Benin and Togo

Duration

18 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Cotonou

Available

January 2021 / December 2021

Cities to visit: Cotonou, Ganvié, Portonovo, Onigbolo, Covè, Dassa Zoume, Bassila, Djogou, Taneka-Koko, Natitingou, Boukoumbe, Parakou, Abomey, Bopa, Possotomè, Lome, Kpaline, Grand Popo, Ouidah,

Detailed day by day description

Day
Welcome to Benin!
Upon arrival at Cotonou´s airport, we will be received by our representative who will take us to our accommodation. We will have the rest of the afternoon free to rest from the trip or to go for a walk over the city.
Benin is a small country located in the heart of Africa, in the middle of Gulf of Guinea. It´s story is one of the most interesting of the continent, a characteristic that can be felt all over the city, markets, and roads. Benin is a paradise in the voodoo, the scarified faces, the unknown ethnic groups, wild landscapes and, above all, the personified kindness of their people. A journey to the heart of Africa.
Today we´ll visit Dantokpa, the central market of Cotonou, considered the largest in Western Africa. This market congregates every ethnic group of the country, and it is a place where we can find absolutely everything. An interesting point is the fetish zone, one of the most impressive parts of the market.
We will also discover some inherited monuments from communist times as Benin was a Marxist state for more than a decade.
From Cotonou we will travel to the north, where we´ll take a motorized kayak to Ganvié, the famous African Venice. The town of Ganvié, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is a lake city of 60,000 inhabitants, founded in the 16th century as a refuge for the Tofí ethnic group who, in this way, avoided being enslaved. We will live a fascinating experience touring the canals and seeing the daily life of its inhabitants.
Accommodation in Ganvié is basic, but that will allow us to attend remarkably interesting moments of daily life, such as the arrival of fishermen and morning activity. From the hotel we will have a privileged view of the place.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will leave early from Ganvié heading to the political capital of Benin: Porto-Novo. This historical city was founded in the 15th century by the Portuguese. The old town is full of buildings of different eras that, despite its poor condition and conservation, it can provide us relevant information about the history of the city.
We´ll visit the colonial neighborhood and the central market, where the pure Afro-Brazilian Mosque style stands out. The dominant ethnic group is the Yoruba and the deities of the voodoo-orixa pantheon are worshiped.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will go north to visit the town of Onigbolo, where one of the most fascinating ethnic groups in Benin is found. We will talk about the Holi, also called Ije, animist people that have maintained, to these days, the tradition of tattooing and body scarification.
We will enjoy a walking excursion through the cultivated fields and small sacred forests to discover the Holi villages and their inhabitants, not used to the presence of Western travelers.
Our guide will help us to communicate with the head of each clan and we will be able to enjoy a world of ancient tradition that, in this part of Africa, has been preserved from Western influences.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will share the day with the Holi, seeing how their daily life unfolds and taking an excursion around the villages.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will travel course to the Angoli mountains, to learn the way of living of the two ethnic groups that live in this unknown region of Benin: the Fon Angoli, animist farmers; and the Fulani, nomadic people by excellence of Africa.
The Fon Angoli, also called Dahomey, is the principal ethnic group of the country. In the XVII century it was one of the most powerful kingdoms and actively participated in the slave trade. Despite the external influences, they maintained one part of their religion and tradition (voodoo) intact.
The Fulani or Mbororo, on the other hand, despite the Islam influence, continue with a deeply rooted tradition where men and women keep facial tattoos.
Meals included: Breakfast
Today we will walk through the mountain (soft hiking) passing through traditional Fon Angoli villages and sharing moments with its inhabitants. One of the objectives is to visit one of the nomadic camps of the Fula and learn about their way of life marked by cattle, transhumance, and the cult of beauty, both for men and women: hairstyles, hats, tattoos... a fascinating town!
Meals included: Breakfast
We will have breakfast with our hosts and continue our journey to the Islamic north of the country. We will continue to the sacred Dankoli fetish, a voodoo pilgrimage place, and we will reach the Sultanate of Djougou, after crossing Bassila and its forests.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will take the road to reach Taneka Beri and make a beautiful excursion (1 hour on foot, with a slight slope) to the Taneka hill from where we can see the entire Beninese Sahel plain and where we can visit some very interesting adobe and stone villages. After the excursion, we will talk with one of the Yom priests of the town and overnight with his family.
Meals included: Breakfast
Today we will move further to the north of the country where we will introduce ourselves to the Ditamarí or Somba culture that has preserved its essence and, despite the changes in a global world, keeps on being unique and special.
We will continue to the hacksaw of Atakora, the highest point in Benin where the landscape changes radically and becomes more mountainous with small valleys inhabited by various animist ethnic groups, among which the Ditamarí or Somba, known as the adobe artisans, stand out.
We will visit the houses that this ethnic group builds with a unique adobe architecture that are known as Tata Somba. The Ditamarí mark their faces and bodies with fine scarifications that their brothers and Tamberma cousins from the Togolese have lost.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will continue exploring the towns Tamberma.
We will visit the villages located in Basamba, already in the interior of Togo and declared World Heritage by the UNESCO, to see some of the Betamaribe ethnic group´s realities told from its roots and traditions in the colonial period. Many of these houses are thought for drying and storing grains, as well as to protect and secure their livestock.
We will come back to Benin, and we will spend a traditional night in Tata Somba.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will travel to Dassa, old Nagó kingdom (Yoruba subgroup) and we will visit one of the animist temples of the Rocky Mountains that define the silhouette of this city.
Later, we will visit it´s market, meeting point of every product and ethnic group of the country.
Meals included: Breakfast
From Dassa Zoume we´ll go to Abomey, probably the most important city in Africa during the 16th and 17th century.
The sovereigns of Abomey became exorbitantly rich thanks to the slave trade. Abomey is also the city that gave the country its name (called Dahomey until the communist era). Later, the country adopted the name of the People's Republic of Benin in homage to a nearby kingdom (Nigeria) of the same name.
We will visit the royal palaces and the museum of art and history declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This city breathes history and royalty everywhere, as well as the tradition of the different guilds. We will walk through its streets and visit its night market.
Meals included: Breakfast
We will head towards Bopa, traditional fishing town. We will visit one of the most known priests and the guardian of the divinity of the storm, called “Hevioso”. We will be able to know his temple and his powerful fetish, an incredibly interesting visit. If we are lucky, we can attend to a ritual in the enclosure.
Then, we will go on to Possotomé, a city near Bopa, also of fishermen, by the lake Ahemé, where we will stay at a charming hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast
Today we will go until the border of Togo, do the border procedures and travel to Lome passing through Aneho, Togoville, old Togo´s capital and mythical population of voodoo religion. We´ll go on to Togoville, historic place for being the first settlement of the German settlers on the African coast. After the ethnocultural visit to this island, we will continue to Kpalime, an old German city.
Meals included: Breakfast
Today we will visit the first German church, colonial houses and by the afternoon, we will arrive to the rocky town of Koumakonda, where we will be able to visit the mountainous zone with a guide specialized in vegetation and who will tell us, in a funny way, the properties of some of the plants and crops that are in the mountains around Koumakonda.
Meals included: Breakfast
After breakfast, we will travel until the Beninese border. But first, we´ll get to Lome: the Togolese capital. What is especially interesting is the market and, specifically, the part of fabrics monopolized by the so-called Mama Benz. Since the beginning of the 19th century, women have been selling these multicolored fabrics in bustling markets, inventing stories for their better commercialization. The sale of these fabrics was so lucrative that they began to call themselves Mama Benz, since they said they could buy a Mercedes Benz, a symbol of prestige, wealth, and power.
We will also visit the colonial market where we can see houses that belonged to the Portuguese and Germans. We will do a tour of the city and later, we will continue to Grand Popo, in Benin, where we will arrive shortly after having completed the border procedures.
Meals included: Breakfast
From Grand Popo we´ll go to Ouidah, that was the principal commercial and pro-slavery port in Black Africa since the 14th century until mid-19th century. Candidate for Heritage by the UNESCO for its Portuguese fortress, a detachment of Portuguese until 1961, slave´s way, the Afro-Brazilian houses, the sacred forest of the voodoo deities and the temple of the pythons.
Ouidah is one of the spiritual centers of the voodoo. Every January 10 the great festival of animist beliefs is celebrated here, where spirits and animal elements play a unique role and act in connection between the individual and the dead. An intense visit that will take us into the reality of slave trade.
Later, on the way to Cotonou, passing through the fishermen’s route, we will see them working with their huge nets. Arrival in Cotonou, visit to the handicraft market, last purchases, and transfer to the airport.
Meals included: Breakfast

Map Tour

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From: From USD 3,817