Western Africa

Western Africa is bounded by the semi-arid Sahel grasslands in the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the south.

While the big game animals of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa are absent, the region is home to beautiful beaches, as well as historically significant remnants of the colonial slave trade that dominated the region for centuries after initial colonization.

Despite the wide variety of cultures in West Africa, there are significant similarities in culture across the region that differ from the rest of Africa related to dress, cuisine, and music. Two important related traditions that musically make West African musical attitudes unique are the Griot tradition, and the Praise-singing tradition.

Since independence, many West African nations have experienced political instability, including civil wars in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast, and a succession of military coups in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

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Africa (Western) (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

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Countries in this region:

Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Ghana

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: January, February, November, December

 GhanaGhana, located in West Africa, borders the Atlantic Ocean. Prior to colonization by the British empire in the early-20th century, Ghana was the site of numerous kingdoms and empires, the most powerful being the Kingdom of Ashanti.   The official language is English. Ghana encompasses plains, waterfalls, low hills, rivers, Dodi Island and Bobowasi Island on the south Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana. Its varied geography includes savannas, forests, springs, cave systems, mountains, estuaries, and nature reserves.
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Mali

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: January, February, October, November, December

 MaliMali is a landlocked country in West Africa. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art, with Timbuktu an especially important center. Geographically, Mali is mostly flat and much is the land is desert (in the north) or sahel (in the south). The Adrar des Ifoghas massif lies in the northeast. Mali lies in the torrid zone and is definitely among the hottest countries in the world.
 
 
A Cultural Atmosphere includes both the historic (eg, landmark town centers) and the contemporary (music, nightlife, etc).

Cultural Interests tend to be:
(a) indoors-oriented, and therefore not as linked to weather conditions for enjoyment
(b) relatively physically accessible, while also not being physically demanding.

Senegal

Atmosphere: Culture    
Best Weather: January, February, November, December

 SenegalSenegal is located on the Atlantic Ocean in Western Africa. Its capital, largest city, and cultural center is Dakar, which lies on the Cap-Vert peninsula, the westernmost point of continental Africa. A multiethnic nation, Senegal is predominantly Sunni Muslim, with Sufi and animist influences. French is the official language, although many native languages are spoken and recognized. Geographically, the landscape consists mainly of the rolling sandy plains of the western Sahel which rise to foothills in the southeast. The northern border is formed by the Senegal River, while other significant rivers include the Gambia and Casamance.
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Ivory Coast Cote d’Ivoire

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: January, February, November, December

Ivory Coast Cote d’IvoireCôte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) borders the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa. Major ethnic groups include Akan (42%), Voltaiques or Gur (18%), Northern Mandes (17%), Krous (11%), and Southern Mandes (10%). French is the official language and serves as a lingua franca. Geographically, the country is mostly flat to undulating plains, with mountains in the northwest. Apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated. The highest point is Mont Nimba (1,752 meters).