The Natitingou museum is located in an old French colonial house, built in 1915. As usual with museums in Benin, you get a much better experience if you hire a guide to explain the exhibits, although the guide we had didn’t speak English so Alex translated his explanations for me.The museum mainly details the Somba people’s lifestyle and the...more
The Tata Somba area is a good place to see Shea butter being made. Shea butter is an oily textured cream produced from a nut that grows on a tree, in many North and West African countries. It is used for cooking and household purposes instead of palm oil in countries where it is plentiful and can also be used in the production of chocolate. Its...more
The Tata Somba houses have 3 storeys and are made from mud bricks. Originally they were built for defence against rival tribes and the slave traders but the Somba have continued their traditional way of building and when you visit one of their homes you can see why. They are extremely spacious and practical, enabling a large family to live very...more
If you like swimming on a quite place don't miss the Kota Falls (Chutes de la Kota). There is a small water bassin down of the falls that is perfect for swimming. Because there are very few tourists in this part of the world, you are almost always alone. During the tourist season (december-may) there is a small fee to visit the falls (200 CFA per...more
Like anywhere in Togo and Benin, mototaxi's are abundant in Natitingou. They are an excellent and cheap means to cover short distances.You can distinguish taxi moto's from others looking at the driver. The taxi drivers always wear green and yellow shirts with a number printed on it. If you need one, you just sign with your right hand. The fees are...more
Most tourists don't leave the region without having visited some of the famous Tata Somba Houses. Probably the best place to organise a visit to a traditional homestead is Boukoumbe, about an hour west of Natitingou. In Boukoumbe you will be approached by guides (at least I was), and if I'm not mistaken, there's even some kind of Ecotourism project...more
We visited the spectacular (at least in the raining season) and attractive Kota Falls as a daytrip from Natitingou. Not that they were very easy to reach, though. The moto taxi dropped us after 20 minutes at the junction on the main road, from where it's still a 6 km walk on a dirt road. Before reaching the Falls we paid a small entrance fee after...more
The most spectacular mountain scenery can be found along the Natitingou - Boukoumbe road, there are some brilliant viewpoints, but the hills around town are also appealing for a some unstructured hiking.We followed a bushpath behind the fancy Tata Somba Hotel uphill, and were treated on very nice views over town!more
I really enjoyed staying 3 nights in the relaxed town of Natitingou (pop. 60000).People are hospitable and polite, the climate is moderate, there are some nice bars, a long string of decent food stalls around the taxi park and even a cinema!! I lodged in La Vieuw Cavalier, very decent rooms for about EUR 8. It is located a bit uphill out of the...more
La Brais de Nati is set on a hill just outside the town centre, overlooking the town. You can choose to eat either inside in the traditionally styled hut or outside. We chose to eat outside with a view of the twinkling lights of Natitingou below us.
The food is very good, and although it is a traditional grill featuring local meats there are also plenty of fresh tasty vegetables. I had Guinea Fowl with rice and green beans, carrots, onion and peppers and it was delicious but the portion was huge – far more than I could eat, although I tried my best!
Our driver ordered millet beer which is a local speciality. I decided to play safe and not try it as it is made with local water. It is also very strong. I had my usual Beninoise beer.
The Somba are one of the most interesting tribes in Benin, living in the North close to the Atakora mountains. They are one of the main reasons for visiting the North, to see their traditional lifestyle and amazing 3 storey Tatas (houses) They are related to the Taneka tribe who also live in the North of Togo.The Somba have largely retained their...more
As in most of Benin, the traditional religion plays an important part in daily life. The Tata has an area on the ground floor where Fetishes are kept to keep evil spirits away or to help solve a problem. When we visited we noticed many feathers on the floor in the fetish room. When a young person wants to travel away from the village, perhaps to...more
Houses in the Tata Sombas are made from traditional mud bricks. The bricks are made from mud, grass and water in a mould then dried in the sun. When a Somba man wants to get married he has to build his own Tata or house which can take up to a year, depending on how much help he gets! Traditionally if a son wanted to build his own Tata his father...more
Luggage and bags: Re-sealable plastic bags are useful if you visit the Tata Sombas and want to buy Shea butter from one of the villages. The women in the village don’t have any bags and the Shea butter is quite oily and messy, plus they only have large quantities of it. The bags that you get at the airport to take your cosmetics through security are ideal as you can put a portion of Shea butter in and it can be sealed for the rest of your trip.