Fa is the god or spirit of Fate and a Fa reading is a type of fortune telling that dates back thousands of years, performed by a specially qualified Fa priest using traditional materials of cowrie shells and beads. To get a Fa reading it is best to go through a local guide who will organise a reputable one. You need to take gifts and plenty of...more
A Voodoo ceremony is very interesting. The one I attended was held in a rural village outside Abomey and was dedicated to the Warrior spirit Cokou. It was organised by a local guide who went ahead to the village to ask permission and allow the villagers to make the preparations. He also paid for the required ingredients to be bought – chickens,...more
This small monument can be easily missed as you rush past it to the UNESCO world heritage site of the kings palace museum. However, it has quite an interesting history to it. During the time French were fighting the Kings of Dahomey (the old name for Abomey), the Germans, who controlled Togo next to Benin, sold the Kings of Dahomey a French cannon...more
The Royal Palace Museum in Abomey is a UNESCO world heritage site. At the time of the French defeat of King Ghebanzin in 1894 the palace complex contained 12 palaces and covered an area of 44 hectares with a 10metre high wall surrounding it. The original palace was built in the early 17th century and each successive King built his own palace in the...more
Goho Square was the scene of the last battle King Ghebanzin had with the French in 1894. The French almost lost but got help from the English in order to win. King Ghebanzin refused to let the French take over the city and burnt it almost to the ground. After this he was exiled to Martinique and then to Algeria where he died. He was succeeded by...more
In Abomey, we looked for someplace to take the kids to eat. Not much choice outside the few "hotel" restaurants. Stopped at a no-name place on the road. It looked clean anyway. Once inside, we found out that their sole dish of the day was a stew of agouti (a kind of giant rat). There was no way we were going to get the kids to eat that, so we just had a drink instead. We discovered Moka Cola, a coffee flavored soda. The kids loved it.
Favorite Dish: Well, we didn't try the agouti, but the drinks were cold!
This is a buzzing outdoor bar with a DJ and live bands. I visited on a Sunday night and it was packed and very lively, which may have been because it was Easter Sunday.
The tables are outside in front of a big stage and the DJ was playing popular West African and reggae stuff, all very good and great to dance to. Later a live band appeared who were also really good. The waitresses bring your drinks to the table and the service is quite efficient. They also serve food but we didn’t eat here. I believe it stays open until about 2am.
Applique is a traditional craft of the Abomey region. Originally used to show the exploits of the kings, nowadays they are made for the tourist trade. They come in many interesting designs: maps of Africa, anmals, and village scenes, for example. After hard bargaining, you can get small pieces for around CFA1000 (less than US$2), larger pieces can be well over CFA10,000 (US$20).
Allada is in between Cotonou and Abomey, and is the ancestral home of the Abomey Kings. We stopped here briefly on route from Cotonou to Abomey. The original King was from Tadu in Togo and was said to be descended from a princess and a leopard. He travelled to Allada with his family and settled there in about 1600. The King had 3 sons and each son...more
Bohicon is 5km from Abomey and is the main stopping point on the road to the North. It is a bigger town than Abomey and is the commercial centre of the region. The main language here is Fon, the language of the tribe of the Dahomey Kings who were constantly warring with the Yoruba tribe and capturing them to be sold as slaves. Consequently most of...more