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

From Abomey we returned to the very south of Benin and one of the centres of voodoo, Ouidah, in February 2005.


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










ben89Palm trees surround Le Jardin Brasilien Auberge de la Diaspora, on Ouidah's coast



ben90The beach on the Gulf of Guinea, Ouidah





ben92A farmer shepherds his cows along the beach at Ouidah
















ben94The Point of No Return, at the end of the Route des Esclaves in Ouidah, is very close to the Auberge










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ben96The Point of No Return is a memorial to the slaves that were sent in ships to the Americas - Ouidah



ben97This memorial lies next to the Point of No Return, Ouidah





ben98A great view from the Auberge, on Ouidah's beach















ben99A storm is brewing over Ouidah

















ben101Eating lobster at the Auberge with Christina, Ouidah



ben104Full moon on the beach, Ouidah



ben106Ouidah's history museum is housed in the 18th century Fortaleza Sao Joao Batista, a Portuguese fort.

Their website and a brief history of Ouidah here















ben107The restaurant opposite the museum in Ouidah
















ben108The Route des Esclaves is the route that slaves took to the ships bound for the Americas. It is also the link between Ouidah town and the beach



ben109The female warriors of the Dahomey kingdom were known as the Dahomey Amazons - Route des Esclaves, Ouidah



ben110I'd love to know what this statue represents. A vodou fetish maybe? Route des Esclaves, Ouidah



















ben114Fisherman in the lagoon between Ouidah and the beach



ben117The lagoon is surrounded by marshland and greenery, Ouidah


The origins of voodoo, or vodou, are traced to Benin.

Vodou and other West African traditional beliefs/religions were exported with slavery to the Americas, establishing Candomble in Brazil, Vodou in Haiti and Santeria in Cuba, amongst others.

The government of Benin officially recognised vodou as a religion in 1996.



ben119The voodoo Temple des Serpents (Python Temple) in Ouidah lies opposite the Basilica.
It's a tourist trap really, but probably worth it















ben120An offering is made to the vodou spirits at the sacred Iroko tree in the form of animal's blood (often a bull) when wishing for eg. good health, a baby etc - Temple des Serpents, Ouidah












ben121The vodou feticheur's entrance to the temple (ie. vodou chief) - Temple des Serpents, Ouidah



ben122A blood stained wall where offerings are made at the Temple des Serpents, Ouidah



ben12441 virgins collect jugs of sacred water which are used by the vodou feticheur in a ceremony to cleanse the town - Temple des Serpents, Ouidah















ben125This is where the pythons are kept.
There's plenty of them but I wasn't paying extra to have a photo of one around my neck - just a bit too tacky for me. Ouidah















ben127Legba the gatekeeper shows off his willy again at the entance to the Kpasse Sacred Forest in Ouidah. Yes he is a symbol of fertility..



ben129Aidohwedo is the rainbow god and also the god of continuity and wealth - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah



ben131Heviosso or Shango is the god of thunder - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah.
Several statues are made from pipes, canisters and other household tools


















ben133Sakpatassi is the god of smallpox - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah



ben134A follower of Heviosso, the god of thunder - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah




















ben132This is the female representation of the thunder god Heviosso, Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah



ben138Taking a dip at Awale Plage hotel, Grand Popo








ben139The beach at Awale Plage in Grand Popo















ben140Locals gather in the fishing nets at Awale Plage, Grand Popo



ben143Awale Plage's beach bar, Grand Popo



ben147Lake Aheme at Possotome, a day trip from Grand Popo
















ben151Fishing nets hang from the trees lakeside near Possotome















ben153Taking liquid refreshment at the village of Bopa, on the shores of Lake Aheme



ben154The piroguier told us that this is a bar for the Bopa locals. I'm not convinced, though I guess it is a place to get away from it all..



ben156Mangroves are in abundance around Lake Aheme
















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