Hi there! I hope you all enjoyed your Easter holidays and time off from normal work schedules? I did…you can tell already as I took a short trip to Benin Republic.
My trip was on Monday 24th April, It was a road trip, boarded the bus as early as 7am with African Eagle which cost me about #9500. The bus eventually moved at past 8, started with the usual praise and worship and a prayer to GOD for safety. It was a long journey but not stressful at all, as the bus was a new one. It had enough leg room to stretch my legs, the drivers are trained and they had lots of safety cautions-so a major plus for them and the bus fares to different locations were quite reasonable compared to the others I checked out -plus its very close to my house. The bus also gave each passenger a bottle of water, a pack of food (jollof rice, plantain and chicken) and snacks with a drink.
In no time, we were already at the boarder-immigration stop , we were delayed a bit cause of some gentlemen who the custom officials claimed look suspicious-they finally settled them of course and we were allowed to pass by. The bus final destination is Ghana. I also changed my Naira to CFA and in no time I was in Cotonou. I was dropped at the park at about past 1pm where I got on a bike trying to locate my hotel which I booked online through booking.com and I didn’t find after going round and round, I decided to ditch looking for the hotel and start my adventure in Republique du Benin. I hopped back on the bike and the bike man offered to take me round that day-he took me to all the places in Ouidah, served as my chauffeur, took all my pictures-for a local he did fantastically well, this man also waited for me and took me back to Cotonou in search of another hotel. The people are generally friendly-willing to help.
The Republic of Benin is a state in West Africa, formerly known as Dahomey. It has a very small coastline along the Bay of Benin, sharing a border with Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and with Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Benin is now a presidential republic, the capital is Porto-Novo, but the Government headquarters is in Cotonou. Benin is a member of ‘the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). The official language is French. It is strictly a french speaking country so if you are to visit, always remember that it might take a while to find someone who understands English, you may also need to brush up on your french—It wasnt hard for me as I had a short course a while back in French which helped me a lot, some of the locals speak yoruba as well. I explored Ouidah, Cotonou and Port Novo.
Is a city on the coast of the Republic of Benin and has a population of 76,555 people. I visited the Porte du non retour, Temple des pythons, Ouidah museum of History. It is the capital of voodoo and the most visited site in the country after Cotonou. It is a city of historical and cultural importance, and there are several temples and museums like the Musée d’Histoire d’Ouidah (also called the Voodoo Museum). Also in Ouidah there is the Forest Park and also the sacred Route des Esclave “the Slave Road. As I traveled along the road, I noticed that the streets were full of fetish statues. Ouidah is located 40 km from Cotonou, along the main road to Togo. I also visited the point of no return.
TEMPLE DES PYTHONS
This is an interesting and historical sight to visit in Benin. The temple is facing the Ouidah’s basilica and the adoration of pythons started after a war that took place in 1717 when the kingdom of Dahomey still existed. At the time Ouidah (Formerly called Houeda) wasn’t part of the kingdom of Benin and during that war, Ouidah was defeated. King Kpassè, ruler of the kingdom of Ouidah, fled the town and took refuge in a big forest in order to not be captured by the notorious Ghézo warriors who were seating for him. The legend has it that during the search, many pythons started to come out of the forest therefore protecting king Kpassè of Ouidah. This was how the king was saved and decided to honor pythons by building 3 huts in that forests that will be used as monuments to commemorate pythons. The pythons are called Royal pythons and are worshipped in Benin especially in Ouidah. The snakes are a totem in Benin and are important especially in the religion of Voodoo. They are not harmful and as a respect, pythons are not supposed to be killed or bad luck will strike if it does occur. Every 7 years, the adepts hold a ceremony where they would celebrate the symbolism and value of pythons in the temple. Anyone is welcome to visit and there is usually a fare you pay to enter and if you want to take pictures, you also pay. I paid 2000CFA- entrance fee + pictures. I was bold enough to explore, carried a snake and put it around my neck-this has been on my bucket list for such a long time (happy to strike it out).
After seeing all these beautiful places and taking pictures. I was tired and needed a break. I headed back to Cotonou, found another hotel (Hotel Residence Sesy). I quickly had a bath and rushed back to the restaurant to order a meal-dinner(paid separately). I paid 8500CFA a night-the hotel staffs were pleasant and assisted me to settle as well as gave me directions the next day after showing them all the places I intended to visit. After dinner, of course I slept off in my cozy room.
I will tell you more of this trip in another write up….cheers