Franco-phone West African countries have a common theme among themselves besides their Lingua Franca, they are also great holiday destinations. These destinations were once sprawling symbols that were the height of economic, cultural or political power in ancient African civilisations. Today they serve as great inexpensive places to relax and spend some leisure time. Why go to London, when you can go to these fabulous places that are at your doorstep? It makes so much sense right! Below we list a couple of great destinations that you can travel with your loved ones from Abuja.Djenne Mosque, Djenne, Mali
The major attraction in Djenne is its great, very beautiful mud brick mosque - which is also a UNESCO world heritage site - built around the 13th century but which was renovated to its present form in 1907. From all available accounts, it is the largest of its kind in the world and this destination is suitable for tourists wishing to admire ancient Islamic architecture. This site is also located around the local Bani River which is another great site to visit!
Travel Budget: For a single adult you’ll need no less than $3,000 for a week’s stay. The flight to and from Abuja to Bamako is $2300. The average price per night at one of the standard hotels in Bamako ranges from $50 to $80. You may also like to take a trip to Djenne by road which takes about 4 hours journey time in a rented 4 by 4, this costs around $200 for the day. If you are traveling to this destination as a family of four, you should expect to spend no less than $8,000 for a week’s stay.
Goree Island, Senegal
This former slave trading centre is the perfect destination for history and culture enthusiasts. Its main attraction is the historic "House of Slaves" which has been converted to a museum known in French as "Maison des Esclaves" which was built by Dutch Merchants in 1776. The other major attraction besides the ‘slave house’ is the tranquil nature of the place offering tourists a getaway opportunity from the noisy and ever busy capital – Dakar. You can walk into the museum any day of the week except Mondays and visit any of the other museums or the many fish restaurants on the Island.
Travel Budget: $4,000 for a single adult staying for 3 to 7 days. A family of four should prepare to spend no less than $15,000 for same period of stay.
Mount Cameron is actually an active volcano that last erupted in February 2012. You may feel tiny shivers of fear down your spine because of this fact but this should not stop you from beholding this natural beauty. Known locally as Mongo ma Ndemi or Mountain of greatness in English it is the highest standing object in West and Central Africa at a height of 4040 meters. Exploring the mountainous areas around, you may be attracted to its steep trails which used to be ‘race tracks’ for the famous Guiness annual Marathon race which can take 2 to 3 days to complete on foot. On your adventure trek you will likely find farmlands, huts, rain forests and savannah before finally reaching the peak of the mountain.
Travel Budget: A single adult should budget no less than $2000 for a week’s stay, while a family of four should budget $7,000 or more.
Agadez in Niger is an ancient town, sparsely populated but noted for its rich historical trade and culture, typically the streets are narrow with mud houses scattered around. With the breathtaking Air Mountains and Tenere Desert, Grande Mosque and Palais du Sultan (Sultan’s Palace) you will see a mixture of cultures and trade that date back to pre-colonial history. Toureg Nomads sell camels and other lifestock, Hausa merchants and Fulanis do business in the Grande Marche – the busiest part of Agadez.
Travel Budget: $2000 for a 3 day visit by a single adult or $7,000 for a family of four. Traveling to and from Agadez will most likely be by road through the desert.
Timbuktu is in present day Mali in the hotly contested Asawad region and was a center of trade – including the dreaded slave trade - and learning during medieval times. It is famous for having one of the world’s oldest Universities. Some buildings remain intact as they were during medieval times and it is still an important stop for salt caravans which travel from Taoudenni in the winter. Timbuktu is a desert town, but to reach it you’ll have to travel by boat on the River Niger. Popular festivals such as Curee Salee holds, Ingall and Essakane are both tourist attractions.
Travel Budget: $3000 to $3500 for a single adult staying 3 to 5 day stay or $12,000 for a family of four staying 3 to 5 days.
Why not visit the Institut Français du Nigéria or the French cultural centre to brush up on your French Language or simply find out more about these travel destinations!