Ghana: Dipo Ceremonies & Aboakyer Festival, 10 Days

GHANA:
Dipo Ceremonies &
Aboakyer Festival

(Special Event)

10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS

Scheduled departure date from Accra in 2019: Apr 26th

Minimum 2 – Maximum 16 participants

Map to Dipo Ceremonies &  Aboakyer Festival

A unique amazing journey where we attend two of the most important festivals of the country.

The Krobo region is famous for its glass beads and for initiation rites which only apply to girls - Dipo is the name of the “process” through which a young girl becomes an adult woman, fully integrated into her society.

Girls with glass beads

Aboakyer, also known as the ‘deer hunting festival’, is organized in honor of the tribal God of Winneba, a fabulous opportunity to experience the climax of a Fanti festival.

Aboakyer Festival

The tour is enriched by the visit to the Ashanti people, one of the last glorious African kingdoms.

We explore the former Gold Coast, with the largest European castles in Africa and where centuries of gold and slave trade remain.

Along the coast, in the heart of voodoo original regions, we encounter practitioners, watch trance-dances and learn about the great influence voodoo spirits still have on people.

Due to unpredictable Krobo calendar, we attend Dipo initiation IF CONFIRMED.

Day 1 Arrival in Accra (Ghana) and transfer to the hotel.
Day 2 - 4 Dipo Initiation, from Accra to Krobo Region
Day 5 Ashanti, from Akosombo to Kumasi
Day 6 Golden Kingdoms, from Kumasi to Anomabu
Day 7 Slave castles, Anomabu and transfers
Day 8 Fishermen villages, from Anomanu to Winneba
Day 9 Aboakyer Festival, Winneba
Day 10 African Metropolis, from Winneba to Accra

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Accra, Gulf of Guinea

Arrival in Accra (Ghana) and transfer to the hotel.

Meals: own arrangements
Overnight: Accra City Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

Day 2 - 4: Dipo Initiation, from Accra to Krobo Region (Accra – Krobo: 100 km – 2 hrs; then drives in the region)

Drive to Krobo land to attend the Dipo Festival, the greatest legacy of this region located approximately 80 kilometers north of Accra. The festival lasts 2 days and is one of the most famous and important festivals in West Africa. Dipo, also known as puberty ritual, is a celebration that initiates adolescent girls into womanhood and according to tradition, girls who successfully go through this rite become very good wives. The girls undergo a series of rituals, tests and tasks to prove both their chastity and their being ready for adult life.

The girls participating in this ceremony - traditionally called Dipo-yi - are elegantly decorated: colorful assorted beads adorn their exposed upper parts while from waist to knee they are covered in beautiful fabrics. Their breasts are bare for everyone to see, this signifies that they are getting into adulthood.

On the first day of the ceremony, the girls parade in public in their ceremonial dress and then their heads are shaved leaving only a small portion of hair on the head; a piece of raffia is tied around their neck to indicate they are Dipo-yi. On the next morning, the girls are given a ritual bath in a river and then are required to taste foods like sugar cane and peanuts.

The Krobo are very good at making glass beads and the festival provides an excellent opportunity to exhibit their precious beautiful handmade craftwork to the general public. This century-old tradition is so well reputed that glass beads of Ghana are generally referred to as Krobo beads. The process involves different stages: scrap glass is first grounded into a fine powder then it is meticulously made into patterns and placed into hand-made clay molds covered in kaolin in order to be baked. We will have the time to learn and to produce our own beads!

During this stay we will also attend a voodoo ceremony.

In a remote hidden village we will join a Voodoo ceremony: the frenetic rhythm of the drums and chants of the followers help to call the voodoo spirit who takes possession of some of the dancers who in turn fall into a deep trance: eyes rolling back, grimaces, convulsions, insensitivity to fire or pain. Sakpata, Heviesso, Mami Water and other voodoos show their presence by taking possession of their followers. In this narrow village, surrounded by the magic atmosphere of a voodoo ceremony, we will finally understand how deeply-rooted traditions still are in African soul.

Meals: B – L - D
Overnight: Afrikiko Resort or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

Day 5: Ashanti, from Akosombo to Kumasi (250 km – 5 hrs)

Kumasi is the historical and spiritual capital of the old Ashanti Kingdom. The Ashanti people were one of the most powerful nations in Africa until the end of the 19th century, when the British annexed the Ashanti Country to their Gold Coast colony. The tribute paid today to the Asantehene (=King) is the best evidence of their past splendour and strength. With nearly one million inhabitants, Kumasi is a sprawling city with a fantastic central market, one of the biggest in Africa. Every type of Ashanti craft (leather goods, pottery, Kente cloth) is found here, along with just about every kind of tropical fruit and vegetable.

The program includes a visit to the Ashanti Cultural Centre: a rich collection of Ashanti artefacts housed in the wonderful reproduction of an Ashanti house. In the afternoon – if feasible – we participate in a traditional Ashanti funeral, attended by mourners wearing beautifully red or black togas. We say “funerals” but it actually is a “festive” celebration: the deceased in fact is believed to be still with his/her family and through this ceremony he/she becomes an ancestor. Relatives and friends gather, socialize and celebrate his/her memory. The chief arrives surrounded by his court under the shade of large umbrellas while drums give rhythm to the dancers whose intricate moves are highly symbolic.

Meals: B – L - D
Overnight: Miklin Hotel or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

Day 6: Golden Kingdoms, from Kumasi to Anomabu (260 km – 5 hrs)

In the morning continuation of the tour of Kumasi, with the visit of the Royal Palace Museum hosting a unique collection of gold jewels worn by the Ashanti court.

Visit of Ashanti villages producing traditional carvings and textiles.

Driving back to the coast.

Meals: B – L - D
Overnight: Anomabu Beach Resort or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

Day 7: Slave castles, Anomabu and transfers (120 km – 3 hrs)

Arrival at Elmina and visit of castles and dungeons, remaining from the ancient gold, ivory and slave trade. Elmina is the oldest and largest European building and links the history of Africa to world history. In 1482 Christopher Columbus and Bartolommeo Diaz arrived with ten caravels to build a castle under Portuguese authority. This is how the story of Elmina started: the castle, a port, a village in touch with Europe and the Americas for more than five centuries, long time before colonial times started. The Castle of Sao Jorge da Mina is the oldest European building in Africa; at different times, it has been used as a warehouse to trade gold, ivory, and eventually slaves. What we visit today is the result of successive extension works and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Facing the castle, a unique fishing harbour with hundreds of large colourful canoes that every morning cross the ocean waves and currents, “fighting” to earn a living. In the old town with its intense atmosphere we discover the Posuban: shrines of the “Asafo companies”. Ancient warrior companies, which still exist, and pouring libation on natural size statues. The atmosphere in the old alleys, brings back a time when Elmina was a busy African and colonial citadel.

A few kilometers north of the coast, in the middle of a rainforest, we will discover the Kakum National Park. This park gives you a great opportunity to observe the forest from above as Kakum has a canopy walk hung high up in the trees. The Kakum canopy walkway is the longest and highest rope bridge in the world. Walking between 120 to 150 feet above the ground, you will enjoy an incredible view of the rain forest. At this height, instead of revealing their trunks, the trees offer a breathtaking view of their canopies and look as if they were trying to touch the sun and sky above.

Meals: B – L - D
Overnight: Anomabu Beach Resort or similar (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

Day 8: Fishermen villages, from Anomanu to Winneba (130 km – 3 hrs)

Visit of Cape Coast Castle. Built by the Swedes in 1653, from 1657 to 1664 it changed owners many times as it was conquered by the Danes, the Dutch, the Fanti (a local tribe), the Swedes and finally the British. Today, it hosts a museum on the history of the slave trade. In Cape Coast, we also visit the fishing port - tiny and very colorful.

We move towards Winneba to attend the launching of the Aboakey festival.

Fetish priests and worshippers pour libations to the shrines and then they walk across the town with all their fetishes.

Meals: B – L - D
Overnight: Blue Diamond Beach Resort or similar (all rooms ensuite and with fan)

Day 9: Aboakyer Festival, Winneba

We attend the Aboakyer Festival.

Aboakyer, also known as the ‘deer hunting festival’, is organized to honor the tribal God of the town. In this festival, God Penkye Otu receives the sacrifice of a deer. The festival originated about three hundred years ago, when Winneba was first settled. People believed they managed to establish their homes here only thanks to the help of their God and they are still under its protection. This festival is the expression of their gratitude. Aboakyer Festival involves two groups of people in Winneba, the Tuafo and the Dentsifo. They compete with one another to go into the bush and be the first to catch a deer. Armed with only clubs, the group which first catches the animal rushes back home singing war and victory songs. The deer is then presented to the Omanhene who places his bare right foot three times on it. After completing this ritual, the deer is lifted up and carried through the town streets by singing and dancing men to the the shrine of Penkye Otu. In the final act of the festival the Tuafo and the Dentsifo come together before their God and sacrifice the deer.

Meals: B – L - D
Overnight: Blue Diamond Beach Resort or similar (all rooms ensuite and with fan)

Day 10: African Metropolis, from Winneba to Accra (100 km – 2 hrs, traffic jams)

Drive to Accra.

Accra, the capital of Ghana, has kept its unique identity despite the fast-paced development of the last decades with is modern buildings and large avenues. The luxuriant administrative area, punctuated with elegant villas built during the first half of the 19th century, reminds us that Ghana was the most flourishing colony in Africa.

Optional visit to the National Museum (if open, presently under renovation), one of the first works of independent Ghana - the concept inspiring the Museum is to relate Ghanaian art to the rest of the continent and African as part of the general history of humanity. We explore James Town historic neighbourhood, inhabited by Ga people. Facing the Ocean is where native people life fully unfolds: a village surrounded by the city! Here all economic activities follow very different rules from the ones governing “the city” (business area), just a few hundred meters away. We continue with the visit of a workshop specialized in “fantasy coffins”. These unique handcrafted coffins can reflect any shape: fruits, animals, fish, cars, airplanes…. Imagination is the only key! Started in Accra, these flamboyant coffin designs are by now collected worldwide and exhibited in museums. In the evening transfer to the airport for the flight out.

Meals: B – L
Day-use Rooms in day-use till 18.00 hrs (all rooms ensuite and with aircon)

Download Detailed Itinerary

Day 1:

Accra City Hotel or similar,
Accra, Ghana

 

Day 2 - 4:

Afrikiko Resort or similar,
Krobo, Ghana

 

Day 5:

Miklin Hotel or similar,
Kumasi, Ghana

 

Day 6 - 7:

Anomabu Beach Resort or similar,
Anomabu, Ghana

 

Day 8 - 9:

Blue Diamond Beach Resort,
Winneba, Ghana