West Africa is located at the far west region of the continent and encompasses 16 countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire.
Although specific cultural practices vary by region, many similar customs and traditions exist. For example, the djembe hand drum and the kora, a lute-harp instrument, are played by various regional groups. Many West Africans also enjoy soccer.
Islam is the predominant religion in many countries, including Senegal, Gambia and Guinea. Most people in Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana practice Christianity. Other indigenous religions are practiced throughout West Africa.
West African dishes are typically cooked in one pot and are heavy with starch and fat and light on meat. Cooks often employ fish, goat or lamb meat, rice, peanuts, okra, plantains, hot spices and root vegetables such as yams and cassava.
West African tours typically last 1 to 7 days. Tours take visitors to exciting locales for activities such as back-country bush camping, river trips departing from Gambia's Baboon Island National Park and creek fishing for guitarfish and stingrays. Some companies provide eco-friendly and personally tailored tours.