Abomey was the center and the old capital of the great kingdom of Dahomey. The kingdom of Dahomey, has left it’s indelibly mark in history.
Abomey was founded around 1645 and the mission entrusted to King Houegbadja was to make the kingdom the largest ever. The accomplishment of this task by each valiant reigning Kings who have generated many sites is what now constitutes the bulk of the heritage of the people of Abomey.
Its main attraction includes the Royal palace of Fon and the National Museum of Abomey which is certified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The royal palaces of Abomey are a unique reminder of the powerful kingdom of Abomey, where the monarchs ruled Dahomey from 1625 to 1900. Most buildings, whose construction began in 1645, were destroyed by fire in 1892. However, they still remain beautiful and spectacular.
Tourism areas in the city include:
The Goho place:
The large park at the entrance of Abomey is called the “Goho Place”. Here you have the statue of King Behanzin, who fought against the French to defend Dahomey. This statue at the entrance of Abomey is a tribute to the efforts he deployed to protect the kingdom. This was the meeting place between the King Behanzin and a French General Mr. Dobbs in 1894.
National Museum of Abomey:
The museum preserves elements on the voodoo and traditional, housing skulls and other Portuguese objects.
Created in 1945, the museum covers an area of 44acres and is housed in the palaces of kings and Gezo Glèlè.
The Museum of Abomey is built up of walls of impressive height for the time and age.
Embedded in the walls and columns are various artifacts, most are moulded with earth mixed with palm oil and coloured with vegetable dyes or Mineral.
The construction of the palatial space shows the original architectural design generally related to specific conditions in the reign of each king. The Museum is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1985. It depicts the craftsmen, descendants of the Kings who portrays all kinds of art in sculpture, painting, weaving, wooden figurine, copper, brass on the ground, recounting the exploits of the Kings and the whole history of Royals.
These are underground shelters that served as a refuge for citizens of the Kingdom (Danxomènu) during the wars. But in peacetime, they are sources of water on its outside Plateau. Built in the 16th century and about 10 meters underground in DAKO DONOU. It is well arranged in the light of specific plans to provide housing (room, bedroom, kitchen room, well etc. and is used mainly as a refuge for warriors.
Grand Popo is a nice fishing village at the coast of Benin. It lays about 85 km from Cotonou and close to the Togolese border. Grand Popo is a nice place to relax at the beach for some days or more.
Many returning Afro-Brazilians settled here also, mainly to involve in commerce. Therefore you will find many buildings with colonial architecture. The old town of Grand Popo was quite important during the slave trade but now has many empty and derelict buildings. There are still people living there and when you walk through the side streets and explore a bit you will notice how totally charming it is.
The main business in the region is fishing, and picturesque fishing villages line the beautiful beaches.
You can go on a boat trip on the Mono River. The Mono River is 500km long and runs through Togo before getting to Grand Popo where it flows into the sea at Les Bouches du Roi. It is a beautiful place for birdwatchers, the mangroves is a must to see. There are many small villages along the river where the people make salt.
Voodoo can be seen and there are voodoo temples.
Among the fishing villages are two beautiful resorts; The L’ Auberge de Grand Popo, and the Awale Plage resort.
L’Auberge de Grand Popo is based in a beautiful colonial building, and was featured in Lonely Planet’s TV program on the best beach resorts in the world. In spite of a fairly basic standard, the auberge has a great atmosphere and a swimming pool, great for warm days, since the currents in the ocean can be strong and often dangerous.
Awale Plage is a newer establishment right on the beach, and has a number of beautiful bungalows with good standard. The restaurant is great, and the view priceless. The resort has a nice swimming pool.
Both resorts are beautiful places to rest and relax. The most recommended activity is to stroll along the beach and watch the fishermen pull their nets, the women in colorful dresses cleaning the fish and the painted and carved boats being cleaned and prepared. If you don’t feel like eating in the hotel there are several restaurants along the road, but we recommend Le Bercail, on the main road between Awale Plage and the town itself. You can also have some little auberge like Coco beach chez Marthias
Ouidah is one of Benin’s cities, located 42 kilometers west from Cotonou. The area surfaces 364km2. Ouidah is a city established by the Houeda Kingdom, in the name of Glehoue. This city became famous because of the slave-trade.
Today the historic city gives the visitors a special view of the slave-trade. You can follow the slave-route from the center of the city to the beach. Ouidah is also the high place of Voodoo in Benin. Ouidah is good place to visit and to see. This city is important in African history.
The first thing is the slave – route. The distance of 4 kilometers between the historic museum and the beach is real the principal way taken by slaves before getting in the ships. Along this road you can see many statues in concrete which represent Voodoo religion. Between the main stops we can see the quote place. It was in this place the Europeans choose and bought the slaves. Those slaves were taken to the Americas and sold. The bids took place somewhere called CHACHA place in front of Francisco de Souza’s house.
The slaves were signed with hot iron with the sign of his owner. This sign was done under the omission tree. The slaves must turn around this tree men 9 times and women 7 times and during these turns they were supposed to forget their origin. One of the Kings of Abomey planted the tree of return in Zoungbodji to mark the point of the last goodbye. They must turn three times around this tree and they can be sure that if they die their soul can come back in the origin.
The Zomai compartment: It was a dark shelter where they used to park the slaves before leaving. It was very dark inside; never any light came in there. It was there they must test the condition they will live in the ship.
Ouidah City – Voodoo Centre of Benin.
Ouidah City is of great interest in the cultural and historical value of the country. A place that has symbolic and important history to the black african race.
Benin’s voodoo Center is the most popular destination after Cotonou. This was also the only seaport of the country
until 1908. It is located 40 km from Cotonou and it is on the main road to Togo. To be seen are various type of Voodoo worship being practised in the past and still being done in this present time. There are many idols and other symbols of Voodoo worship.
It has a Snake Village where Snakes are Sacred and are being worshipped today. Pictures are allowed and you may hold and put snakes around your neck, if you are brave enough. There has never been any case of Snake bite reported. So, be brave! The Snake temple is still functional and Snakes are still being worshiped.
Ouidah also has a park Known as Sacred Forest and the Slave Route that leads to the “Point of NO Return”.
“Point of NO Return”
A memorial to slavery at the beach of Ouidah, one of the large slave-trade ports in Africa, a main departure point for those sold into slavery between the 15th and 19th centuries.
The Slave Route – a small 4km long road, is the route through which Slaves followed to board the vessels of the slave trader. They pass through the gate (Known as Point of No return) to where the vessels are waiting. The vessels sail and take them to the slave market.
The road is lined with fetishes, statues and small villages from the city to the fabulous beaches.
Tourism sites in Ouidah include the History Museum of Ouidah (also Called the Voodoo Museum), various other museums and temples of Idol worshippers.
Ouidah is located close to the Atlantic Ocean and the sandy beach is a very good tourist attraction in itself.
Allada is located in 43 km from Cotonou and was created in the 16th century by the Agassouvi clan led by prince Agassouvi a son of a Panther legend. This people left Adja-Tado create Allada after will be disengaged from the Adja people who were after him .The Kingdom of Allada is a powerful rival of the Kingdom of of Abomey. Allada lands are dominated by the Palm trees of Harvey at Houegbo. You can see the royal temple of Agassouvi who became Adjahouto after killing the Adja people who were after him this temple is located at Togoudo 4 km from Allada. Near this temple is a sick sacred that is used for the priestesses during the celebration of the memorial of Toussaint Louverture. Allada is also called the cited thousand fetishes.
Natitingou is a town, arrondissement and Commune in Atacora department in western north of Benin. It is located about 645 km from Cotonou and 100 km from Porga the Burkina Faso border. The superficies of Natitingou Commune is 1740 kilometers square. It is bounded on the north by Burkina Faso Republic, south by Cobly, east by Tanguieta, and west by Togo Republic.
The commune is subdivided into 6 arrondissements: Matéri, Dassari, Gouandé, Nodi, Tantéga, Tchanhoun-cossi. The Population in the Commune of Natitingou was 103.843 in 2013.
Natitingou was founded by the Waama ethnic groups, nowadays it is populated by Bialbe, Peulh, Moba, Kountimba and the Mossi and some others. The name Natitingou is from the Waama word Nantibatingou means Crush.
In Natitingou you can see religions like catholics 25, 4% Muslims 7, 1%, Protestants 2, 5%, Traditional 60, 8%.
Natitingou is a tourism city it is common to meet tourists in there. The museum of Natitingou (Museé Régional de Natitingou) where you can find out more about theTata Somba houses and lifestyle.
The Pendjari National Park the wildlife park with many elephants, antelope, hippopotamus and many other animals is located at ca. 50 km and a good start to go from Natitingou.
The Kota Waterfalls you can find at 15 km from the city to take a refreshing dive in the water.
Tata Somba with the Tammari people.
The area is also a good place for walking or bicycling to start from Natitingou.
It is also one of the city in the North you can have many good hotels.
It is the historic memory of Borgou Department. Parakou is the capital of this department but Nikki, the tradition heart. Nikki was the Bariba kingdom the most powerful of Borgou. It was the powerful kingdom of the province founded with WASSANGARI civilization from Boussa in Nigeria. From those people a community structured in caste vainglory for its own identity cultural and nun that Nikki was and is reference point. The King of Nikki represents the biggest traditional power and once a year in GAANI celebration, he receives homage from all the prince of the province in the city which is considered like the birthplace of Baatonu people. The king must receive the greeting honor from the sound of the twelve trumpets, symbol of his kingdom. In this city you can see the royal palaces, sacred tombs and the village of WENOU to visit the sanctuaries. You can also see Peulh people dancing with horse. In this city you can also have many cultural dances typically from Bariba and peulh community.
Regional capital of the North Benin, Parakou is located in the center of Benin at 407km to Cotonou. It is a city located on the principal road from South to North and lays on 441km2. The city is connected to Cotonou by the railway Benin-Niger. They are many linguistics groups in this side of Benin. It is a big junction of many principal roads and the terminus of the railway from the economic capital, Cotonou. Capital of an ancient kingdom, Parakou is a cosmopolite city renforced by the transport. It is a city with good hospitality. The settlement of Parakou is formed by migration of Baatombu people from the North and Yoruba from the East. With colonialization, many administration and military camp installed. But the most important immigration is the Adja-Fon people, started at 20s century. The Fon people immigration amplifies because of the inauguration of the railways station in 1937. Other people will come from Ivory Coast in 1985, Niger in 1963, Ghana in 1972, Gabon in 1978 and Nigeria in 1983. In 1970 there was many working migration with implantation of many industries. In 1992 the population was 103,577 and 149,819 in 2002.
Like this, Bariba, Baatombou, Dendi, Yoruba and Adja-fon are social and cultural group in Parakou. There are also a strong community of Zarma from Niger, Ibo from Nigeria, Ghaneans, Togolese, Indians and Lebanese. With this diversity of people Parakou stays a cosmopolite center and important economic center.
In Parakou you can see the museum “Lemusee de Plein air”: it is a small museum whish explain Bariba and Peulh history. Parakou, has its own University since2001, it is the second one of Benin. In the center of the city close to the station of ARZEKE market. There are between 1000 and 2000 sellers. There is everything in this market.
Savalou country is a place weakly hill, it is very nice place to have a holidays. You can see many trees which make good vegetation. It is a historic city capital of MAHI people fruit of the melting of Adja from the South and Nago people. The new tar road makes the province reachable. It is the place of yam celebration, the festival of Mahi people from Savalou. In this festivals come out the dancers on wader of bamboo.
In Savalou you can see also crocodiles pool called TODJITCHE, in the Ouesse quarter, the royal palace. There are many fetishism temples like DANKOLI stay in 9 km from Savalou on Bassila way, close to Doissa village.
Savé is a city located 255 km in North from Cotonou. It lies on the Cotonou-Parakou railway. The city of Savé lays in Collines department, SHABE country. In this city you can see many hills with a height of about 200-300 meter, with special boulders, but especially two are very nice they look like young girls breast and called “les Mammelles” (The Breasts).
The city is famous for climbers. There are many hills. It is also good to walk in.
You can see the hill “Oke/OYI-Amon” this hill produces a kind of butter, used to cure people.
The hill “Oke/Adjagbo” is a sacred headquarters of the SHABE divinities. Savé is also the headquarter of the Guelede dance, this dance is recognized by UNESCO.
In Savé there are many cultural and ethnic groups but the majority is Shabè people, with those indigenous people live the Fons, Idaasha, Bètamaribè, Peulh, Adja, etc… people. They have many religious practices. You can see 48% Catholics, 18.3% Muslims, 10.3 % animists, 12.8% Protestants, and 10.7% other new English-Saxon Christian religious.
Ségbana is a Commune located 722 kilometers from Cotonou and lies on the Niger River. It is bounded to the North by Malanville, South by Kalalé, west by Kandi and Gogounou and the east by Nigeria.
It is a town, arroundissement and Commune located in the Alibori department and covers 4471 kilometers square and had 86,268 people in 2013. Ségbana is subdivided into 5 arrondissements: Ségbana, Libantè, Liboussou, Lougou and Sokotindji. Agriculture is the principal activity in Ségbana there are also trade, transportations. You can also have different handcraft in Segbana.
Tanguieta is a town, located in Atacora Department of Benin. It is neighbouring in the North with Burkina Faso republic, in the South by Boukoumbe commune, Est Kerou, Kouande and Tounkountouna commune and in the West by Materi and Cobly commune.
The commune of Tanguieta covers an area of 5465 square kilometers. In 2007 the town had an estimed population of 21,290. Tanguieta lies on the RNIE 3 highway which connects it to Natitingou and Porga.
It is an operating base for the Pendjari National Park which lays around 15 km from the village. The waterfalls of Tanougou are also in that area. A visit to Tayacou a small village in the area is worth to visit on Saturdays; it is also called the beer market (local beer called Tchoucoutou), or visit the museum.
Tanguieta was the department seat of the government during the French colonial rule. The Headquarter of Pendjari National Park is based in the town. The city is smaller than Natitingou but also cosier. In the center you can find several restaurants and shops. The town has internet access available.
The main languages in the town are French, Dendi, Waama, Nateni, and Biali. Religion: 69, 0% Traditionel; 12, 0% Catholic; 0,2% Protestant; 11,0% Muslim; 7,8% for others.
Principale Ethnics: Natimba, Yorouban Zerma, Haousatche, Peulhs, Dendis, Batombou, Fon, Waaba, Bèbèlibè, Bètammaribè, Kountimba, Mossi, Berba, and Gourmatchéba.
Ketou is a Yoruba town, arrondissement and Commune located in the Plateau department. It covers 2183 square kilometers and had 100,499 people in 2002. The Commune is located in the North by Savè and Dassa-Zoumè, south by Pobè, East by Nigeria Federal Republic and West by Zagnanado and Ouinhi. The people in Ketou are mostly Nagot there are also Hollidjè, Fon, Mahi. The city is about 140 km from Cotonou and 100 km to Porto Novo and 17 km to Nigeria Federal Republic border.
The principal religion in this Commune are: Traditional 20,0 %, Muslims 18,8 %, Catholics 36,7 %, Protestants 2,6 % and others religions 21,9%. Ketou is subdivided in 6 arrondissement and 38 villagers and city quarter. The different arrondissements are: Kétou, Adakplamè, Idigny, Kpankou, Odomèta, Okpomèta.
The principal activity in Ketou is agriculture the tourism also develops with some hotel and tourism site; there are also some traders, handicraft…
The mains things to visit in Ketou are: Akaba Idena museum, sacred trash of Aitan-N’la, Sacred River of EKA at Idigny, Sacred river of Ala-N’wa at Illikinou, Guèlèdè, place of IYA MEKPERE, IYA BIYA with its 201 wells.
Ketou is the Headquarter of the old Yoruba kingdom it is linked directly to the birthplace of the Yoruba people which is Ilé-Ifè. The new king Alade Ife was wreathing in 2005 as the 50th Alaketu. Ketou is cultural city. There are many traditional celebrations which many people like to see.