a VirtualTourist member from Copenhagen
Any advice and tips on a short vacation to Africa? I have less than 14 days and want to see as much as possible and also relax on the beach before I go home. I have thought of West-Africa, f.ex Togo/Benin or Senegal. I speak a little bit french, so it might be OK. Any suggestions? Where do I find voodoo ceremonies? And where do I find a place to relax on the beach? Should I arrange visa before I travel, or can it be done at arrival on the airport/border crossing? My budget is hopefully less than 80-100 USD a day.
I would certainly recommend the "auberge" at Grand Popo in Benin for relaxing and being on a nice beach. Quite frankly the beaches are not that great in Togo, the ocean having demolished a fair bit of the coast. Perhaps the beach is still good at "Chez Alice" a few kms out from Lomé.
I'm afraid that the voodoo ceremonies that you'll be allowed into will be tourist types. Along the coast you'll find voodoo around Grand Popo and Ouidah.
For visas it depends of your nationality. For Senegal most Europeans don't need one. For Togo you can get one at the airport (only one-week) and then have to prolong it. When I crossed into Benin a 48 hour tourist visa was issued (quite a lengthy process if you have a vehicle, less on foot). I would definitely say better to get one before going.
Senegal is certainly the best for beaches plus a sea that you can swim in. The ocean in Togo/Benin has a bar and you have to be careful that you don't pass it, otherwise great trouble to get back in. In Senegal I would not recommend Saly (5 times more tourists than Senegalese) but somewhere quieter like La Somone is fine.
According to your budget I guess Togo would be great. It is one of the cheapest African countries. Voodoo traditions, beliefs and superstitions are a way of life in towns like Togoville and Agbodrafo. Don't expect pristine beaches, but as mentioned above, "Chez Alice" right outside Lome is one of the best places to stay for relaxing days on the beach. You will get the Togo visa on arrival valid for 7 days.
If you have enough time and money, combine it with the neighbour country Benin. It is a bit more expensive, but the beach in Grand Popo (on the border to Togo) is better. It is possible to get visa on arrival in Benin, but only for 48 hours. I would recommend to get it in advance at the consulate in Copenhagen. (You live in Copenhagen, so it is easy for you).
Togo & Benin are great. Go to Togovile for voodoo and in Benin up to Abomey. Also go to Fetish Market in Benin. Why not fly into Ghana (Accra) and do road trip down to Benin. We got visa upon arrival at Ghana (100 Dlls) and other visas at each Border Crossing. Agree with previous posts. If you can get visas before departure in your Country that would be even better and makes it easier upon crossing.
Thanks for the answer, all of you. Pfsmalo and georeiser, I have been to your pages and rated many of your tips. They are really helpful. The pictures from Lome looks fine. I guess Chez Alice is in Coco Beach?
Coco beach is the main beach running from Ghana past the Hotel Sarakawa to very near the port. Chez Alice is in Baguida further out, around 10/12 kms.
You have already got some good responses. I would consider going to Ghana first, and like Julio said go by land to Both Togo and Benin. Yes voodoo seremonies can be found, - I still have a scar from my last one.......
Here is my Ghana page for some further information....
[original VT link]
We can elaborate once you have an idea just where you want to go. Same with Senegal and The Gambia. Fairly familiar with them as well.