Ghana, Togo & Benin
Thriving traditional cultures, renowned art forms, flamboyantly colorful festivals, mask dances, and a dazzling ethnic mosaic are the golden gems of tribal West Africa. This fantastic cultural odyssey takes you to the remote reaches of Ghana, Togo, and Benin to discover lost tribal worlds guided by ancient spirits. On this journey you will witness a special festival-the Egun Mask Dances of the Yoruba villages of southern Benin. Along the way, you will meet unforgettable people including the Taberma, whose fairytale clay castles are spectacular examples of uniquely African architecture. Finish your excursion on the coast, in the heart of voodoo country, visiting practitioners, watching trance-dances, and learning about the awesome power that voodoo spirits still hold over people.
Ghana, Togo & Benin “ Voodoo Festival”… Jan 07 to 20, 2020
Mali, a landlocked country is bisected by the Niger River, one of the great rivers of the world. It marks an approximate boundary between the Sahara desert and the Sahel. Mali means hippo in one of the local languages and they can sometimes be seen during the dry season. Head to Timbuktu the city of legend that truly exists on the fringes of the Sahara Desert. Visit its ancient mosque as well as the Grand Mosque in Djenne, the largest mud-brick building in the world. Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Stroll through the weekly markets in Djenne and Mopti, known to attract thousands of people from Mali’s many tribes. Spend time in Dogon country home to one of the most fascinating tribes in Africa. End your tour at the River Niger Festival, a celebration of music, dancing and culture.
Mali & Burkina Faso…Jan 30 to February 14, 2020
Cape Verde & Sao Tome
See the beautiful island scenery of Sao Tome and Cape Verde. Experience African and Portuguese influences in São Toméan and their well known for ússua and socopé rhythms. Explore São Tomé’s beautiful plantations where they grow cocoa, copra, palm kernels, and coffee.
The city of Lisbon is rich in architecture; Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern constructions can be found all over Lisbon. The city is also crossed by historical boulevards and monuments along the main thoroughfares.
Sintra is known for its many 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments, which has resulted in its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although its heritage in buildings and nature is the most visible face of the historic individuality of Sintra, a whole literary heritage has made the area a legendary reference in Portuguese culture.
Cape Verde is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Cape Verdes culture is the sum of two cultures, not living side by side but as a third product totally new, resulting from an exchange that began five hundred years ago. It is a mixture of European and African elements. You will also experience the unique sound of the music which incorporates “African, Portuguese and Brazilian influences.
Nigeria & Sao Tome…February 10 to 22, 2020
Travel with us to a country with a recent troubled past, but is now once again accessible to intrepid travelers who are looking to delve into the amazing diversity of West African culture. This is a journey full of surprises to a land that can rightly be considered truly "off the beaten track". As one of Africa’s most recent additions to tourism, the Ivory Coast was out of bounds for years due to political conflict.
Situated on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire - or Ivory Coast as some may call it, provides a range of landscapes that are sure to please - from the beaches and inland lagoons in the south and dense tropical forests in the southwest, along savannas and grassy plains in the interior, to impressive montane forested mountains in the north.
The country also has a fascinating cultural heritage. Spend time with different ethnic groups such as the Baulé, who are known for their fine craftsmanship, theDan, Lobi, and Fulani, as well as the Senoufo, who are known for their handicrafts that feature their own cultural themes and religious beliefs. It is even said their handicrafts were the inspiration some of Pablo Picasso's paintings. During village visits you will witness colorful tribal festivals, rituals, initiations, and amazing mask dances. Each ethnic group has its own style of music, most showing a strong vocal polyphony.
Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Like most West African countries, Niger has a wide variety of ethnic groups, which vary depending on the region. The largest of these groups are the Hausa, followed by the Zarma. There are many other nomadic tribes throughout Niger including the Taureg and Fulani. Niger has stunning natural beauty, especially in the Mountain ranges in the north, but also houses a few old trading centers in the Sahara such as Agadez and Zinder that have a distinct mixture of Arab, Tuareg, and black African culture. The locals are also very friendly - don't be surprised if you are invited into someone's home! A wild giraffe herd lives near Koure, which is only around 37 miles from Niamey on a paved road. However, you will need a 4x4 vehicle and a guide to get you there. The giraffes live near many people and are rather curious and friendly. You can approach within 30 feet or so before they become more cautious. You'll also see other mammals such as elephants, lions, and hippos at the W Wildlife Reserve.