|7. January 2020||17. January 2020||Cotonou in/Lome out||2.900 €/person *||Send request * price for min. 6 people|
Tour to Benin and Togo: Voodoo festival travel with a photographer
The present itinerary has been created especially for the needs of ambitious photographers:
- the tour will be accompanied by Catherina Unger, professional travel photograper and experienced connoisseur of many African countries including Benin & Togo.
- the daily programs have been established basing on the needs of photographers: enough stops for pictures, visits of spots with particular photographic charme, make use of the hours with the best light conditions, program points of special photographic appeal
- the opportunity to exchange experiences with a professional travel photographer or the other participants
- voodoo ceremonies, masks, dances and festivities
“Photography is the way I express myself, my way of story-telling. Stories about distant countries, people and cultures. I would love that, watching my pictures, the observer finds something familiar even in the exotic, feels to be part of this one unique humanity and opens the view to the beauty of our world.”
- Duration: 11 days
- Guide: English speaking
Airport assistance and transfer to hotel.
We cross the lake Nokwe to reach Ganvie, the most beautiful African stilt village.
We reach Ouidah, once a slave port and considered the capital town of the African Vodoun religion.
Tour in small motorboat along the Mono river to discover tiny villages where ancient practices of salt extraction are still in use. We will witness the performance of masks and assist to the release of little turtles into the sea.
The 10th of January in Benin is a national celebration day honouring traditional religion and all cults associated with it. Entire day dedicate to attend the colorful festival of Vodoun. All along the coast of Benin and Togo, Vodoun religion gathers a lot of adepts. Passed down by the ancestors, it is still practiced with fervor today.
We move to Abomey where we visit the Royal Palace. The walls of the palace are decorated with bas-reliefs representing symbols of the ancient Dahomey kings. A Kingdom whose economy was for a long time based on slave trade.
We will enjoy the performance of two masks of different origins.
SHRINES & FETISH HILLS
Our first stop, Dassa, was the capital of an ancient kingdom. We will visit some remains of this long-lasting dynasty. We will see also the legendary wooden horse, given by Portuguese merchants in 1903 to the chief who was complaining that four of his horses had died from a mysterious disease.
We will walk up the Royal hill, the burial site of members of the royal family, a site “protected” by many statues and the remains of recent rituals. Later we stop at the Dankoli Fetish, considered to be one of the most powerful spiritual fetishes in West Africa.
TANEKA & FULANI VILLAGES
Very early departure to be at the Taneka village with the early morning light located on a mountain with the same name. The villages are made up of round adobe huts covered with a conical roof protected at the top by a terra cotta pot. The upper part of the village is inhabited by the young initiated and by the fetish priests who only cover themselves with a goat skin and always carry a long pipe. This ethnic group has been living on an archaeological site for centuries, in fact it looks as if the first inhabitants moved to the mountain during the IXth century.
On the way to Boukoumbè, we visit a camp of Fulani people a nomadic ethnic group.
THE FORTIFIED VILLAGE
Full day to explore the surroundings of Boukoumbè. We are in the land of the Somba that live in fortified dwellings. Similar in form to medieval castles, they are beautiful examples of ancient African architecture. Their strong traditional beliefs are proved by the presence of big shrines in phallic shape at the entrance of the houses.
KOUTAMMAKOU & FIRE DANCE
Today we enter Togo. After crossing the border, we will remain in the land of Tamberma, Koutammakou where we can admire other fortified mud dwellings. Koutammakou is a cultural landscape designated in 2004 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Togo.
We drive to Sokodè where in the evening the very impressive fire dance awaits us.
Lome, the vibrant capital of Togo. It is the only African city having been colonized by Germans, British and French. It is also one of the few capitals in the world to be on the border with another nation. These elements have led to the development of a special identity reflected in the life style of its inhabitants and in the architecture of the town. Lome is a cross point for people, trade and cultures, a cosmopolitan city in small size. We will pay special attention to the famous fetish market, where one can find an eclectic assortment of all the necessary ingredients for love potions and magical concoctions
Day dedicated to the visit of Togoville. This region is interesting beause on the one hand is located at the heart of Voodoo and on the other hand there is a Christian sanctuary which proof the interconnection between both religions.
On the agenda there is a boat tour on the lake Togo and – if there will be the chance – a voodoo ceremony in a remote hidden village. Sakpata, Heviesso, Mami Water and other deities are showing their presence by taking possession of their adepts.
Retour to Lomé, rooms is day-use till 6pm