Saga Tours of Mali — West Africa Adventure Travel
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Whirlwind West Africa Tour
Mali · Burkina Faso · Ghana · Togo · Benin

9 nights hotel; no camping

This is a very rapid tour of West Africa, as the name "Whirlwind" implies; travellers must be prepared to spend considerable time travelling and less time visiting, with every night in a different hotel.

But if your time is limited, this tour will allow you to see and experience a significant portion of West Africa, in only 10 days !

Niger can be added to this itinerary; with Niger added, tour is 12-days/11-nights

NB: Alternatively, Mali can be omitted; tour can start in Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou) and end in Ghana (Accra).

It is also possible to customize this tour by adding the highlights of Mali, namely Djenne, Mopti snd Dogon country; the exact tour length will depend on customization.

Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice; there are no fixed-date group departures.

Contact us for prices. Groups of any size are welcome. Be sure to specify the month/year of travel, and how many persons are in your party—prices are digressive, so a better value per person for a party of four than a party of two, etc.


Day 1 : Arrival in Bamako, MALI
International flight arrives in Bamako in the evening; our staff will meet you in the Arrivals hall of Bamako airport, and provide your hotel transfer; overnight in Bamako (Grand Hotel, or similar).

Day 2 : Bamako - Segou (235 km; ~3hrs)
Begin your whirlwind journey through West Africa; 08h00 AM breakfast, then we will visit the National Museum to get an overview of Mali's history and culture. Afterwards we will drive to and visit Segou, Mali's former colonial capital, with its interesting mix of traditional and colonial architecture. After a late lunch, we will visit the market and the Kasobane boutique with its high-end traditional and contemporary textile art; we will stop by the Nieleni cooperative, which makes hand-woven high-quality wool rugs; and we will end the day with stroll through the traditional pottery market on the waterfront. Overnight in Segou (Hotel Independance, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 3 : Segou - Koutiala - Bobo Dioulasso, BURKINA FASO (380 km; ~5hrs)
Breakfast, then 08h00 AM onward drive through the picturesque countryside in the heartland of West Africa, through Mali and cross into Burkina Faso. We check into our hotel, then have our city tour of Bobo Dioulasso, which is Burkina Faso's second largest city. As time permits, we will vist the old mosque, the Houet Museum, and the old Kibidwe artisans' district, where traditional blacksmiths, potters, and dyers are hard at work. Overnight in Bobo Dioulasso (Hotel Auberge, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 4 : Bobo Dioulasso - Ouagadougou (355 km; ~4½hrs)
Onward drive to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's vibrant capital city. After lunch, we will visit the Grand Market and the National Museum, with its interesting collection of regional clothing, masks, household utensils and ancestral statues. We will visit the crafts markets at the Artisans' Center, where we will find basketry, batik fabrics, wooden statues and masks, jewelry, leatherwork and bronze castings; we will also visit the Music Museum (if it is reopened, after major renovations). Overnight in Ouagadougou (Hotel Independance, or similar).
with Breakfast

optional Day A: optional extension to NIGER (500 km; ~6½hrs); 07h00 departure on our drive to Niamey; afternoon city tour of Niamey: we will visit the National Museum, the large city market, and the artisans' village of Wadata. Overnight in Niamey (Grand Hotel, or similar).

optional Day B: return to BURKINA FASO; overnight in Ouagadougou (Hotel Independance, or similar)

Day 5 : Ouagadougou - Tamale (400 km; ~5½hrs) - Kumasi, (390 km; ~5hrs) GHANA
This morning we depart francophone Burkina Faso for anglophone Ghana; we will have a lunch stop in Tamale, then onward to Kumasi for overnight (Hotel Georgia, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 6 : Kumasi - Elmina (240 km; ~3½hr)
Today we will visit Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city with a population of nearly 1.5 million; this is also the capital of Ghana's Ashanti country. We will visit the National Cultural Center, the Manhyia Palace, and the Kejetia market, reputedly the largest market in all of West Africa.
In the afternoon we drive to Elmina, where we will will enjoy a walking tour of St. George's Castle, and finish with a stroll to St. Jago Hill for a panoramic overview of historic Elmina and a view of colorful fishing boats sailing in and out of the lagoon. Overnight in Elmina (Elmina Beach Resort, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 7 : Elmina - Cape Coast (15 km; ~¼hr)- Accra (150 km; ~2hrs)
Short drive to Cape Coast, the first capital of Britain's Gold Coast colony. By the late 17th century, Cape Coast had grown from a small fishing village to one of the most important trading ports along the coast; and through the 18th century, the local economy was driven by its role as the heart of the transatlantic slave trade. We will visit the historic old town section, and Cape Coast Castle, former bastion of the Atlantic slave trade, now a Unesco World Heritage site. At day's end, we drive to Accra for overnight (Novotel Accra, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 8 : Accra - Lome, TOGO (200 km; ~2½hrs)
08h00 AM breakfast, then we will visit the Nkrumah mausoleum and the large craft market at the cultural centre; then onward drive across the border to Lome, Togo (and back into francophone Africa). We will have an afternoon city tour of Lome: visit the National Museum, the large and colorful city market, the fetish market (for voudou practitioners) and the artisans' village. Overnight in Lome (Hotel Ibis Centre, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 9 : Lome - Ouidah (110 km; ~1½hr) - Cotonou, BENIN (40 km; ~¾hr)
This morning we depart Togo for Benin, last stage of our West African journey. En-route, we will visit Ouidah, an important traditional vodou religious center; we will visit the Ouidah History Museum in the old Portuguese fort, the Temple of pythons, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Kpasse sacred forest. We will trace the route of the famous "Slave Road" which leads to the slavery memorial of Zoungbodji. At the end of a full day we drive onward to Cotonou for overnight (Hotel du Lac, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 10 : Cotonou/Ganvie - final departure
Today we will visit colorful Cotonou, including the huge Dantokpa market, the second largest in West Africa (after Kumasi in Ghana), and the large artisans' center, where artisans can be seen working their crafts.
In the afternon we will take a pirogue excursion to visit Ganvie fishing village, built on stilts over the lagoon waters of Lake Nokoue; this village was created in the 18th century by the Tofinu people, to escape the slave-raids of their neighbors. The women of Ganvie sell fish, fruits and vegetables from their canoes, and fish-farming is practiced within enclosures of trees and branches that surround the village. We return to Cotonou, and in the evening, transfer to the airport for final departure.
with Breakfast

1 km ~ 0.6 mile; distances are approximate
Driving times are approximate, depending on local conditions, stops, and border crossings

NB: Hotels subject to availability; see proposed hotels description.

The tour with these hotels is our default "Better" standard (3-4* hotels where available).
Upgrade to "Best" standard (4-5* hotels where available) is also possible.
NB: in rural areas there is little choice of accommodations, and we utilize the same "best available" hotels for all tour standards.

Please specify if you would like to include the optional extension to Niger.

10-day Tour package includes:

Tour package does not include: international flights to Bamako, MALI and onward from Cotonou, BENIN; tourism visas (required for all countries: Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana, Togo, Benin); lunches, dinners, drinks/bottled water; tips and personal expenses.

NB: Posted itineraries are subject to change, and quoted prices are accordingly subject to change; itineraries and prices are locked-in when a tour is booked.

Please note: Saga Tours does not handle international air reservations and ticketing.

Before reserving, please see our Terms and Conditions.