Accra Ghana: the capital Accra <<-- GO
Accra is a large African metropolis that has experienced exponential growth in recent decades. Starting or end point for many tours in West Africa, the city offers an interesting mix of modernity and traditions, with craftsmen and traders busy in their everyday life.
Kakum suspended bridge Ghana: Elmina castle and Kakum national park <<-- GO
Elmina, not far from Accra, is home to an ancient castle from colonial times, which in recent history has been known for the sad chapter on the slave trade, while Kakum National Park was established to protect a forest with huge secular trees, which can be seen from the top thanks to one of the longest suspended rope bridges in the world.
Kumasi Ghana: Kumasi and a traditional Ashanti funeral <<-- GO
Capital of the Ashanti kingdom, Kumasi, in the heart of central Ghana, offers a glimpse into the culture of this interesting people, among large open-air markets, luxury royal palaces, festivals and funeral ceremonies rather unusual for visitors coming from western countries.
Akwasidae ceremony Ghana: the Akwasidae festival <<-- GO
The Akwasidae festival takes place at the beginning of each Ashanti month, which lasts approximately 6 weeks, to honor their ancestors and the king. The Akwasidae ceremony which took place on December 3rd, 2017 (the day of my visit) was combined with the commemoration of the queen passed away a year before and was a very special event.
Mona monkey Ghana: forests and sacred monkeys <<-- GO
Excursion in the sacred forest populated by Mona and Colobus monkeys, venerated by the local population as they believe the monkeys are a reincarnation of their ancestors. The trip continues along the dusty roads in central Ghana, finally crossing the Volta river aboard a barge.
Rural village in Ghana Ghana: rural villages and ethnic minorities <<-- GO
The Dagomba and Konkoba people are known for the particular architecture of their villages, made of round-shaped clay houses if they are inhabited by a woman. We will visit a village where women accused of being witches are forced into an exile for life, to avoid being killed.
Fire dance Togo: Sokode dance of fire <<-- GO
Sokode is a city in Togo known for the particular confidence that some people have with fire. Will it be magic or resistance to pain? The fact is that the fire is handled, rubbed on the body and even put in the mouth with an incredible naturalness, a tradition that comes from the need to be able to provide assistance during fires, in a place where there are no firefighters and very little water.
Kabye village Togo: rural villages and remote ethnic groups <<-- GO
Because of the isolation, the Kabye people of northern Togo had to organize themselves to be totally self-sufficient, so, in small villages made of clay houses, it is not uncommon to find craftsmen producing iron tools, pottery, beer and anything else necessary for the community.
Miniature castle Togo: the fortified houses and the miniature castles <<-- GO
The fortified houses were built during the slave trade, to hide and defend people from soldiers looking for men and women to be captured and sold on behalf of powerful royal families who reigned in West Africa. A fortified house looks like a miniature castle and functioned as an hut, a warehouse, and a fortress.
Scarnification on a face Benin: clay castles and the rituals of scarification <<-- GO
Similarly to Togo, also in Benin there are clay castles, real miniature fortresses used as homes and warehouses. However, the Somba people of Benin who still live in these structures, are particularly known for the scarification of several parts of the body, an initiatory practice that allows them to show courage, as well as the tribe to which they belong.
Taneka village Benin: Taneka villages and ethnic minorities<<-- GO
The remote villages of Taneka, in northern Benin, are an opportunity to discover more about the culture and traditions of this interesting people, composed of a mix of ethnic groups living peacefully together and recognizable on the basis of body scarification.
Egun mask Benin: Egun masks and the sacred hill of Dassa <<-- GO
In Dassa visitors cannot miss the Hill of the Princes with its voodoo altars, a place where the funeral of the members of the royal families are carried out. With a little luck, or by programming the trip accordingly to precise dates, tourists can come across the Egun masks, spirits of dead people who have returned to Earth to solve the problems of the community.
Gelede ceremony Benin: Gelede mask festival<<-- GO
The Gelede mask festival in Benin celebrates the spirits of Mother Earth and wish good fertility of fields and people. The ceremony takes place in a riot of sounds and colors, with costumes that cover completely who wear them.
Ganvie stilt houses Benin: Ganvie stilt houses and the slave trade in Ouidah <<-- GO
Ganvie is one of the largest and most populous cities on stilts in the world, where life takes place entirely on the water and where people moves around only by boat. Not far away, Ouidah is the world capital of the voodoo religion, but also offers a sad glimpse on the slave trade of past times.
Voodoo ceremony Benin: voodoo rituals <<-- GO
How does a voodoo ritual take place? This is what we will try to understand by visiting a remote village in Benin, attending a voodoo ceremony combined with a funeral. The sacrifice of a chicken, the preparation of the offer to the divinity, the dances and the subsequent rituals, trying to understand more about these mysterious ceremonies.
Voodoo festival Togo: voodoo ceremony among remote villages<<-- GO
In a village of Togo not far from the capital Lome, but not marked on maps, we will witness a voodoo ritual where people fall into trance possessed by spirits. We will also meet the village healer who bases his therapies on the care of the spirit first, making amulets and fetishes consecrated through specific voodoo rituals.
Lome fetich market Togo: the capital Lome and the fetish market <<-- GO
Lome, the populous capital of Togo, offers a mix of tradition and modernity, where the recent Independence Square contrasts with the fetish market where the faithful can purchase all that is needed to prepare voodoo rituals and to make amulets.