A few last hours in Cotonou have also served to catch the flight back to Spain although the farewell has had an epilogue with a very clear message: "Absolute respect for Voodoo religion".It has been clear to us!
Relax on the wild (and empty) beaches of the Gulf of Guinea
With 2,800 kilometers behind, tired, still impressed by everything we have lived In these last days, we woke up today for the penultimate time in Benin (we will do a few hours in Cotonou although our flight leaves very early tomorrow). And we did it in theHotel of the Diaspora where we went to bed last night Euloge will not come until noon and "has given us" the morning off. After all, it is necessary, even if they are a few hours. Of course, he has not forgotten to leave us a warning ... watch out for the sea! The beaches of Ouidah, like all of the Gulf of Guinea as we saw the day we step Grand Popó, they are of golden sand, with coconut trees and in that tourist area even sun loungers, but they are whipped by a great swell and "dress" completely wild and empty. They are, neither more nor less, than 120 kilometers in Benin of immense beaches that lived first hand that shameful chapter of history where hundreds of ships departed with the captures of slaves as merchandise sold to the white merchants we saw yesterday in the. The Gulf of Guinea to which we have referred these days covers the coast of (starting with the northernmost country) Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.
The hotel, very well prepared (everything must be said), has a large pool to relax and spend the morning. Here we have taken the opportunity to update the networks a little, to pay a tribute (7,000 CFA) and prepare the backpacks to, with Euloge, calmly head for Cotonou on a coastal dirt road that has been another great experience. Before we stopped at the caller Oudiah History Museum with very basic pieces and something dilapidated but useful to get to know history better.
The road along the road has also taught us that there are charming places to do a slow travel Benin like that Bab's dock (closed today) accessed by canoe, a place to have a beer or eat in a true oasis of nature in a mangrove or Kirikou Bar of cocktails and other snacks, where the last beers fell.
The famous "Fort of San Juan Baptista de Ouidah" is also known from Ouidah, a not very large fortress built by the Portuguese. At the time there were five in total of these strengths, one for each nationality of foreigners residing in the country. So in total there ended up being a fort for the French, English, Danish, Belgian and the aforementioned of the Portuguese.
Photos of Benin and Togo, the trip in 15 snapshots
Voodoo, that great unknown of the "civilized" society simplified to that doll with needles is a phenomenon in West Africa. It's going to sound weird what I say without being a safari, or a sighting of auroras that depends on nature, but I have the feeling that There will never be 2 equal trips to Benin, a tour where the rituals are the order of the day but are transmitted by word of mouth or sneak to someone expert and specialist and that without aLoana Travel We would never have lived. It all started in that Cotonou and Ganvié, the African Venice (including Dantokpa) ...
... but completely eliminated any itinerary marked when Euloge proposed a change due to an important rite of initiation in Taneka Country What was happening these days. It was one of the best experiences without a doubt.
Nobody associates Benin and Togo with wildlife and yet everything a UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in its northern area. The P.N. from Pendjari He showed us that there is wildlife beyond Kenya, South Africa or Botswana and completely away from mass tourism.
Somba Country is the incentive of many photographers to start a trip to Benin and Togo, especially the latter whereSomba country becomes the cradle of Batammaribas and its unique tatas in Africa although there is no differentiation between both sides beyond being a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as well.
The ethnic group of the Kotokoli of Togo and the colorful markets of Sokodé They marked the return to the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, this time through the interior of another country.
Nature gave us the privilege of being able to live the Kpalimé surroundings and trekking through the tropical forest to the magical Kebo Dzigbe, a kind of "route through the orange villages of Togo", with a lot of history, including being the origin of the Kingdom of Dahomey that we would see days later.
Although the capital of Togo, Lomé, went quite unnoticed for us, it was not so with the world's largest voodoo fetish market (and Togoville) before crossing the border again.
We entered the world of Voodoo religion that we were looking for and although we had already seen the Zangbetos in Ganvié, animistic rituals of similar beliefs in Taneka or Somba Country and fetishes and amulets in the markets and in Togoville, what came from those moments left us trembling, attending an authentic voodoo ritual in the Temple of the Skulls ... human!
Porto Novo, capital of BeninIt brought us an almost unique mosque in Africa ...
... but, above all, enter fully into the universe of Voodoo secret societies with the Egungún…
… and the Zangbetos, in the coronation of a king before which we come to prostrate.
We returned a few days through that interior that we passed by the itinerary change, knowing theHoli, the ethnic group of tattoos, one of the poorest and most unprotected ...
… The Fulani, the largest (and most beautiful) nomadic people in the world where there is an image of a woman who was marked by her extraordinary beauty ...
... and attending a ceremony of Gelede masks, the last major important voodoo secret society that we still had to know
The adventure ended yesterday with one of the hardest days of a shameful chapter in the history of mankind, from the Kingdom of Dahomey and the route of the slaves of Ouidah to the 'door of no return'
And here we are, already staying and dining (7,000 CFA) where this story began, about to be picked up to embark back to Spain. And if we tell you that the "story" was not over yet?
The Air Maroc plane scheduled for 6.35 on April 11, 2019 was leaving with unusual advance around 5:40 of the Cotonou-Cadjehoun International Airport. Why? You can say that almost We fled from the most impressive lightning and thunder storms that I have seen in my life and that if we had left 5 minutes later we could not have avoided. Sele and I looked at each other in amazement and, in part, trembling from what we saw through the window of the plane. It was as if this land of mysteries, of a liturgy difficult to explain, send us a farewell message: Learn to respect the Voodoo religion, one of the oldest in the world. END
Isaac, already with Oli, Paula and Nico from A Coruña (Spain)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY:14,000 CFA (approx. 21.21 EUR)