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Rock My Benin & Togo Adventure

 

Join us on an immersive Rock My Adventure ‘Pioneer’ tour  through Benin and Togo, two of West Africa’s most spectacular destinations, with beautiful beaches, interesting cultural traditions and fascinating history. Benin in the home of Voodoo, so on this trip you will learn all about and experience the Voodoo way of life.

Starting our adventure in Cotonou, Benin, we’ll make our way to Porto-Novo, the former capital of the French Dahomey colony which existed in the first half of the 20th century. Here we’ll experience the Afro-Brazilian culture in the city.

We’ll then continue to Ganvié, an amazing town built on stilts in the middle of Lac Noukoué. Roughly 40.000 people of the Tofinu tribe live here, and it is one of the last surviving stilt villages dating back around 400 years. At that time, the Tofinu people built these villages to escape Dahomey slave hunters who were banned from venturing into the water by religious customs.

Next stop is Ouidah, a town with a rich history, where we’ll learn all about the voodoo religion. The voodoo religion is deeply rooted in the Benin culture and is not a belief system, but an entire way of life. Practitioners believe in hundreds of different smaller gods and one supreme being.

We’ll then make our way to Abomey, capital of the former Dahomey Empire (16th to 19th Century). Abomey is known for its famous and historically significant traditional sites such as the Royal Palace and Museum (a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site).

We’ll cross into Togo, visiting Somba villages, learning about their inhabitants who live very much in a traditional Beninese way, including Dankoli, claimed to have one of the strongest and most powerful fetishes (an object believed to have supernatural powers) in the country.

We’ll visit the mountainous area of Klouto in the Kouma-Konda region and in Sokodé we’ll get to experience a traditional fire dance.

Heading to Togo’s vibrant capital, Lomé the ‘Paris of West Africa’, we’ll visit Nana Benz, the flamboyant market selling fabrics and fetishes.

In Possotomé, a small village alongside the lake Ahémè, we’ll attend a Zangbeto dance/ceremony in the evening. The Zangebetos are also referred to as the Night Watchmen and protect the community against bad spirits and malicious people.

Our last stop is Grand Popo, a wonderful town with palm-fringed beaches and the perfect place to relax at the end of our adventure.

 

Let Us Rock Your Adventure!

 Dates: 

  • 10 – 24 February 2020 4 SPACES REMAINING

Please Note:

  • This is a brand NEW Rock My Adventure Pioneer Adventure trip aimed at intrepid travellers.
  • For a limited time only, we’re offering this tour at the introductory price of £2,295 + €800 (local payment).

 

Cost: 

  • £2,495 + €800 (local payment, paid on arrival)
  • £2,295 + €800 (local payment, paid on arrival)
  • Includes £400 non-refundable deposit

 

Come with us on the adventure of a lifetime!

“This trip is a true “off the beaten path” adventure. It was everything I hoped for. I loved absolutely everything we did! I loved the variety of the landscapes we visited, from chaotic and colourful Freetown to the steaming jungles of Tiwai to the glorious warm waters of the shoreline, there is so much to experience in Sierra Leone. Some of the places felt truly remote and due to the lack of tourism it was a very authentic experience. I will never forget my dance-offs with the Temne women of Rogbonko and the Mende of Tiwai. Without speaking we understood each other and had fun. Those are truly precious moments. Nature was stunning and because we had camping and ecolodge accommodation, I could feel really at one with the world around me. Looking up at a star strewn sky at Turtle Island whilst going for a nighttime pee was beautiful. I will never forget the glorious full moon lighting up the midnight clouds over Tiwai Island, or the lazy green river Moa snaking its way through the jungle flanked by yellow sand. Sierra Leone is lucky to have a good amount of untouched nature preserved and I urge everyone to go and see this hidden gem.”

KATJA / GERMANY / ROCK MY SIERRA LEONE ADVENTURE 2019

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the bustling city of Cotonou.
  • Explore Porto-Novo, the former capital of the French Dahomey colony which existed in the first half of the 20th century.
  • Stay in Ganvie, a stilt village, home to the Tofinu people.

  • Take a guided boat tour through the community and spend the night in the village of Ganvie.

  • Shop for locally made handicrafts and souvenirs in the local markets.

  • Spend time in Ouidah, a town with a rich history, known for being the home of the voodoo religion.
  • Visit the most important historical and cultural sites in Ouidah.
  • Learn about the former Dahomey Empire in Abomey and visit historically significant traditional sites such as the Royal Palace and Museum (a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site). Abomey is also known for its strong voodoo culture, powerful magic sorcerers and ceremonies.

  • Visit Somba villages and learn more about their inhabitants who live very much in a traditional Beninese way.
  • Visit Dankoli, claimed to have one of the strongest and most powerful voodoo fetishes (an object believed to have supernatural powers) in the country.
  • Spend the night in a Tata Somba-style guesthouse in Boukoumbé.
  • Explore some of the villages beautifully situated on the slope of Mount Kabyé.
  • Spend time in Sokodé where the local people are known for their traditional fire dance.
  • Visit Kpalimé, a pretty town situated in Togo’s green rolling hills. 
  • Stay in Kpalimé and enjoy the lively nightlife.
  • Go hiking in the mountainous area of Klouto in the Kouma-Konda region and visit the Tomegbe Falls.
  • Meet some of the local people who process locally grown coffee beans into organically certified coffee or some local artists who use natural colours from the forest for their art work.
  • Experience the traditional Ewe culture in southern Togo and experience a twin doll ceremony.
  • Undertake a guided walk through the community with a local guide and experience how people process palm nuts into palm oil; palm wine and gin.
  • Explore Lomé, the capital of Togo, once claimed to be the ‘Paris of West Africa’.
  • Shop for fabrics at Nana Benz, the flamboyant market in Lomé.
  • Visit Le Marché des Fetisheurs, a popular voodoo market.
  • Attend a Zangbeto dance ceremony in the evening. The Zangebetos are also referred to as the Night Watchmen and protect the community against bad spirits and malicious people.
  • Wind down on the palm-fringed beaches of Grand Popo.
  • Visit at the clay pottery village of Se.

    Benin & Togo Itinerary

    Day 1: Cotonou, Benin

    Arrive in Cotonou and transfer to your accommodation for the night.

    Relax and get to know your fellow travellers during a meal and a beer or two! Your Rock My Benin & Togo Adventure starts here.

    Airport transfers included.

    *  If you have the time and can arrive earlier, we can organise any other activities you wish to do. Additional accommodation and activities charged separately.

     

    • Meals: Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: None

     

    Day 2: Ganvié, Benin

    In the morning, we’ll make our way to Porto-Novo, the former capital of the French Dahomey colony which existed in the first half of the 20th century. Porto-Novo is still the administrative capital of Benin today, however you will find it much calmer than hectic Cotonou.

    Porto-Novo, was one of the main places where slave ships departed from, and where many slaves returned to after they were given their freedom. With them, they brought the Afro-Brazilian culture which you experience in the city.

    Another interesting highlight is the Porto-Novo Museum of Ethnography, one of the best in the country, which gives you an interesting insight into the Yoruba culture.

    In the afternoon, we will continue to Ganvié which can only be reached by motorised canoe. Ganvie is an amazing town built on stilts in the middle of Lac Noukoué. Roughly 40.000 people of the Tofinu tribe live here, and it is one of the last surviving stilt villages dating back around 400 years. At that time, the Tofinu people built these villages to escape Dahomey slave hunters who were banned from venturing into the water by religious customs.

    In the afternoon, we’ll take a guided boat tour through the community and spend the night in the village.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Guesthouse)
    • Activities: Porto Novo Tour, Ganvié Boat Tour

     

    Day 3: Ouidah, Benin

    In the morning, we’ll explore the Ganvié by boat and get a further understanding of the local stilt village life, the morning rituals and activities.

    From there we’ll continue to Ouidah, a town with a rich history, known for being the home of the voodoo religion.

    The voodoo religion is deeply rooted in the Benin culture and is not a belief system, but an entire way of life. Practitioners believe in hundreds of different smaller gods and one supreme being.

    The belief is that after a person dies, his or her soul turns into a spirit, and has supernatural powers. Traditional priests, also called juju men or fetish priests, are able to communicate best with the spirits.

    Through a variety of rites or ceremonies, the spirits manifest themselves on earth in different ways and can communicate with the living, as well as intervene in particular areas of people’s lives.

    Whilst we are here, we will tour the city, learning about the Voodooism.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: Ganvié Boat Tour
    Day 4: Ouidah, Benin

    We’ll spend today in Ouidah, immersing ourselves in the sights and sounds of the city.

    We’ll visit some of the other highlights such as the History Museum (located in the old fort previously known as the Fortaleza São João Batista) and the beautiful restored house of Brazil Museum, which showcases art exhibitions.

    Other related highlights are the Python Temple, where you find the harmless python snakes which are used in voodoo ceremonies, and the Sacred Forest of Kpassé, where you can hear the great stories of the trees.

    In addition, you will find sculptures that symbolize voodoo and animist deities and beliefs.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: Ouidah Voodoo & City Tour
    Day 5: Dassa-Zoume, Benin

    We’ll make our way to Abomey, capital of the former Dahomey Empire (16th to 19th Century).

    Abomey is known for its famous and historically significant traditional sites such as the Royal Palace and Museum (a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site).

    Every new king added his own residence within the palace grounds, resulting in twelve palaces in the empire at its peak. Currently, only two of them remain.

    We’ll visit the royal palaces and learn more about the Fon people, who founded the Dahomey Empire.

    Abomey is also known for its strong voodoo culture, powerful magic sorcerers and ceremonies.

    We’ll continue to Dassa-Zoumé, ‘the city of 41 hills’, a town situated in the green rolling hills and it is believed that the Virgin Mary made an ‘apparition’ here. Since then Dassa-Zoumé has become a popular site for pilgrimages.

    We’ll spend the night at a rustic local farm-house surrounded by a nice garden where vegetables are grown and processed into food products.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Guesthouse)
    • Activities: Abomey Tour
    Day 6: Boukoumbé, Benin

    Today we’ll spend the day visiting different Somba villages and learning about their inhabitants who live very much in a traditional Beninese way.

    We’ll immerse ourselves in this wonderful environment and visit a local priest.

    We’ll pay a visit to Dankoli, an ordinary town at the foot of a rocky hill but claimed to have one of the strongest and most powerful fetishes (an object believed to have supernatural powers) in the country.

    The fetish is situated under a magnificent tree and receives streams of believers who wish to ask for help and guidance from the spirits.

    We’ll continue your way to Boukoumbé, where we’ll spend the night in a Tata Somba-style guesthouse (seen in the second picture above).

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Guesthouse)
    • Activities: Somba Village, Visit to a Voodoo Priest, Dankoli Fetish
    Day 7: Sokodé, Togo

    Today we’ll cross over into Togo, staying at Sokodé.

    Along the way, explore some of the villages beautifully situated on the slope of Mount Kabyé.

    In the village of Tchare near Pya, for example, the people are known for their ancient way of iron manufacturing and pottery.

    We’ll end the journey in Sokodé where the local people are known for their traditional fire dance.

    They believe that some people received a gift of the ancestors and therefore cannot be hurt by fire, which they prove during a traditional and spectacular fire dance. 

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: Village Visits, Sokodé Fire Dance
    Day 8: Kpalimé, Togo

    After breakfast we’ll drive to Kpalimé, a pretty town situated in Togo’s green rolling hills.

    You will see the dry areas in the northern regions of Togo landscape changing to the more fertile green lands.

    The area around Kpalimé is known for mount Agou, one of the highest mountains in Togo and offer some of the country’s best scenery. Furthermore, the region is also known for its fertile soil where you find many cacao and coffee plantations.

    The town of Kpalimé itself is a lively place with numerous drinking spots and nice restaurants.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Guesthouse)
    • Activities: None
    Day 9: Kpalimé, Togo

    We’ll visit the mountainous area of Klouto in the Kouma-Konda region, which is known for the masses of colourful butterflies in its forest during the rainy season.

    In the morning, we’ll head out on a hike in the area ending with a picnic at the Tomegbe Falls.

    During your hike, you could meet some of the local people who process locally grown coffee beans into organically certified coffee or some local artists who use natural colours from the forest for their artwork.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Guesthouse)
    • Activities: Klouto Hike, Tomegbe Falls
    Day 10: Lomé, Togo

    We’ll continue to Davedi, an eco-tourism project.

    A visit to the village gives you an ultimate opportunity to experience the traditional Ewe culture in southern Togo.

    The area is known for its vast pineapple plantations, palm trees and palm nut processing.

    Whilst there, we’ll go on a guided walk through the community with a local guide and experience how people process palm nuts into palm oil, palm wine and gin.

    There are different ceremonies or performances to attend to get a better understanding of the way of living in the village and we’ll experience a twin doll ceremony.

    We’ll then make our way to Togo’s vibrant capital, Lomé, to spend the night.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: Eco-Village Visit, Village Performance, Twin Doll Ceremony
    Day 11: Lomé, Togo

    Acclimatize in the early morning and enjoy the francophone atmosphere in Lomé, which was once claimed to be the ‘Paris of West Africa’.

    The city still has its charm in its broad boulevards, palm-fringed beaches and crumbling colonial buildings.

    We’ll visit Nana Benz, the flamboyant market in Lomé. Almost everything is for sale here; including many colourful fabrics.

    We’ll also visit Le Marché des Fetisheurs, the voodoo market where people buy unusual and mystical items for their traditional ceremonies.

    The evening is free to experience the Lomé nightlife.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: Lomé Tour
    Day 12: Possotomé, Benin

    In the morning, we’ll stop at the Vogan fetish market, about 45km north-east from Lomé and one of the largest voodoo markets in West Africa.

    We’ll then cross the Benin and make our way to Possotomé, a small village alongside the lake Ahémè, where there are different interesting excursions to learn more about the day-to-day activities of the villagers.

    Attend a Zangbeto dance/ceremony in the evening. The Zangebetos are also referred to as the Night Watchmen and protect the community against bad spirits and malicious people.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Guesthouse)
    • Activities: Vogan Fetish Market, village Excursion, Zangbeto Dance/Ceremony
    Day 13: Grand Popo, Benin

    Today, we’ll continue to Grand Popo, a wonderful town with palm-fringed beaches and the perfect place to relax at the end of our adventure.

    Enjoy some fascinating landscapes along the way, where the voodoo culture in the small villages is very much alive.

    En-route pay a visit at the pottery village of Se, where you meet hard-working women producing wonderful clay pottery.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: Se Village Visit
    Day 14: Grand Popo, Benin

    The morning is a free to do as you please – maybe relax on the beach or explore the town.

    In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a cruise by boat through beautiful landscape along the Mono River. The cruise will take us to the river mouth at Bouche du Roi, and along the way you will see many small villages dotted at the riverside.

    In the evening, we’ll toast to intrepid adventures over a delicious goodbye meal!

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Accommodation: Twin Occupancy (Hotel)
    • Activities: Boat Cruise
    Day 15: Departure Day

    We’ll leave for Cotonou after breakfast.

    Today is always a sad day as we say goodbye to our new friends, but the memories and shared experiences will last a lifetime.

    If you need any support with your pre or post-tour Africa travels, please don’t hesitate to contact us. It’s all part of the Rock My Adventure service!

    Airport transfers included.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Activities: None

    Please bear in mind that the itinerary is subject to minor changes, ‘This is Africa’! But whatever happens, we’ll ensure you have an amazing trip!!

    Have a question? Feel free contact us here or take a look at our FAQ’s page. 

    Essential Info

    Duration: 14 Nights

    Dates:

    • 10 – 24 February 2020

    Start: Cotonou, Benin

    Finish: Cotonou, Benin

    Maximum Group Size: 8 people

    Minimum Age: 18

    Physical Level: Moderate

    Total Cost: £2,495 + €800* (local payment paid on arrival)

    Deposit: £400 (non-refundable)

     

    EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT – £200 OFF

     

    For a limited time only, we’re offering this tour at the introductory price of £2,295 + €800 (local payment).

     

    Support

    • Rock My Adventure Group Leader, comprehensive pre-departure information & planning advice.

    Meals

    • 14 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 10 dinners.

    Accommodation

    • 14 nights accommodation in good quality guesthouses and hotels.

    Transport

    • Airport transfers.
    • All transport within Benin & Togo to and from included excursions and between the main destinations on the tour (includes – taxi, mini bus, 4×4, boat).

    Activities

     

    • Porto Novo City Tour
    • Ganvié Stilt Village & Boat Tours
    • Ouidah Voodoo & City Tour
    • Abomey Tour
    • Somba Village
    • Voodoo Priest Visit
    • Dankoli Fetish
    • Village Visits
    • Sokodé Fire Dance
    • Klouto Hike
    • Tomegbe Falls
    • Eco-Village Visit
    • Village Performance
    • Twin Doll Ceremony
    • Lomé City Tour
    • Vogan Fetish Market
    • Zangbeto Dance/Ceremony
    • Se Pottery Village Visit
    • Grand Popo Boat Cruise
    • Goodbye Meal
    • Flights.
    • Visas (if needed).
    • Medications, antimalarials or vaccinations.
    • Travel/health insurance (required).
    • Drinks & meals not mentioned.
    • Optional activities.
    • Tips for local guides.

    You will make 3 payments:

    • Deposit: Paid in GBP upon booking.
    • Balance: The remainder of the GBP balance (minus deposit) paid 62 days before arrival.
    • Local Payment: Paid on arrival to your Tour Leader in Africa. This is usually in USD, but could be in Euros or GBP in some instances.

    The local payment is separate from the initial price you pay prior to the trip. You pay the local payment to your Tour Leader in Euros upon arrival in Africa.

    This includes the on tour expenses that we cannot pay prior to arrival, such as national park entry fees, food, local transport and some activities.

    Travel insurance is essential for ALL Rock My Adventure trips.

    Your health and safety when travelling is of the utmost importance, so it is vital that you have travel insurance policy that covers you for your trip to Africa. Adequate travel insurance is a condition of your contract with us and you will not be able to join a trip without it.

    You must be satisfied that your insurance fully covers all your personal requirements including cancellation charges, theft, medical expenses and repatriation in the event of accident or illness. 

    Your insurance should also cover you for any adventurous activities that you wish to do – this includes the ‘included’ activities on the tour and any ‘optional’ activities.

    Please be aware that some hazardous activities such as (but not limited to) white water rafting on grade 5 rapids, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, safari walks, bungee jumping and sky diving may not be covered by all policies, so you may have to take out a higher level of cover.

    Medical care is not free in Africa and even the cost of getting to hospital can be super expensive, so you need to be covered in case of a medical emergency, including air ambulance evacuation and repatriation in the event of accident or illness. For example, if your appendix bursts whilst we are in the Serengeti, you will need to be evacuated by helicopter to Nairobi. Without insurance you would need to pay for that out of your own pocket. 

    If you are bringing along any electrical equipment such as cameras and laptops, you should also ensure your insurance covers those items too. Some policies only have this as an add-on. 

    If you are travelling to an area that is subject to foreign office warnings, this may void your travel insurance, so you may need to take out an additional policy for the days you are in the danger zones. 

    Please always read the small print.

    Your tour leader will collect your travel insurance details on the first day of your trip, so please have the following information ready for them:

    • Name of insurance provider.
    • Your policy number.
    • The telephone number to call in the event of an emergency.
    • Your next of kin name and number.

    What are you waiting for?!

    Places are very limited so don’t miss out!

    Have a question? Then contact us using the form below!

    Contact Us

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