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West Africa between Freetown and Accra

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  • Kumasi
  • Kabala
  • Nzerekoré
  • Kakum National Park
  • Freetown
  • Grand Bassam
  • Western Côte d'Ivoire
  • Yamoussoukro
  • Korhogo
  • Freetown Peninsular
  • Tiwai Island Sanctuary
  • Faranah
  • Accra
  • Elmina
  • Gueckedou
  • Macenta
  • Forested Guinea
  • Potoru
  • Southern Guinea

This truly adventurous and challenging journey begins on the phenomenal beaches of the Freetown Peninsular before heading overland to Sierra Leone's eastern province and the unique Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Sierra Leone's first and only community conservation programme. The true adventure starts as we journey through Sierra Leone's northern province and across the remote border into Guinea - we then explore the eastern areas of this rarely-visited country and pass through its stunning mountainous forested area, which boasts stunning scenery, beautiful hills, lush forests, and villages famed for their vine bridges! From here we continue into the wonderful country of CA'te d'Ivoire, visiting the fascinating handicraft town of Korhogo, the famous Basilica in Yamoussoukro, and the sleepy old colonial town of Grand Bassam. We will then cross into Ghana and follow the Atlantic coast to Elmina, where we get hands-on at the Sabre Trust community project. We will visit the Fort of Cape Coast to learn about the appalling history of the slave trade, before moving on to the canopy walkways of Kakum National Park, a wonderful reserve of West African rainforest. We finally visit the fascinating semi-autonomous Ashanti capital of Kumasi, before finishing our trip in the bustling Ghanaian capital of Accra. Unlike their more visited cousins in East Africa, these countries truly are hidden gems that are largely untouched by tourism - every trip through the region is therefore an incredible adventure involving fantastic community interaction, some wonderful wild camps, some difficult roads, and a rare opportunity to experience a more traditional way of life. West Africa boasts a huge arts and craft scene, colourful and vibrant markets, and incredible traditional music - however, what makes West Africa especially wonderful are the people - the fascinating cultures, incredible atmosphere, and warm friendly smiles that greet you every day are what makes a trip here so very special, and why the area is frequently on the top of the favourites list for many of our most seasoned travellers.

  • Day 1 Freetown

    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. In Freetown we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. 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.

    Activities(Optional)
    See the Freetown Cotton Tree, the city's most famous landmark and home to hundreds of bats that fly out at dusk - Cost: USD
    See the King's Yard Gate, where the ancestors of all modern Creole people will have passed through on their way to a free life after their rescue from illegal slaving ships - Cost: USD
    Learn about Sierra Leone's traditional history and cultures at the National Museum - Cost: USD
    Visit the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, a remarkable collection of old trains that was hidden from destruction for 30 years - Cost: USD 5
    Take a boat to the overgrown ruins of the old slaving fort of Bunce Island, from where the ancestors of most modern African-Americans were shipped to the New World - Cost: USD 150

  • Day 2 to 4 Freetown Peninsular

    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. Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 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!). 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! On Freetown Peninsular we will camp on the beach, with some options to upgrade to basic guesthouses.

    Activities(Optional)
    Visit the orphan chimpanzees at Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary outside of Freetown, a wonderful organisation that rehabilitates rescued chimpanzees for their return to the wild - Cost: USD 15
    Relax on some of the best beaches in the world dotted along the Freetown Peninsular - Cost: USD
    Take a boat trip to explore the beautiful and overgrown Banana Islands off the coast of the Freetown Peninsular - Cost: USD 25
    Head out with the locals in their traditional wooden boats to try your hand at fishing - Cost: USD 10
    Hire surfboards to take out onto the waves of Bureh Beach, one of West Africa's best surfing spots - Cost: USD 10
    Head out on a diving trip around the reefs and shipwrecks off the Banana Islands - Cost: USD 180
    Snorkel through the idyllic waters off the Banana Islands near Freetown Peninsular - Cost: USD 120

  • Day 5 to 6 Tiwai Island Sanctuary

    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. Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 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.

    Activities(Included)
    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

    Activities(Optional)
    Take an optional canoe or motor boat tour through the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary (if available) - Cost: USD 10

  • Day 7 to 8 Kabala

    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. 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. In Kabala we will stay in a basic local guesthouse. Estimated Drive Times - 6-8 hours each day.

    Activities(Optional)
    Freely explore the markets of Kabala or walk to the top of the nearby Gbawuria Hill - Cost: USD

  • Day 9 to 10 Gberia Fotombu

    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 on the second day. 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. We will wild camp en route for the first night, and stay in a local guesthouse in Faranah on the second night. Estimated Drive Times - 5-8 hours each day.

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Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, boats

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