While the countries of Togo and Benin are small and not very well-known, they are packed with unique experiences that can’t be found in any of our destinations. As the birthplace of voodoo traditions, which have been kept very much alive, Togo and Benin are lands that are completely impregnated with mysterious beliefs and wild rituals. A place where people whisper to altars hoping for wishes to be granted and where fetishes are grinded into salvas to cure the effects of witchcraft.
During your tour in Togo you’ll be jumping right into village life, visiting the town of Aveve with its own sacrificial trees, altars and palm industry. You’ll be trekking the jungle and driving up to the border of Benin where you can find the Tata-Somba mud houses which act as fortresses for their inhabitants.
In Benin, you’ll be hunting more local traditions and beliefs such as the Snake-King of Dassa and witnessing voodoo supplications in Abomey. Benin was the sinister stage of the colonial slave trade. It wouldn’t be a YPT tour if we didn’t go looking out for the remnants of what was once known as the socialist country of the People’s Republic of Benin.
Arrive at your convenience into Lomé – the capital city of Togo which is well connected from many countries within Africa and most of Europe.
Transfer to our centrally located Hotel Le Galion and meet your fellow travellers and YPT guide in the lobby at 2:00pm
Head out for lunch in town and go over pre-tour details
Visit the Monument to Independence – a tribute to Togo’s independence from France on April 27 1960
Explore Africa’s largest fetish market – here you’ll be receiving your first lesson in Voodoo. Locals visit this market to purchase animal carcasses and charms to obtain favours from the spirits
During your exploration of Lomé it is possible to see the Ghana border from the capital
Pass markets and sample famous local snacks such as pâte and fufu with a wide range of sauces
Lomé is situated by the beach and packed with nice bars and spots to mingle with the locals, we take up this opportunity and enjoy the nightlife
Overnight at Hotel Le Galion
Friday 11th February – Lomé – Avévé
Breakfast at hotel and begin making our way out of the capital and deep into the jungle of Togo along the border of Benin (2 hours drive)
Along the drive you’ll stop by Agbodrafo’s secret slave house – after slavery was outlawed, Togolese slavers continued their business by operating from a house with hidden passages leading to cells where they would keep their captives.
Lunch at a delicious pork barbeque joint named ‘’Moins cher’’.
Arrive in Aveve – a town dedicated to the Palm industry. Led by the villagers, you’ll see how the women of the town collect and gather the palm, produce palm oil, and other uses they have for the leftovers.
As you explore the town you’ll pass different voodoo guardians, totems and sacrificial altars.
Visit a Sodabi refinery – a type of liquor made from distilled palm wine
Board a palm tree carved into a boat for a short yet rather thrilling ride around town
Visit the Tanti-Ayoko’s drinking hole for refreshments – this is the best spot to try a different variety of Sodabi, and other non-alcoholic refreshments with the locals.
Begin our trek into the jungle to explore the voodoo tree. This humongous tree allegedly grants people with jobs and promotions. It is rumoured that presidents from other countries visit the tree under the cover of darkness to pray for their re-elections.
Dinner is arranged by the villagers at our hotel – it’s apart of their culture to invite us for a dance party where they’ll show you local moves to their distinct music
Overnight at Hotel Akpedze
Saturday 12th February – Avévé – Kpalimé
Breakfast at the hotel and begin our drive to the other side of the country to reach Kpalimé (4 hours) passing Lomé for lunch and plenty of stops along the way for rests or photos.
Once arricing into Kpalimé – you’ll visit the craft school where students are learning to sculpt, weave and paint.
Treak the jungle of Kpalimé – our local guide will introduce to you the strange plants and trees that grow in this jungle and the multiple uses locals have for them. Along your trek you’ll also see buildings dating back from the German colonial times as well as local villages up the hill.
Dinner is prepared for you in Kouma Kunda – a village on top of the mountain chain.
Overnight at Auberge Villageoise
Sunday 13th February – Kpalimé – Kara
Breakfast at hotel and head further north of Togo (4 hours)
Along the drive we’ll stop to visit a bat forest where thousands of bats can be summoned by making sounds. You’ll be able to get great shots as they start flying around in massive flocks.
Stopping for local lunch along the way
Visit the Bafilo weavers – specialists of a very interesting technique of weaving.
Stop by the Death Rock of Aledjo – an interesting rock formation.
Arrive in Kara – known as the second capital of Togo. It is the hometown of Gnassinbé Eyadema – the strongman of Togo, who led the country from 1967 until his death in 2005. He was succeeded by his son who is still in power today. You’ll visit the North Korean like statue which was erected in his honour and explore the presidential palace.
Dinner in Kara where our hotel has very nice options.
Overnight in Hotel La Douceur
Monday 14th February – Kara – Somba Country
Breakfast at hotel and head to the neighbouring villages for a trek amongst intriguing vegetation and villages. During your trek you’ll witness some of the local trade, the most impressive being the blacksmiths which use stones instead of hammers and anvils.
Lunch at a local millet beer bar.
Head to Tamberma country where you will start spotting the Tata-Sombas – the impressive UNESCO mud houses which act like fortresses to protect herders and their livestock.
Exit Togo and cross into Benin – don’t expect much formalities here! The Togo border is manned by one old man sitting on a bench and the Benin border has zero staff.
Since there are no immigration officers at Benin, we will need to visit the nearest police station to get stamped into the country.
Explore around the first Beninois village and visit the local community
Visit Tata-somba – along with full explanations of how these wonders are built and their functions.
Dinner on top of a Tata-somba and bunker down for an evening under the stars.
Tuesday 15th February – Somba Country –Natitingou – Taneka – Dassa
Breakfast and begin making our way south
Your morning will be dedicated to an introduction of the Taneka people.
Visit the Regional Museum of Natitingou where you will be introduced to the culture of the multiple tribes populating the north of Togo and Benin.
Visit the Cultural Bank of the Taneka which has also been converted to a museum – packed with artefacts of the Taneka and you will be given multiple explanations about their lifestyle, war skills and magic.
Visit the Taneka headquarters of Taneka-Beri – explore sacred spirit houses and trial grounds and meet dignitaries of the tribe. These dignitaries are guardians of the tradition and still dress in animal skins.
Lunch in town before starting our 6 hour long drive to Dassa with breaks and refreshments along the way
Dassa is most famous in the region for its fourth king. The fourth king came from Nigeria with his people in his later days. He was 155 years old when he forced himself to die. Locals say his magic was so strong that he couldn’t die even when he wanted to). He then transformed into a human-headed snake. The princes and kings of Dassa to this day climb up the hill where the fourth king transcended this world for numerous rituals.
Arrive at an eco farm where fresh food is grown and cultivated for your meal this evening
Overnight at Eco-Farm Maktub
Wednesday 16th February – Dassa – Abomey
Breakfast at the eco farm
Visit the Cathedral of Dassa – A stone was brought from Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in France. The cathedral receives believers from all around West Africa.
Drive to Abomey
Along the journey you’ll stop by the underground warrior shelters of Bohican – The warriors of the Dahomey Kingdom, the fiercest in the region, would hide in impressive man-made caves to prowl on unsuspecting locals and turn them into slaves.
Voodoo tour of Abomey along with a local expert guide in Voodoo – you’ll visit a priest at his home/shrine and witness a voodoo ceremony where all your questions can be answered. You’ll witness the priest making offerings to ancient idols covered in grime.
Explore the fetish market of Abomey. While the fetish market of Lomé is a great place for an introduction to voodoo and photos, it can be a little bit touristy. The fetish market of Abomey is smaller but is truly the real deal, with locals purchasing live animals for their sacrifices.
Visit the massive voodoo church, shaped like a chameleon!
Dinner at restaurant La Palmeraie, where we can treat ourselves to amazing woodfire pizza.
Overnight in Hotel Le Tennessee
Thursday 17th February – Abomey Ganvié – Cotonou – Ouidah
Breakfast at hotel and begin drive to Abomey-Calavy – located by the suburbs of Cotonou.
Arrive at Lake Noukoué and board a boat to visit the incredible Ganvié village – a village fully built on stilts and has been nicknamed the Venice of Africa.
Continue onwards to Cotonou – while Porto-Novo is the capital of Benin and the seat of the National Assembly, Cotonou is truly the seat of power with all the rest of the government and embassies located here.
Lunch at a local joint best known for pounded igname with curry.
From the 1970s to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Cotonou was the place from which General Mathieu Kerekou ran his socialist regime. Multiple artefacts of the socialist times can be spotted around this city.
Visit the Red Star monument – the monument depicts a man holding a sickle and is the symbol of Cotonou. The monument promotes green socialism, the idea which promoted self-sufficiency through agriculture.
Visit the Monument du Souvenir. The monument was previously known as the Martyrs’ monument. It was built with the help of North Korean artists from Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang. The monument =commemorates the sacrifice of soldiers, aided by none-other than North Korean soldiers, and help push back putsch attempt orchestrated by anti-socialist countries.
Stop by the Monument to Georgi Dimitrov – the first leader of the Communist International (Comintern) and leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Government.
Begin drive to Ouidah
Dinner at Momo’s venture cooking school – provides a handful of local pupils full culinary training for free. You’ll be sampling delicious African-European fusion meals.
Overnight at Hotel le Dauphin
Friday 18th February – Ouidah
Breakfast at hotel
Visit the Python Temple – sacred pythons are kept here and venerated. Once a month the pythons are freed and allowed to roam around the town to feed themselves. Those brave enough may access inside the python cell.
Trek the 4km slave trail of Ouidah – Ouidah was an important hub of the slave trade orchestrated by Europeans colonists and the Dahomey Kingdom. Along your walk you’ll pass numerous stations which slaves were punished and where rituals by the slaver kings were used to ward off revengeful ghosts. The trek will lead us all the way to the beach where the captured Africans of all tribes where pushed onto galleons, never to come back.
Lunch at Momo’s school and a farewell to the students
Head to a nearby village where the local trade is salt extraction. You’ll be introduced to the process but also to the different fetishes and guardians of the village.
Before departing the village, the people arrange a mask ceremony and ritual dances
Dinner in one of the varied restaurants of Ouidah
Overnight in Ouidah
Saturday 19th February – Ouidah – Cotonou
Breakfast at hotel
Drive back to Cotonou on a different route along the scenic sea
Arrive in Cotonou – you may visit more of the city according to your interests.
Shower and refresh
Tour concludes with airport drop-off arranged according to your flight details – YPT is also able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for flights.
• International flights to Lomé and from Cotonou
• Visa if required (Togo on arrival, Benin e-visa)
• Travel insurance
• Single supplement (€140)
• Dinners and personal spending
• Tips for the local guides and drivers
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.