Gap Adventures, a perennial outfitter favorite of the backpacker set, offers one of National Geographic Traveler’s 2011 Tours of a Lifetime: Ghana Untouched. This 13-day tour through the English-speaking West African nation packs it all in: wildlife viewing, spectacular scenery, and plenty of local culture, in a loop through some of the least traveled parts of Ghana. Because of the lack of tourist infrastructure along much of the route, it’s possible to see traditional cultures unchanged over centuries and to try bush camping–an adventurous necessity for over-night stays and a great excuse to spend more time under the wide-open African skies.
Throughout the expedition, visitors will be exposed to local religions, including voodoo and animist cultures. The tour kicks off with a visit to a fantasy coffin shop in Accra. There you’ll find ornately decorated coffins in creative shapes: bananas, lobsters, boats, and even cigarettes. The shapes are meant to highlight a part of deceased’s life.
On the tour, travelers can also meet a Lobi family and see the community’s shrine of wooden statues. And, they can visit a band of “witches” who have been exiled from their villages or seek advice and predictions from the oracle of Tongo by climbing a mountain with holy men during their pilgrimage to make sacrifices and perform rites.
As the tour wanders from lush coastlines and verdant riverside escapes to the dry savanna, you’ll stop to visit the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary, take a boat ride down the Volta River estuary, visit a bead-making workshop, and cross a bridge walk above the forest canopy in Kakum National Park.
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Photo courtesy of: Gap Adventures