Benin The birthplace of voodoo

Benin is a small country in the heart of Africa, nestled in the Gulf of Guinea. Its history is one of the continent’s richest , and can be felt in its cities, markets and paths.On the trip we will get to know the most authentic Benin, starting in Cotonou, the economic capital, and Ganvie, a World Heritage Site known as the “African Venice”. It will be a first introduction to the country that will be followed by experiencing the colonial buildings of Portonovo and living with the Holi ethnic group, an animist people with a tradition of tattooing and body scarification.Our journey through Benin will continue further north to Dassa, the heart of the Yoruba country in Benin. Savalou, one of the animist pilgrimage sites par excellence, will then lead to Abomey, the most important city in Africa between the 16th and 17th centuries.Heading to the south of the country, we will stop in Bopa, a fishing village and Possotome, on the shores of Lake Ahemé.Grand Popo, a traditional colonial village, will be one of the last visits, along with Ouidah, Africa’s main trading and slave port and the spiritual centre of voodoo.A journey to the heart of the continent.

Duración:

12 días

Viaje:

En grupo o privado

Desde:

1650 €

Salidas y Precios

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Precio de viajar en grupo

PVP por persona:

desde 1650 €

Precio de viajar en privado

PVP por persona:

desde 1690 €

*Price based on 4 pax for any season

Route trip

Ask us for the PDF with the complete information of the route

DÍA 1

International flight to Cotonou

International flight to Cotonou in the afternoon/evening. After completing the entry formalities and collecting the luggage, we will be transferred to the designated hotel. Accommodation at Hotel du Lac. https://www.hoteldulac-benin.com/en/room/B.B (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 2

Cotonou – Ganvie – Cotonou

Breakfast and chat with the guide about the day’s activities and the trip in general. Visit to Dantokpa, the central market of Cotonou, which is considered to be the largest in West Africa. This market brings all the peoples of the country together and is a place where you can find absolutely everything. One of its highlights is the fetish area, one of the most impressive parts of the market. We will also discover some monuments from the communist era (Benin was a Marxist state for more than a decade). From Cotonou we will move north where we will take a motorboat to Ganvie, the famous African Venice. The town of Ganvie (a Unesco World Heritage Site) is a lakeside town of 60,000 inhabitants, founded in the 16th century as a haven for the Tofi people to avoid enslavement. It is fascinating to walk along the canals and see the daily life of its inhabitants.Return to Cotonou and accommodation at the hotel.Accommodation at Hotel du Lac. https://www.hoteldulac-benin.com/en/room/B.B (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 3

Cotonou – Porto Novo

One hour drive on the busy road that links the major cities of the Gulf of Guinea: Abidjan – Accra – Lomé – Cotonou – Lagos. We will arrive in Porto Novo, political capital of Benin and historical city founded by the Portuguese in the 15th century. The old town is full of buildings from various periods which, despite their lack of preservation, will provide us with relevant information about the history of the city. Visit the colonial quarter and the central market, where the Afro- Brazilian style mosque stands out. The dominant people are the Yoruba and the deities of the voodoo-orixa pantheon are worshipped.Accommodation at Songhay Hotel.B.B (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 4

Porto Novo – Onigbolo – Cové

Route towards the north that will take us to the village of Onigboló, home to one of the most fascinating peoples in Benin. We are talking about the Holi, also called Ije, an animist people who still practice the tradition of tattooing and body scarification. A walking tour through cultivated fields and small sacred forests to discover the Holi villages and their inhabitants, who are not used to the presence of western travellers. Our guide will help us communicate with the chief of each clan and we will be able to enjoy a world of ancestral tradition that, in this part of Africa, has been protected from Western influences. We will continue our journey to Cove, but first we will make a short stop and visit Ketou, a Beninese commune and one of the first Yoruba towns in Benin.Arrival in Cove.Overnight at TG Hotel. B.D (Bed and Breakfast)

DÍA 5

Cové

Today we will start our journey to Gbanamé, a village from where we will make a trip to the Agonli hills to learn about the way of life of the two peoples who live in this unknown region of Benin: the Fon Agonli, animist farmers; and the Fulani, Africa’s nomadic people par excellence.The Fon Agonli, also called the Dahomey, are the main people in the country. In the 17th century, they were one of the most powerful kingdoms and were active in the slave trade. Despite outside influences, they have kept some of their religion and traditions (voodoo) intact. The Fulani or Mbororo, on the other hand, despite the influence of Islam, continue to have a deeply rooted tradition. Men and women still have facial tattoos. We will walk in the wild (gentle trekking) through traditional Fon Agonli villages and share moments with their inhabitants. One of the objectives is to visit one of the nomadic camps of the Fula and learn about their way of life which is characterised by their cattle, transhumance and the cult of beauty, both for men and women: hairstyles, hats, tattoos… a fascinating people!Return to Cove.Accommodation at Hotel TG. B.B (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 6

Cové – Dassa Zoumé

Route to Dassa, an area of large rocks. We will stop on the way in the village of Panouignan, an area inhabited by farmers where women work on the production of gari and tapioca, all derived from cassava.We will then continue on to the town of 41 hills. Each granite hill is home to a voodoo temple which people go to for the funerals of kings and princes, rituals and ceremonies. This area is the heart of Yoruba country, where many Orixa traditions remain intact.Accommodation at Auberge de Dassa https://www.voyageurbenin.com/auberge-de-dassa-hotels-benin/B.B (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 7

Dassa Zoumé – Savalou – Abomey

Today we will drive to Savalou, one of the most important animist pilgrimage sites in the country. We will visit the royal palace and, with a bit of luck, meet the monarch. Close to the royal palace we will be able to see the depictions of some of the voodoo deities and, in every corner of the city, we will see small temples with family fetishes.After visiting Savalou, we will take the route, between fields, towards the south of the country and continue to Abomey, probably the most important city in Africa during the 16th and 17th centuries. The rulers of Abomey became enormously rich thanks to the slave trade. Abomey is also the city that gave its name to the country (called Dahomey until the communist era). Later, the country adopted the name People’s Republic of Benin as a tribute to a nearby kingdom (Nigeria) bearing the same name. We will visit the royal palaces and the museum of art and history (Unesco Heritage). This city is full of history and royalty, as well as the traditions of the different guilds.We will stroll through the streets and take an evening tour of the city.Accommodation at Hotel Auberge d’Abomey. https://www.voyageurbenin.com/auberge-de-abomey-hotels-beninB.B. (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 8

Abomey – Bopa – Possotomé

We will head to Bopa, a traditional fishing village. We will visit one of the most famous priests and the guardian of the storm deity, called “Hevioso”. We will be able to visit his temple and his powerful fetish, a really interesting visit. If we are lucky, we will be able to attend a ritual in the enclosure. After the visit, we will continue to Possotomé, a town near Bopa which is also a fishing village, on the shores of Lake Ahemé, where we will stay in a hotel in a charming setting.Accommodation at Hotel Chez Theo. http://www.chez-theo.com/B.B. (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 9

Possotomé – Sé – Come – Grand Popó

We will head towards the coast, stopping in the town of Sé, known for the pottery that the village’s women manufacture. We will visit some of the families who work in the production of these materials and we will see their pottery techniques.On our journey towards the south, we will also stop at the village of Come and visit its market, which is mainly made up of Togolese inhabitants who have been living in the area for more than 20 years.We will then arrive at Grand Popo, a colonial and fishing village. We will visit some colonial houses and, in the afternoon, relax on the beach and in the hotel’s swimming pool.Accommodation at Auberge Grand Popo.B.B (Bed & Breakfast)

DÍA 10

Grand Popó – Ouidah

From Grand Popo we will head towards Ouidah, which was Black Africa’s main trading and slave port from the 14th century to the mid-19th century. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site candidate due to its Portuguese fortress (a Portuguese detachment lived there until 1961), the slave path, Afro-Brazilian houses, the sacred forest of voodoo deities, and the temple of python snakes. Ouidah is also one of the spiritual centres of voodoo. Every 10th of January since 1993, the great voodoo festival has been held here in which spirits and animal elements play a unique role and act as a connection between individuals and the dead.Accommodation at Le Diaspora. B.B (Bed & Breakfast)

Essential information of the country

Best time to travel to Benin

Benin has a dry season from October to April and a rainy season from May to September. In the dry season, the maximum temperature is 32ºC and in the rainy season it is 28º. The best time to travel to Benin is during the dry season, between October and April, but rainfall during the rest of the year does not prevent you from making the trip.

Health – Vaccinations

Yellow fever and hepatitis vaccinations are mandatory and malaria prophylaxis is recommended. However, it is important to visit the international vaccination centre for more information.

Currency

Benin’s currency is the CFA franc. It is not easy to pay with a credit card or withdraw money from ATMs, so it is best to exchange euros or dollars for local currency either at the airport, banks or hotels. Currently, 1 euro is equivalent to 655 CFA.

Incluye

  • English-speaking guide during the whole route.
  • Local guides.
  • Vehicles with drivers and petrol.
  • Boat rental.
  • Double room in bed and breakfasts.
  • Entrance fees to museums and visits to villages.

No incluye

  • Visa.
  • Flights.
  • Air taxes..
  • Lunches and dinners.
  • Drinks.
  • Tips.
  • Any type of insurance.
  • Any service not specifically indicated in the Included Services section will be considered as NOT included.

Route photo gallery

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    Benín

    Opiniones de viajeros

    374 viajeros han realizado esta ruta con Rift Valley

    Rift Valley Expeditions

    Eleni Domazinaki
    Eleni Domazinaki
    22. Enero, 2024.
    Traveled with Rift Valley Expeditions in the South of Ethiopia . Mehari was an excellent guide and driver . Made the trip unforgettable and unique.He was very organised and was making sure we enjoyed every second of the trip. Would definitely recommend him and for sure will travel with them again!
    Sitges Travel
    Sitges Travel
    14. Enero, 2024.
    Gracias Rift Valley por hacer de nuestro viaje a Benín una espectacular experiencia con los 5 sentidos. Ya hacía tiempo que queríamos viajar con vosotros a título personal, y ahora que ya lo hemos hecho, sin duda os recomendaremos a todos nuestros clientes aventureros. ¡¡Ya estamos deseando volver a África para descubrir con vosotros otro destino!! Queremos agradecer especialmente a nuestro guía en Benín, Oumar Farouk, eres una joyita de persona, ¡no cambies nunca!, y a Rafa Martín por todo lo que aprendemos y nos enamora más el continente africano cada vez que hablamos contigo ;)
    Natalia Valencia Pineda
    Natalia Valencia Pineda
    3. Diciembre, 2023.
    Estoy en estos momentos regresando de un viaje en Kenia y simplemente espectacular. Recomiendo la agencia y sobre todo a sus guias. Siempre dispuestos a todo!
    Teresa Pubill
    Teresa Pubill
    8. Octubre, 2023.
    Al Setembre vaig fer una safari a Tanzania amb Rift Valley. L’ organització ha estat fantàstica des del primer moment que vam contactar amb ells. El guia un gran professional, ens va resoldre tots els dubtes que teniem i ens va fer disfrutar molt del safari. Els hotels, recomanats per l’ agència van set extraordinaris. Realment son molt professionals i fan que sigui un viatge inobidable. Segur que tornaré a viatjar amb ells i els recomano a tothom que vulgui viatjar a Africa
    Ana Olivar
    Ana Olivar
    14. Septiembre, 2023.
    Viatges diferents i culturals
    Kira Josende Camacho
    Kira Josende Camacho
    14. Septiembre, 2023.
    ¡Experiencia increíble en Kenia! Muchas gracias por toda la organización! Repetiremos seguro! :)
    Nerea Tabernero
    Nerea Tabernero
    2. Septiembre, 2023.
    Nuestro viaje a Etiopía no podría haber salido mejor. Recorrimos el sur del país durante semana y media acompañados por Salomon y Mente, los mejores guía y conductor posibles. Tanto los alojamientos como la coordinación de horarios y visitas han sido perfectos, incluso cuando ha habido algún imprevisto.
    Jorge Pam
    Jorge Pam
    1. Septiembre, 2023.
    Tras viajar con ellos por Etiopía, recomiendo sin dudarlo a Rift Valley para viajar por África. Tienen multitud de experiencia, contactos y saber hacer. Gracias en especial a nuestro guía Salomon y nuestro conductor Mente. 😃

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