Facts on West Africa

Facts on West Africa
West Africa has a long and storied history and culture, as well as incredible native wildlife such as baboons, hippos, cobras and hundreds of species of birds. Many companies offer short and extended tours of specific regions, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure.


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.

Article Written By Angela Brown

Angela Brown has been a book editor since 1997. She has written for various websites, as well as National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio and more than 20 fiction anthologies. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in theater and English from the University of Wisconsin.

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