Togo & Benin: Voodoo Explorer

Group Tour

Overview

Home to a fascinating variety of vibrant cultures, Togo and Benin are lands of quite extraordinary scope and spectacle, being the spiritual home of voodoo and steeped in the tragedy and horror of the tragic trans-atlantic slave trade. Beginning in Lome, Togo’s lively capital, our journey takes us into the heart of some of West Africa’s most culturally diverse regions and geographically varied landscapes.

We’ll explore the tropical forests along the slopes of Mount Klouto and visit ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

13 x Breakfasts
13 x Lunches
13 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use a minibus and your own two feet!

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 6252 Wild Miles

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will stay in hotels and guesthouses. Please be aware that accommodation on this trip is functional and clean but often basic and AC and hot water may be unreliable. Bathroom facilities may also be basic. WiFi is not common. Please note that any accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Wild Miles Club

When you book a trip with Wild Frontiers you are awarded points, which are based on the return distance from London to the arrival city of your trip. Points are awarded for all our holidays, including both our escorted group tours and tailor-made trips. When you accrue points, you will qualify for the following discounts on all future bookings:

Blue More than 10,000 points 2.5% discount
Bronze More than 30,000 points 5% discount
Silver More than 45,000 points 7.5% discount
Gold More than 60,000 points 10% discount

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Togo & Benin: Voodoo Explorer
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

Day 1 Tour Starts In Lome (Togo)

Day 1 Tour Starts In Lome (Togo)

The tour begins this evening in Togo’s lively capital city, Lome. Overlooking the Gulf of Guinea, the city has been at a crossroads of trade and cultures for centuries, a fact reflected in the character of its people and architecture. After checking into our hotel we’ll take the chance to talk about the exciting trip ahead over our first group dinner.

Hotel Onomo or similar
Dinner

Day 2 Lome - Kpalime

Day 2 Lome - Kpalime

The only African city to be colonised by the French, the British and the Germans, Lome is home to a fascinating fusion of styles and influences and includes amongst its more intriguing attractions a unique fetish market, which we will visit this morning. Departing the city we drive north-west towards the Ghanaian border and the market town of Kpalime. The land here is rich in coffee, cocoa and cotton and provides us with some of the most fertile panoramas in the country.

Hotel Gess or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 In & Around Kpalime

Day 3 In & Around Kpalime

The forest around Kpalime is home to a staggering array of butterflies, with some 500 different species to be found amongst the delicate eco-systems around the slopes of Mount Klouto. This morning we’ll join a local entomologist to learn more about the native insects and pristine wilderness, before discovering some of the colonial heritage, art centre and the market in Kpalime later in the afternoon.

Hotel Gess or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Kpalime - Sokode

Day 4 Kpalime - Sokode

Continuing north this morning we head for the city of Sokode, situated between the waters of the Mo and Mono Rivers. Multi-ethnic and multi-religious, the city lies in the heart of agricultural farmland and provides an opportunity to enjoy the rich diversity of rural life. On arrival we’ll check in to our hotel and after dinner head out to witness a traditional fire dance in a small village close by, a truly hypnotic ritual combining the handling and even swallowing of glowing coals, frenetic drum rhythms and, dare we say it, magic!

Hotel Lamirelle or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Sokode - Kara

Day 5 Sokode - Kara

This morning we’ll notice the change in the landscapes and visit some of the region around Sokode which is inhabited by the Bassar people. Living in large clay houses with conical roofs, the Bassar are famous for their skilful iron production and the customs that go with it. Here the elder women are the only ones allowed to climb the mountains that surround the villages to collect rocks that contain the iron ore, whilst the men must refrain from sexual activity during the smelting process if they want it to be successful. In the villages we will meet with traditional chiefs and learn about the role of traditional chiefdom today, before continuing to Kara for the evening.

Hotel Kara or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Kara to Natitingou (Benin)

Day 6 Kara to Natitingou (Benin)

Today we drive off into the mountains of Togo to meet with the Kabye people, whose traditional soukala huts are laid out in large circles and home to patriarchal families. Settled on high plateaus the Kabye women still form clay pots in the time-honoured fashion, whilst the men fashion iron tools with rocks rather than hammers, reminiscent of the early Iron Age.

This afternoon we will cross into Benin and after border formalities will make our way to the Taneka mountain and spend a few hours here exploring the hills and villages that surround the mountain (easy walking, approx. 2 hours, easy terrain). The Taneka villages that have been inhabited for centuries and the different populations that have been based here over the years have formed an interesting melting-pot of cultures. The upper part of the village is inhabited by fetish priests and their initiates, dressed in goatskins and carrying long pipes and as we wander around along alleys bordered by a series of smooth stones, we will meet people going about their everyday life.

Hotel Tata Somba or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 In & Around Atakora Region

Day 7 In & Around Atakora Region

After breakfast we will head out to visit the Betammaribe people, also known as the Somba and close neighbours of the Tamberma. Geographically isolated, the Somba’s traditions have been little affected by the outside world for centuries and their remarkable two and three-storey dwellings bear close resemblance with the fortified structures of the Tamberma. Today we’ll learn more about the initiation rites of these fascinating people, including learning about the delicate and complex geometrical patterns that are scarified on the bellies and backs of the young men and women. We’ll also have the opportunity to speak to some of the young people themselves about their experiences and beliefs. (approx 4 hours walking, easy terrain)

Hotel Tata Somba or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Natitingou to Dassa

Day 8 Natitingou to Dassa

In the morning we will travel to a Fulani camp and share in part their day to understand their daily activities. The Fulani are mainly shepherds and the men move around with their herds while the women take care of the camp as well as milk the cows and produce the butter to be sold at the market. From here we’ll start heading south as we drive to the town of Dassa for the night (approx. 5.5hrs). We will pass the Dankoli fetish, an important place of Voodoo an important place of voodoo worship and long considered the gateway to the voodoo world. On arrival we’ll learn about fetishes and witness some of the rituals the religion is famed for. Depending on who is around we may get to witness an animal sacrifice, so be prepared! 

Hotel Jeko or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Dassa

Day 9 Dassa

Once the capital of an ancient kingdom, Dassa can trace its royal ancestors back to the latter years of the 14th century. Today it’s still possible to find evidence of its regal past and the graves of the old kings are said to still be protected by voodoo magic. We'll take a quick tour of the town to see what sites remain from this dynast then walk though the hills (approx 1 hour) around Dassa to a scared place where kings are buried and still protected today by several voodoos.

Later today we will get to experience a traditional voodoo Egun mask dance, which starts off with a kind of bull fight designed to create fear and respect amongst the crowd. Be warned that though the Egun may look colourful, the locals believe them to be the dead themselves so people tend to keep well back as the performers emerge from the forest and form a procession through the village streets. Remember you don’t want the Egun to touch you because if he does, there is danger of death, so watch out!

Hotel Jeko or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Dassa - Ketou

Day 10 Dassa - Ketou

Today we will visit the Royal Palace of Abomey, a monument to the ancient Dahomey kings. Inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List, it is a rich repository of weaponry, statues and bas-reliefs that tell of a kingdom in a perpetual state of war. We also visit the underground village, discovered in 1998 this subterranean town of over fifty dwellings lying thirty feet beneath the ground consists of a series of bunker-type cellars, rooms and passageway thought to date back to the late 16th or early 17th century.
We will then head to our overnight accommodation in Ketou (approx. 2 hours)

Hotel Residence Celine or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 In and around Ketou

Day 11 In and around Ketou

This morning we will hopefully get the chance to meet with Benin royalty, Oba (King) Adedu Loye and his dignitaries. Ketou is the capital of the ancient and prestigious Yoruba Kingdom that "rules" on the border region of Benin and Nigeria. After completing the mandatory protocols we will be introduced to the King and will be able to ask his majesty about the history of Ketou. Next we will learn about and witness the Gelede celebrations, a tradition of the Fon and Yoruba people of Southern Benin. Gelede is dedicated to Mother Earth and celebrated by the whole community to promote the fertility of both the people and the soil. Each Gelede mask represents a different character with only the initiates knowing the true nature and secrets of the symbolic characters. The masks are brightly painted and they move like puppets as they relate myths and moral stories using mime in a fascinating mix of theatre.

Hotel Residence Celine or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 Ketou - Porto Novo

Day 12 Ketou - Porto Novo

Today we drive to Porto Novo (approx 2 hours), an old  town with colonial architecture and colourful markets including a large traditional herbal market.  Our city tour includes the ethnographic museum, an interesting museum that takes an intensive look into the past of Porto Novo’s kings with displays of fetishes, old Yoruba toyal masks, costumes, and some musical instruments. We’ll also visit King Toffa’s Royal Palace – a former residence of the King is now officially called Musee Honmé. This well maintained, rather simple, palace provides a window into how African royalty really lived. We also plan to visit to the Songhai Center which helps young people to face future challenges in farming through agricultural training, research, and production to provide them with the knowledge to generate a sustainable livelihood in rural Africa. 

Residence Ouadada or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13 Porto Novo - Ganvie - Ouidah

Day 13 Porto Novo - Ganvie - Ouidah

We continue our journey west to the stilted village of Ganvie on Lake Nokoue, the largest of its kind in Africa. We’ll visit the thatched houses of the Tofinou people, whose traditions and lives still revolve around the lake, on which we’ll witness an abundance of pirogues that men, women and children guide with ease using brightly coloured poles. It is with these pirogues that men fish, women deliver goods to the market and children go to school and play. From here we continue to the coast and the town of Ouidah, long considered the spiritual home of Voodoo.

Hotel Casa del Papa or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14 Ouidah (Benin) - Lome (Togo)

Day 14 Ouidah (Benin) - Lome (Togo)

After breakfast we start our drive back and across the border into Togo along the main coastal highway via Grand Popo on the shores of the Gulf of Benin. Once back in Togo we will have lunch and, depending on traffic and the time taken for border formalities, we may also have some time to relax by the ocean. Those on the group flights will be transferred back to Lome airport in good time for the suggested group flight this evening.

Breakfast, Lunch

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

Reducing Single Use Plastic

We recognise the environmental issues and challenges around single-use plastic in many countries we visit and are actively working with our partners on the ground to reduce plastic waste on our tours and within the hotels and restaurants we visit. You can help to reduce your personal plastic waste by taking a refillable, filtered water bottle with you on your trip. Filtered water bottles can be refilled from water sources including your hotel room and restaurant taps, drinking fountains and refill stations. Every time you refill your bottle without the use of single-use plastic, you will be helping to reduce waste and protect the environment. Filtered Water Bottles | Wild Frontiers (wildfrontierstravel.com)

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
SN 2104 London Heathrow (LHR) 06:50 Brussels Airport (BRU) 08:55
SN 277 Brussels Airport (BRU) 12:00 Lome Airport (LFW) 19:45
SN 278 Lome Airport (LFW) 21:10 Brussels Airport (BRU) 06:30
SN 2093 Brussels Airport (BRU) 09:40 London Heathrow (LHR) 10:05

Visas

VISAS

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact a reputable visa agency. More details can be found here - https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

For this tour UK passport holders currently require visas in advance for both Togo (double entry) and Benin (single entry). For both Togo and Benin you will need to apply for an E Visa.

Passports should ideally be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the end of your tour.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

VACCINATIONS & ADDITIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is a mandatory requirement for all travellers to Togo and Benin.

For all destinations, please make sure you are up-to-date with any standard vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Hepatitis A, Tetanus) as recommended by your local health care provider. 

Malaria is present in all parts of Togo and Benin and precautions are essential.

For the most up-to-date information on all vaccination requirements and the most suitable anti-malarial tablets, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from your local travel centre or consult an official travel health website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Covid Testing: No mandatory testing is currently required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

If necessary further details will be sent out to you upon booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas & vaccinations are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Alternatively, you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries*. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your requirements.

*Please note bespoke, tailor-made itineraries need to be a minimum of 7 days and we can only offer them in countries where we have a tailor-made expert

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

October-March is a good time to travel in Togo and Benin as these months fall within the dry season. Average daytime temperatures will vary from as low as 25C up to around 35C, and it will feel humid at times. It may be a little cooler in the northern halves of Togo & Benin. Rainfall is unlikely, though the odd short downpour can happen on occasions so be prepared!

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. To get the most out of the tour you should be comfortable with some easy/moderate day walks and be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Please note that although this trip is not necessarily physically demanding by way of exertion, this is not a particularly touristy part of the African continent. Facilities and infrastructure of both countries will be relatively basic and to enjoy this tour fully you should be comfortable travelling without luxuries. Road conditions, particularly in rural areas, may be poor leading to some bumpy drives. We will use the best accommodation available, but these are often of a lower standard than would be expected in other areas of Africa. 

As you can appreciate there are not a huge number of trained ‘guides’ in Togo and Benin, so please do not always expect the same standard of service you will find in some other African countries.

Though vegetarians can be catered for, the variety of food will be limited at times. This is not a ‘foodie’ tour and our main evening meals are likely to consist of a combination of chicken/fish, vegetables and basic carbs. Clients with specific dietary requirements might struggle at times on this tour so this should be discussed with the office before booking. Please be aware that if you suffer from any kind of nut allergy you must discuss this with the office before booking this tour as nuts are used so extensively in food throughout the West Africa region.



THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.
On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A 10% deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 6252 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.