Many views of Western Africa will define your travels here. From the desert of the Sahara in the north to the lush tropical rainforests of the coastal regions, West Africa has an astonishing landscape of breathtaking vistas that sweep across this region.
Western Africa including Central regions comprises of the following countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Made up of an astonishing mix of cultures, languages, history and wildlife the nations of West Africa promise more than you could imagine and is often ignored except for the few overland travellers. It is a lively and upbeat region of music, dance and good times, the kind of Africa many tourists hope to find.
Locals here are ready to stop and chat and here is your chance to offer a reply in your basic French.
Burkina Faso is at the crossroads of West Africa. Its capital Ouagadougou is one of those low rise dusty African towns. Unlike most other capitals Ouagadougou feels as if it was an African village that just grew and grew. Mali spans desert, Sahel and tropical areas: all significant differences across the country. Djenne is one of the best preserved and impressive of Mali’s ancient trans-Saharan trading towns. Its mud built in classic style, including its beautiful mosque. The nearby remains of Jenne-Jeno are said to be the oldest south of the Sahara.
Senegal’s most significant city Dakar where the long-ago car rally was held, is still a place to relax and unwind. The stretch of beach between the main road and the sea is awash with flocks of egrets and armies of sand crabs. Here, you can forget the hustle and bustle of the city’s markets and listen to the waves as they lap the shore.
In the Gambia, you can do the opposite and head up the river. It is incredible how untouched most of the country is when you start exploring the delightful interior and discover its heart. Make a point of listening for the glorious music of Gamba, home to some of the very best kora playing and griot singing in Africa.
If sitting and watching the world go by entices you, then Bissau is a beautiful small old Portuguese town. Faded and dusty, it is still full of charm, and an excellent place to wander around and stop to sit on the veranda of one of the many local bars, sipping a draught beer and soaking in the atmosphere.
Western Africa's wildlife more meets the eye if you know where to look, including elephants, primates, big cats, pygmy hippos and some of the world's best birdwatching in the world. And unlike East or Southern Africa, you're likely to have whatever you find all to yourself.