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Adventure Magazine

Adventure Main | E-mail the Editors | Adventure Customer Service | Subscribe November 2004

Wild Horizons
Ghana, Togo, and Benin
Going tribal in West Africa. By McKenzie Funk

Photo: a group of drummers
GHANA GROOVE: In a village in Togo, drummers' hypnotic rhythms and chants attempt to invoke voodoo spirits.
Inland from the white-sand beaches and slave-trading castles of Ghana's Cape Coast, the Ashanti Kingdom was once among the most powerful in Africa, rich in both gold and culture. Its traditions live on in the historic capital of Kumasi, a sprawling city surrounded by green hills—and an early stop in the new West Africa exploratory Wilderness Travel has planned for April. Here you visit the throbbing Kejetia Market, where as many as 10,000 traders are spread over 25 acres (10 hectares), and see the Akwasidae Festival: a monthly celebration at the royal palace where a long line of dignitaries—sword bearers, musket bearers, men with ostrich-feather fans—pay homage to the sitting king and elders.

Farther from the coast, "where the only other foreigners are aid workers," Wilderness Travel's Pam Shandrick says, you follow ancient caravan routes into drier landscapes populated by the Lobi, Gourounsi, and Dagomba peoples. Spontaneous voodoo festivals—such as dancing set off by the appearance of a ceremonial mask—pop up in the savannah, where thick-trunked baobab trees provide the only natural shade. The route has you traversing the length of Ghana in a comfortable van, then dropping southeast across Togo to Benin, where you'll turn back to the west. On Lake Togo you stop at a voodoo hospital where healers have their own fetish-adorned shrines and treat patients with rites and herbs. Back in Ghana you take a boat ride up a quiet estuary of the Volta River, then visit a woodworker creating coffins in the shapes of fruits, animals, and automobiles—a uniquely Ghanaian handicraft. Aside from two nights camping, you sleep in basic local hotels $3,790 for 16 days; 800-368-2794; www.wildernesstravel.com.

Photograph by Pam Shandrick

Twenty-five new trips made the cut to be included as one of 2005's best outfitter excursions. Read about each one of them in the November issue.

Additional Excerpts
From the print edition, November 2004

Adventure Travel 2005: Amazing excursions for the new year
Ghana: Tribal traverses, deserted beaches
Return to Zootopia: David Quammen revisits the Galápagos
No Margin for Error: America's most perilous peak
Pelton's World: Former no-go zones make a comeback

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November 2004

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