Benin is one of the Guinea Gulf countries with a very long history and it has
also well preserved its own eco-system, its religion and its tradition. The
landscape is very diversified: coastal lagoons, tropical forest, mountain chains
of Atakora where the Natural Park of Pendjari is located. This park has a huge
variety of wild animals in an unknown natural environment.
DAY 1: Lome
Arrival and transfer from the airport to the hotel. Overnight staying at the
hotel 2 Fevrier*****.
DAY 2: Lomè – Kpalimè - Atakpame
City sight of Lome, the smiling capital of Togo. Visit to the central market
with the famous Nana-Benz, visit to the administrative district with the
colonial buildings, visit to the market of the "fetish", where you can buy
ingredients for strange love and magic potions. The tourists will continue the
trip to the village of Kpalimè where they will enjoy a typical woo doo
celebration. By an ipnothic rhythm of the "tam-tam" drums and of the songs some
dancers will fall into a deep alienated state: vivid eyes, movements, muscle
tension, resistance to the pain and to the fire. This is a typical example of an
African deep religious community called "Owner of the spirit". After leaving
Kpalimè, the trip is directed to a wood region. Several breaks will let tourists
admire the tropical forest and visit the cultivation of cacao and coffee in the
most fruitful territory of Togo which is rich of bananas, ananas and avocados.
In the afternoon transfer to Atakpame. Visit to Atakpame that is a city built on
the hills. Visit to the manufacturing laboratories of Kent weavers: Kent is a
very famous fabric manufactured in this area and selected by the noble men
during the important celebrations.Overnight staying at the hotel Roc***
DAY 3: Atakpame - Kara
Direction to North to Kara. During the way we will see Kabyè villages with their
houses called "Sukalas": rouded houses divided one from each other through a
Visit of the Basare villages, pioneers of the iron culture, who live in this
region in houses made by mud with the roof shaped in a conical way. Visit to
Bedjeli and to the old ovens currently working. The craftsmen will introduce the
tourists to the old art of iron shaping.
Overnight staying at the hotel Kara***.
DAY 4: Kara - Natitingou
The Taberman group lived on the other side of Atakora along the borderline with
Togo. Theuir houses are protected by some fetish objects with penis shape that
represent the spirit of their ancients and of the animals killed during the
hunting. In this culture it is necessary to preserve the spirit of the dead,
both human beings and animals. The trip will continue crossing Atakora, a
mountain chain that crosses diagonally Togo and Benin. This mountain represented
for Sombas a place to protect themselves from the enemies and from the close
French colony. They have always been considered warriors but their real purpose
was to defend themselves from the attacks and not the opposite case. The most
concrete example of their defence is the special architecture of their houses.
In case of any attack, in the house the family could live safely for a long time
while the village could organise the defence. Sombas and Tenekas populations
were practising their very strict initiation rites with the purpose to shape men
able to mange the responsibility and the defence of the entire group.
Overnight staying at the hotel Tata Somba****
DAY 5: Natitingou – Natural Park
An itinerary coasted by cliff and some waterfalls will lead us in the centre of
the natural park of Pendjari. This park has a huge variety of wild animals in an
unknown natural environment. Visit and excursion through the park.
Overnight staying at the lodge of Pendjari **.
DAY 6: Natural Park
Excursion during which the tourists could see different animals like elephants,
buffalos, etc., in their own natural environment.
DAY 7: Natural Park - Natitingou
Last visit day of the park and return to the city of Natitingou.
At the arrival some relax in the swimming pool of the hotel Tata Somba ****.
DAY 8: Natitingou - Bohicon
Excursion to South along a road where you can find cows liek Zebus, Peul nomads
and other types of cattle. An itinerary out of the official route will lead us
to a fascinating unknown village, Teneka. The highest part of the village is
populated by the old wizards and by the young initiates that, naked or covered
just by a goat leather, are smoking a pipe. This village is located in the
middle of an archaeological site with strange stones left by the ancient people.
Dinner and overnight staying at the hotel Dako***.
DAY 9: Bohicon – Porto Novo
Visit to the royal palace of Abomey, ancient capital of the kingdom of Dahomey,
visit of the museum in the ancient palace and meeting , if available, with King
Ketou and his imperial court.
Overnight staying at the hotel Beaurivage ***.
DAY 10: Porto Novo – Gran Popo
Visit to the market of the grass, of the ethnographic museum, of the mosque.
Transfer to Ouidah where the tourists will visit the museum, the temple of
Pytones, and the port of the slaves. In the afternoon after the arrival in Porto
Novo there will be an excursion on pirogue through the lagoons of Carino river
with the possibility to see a woo doo celebration, by an ipnothic rhythm of the
"tam-tam" drums and of the songs some dancers will fall into a deep alienated
state: vivid eyes, movements, muscle tension, resistance to the pain and to the
fire. This is a typical example of an African deep religious community called "Owner
of the spirit" in a little village of fishermen are Zangbeto celebration and the
Fon masks of Benin. The use of the masks is connected to ancient Greece and
maybe even to an older time. The supernatural power of the mask to change the
identity of anybody who wears it, is part of the spiritual culture of many
African populations. The festival with the mask is still today an emotional
moment for Fon people: Zangbeto is a mask covered with red straw. Zangbeto
represents non human spirits, the power of the nature and the night who had
lived on the earth before the human beings. Those who were this mask are part of
a secret society and their identity is unknown: the mask gives an independent
identity from the real one. The exhibition of the mask is the representation of
a psychological tragedy where the characters are the material forms of the
archetypes left in the human unconsciousness.
Overnight staying at the hotel L’Auberge (see sight) ****
DAY 11: Gran Popo
Excursion on the motor pirogue on the Nokwe lake to go to Ganviè the biggest
lacustral city of the whole Africa. The word "Ganviè" means "the community of
the people who found peace". The citizens of Ganviè live in houses built on
piles. These people decided to live on the lake to go away from the slavery of
the armies of Dahomey and New Port kings.
Ganviè citizens, Tofinou peole (watermen, in the local language) are living a
life quite similar to the ancestors. The floating market, where people buy thing
pirogue by pirogue, is particularly colourful. Visit to the royal palace with
its multicoloured walls and to the history museum where you can find objects,
jewels and weapons of the old monarchies. It is very interesting to admire the
walls since they were built using mud, gold and human blood. The power of the
ancient empire was based on an army composed by women, the famous Amazons, whom
all the villages were afraid of.
Dinner and overnight staying at the hotel L’Auberge****.
DAY 12: Gran Popo - Cotonou
Relax time to enjoy the beautiful beach with coconut palms and white sand. In
the afternoon transfer to Cotonou for the last shopping in the big market.
Transfer to the airport to take the return flight.
The Park of Pendjari is open from 15th December to 15th May and it is closed
from 15th May to 15th December. The current itinerary can be modified if any
tourist is not interested in visiting the park.