Ghana: Dipo Initiation Rite, Aboakyer & Akwasidae Festval, 10 Days


Dipo Festival


(Special Events: Dipo initiation rite, Aboakyer festival & Akwasidae Festval)


Scheduled departure date
From Accra

April 25th 2020

Minimum 2 - Maximum 16 participants

A special trip together with an anthropologist to discover how tradition and modernity goes hand in hand in a country which ongoing development remains underestimated within Western countries.

We will witness how ethnic-cultural rites and traditions are still celebrated and strongly hold their cultural power. Thus, we will attend three important festivals celebrated by three different cultural groups: a religious, an institutional and a cultural-societal one.

Every year, Fanti thank the God of Winneba through the Aboakyer: the “deer hunting festival”. Ashanti people are proud of their cultural origins and very much attached to their king. Indeed, every six weeks, they celebrate the Akwasidae to show respect to their king. Every year, Krobo people gather together in the “capital” of Krobo-land: Akosombo to celebrate the female initiation rite, the rite to become a real Krobo woman.

During the trip, we will try to understand how people still define themselves through their cultural-ethnic origins while claiming and living as Ghanaian citizens. Thus, we will dive into the lively and modern capital: Accra, strolling around art galleries, pubs with live music and the poor district of James Towns, the original settlement of Accra.

Ghana will give us the best scenario to understand why tradition and modernity cannot live one without another.

Ghana: Dipo Initiation Rite,  Aboakyer & Akwasidae Festval, 10 Days

Day 1 Arrival in Accra (Ghana) and transfer to the hotel.
Day 2 - 3 Drive to Krobo land to attend the Dipo Festival
Day 4 Transfer from Akosombo to Accra
Day 5 Accra: West End
Day 6 Transfer from Accra to Elmina: Slaves’ Castles
Day 7 Transfer from Elmina to Winneba
Day 8 Attend the Aboakyer festival in Winneba. Transfer from Winneba to Kumasi
Day 9 Attend the Akwasidae festival in Kumasi
Day 10 Transfer from Kumasi to Accra

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Accra In

Arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel

Meals: free
Overnight: Villa boutique 4* or similar (all rooms en-suite and with A/C, swimming pool)

Day 2 & 3: Dipo female initiation rite (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.

Dipo is a female initiation rite which aims at turning a girl into a woman. The entrance into womanhood will be led according to the tradition and girls who successfully go through this rite can become (good wives. The girls undergo a series of rituals, tests and tasks to prove both their chastity and their being ready for adult life.

During the final steps of the rite, the girls 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.

During the ceremony, the girls appear 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. They will learn women’s tasks and once the rite is over they will retour from a secret place adorned with glass beads necklaces and wrapped in beautiful textiles: it is the time of the celebration: they are the new born! The day after they will dance for the community asking for money...

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!

Dipo Festival

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 en-suite and with aircon, swimming pool)

Day 4: Akosombo - Accra (100KM, 2H)

It is time to leave Krobo-land to head to the metropolis of Africa: Accra!

Today we will focus on James Town: the original settlement of the city inhabited by Ga people. Other than enjoying the atmosphere we will visit the reminisces of the time of the slave trade and the old lighthouse. We will try to visit one of the many boxing gyms: the popular sport among the youngsters and lastly, we will see JamesTown Cafe to see what they are doing to foster community, the exhibit at ArchiAfrika, and the graffiti space across the way.

We end the day with a visit to an atelier 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.

Optional: evening with live music

Meals: B - L - D
Overnight: Villa Boutique 4* or similar (all rooms en-suite with A/C, swimming pool)

Day 5: Accra: West End

Today we focus on the very modern soul of Accra.

We will visit some art galleries like Artists Alliance Gallery, Wild Gecko Handicrafts, Gallery 1957 etc.

It won’t be surprising that Accra is the set of the show “an African city” the equivalent of “Sex and the city” created by a Ghanaian woman. We will stroll around the design and cloths shops form the show, hopefully having the chance to meet some designers who could explain us their works.

In the evening we will enjoy dinner with live music.

Meals: B - L -D
Overnight: Villa Boutique 4* or similar (all rooms en-suite and with A/C, swimming pool)

Day 6: Accra - Elmina ( 157Km, 3.30h): Slaves’ Castles

Drive to the coast.

Elmina Castle, the oldest European building in Africa, erected by the Portuguese in the 15th century. At different times the castle has been used as a warehouse to trade gold, ivory, and eventually slaves. The castle we visit today is the result of successive extension works and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old Dutch Cemetery in Elmina goes back to 1806. Outside the castle, there is a spectacular fishing village with lots of large colourful fishing boats - every day these wooden large pirogues conducted by skilled fishermen across strong ocean waves and currents, “fighting” to earn a living. In the old town we will see the Posuban, the shrines of the ancient “Asafo companies” - the warriors who used to put their offerings on the large colourful statues. The alleys in the old town have a very lively atmosphere, bringing us back to a time when Elmina was a busy colonial town.

Meals: B - L - D
Overnight: Anomabu Beach Resort or similar, Ocean front resort with comfortable bungalows on the beach. (all bungalows ensuite and with aircon)

Elmina Castle

Day 7: Elmina - Winneba (2h)

The day starts with the visit of Cape Coast castle was built by the Swedish in 1653. From 1657 to 1664 it changed hands 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 slave trade.

In the afternoon transfer to Winneba where the atmosphere will be joyful, people are getting ready for the next day festival. We will walk around taking the opportunity to join the excitement. Fetish priests and worshippers pour libations to the shrines and then walk across the town with their fetish.

Meals: B - L - D
Overnight Blue Diamond Beach Resort or similar (all rooms en-suite and with A/C, swimming pool). Standard Bungalows

Day 8: Aboakyer festival, Winneba
Winneba - Kumasi (250Km, 5h)

Our trip between modernity and tradition continues with 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.

In the afternoon transfer to Kumasi

Meals: B - L - D
Overnight: Miklin or similar (all rooms en-suite and with aircon)

Day 9: Kumasi: Akwasidae festival

Today we will attend the last festival of our journey: the Akwasidae. Each year, in the Ashanti calendar certain days are dedicated to a very special celebration at the Royal Palace in Kumasi and this traditional ceremony takes place in one of the last African Kingdoms which has maintained its ancient rituals still alive.

During this celebration, the King sits under a spectacular colourful umbrella, is adorned in vivid cloth and massive centuries old jewellery (Ashanti gold jewellery and masks are considered masterpieces of African art) and he is surrounded by the Ashanti elders and advisors, all under the authority of the Royal Speaker who holds in his hands the symbols of power. In front of the King a narrow passage of dignitaries is also formed, representing all roles and positions of power within the kingdom: sword and knife bearers, armed guards, carriers of beautiful ostrich feathers fans etc. The ceremony is then made up of a procession of royal court attendants bringing gifts, storytellers reciting the history of the Ashanti Kings, drummers & trumpeters playing horns of ivory. Corpulent dancers dressed in vivid red costumes perform an erotic dance. The mother queen also joins the ceremony accompanied by her attendants. We will witness and experience the splendour, the flavour and the atmosphere of one of last great African monarchs.

Depending on the time, we will visit the Ashanti cultural centre, a rich collection of Ashanti artefacts in a wonderful reproduction of an Ashanti house.

Meals: B - L -D
Overnight: Miklin hotel or similar (all rooms en-suite and with A/C, swimming pool)

Akwasidae festival

Day 10: Kumasi - Accra (250km, 5h)

Transfer to Accra and time for the last shower.

Transfer to the airport

End of services

Meals: B - L
Overnight: Rooms in day-use till h. 18.00

Download Detailed Itinerary

Day 1:

Villa boutique 4* or similar,
Accra, Ghana


Day 2 - 3:

Afrikiko Resort or similar,
Krobo, Ghana


Day 4:

Villa boutique 4* or similar,
Accra, Ghana


Day 5:

Villa boutique 4* or similar,
Accra, Ghana


Day 6:

Anomabu Beach Resort or similar,
Anomabu, Ghana


Day 7:

Blue Diamond Beach Resort,
Winneba, Ghana


Day 8 - 9:

Miklin Hotel or similar,
Kumasi, Ghana