12 days Togo-Benin-Natural Park + travel
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Burkina Faso 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 defence wall.
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.

NOTES: 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.