Blogs from Cotonou, South, Benin, Africa


Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou January 13th 2016

Cotonou,Benin, Togo and Benin are the original home of Voodoo. What better opportunity to visit a sacred forest, see some voodoo statues, watch a voodoo dance and meet the chief priest. One discovery from this visit was that statues that I had previously seen and assumed they were just African art turned out to have been voodoo statues. After antiquating ourselves with voodoo we were off to the Temple of Sacred Pythons. Snakes are considered to be good in voodoo. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Benin, followed by the French, English, Dutch etc. All built forts to protect their share of the slave trade. With the exception of the Portuguese all the forts were destroyed. In 1990, the Benin government asked that the Portuguese fort be returned to Benin. The Portuguese refused and ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou February 13th 2013

My vacation in the Republic of Benin was a much needed one. After 3.5 months in Nigeria, I really needed a time out – Benin was it! I went overland from Nigeria to Benin. It was my first land border crossing in Africa and I was sort of nervous. But it went well. I didn’t have to do much; the international bus I took from Lagos to Cotonou got our passports stamped. I guess that is one of the benefits of the ECOWAS agreement between West Africa countries. The journey took 6 hours. I did not go alone; my Nepali friend came to visit in Nigeria so we went to Benin together. Cotonou is my favorite city in Benin thus far. Although it is not the capital, it has way more things to do than Porto ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou June 5th 2012

**photos have been added! Tuesday June 5 It was a stroke of luck deciding to sleep on the truck as a huge storm arrived in the middle of the night without warning, catching everyone off guard and flooding tents before people were able to get their rain covers on. I lay on the seats under my mosquito net (first time it's been used!) watching the lightning and torrential rain and jumping when the thunder crashed directly overhead It was an uneventful morning until we were all on the truck, ready to hit the Benin border late morning. When the truck wheels first spun, barely anyone moved; it happens occasionally and we're used to the sound. But then the front right hand side seemed to drop and that got our attention. Jumping down we saw the source ... read more
Voodoo village chief
Fetishes in the chief's room

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou June 18th 2011

There is a sick perverted truth about all this - I do like hating travel sometimes, it can get quite addictive! But eventually over time that is what Africa can do to you. It requires time and patients, more so than any other region and it was here in Cotonou, Benin my patients was starting to wane and my African Journey was about to finish. Hate is a harsh word (they say) but when you have been stuck in the trunk of cars, been in a bus that’s burnt out, caught up in the Egyptian revolution, unable to get money out countless times and VISA problems. Whilst deep down I do love it, it gets to a point where you have an attitude change towards the place. And that was what happened when I reached the ... read more
2 - West African Cuisine
3 - Me drinking Obama Beer
4 - The only regular African Cheese available - the laughing cow, cream cheese

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou October 20th 2010

Cotonou, the 'safest city in Africa', was quite dull. Miles and Sally ate a pizza and were strolling towards the hotel when Sally's bag was snatched. Miles bolted after the thief at slightly less than top speed, down narrow dark alleys, leaping across drainage ditches, vaulting fences, and kicking a dog in the head. Cowboy boots were not made for running, nor was Miles. He casually wondered about the abandoned Sally, whether he would see or hear of himself again and pounded stupidly on, thief still in sight. The robber entered a house. Miles followed, bursting into a simple sitting room where a family watched TV, no thief in sight. Miles, huge and white, stood panting, then spun on his Cuban heel and exited wordlessly. In a candlelit night Mileset he laughed guiltily at the remnants ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou June 22nd 2010

Wednesday June 16: Benin We left the beach in Ouidah to go to Cotonu, with some stops along the way. We started at the Door of No Return, which was one of the last stops for the enslaved to be taken to the New World. There was a memorial set up to represent the last stop of the Slave Trail in West Africa. We continued along the road, which was the Slave trail, and saw many statues that had been put up as part of the Dahomey Kingdom and the religion of Voodoo. The next stop was at the Dahomey Kingdom and the palace that still exists today from it. The Kings would build their own palace right beside the previous Kings palace. It was interesting to see how Benin functioned before colonialism began. We then ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou November 27th 2009

Geo: 6.3505, 2.4332Outside of a quick visit to the huge Dantokpa Market including yet another walk through a Fetish Market (we saw a complete hippopotamus head drying on one of the stands!) our day in Cotonou was largely a day to clean-up, repack, and rest in preparation for the long journey home (which kicked off with a red-eye flight from Cotonou to Paris). Just to ensureStanding in an airport lineup where movement was barely perceptible served to ensure that we would not soon forget the heat of coastal West Africa (despite arriving back to an Ontario winter season). One only has to imagine standing in the middle of a fully operational wet sauna with a full backpack on, accompanied by a couple hundred of your closest friends to get a sense of the slightly warm Cotonou ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou June 26th 2008

We arrived in Cotonou and got dropped off at the main market during rush hour. Then followed the most terrifying moto taxi ride of my life. The driver weaved between cars that I thought were going to hit each other, at one point I actually put my hand on the hood of a car I thought was going to hit us. I could see, though, that if he hadn’t driven like a maniac we would never have gotten anywhere, traffic was hardly moving. We met up with some Benin PCVs at their bureau who pointed us to an affordable hotel and some cheap food. We had a couple of days to explore the huge main market, the artisan’s market, the restaurants, and the nightlife. Our favorite spot was the Musée Zinsou, a shining new modern art ... read more
Stilt village of Ganvie

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou April 26th 2008

Woke up and took a bucket shower which is really gross to do inside a bathroom. We waited aroudn our hotel for quite some time before we actually started our day to visit the stilt village in Ganvie. After our talk about visiting Nigeria subsided we got a ride to a village near the lake entrance to Ganvie. The ride on the water was crazy. We took a canoe for the four of us which was rowed by a small boy. Our sail was made out of a patched bedsheet. Our boat constantly felt like it was sinking. We actually crashed into a fish trap and the man just assured us that there was "no problem, no problem." When we arrived in Ganvie we all sat in shock for a bit. It's like something you'd see ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou March 26th 2008

It is hard to know the words to choose to begin describing this new adventure of my life, but I guess its just easiest to start at the beginning... So my last week in Montpellier flew past, every day at school with an awesome class of people who became great friends. We had an awesome night on out final thursday, all meeting up for goodbye drinks, lots of laughs and languages around the table (sorry I forgot the cd with the photos on it, they are no longer on my camera, will post them next time). But studpidly of me I was slightly sick and ignored it and then on Easter sat and sun got real sick, the whole head full of snot and throat like sand paper, story.... Not very good considering I was flying ... read more
Karin's house in Cotonou
I'm here!!!
Eat yoghurt and you will look like a sumo man

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