The spirit of independent travel is alive and well in Benin, one of West Africa’s least visited countries. If the voodoo don’t get you, one of its many other attractions will… A mile or two down the coast is Grand Popo, a beach resort of elegant Portuguese colonial buildings, where French and German tourists come to sample the good life at the elegant Auberge, and Beninese industrialists and politicians maintain splendid villas, shielded from the harmattan by stands of coconut palms. These days Benin is, by West African standards, doing well. Since the dark times of the ’70s, when successive post-colonial governments were toppled by military coups, the country has established a democracy and is working hard to improve the lot of its people; most of whom, like the fishers of Ngbecon, are desperately poor.
Visit Benin – In the south, the sea and a series of huge freshwater lakes dominate the life of the country. Ganvié, a national landmark in the middle of Lac Nokoué, dates from the eighteenth century and is the biggest of the many stilt villages built by the Tofinu to protect themselves from the predations of their Fon neighbours, who had a religious taboo against crossing water. Life on the lakes, even a trip to the post office or the shops, is conducted entirely by pirogue, and children learn to pole their way across the glassy water almost as soon as they learn to walk.
Natitingou – the jumping-off point for safaris into the nature reserve of the Parc National de la Pendjari, and for roaming around the country of the Somba, a tribal people who live in extraordinary compounds that look like mud-and-thatch Loire châteaux, and who are famous for their bow-and-arrow hunting skills. Although Benin is a small country, a couple of hundred languages, perhaps, are spoken here, and the Somba are just one of myriad tribal groupings.Research : - benin -