No Return’. Here slaves left the fort and were put on to ships; for many the sight across the sea was their final image of home. Continue to explore this busy little fishing town situated on a narrow peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean by taking a walking tour and discover the Pursubans animist (the traditional religion of Ghana) shrines. After lunch it's just over half an hour to Anomabo Beach, which will be your resting place for the evening. A quiet resort town there is no shortage of beautiful beach to explore.
Anomabo BeachToday is a free day to relax at this beautiful beach resort or to take an optional day trip to the Cape Coast. In what was the centre of British administration and capital of the Gold Cost between 1700 and 1877, Cape Coast is awash with colonial architecture. However, this easy-going fishing town is still haunted by the ghosts of the brutal slave trade and is a fascinating cultural experience. Tonight, you may want to join the rest of your group for a last dinner together before the tour ends the following day.
AccraAfter a relaxed breakfast head back to Accra where the tour finishes around 2pm. You are free to leave any time after this or continue your stay in Accra.
- Ganvie - Stilt Village
- Ganvie - Pirogue Ride
- Ouidah - City Tour
- Ouidah - Voodoo Festival (departure date dependent)
- Lake Togo - Boat Ride
- Togoville - Town Visit
- Lome - National Museum
- Lome - Musée International des Arts
- Accra - City Tour
- Kumasi - Kejeta Open Air Market
- Kumasi - Akwasidae Festival (departure date dependent)
- Kumasi - Ahwiaa Craft Village
- Kumasi - Ntonso Craft Village
- Kumasi - Bonwire Craft Village
- Anwiankwanta - Cocoa Plantation
- Elmina - St George's Castle
- Elmina - Walking Tour
10 Breakfast(s) Included
Health and Safety Protocols for Intrepid Tours
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced protocols in hygiene and sanitation. We will put in place additional measures, in line with government health advice and with global health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
Handwashing is one of the most important safety measures to prevent the spread of disease. Intrepid will actively reinforce its importance by:
- Implementing a handwashing policy that dictates when, how often and for how long all staff, leaders and crew must wash their hands on-trip.
- Promote the importance of hand hygiene to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Contract suppliers that have hand hygiene protocols in place
- Contract suppliers that provide hand sanitizer in public places (where applicable)
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of hand hygiene via training.
Practicing good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of disease by reducing the number of droplets in the air when you sneeze or cough. Intrepid will:
- Actively reinforce its importance to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of respiratory hygiene via training.
- Contract suppliers who have respiratory hygiene protocols in place.
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them. Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that masks should only be used as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy and that the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene must also form part of the strategy.
On our trips, regardless of destination, the following people must wear medical/surgical masks:
- Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of whether or not they have been tested yet.
- People caring for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases (outside of hospitals/clinics).
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them.
- People over 60
- People with underlying health conditions
- Provide medical/surgical masks as part of the First Aid Kits carried by leaders.
- Educate leaders, crew, staff and customers on the correct method to wear, handle and dispose of a mask.
- Require all customers, leaders and staff to comply with any local regulations or requirements that require the use of a mask in public or in certain places
Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it is not necessary for the public to wear fabric masks generally.
However in certain circumstances, in places where community transmission of COVID-19 is high and/or physical distancing is not possible (e.g. on public transport, in shops or in other confined environments) then a fabric mask can be a useful barrier to prevent the spread of virus.
Fabric masks be purchased commercially or handmade, and are generally not standardised like medical masks. Fabric masks should:
- Cover the nose, mouth, and chin
- Be secured with elastic loops or ties
- Include multiple layers
- Be washable and reusable.
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced sanitation processes. Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their cleaning and sanitation protocols
- Audit/monitor all suppliers on their cleanliness and sanitation.
- All cleaning and disinfecting products must be approved by health authorities (e.g. WHO).
- All rooms must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be available in public areas.
- There must be a process in place for customers to escalate any concerns regarding hygiene or sanitation.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- All tents must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between use.
- If staying at a campground, ensure all bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels. If the area is remote, with limited facilities and/or minimal staffing, then customers should be informed to bring their own hygiene equipment.
- All mini buses, transfers, charters, overland trucks must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be made available
- Close top bins with bin liners should be available on board and disposed of at every stop
- Must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day
- Tables and chairs must be disinfected after each guest use
- Avoid buffets where possible. If buffets are used, prevent customers from handling food and operating machines (e.g. self-serve coffee stations)
- Either disinfect shared use objects (e.g. table salt) between guest use. Where possible, Intrepid will try to source safe alternatives to single serve packaging.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- Preferred: Provide hand sanitizer to guests at the door before entry
- All equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guest us
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
Limiting the number of surfaces touched by large numbers of people helps prevent the spread of disease. Therefore, it is important to proactively move towards contactless or low touch solutions for travel. Intrepid will:
- Prioritise contactless/low touch as a key feature when sourcing new tech or solutions.
- Remove any paperwork required on the ground (e.g. signing forms, feedback cards)
- If details must be entered using a shared device (e.g. insurance details), then it must be disinfected between each customer. Preference is to move entirely to digital solutions.
- Accommodation should provide online check in (no paperwork)
- Contactless keys (e.g. QR codes)
- Contactless tech (e.g. lights)
- Online ticketing for attractions and transport
- Online payment
Physical distancing is important in the preventing the spread of COVID-19 as it can be transmitted via droplets sprayed when coughing, sneezing, singing, yelling etc…
Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their physical distancing protocols
- Follow local regulation and advice on the need for physical distancing.
We will continue to offer this as an option. Single supplements are available for single travellers who do not wish to share a room. We will work closely with accommodation suppliers to ensure increased availability of single rooms.
- Consider whether it is appropriate to offer single tents for solo travellers as customers will be much closer together then in a traditional room.
- Consider whether staggering meal times may reduce the number of people sharing a dining tent.
Intrepid will consider the following factors when designing or amending transport options on trips.
- Local laws or requirements regarding physical distancing on transport
- Hygiene protocols of the transport provider
- Level of active community transmission in the destination
- Using designated seating on transport. Customers have assigned seats throughout the trip.
- If trip is longer than 15 minutes and air conditioning is available, it must be set to external airflow rather than to recirculation or windows should be opened for the duration of the trip.
- Designing or amending itineraries to reduce the duration of travel.
- Increasing the size of the vehicle, using multiple vehicles.
- Educate all leaders, crew, staff and customers to maintain a 1.5m distance wherever practical in public (e.g. queueing at a museum).
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds by visiting attractions at off-peak times.
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds on public transport or at airports where practical.
- Follow local regulations on table spacing and guest seating in restaurants. Wherever possible, try to ensure groups are sitting at their own table without strangers in restaurants.
- Proactively design product that focuses on experiences that assist with physical distancing (e.g. picnics over crowded marketplaces) if relevant for that destination.
Screening for COVID-19 helps isolate anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and stops the spread of disease. It is likely to become more common for future travellers.
Pre-Departure (Brand Material)
Customers should be informed as part of ‘Essential Trip Information (ETIs) or other similar trip notes if their trip is likely to include any of the following:
- Testing for COVID-19 before being able to pass through immigration and/or board planes.
- Negative test results to be uploaded for visa purposes.
- Thermal temperature checks in airports, train or bus stations, major hotels or attractions.
Pre-departure, all customers are required to fill out an online questionnaire (“self- declaration/assessment” form) to identify any high-risk customers before travel.
Extra qualifiers will be included to address customers with symptoms that can be contributed to pre-existing conditions (e.g. breathlessness to asthma).
Customers answering YES to any question should be removed from the departure and appropriate arrangements made.
Intrepid will not require a negative COVID-19 test as proof of health from customers or leaders at this stage unless it is required by local law or regulations.
This is partially due to the lack of availability of testing for people with no symptoms in many parts of the world and may change in due course.
- Ask customers, leaders, crew and staff to monitor their own health
- Display appropriate signage on COVID-19 symptoms
- Educate leaders, crew and staff on how to identify COVID-19 symptoms
- Describe COVID-19 symptoms in group meetings
If customers, leaders or crew show symptoms of COVID-19 and are either unable to or unwilling to be tested, Intrepid reserves the right to remove them from our trips to prevent any risk to others.
Flexible Booking Conditions
Customers will be supported by flexible booking conditions to stay home if unwell or displaying symptoms
Flexible Work Conditions
Intrepid will support leaders and crew to stay home rather than lead a trip if they are unwell or displaying symptoms. Schedules will need to be created with back up availability of leaders/crew.
Data Collection & Health Tracking
Intrepid will assist government health departments in tracking and tracing any customers, staff, leaders, crew or suppliers at risk of contracting COVID-19 via exposure to a known case and/or outbreak by providing relevant details in line with privacy laws and regulations.
COVID Tracking apps
Intrepid strongly recommends that customers and staff download COVID tracking apps (e.g. COVIDSafe in Australia, StayHomeSafe in Hong Kong) to assist in reducing the spread of disease within their communities.
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Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.
The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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