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Location - West Africa; Capital - Porto Novo; Population - 10 million; Currency - CFA Franc MORE BENIN

I spent 3 weeks in the small West African state of Benin, flying into Cotonou in February 2005.


bennoteAll Francophone countries in West Africa, along with Guinea Bissau, use the CFA Franc









ben1The Gulf of Guinea as seen from Hotel de la Plage, Cotonou. Many oil tankers can be seen going to/from Nigeria



ben6Moped taxis, called zemidjans, are the speediest way of getting around Cotonou















ben7Taking our Charlie Brown pirogue across Lake Nokoue to Ganvie



ben10Fishing nets on Lake Nokoue





ben12A glimpse of Ganvie village on Lake Nokoue, a fascinating place worth staying the night to soak up the atmosphere















ben13Most buildings in Ganvie are made of bamboo and built on stilts - this is the main 'street'
















ben14The dining area of Chez M Hotel in Ganvie, where I stayed with my friend Christina



ben18The market area of Ganvie, where people bring their produce by boat


ben20Opposite the hotel, locals queue up in their pirogues to replenish their freshwater supply from a pump - Ganvie















ben21A voodoo (or vodou) shrine in Lake Nokoue
















ben22Christina at a cafe in Porto Novo, Benin's capital



ben25Porto Novo's Hotel Beaurivage has lovely views of fishing pirogues in the lagoon below



ben26There are many colonial buildings in Porto Novo, this one now housing the Ethnographic Museum
















ben24A map of Benin and a vodou feticheur on the walls of Musee da Silva, Porto Novo







ben28The grounds of the Hotel Tata Somba in Natitingou, northern Benin



ben33Drinking at the shores of Lake Bali, Pendjari National Park. Baobab trees are common in the Sahel regions of West Africa


ben31An elephant at Pendjari National Park















ben37Warthogs in Pendjari National Park
















ben41Impala, Pendjari National Park



ben43Hippos laze in the Sacred Lake, Pendjari National Park



ben47I think these are waterbuck, Pendjari National Park (I must write the names down..)

Link to Pendjari National Park website here














ben48Taking shelter from the fierce heat at Pendjari Hotel - Pendjari National Park















ben50Walking to Tanougou Falls, close to the national park entrance



ben52Tanougou Falls - the perfect place to refresh yourself after working up a sweat in the park



ben56Making our way down from the top of Tanougou Falls














ben57Tanguieta is the main town between Pendjari and Natitingou



ben58Driving past a pen of harvested cotton near Tanguieta



ben60The Betamaribe people of northern Benin live in tata somba houses, made from clay.
This tata somba house is between Natitingou and Boukoumbe














ben61Tata somba houses, between Natitingou and Boukoumbe















ben62The gardens of Chez Monique in Abomey



ben63Some of Chez Monique's residents greet us in Abomey



ben66Traditional song and dance was laid on for a Belgian delegation who were eating at the guesthouse (little did they know there had been no running water all day, but the food was good anyway) Abomey



ben68The dancers are blurred but I like the effect - Chez Monique, Abomey
















ben71Vodou symbols on the walls, Abomey
















ben72Hwemu Temple is a vodou temple in Abomey



ben73Houndossou, a vodou god, painted on Hwemu Temple in Abomey


ben74Abomey was the capital of the Dahomey kingdom, which existed from the 17th century until 1894.
Ganyehessou was the first Dahomey king, his symbol here painted on Hwemu Temple, Abomey
















ben903 Dahomey kings were represented by different images - Abomey.
I want to acknowledge the copyright owner of this postcard but don't have the details (HPS?)














ben75Agonglo Palace in Abomey



ben77Agonglo's image is on the left, Guezo on the right (see postcard above) - Agonglo Palace, Abomey



ben78On the walls of Agonglo Palace is the voodoo symbol of Segbolissa - Abomey















ben79Tegbessou is one of the Dahomey kings, as depicted at Agonglo Palace, Abomey















ben81Semassou Temple is another vodou temple in Abomey



ben80The vodou god Legba is the gatekeeper and, with his erect penis, an obvious symbol of fertility - Semassou Temple, Abomey



ben82The painting gives a warning to those doing wrong. To its right is Legba - Semassou Temple, Abomey

Voodoo explained














ben84Statue of Behanzin in Abomey, the Dahomey king from 1889-1894 who was defeated by the French



ben85The Royal Palace of Abomey is now a museum



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LINKS - Benin tourist board


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