Benin Stories and Tips

Natitingou

When you are in Benin, you'll probably want to see the traditional way of life in the authentic villages. The best place to start is the little town of Natitingou, a few hundred kilometres north of the capital of Cotonou.

You can easily reach this town by bus from the capital, but there is also an airport, and, if you are really lucky, you might even find an airplane ticket (but don't count on it!!!).

Natitingou, unlike most cities in Africa, hasn't seen many white people in the last decades. You'll probably be the only ones there!!! There isn't much interesting to see in the city, apart of the common life of the ordinary inhabitants.

From this city it is possible to reach some villages that are completely made of mud and branches and dung. It's not fake or commercially exploited because they simply don't know the concept of tourism over there.

It is even possible that the chief of the village (or the medicine man, the one that practices voodoo; you'll see plenty of voodoo signs when you walk through any authentic village, best recognisable by the chicken bones) doesn't want you to enter his village, but if you bring a present you'll probably be able to get a guided tour.

Caution! Try to take one or two policemen or soldiers with you when you try to visit a village. They know where to go (you'll never find it on your own unless you have gps (and I don't have the coordinates anymore; don't trust the maps!), and, even then, you'll still need someone to translate because in these villages everyone speaks only their local language. If you don't speak French, don't go to Benin!

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