Quiet Benin

Our partner: Baština

Itinerancy in the lagoon, forest and maritime South

10 days – Family Special

From 1 285 € (base from 3 people)

This sweet homelessness in the south of Benin is adapted to families as much by its rhythm as by the distances travelled : canoe to the lake city of Ganvié, walks or mountain bike rides on the forest roads of Mono, meetings with the xwalas and adjas inhabitants of Lake Ahémé, discoveries of the civilization founded at the Royal Palace of Abomey, the Agudas of the capital Porto-Novo and the past of the slave trade in Ouidah, quietness of the ocean cocoteraie of Grand-Popo and crossing – of course – the frenetic Cotonou.

Day 1: Departure

Boarding in the evening at the airport for Cotonou.

Day 2: Porto-Novo

Welcome at the airport in the morning by the Beninese guide. Breakfast in a maquis near the port and briefing on the course of the circuit. Departure by minibus to the nearby capital: Porto Novo. Built at the end of the 19th century, the old Afro-Brazilian or Agudas districts have a Brazilian Baroque style architecture (built on one or two levels – or even three – to house families, if possible on the first floor, and to house the shop or workshop on the ground floor), these residences are preferably located in the market district, the economic centre of the city. The mosque of Porto-Novo, dating from 1930, represents one of the most beautiful illustrations. After visiting the ethnographic museum, continue to Lake Nokué and the lake city of Ganvié that you reach by canoe at dawn. Dinner and overnight at the inn on the waters.

Day 3: Ganvié

Daily life in a society living on the lagoon: neighbourhoods, shops, transport, markets on the water…Introduction to Acadja fishing methods: the Tofinou (water people) use traditional fish farming. Departure by minibus to the North with the historical Abomey. Dinner and overnight at the hostel.

Day 4: Abomey

The civilization of the Fons of the ancient kingdom of Daxomey. Walk in the immense Royal Palace, once a prestigious place of temporal power.. At the end of the 19th century, it was still fortified with walls, pits and drawbridges; the different courtyards with their specificities: the outer courtyard where one could meet and an inner courtyard where no one could access without certain formalities with dignitaries. Once inside, a surprise awaits you: bas-reliefs that adorn the facades of the king’s meeting room. These pictograms constitute true testimonies which relate the striking facts of each of the kings. Other royal remains await you: thrones, jewels, weapons and according to their evolutions in time, royal tombs as well as those of the wives. When King Agonglo died, 41 of his wives followed him into the hereafter, imagine then the love that these women could vow in the person of the King! True God on earth, omnipotent, holder of powers and wealth, as well as fierce warrior. He did not remain at the palace to wait for the return of the infantrymen: he was fighting on the battlefields accompanied by his famous amazons – virgins and ferocious – which constituted his Praetorian guard. Thus in 1894, where King Behanzin and his four thousand Amazons were cut to pieces by the French artillery of Colonel Dodds; the Kingdom of Dahomey had lived… Stroll also in the old and popular districts, enter with humility in the voduns temples… Dinner and night at the inn.

Days 5, 6 and 7: Lake Ahémé

After a passage in the secret underground of Agongointo revealed recently, direction the red and forest lands of Mono to the west of the country. After Lokossa, you arrive at the thermal village of Possotomé on Lake Ahémé. During some days on its bucolic edges, you take the time to meet and exchange with the Adja peasants in the banana plantations or the cassava fields or the Xwala fishermen in the Gbèdjèwa (vernacular hamlets with thatched roofs). You enter on foot in the sacred forest of Sehomi guarded by the vodun deity Tolegba and the vervet monkeys, you visit the night market of the barks, you discover the work of the craftsmen like the puppeteers of Ouassa Tokpa or the traditional pharmacopoeia, you ride in mountain bike or in Zemidjan (moped) by the ancestral roads. At the random of the calendar, you can attend the intangible cultural heritage represented by the vodun cult ceremonies strongly anchored in the region. Dinner and night every evening at the inn of Possotomé bordering the lake.

Day 8: Grand Popo

Embarkation for the lagoon estuary of the “Bouches du Roy” through the mangrove.

Unexpected swims, discovery of the fauna with the protected sea turtles then idleness at the maritime coconut grove of Grand Popo where you dine and spend the night.

Day 9: Ouidah

Historic City of the Treaty. You walk to the Gate of No Return in

The Slave Route, which was trampled underfoot – chained – by more than two million Africans embarked from the Dahomean coasts. The ochre and cobbled streets of the old Ouidah lead to the Portuguese Fort… By the peaceful Fishing Road, you join the bubbling Cotonou. Last purchases at the gigantic Dantokpa Market. Shower in town, dinner in a maquis then boarding in the evening at Cotonou airport.

Day 10: Return

Arrival in the morning in France.

Terms and Conditions

Price: From 1 285 € per person

The price includes:

  • Return flights Europe – Cotonou
  • Transportation by minibus during your trip
  • Walks, mountain bike and canoe rides and workshops proposed (moped in addition)
  • The French speaking accompanist
  • Accommodation according to the programme (hostel or hotel)
  • Full board; water except alcoholic beverages
  • The Development Fund for actions of collective interest
  • Assistance / repatriation insurance
  • Membership of the association Baština of 25 €

The price does not include:

  • Alcoholic beverages and drinks outside meals
  • Personal purchases
  • Activities not included in the programme
  • Optional cancellation insurance (3% of the price of the stay + booking fees)

From Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Basel-Mulhouse, Zurich and Brussels.

Departure dates: Every Friday from 26 October 2012 to 24 May 2013 (return 10 days after: Sunday).