Ouidah Travel Guide

  • Ouidah Cathedral
    Ouidah Cathedral
    by janiebaxter
  • The traffic circle monument of Ouidah
    The traffic circle monument of Ouidah
    by georeiser
  • The city border of Ouidah, Benin
    The city border of Ouidah, Benin
    by georeiser

Ouidah Things to Do

  • The Python Temple

    The python temple is one of the highlights of a visit to Ouidah – unless you are bothered by being in a room with over 40 snakes! The pythons are Royal Pythons and are sacred, representing the God Dan who is one of the most popular Voodoo Gods, particularly in Ouidah and brings life and fertility. In the big courtyard of the temple there is another...

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  • The Magic of the Sacred Trees

    There is another important sacred tree in the sacred forest with a more recent history. In 1988 there was a strong storm and the tree fell over and blocked the forest path. When the workers came to cut up the tree they found it had put itself back up again by magic!

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  • The Tree That is Really a King

    All the trees in the forest are sacred, some more than others, but this tree is the reason the forest is sacred and is THE most sacred tree. King Kpasse who ruled Ouidah in the 16th century when it was a small peaceful farming area learned that the dreaded and feared King of Abomey was on his way to capture Ouidah and kill him. He fled into the...

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  • Temple of King Kpasse

    This small temple in the sacred forest stands next to the sacred Iroko tree and is dedicated to King Kpasse who was responsible for the forest becoming sacred in the 16th century. It was built by his descendants who still visit it and hold ceremonies there. It is decorated with a peacock and 2 panthers, guardians of the forest.

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  • Zomachi, the Repentance Monument

    The Zomachi monument symbolises repentance and reconciliation. It was built after the first day of repentance and reconciliation in January 1998, when the leading citizens and elders of Ouidah held a ceremony to ask forgiveness from God for the sins of the ancestors who assisted in the slave trade. Many descendants of slaves visit Oiudah each year...

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  • The Tree of Forgetfulness

    The Tree of Forgetfulness was planted by King Agadja, one of the Dahomey Kings who controlled the capture of slaves, who ruled from 1718 to 1732. The tree was blessed with magical powers. The captured slaves would walk around the tree hoping to forget their past life and their identities before they were put onto the boats for America. Men walked...

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  • Temple in the Sacred Forest

    This temple stands near the sacred Iroko Tree in the sacred forest. Entrance is reserved for Voodoo priests and priestesses, as is the area of the forest beyond it, and it is used for special ceremonies. The most important ceremonies are held every 7 years – 7 is a sacred number in Voodoo.The temple has a statue of the snake eating its tail by the...

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  • The Slave Trader Don Francisco De Souza

    Many Ouidah people have Portugese names, and De Souza is a common one, after Don Francisco De Souza the famous slave trader. Born in Brazil to a poor farming family, De Souza went to Ouidah to make his fortune in the slave trade, which he did, soon becoming the most important and successful slave trader in West Africa. He was put in prison by King...

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  • Door of No Return

    The Door of No Return was the last land stage of the journey of the slaves which started in their villages, when they were captured, then took them to the slave market in Chacha Place, around the Tree of Forgetfulness, to dungeon prisons then finally the 3.5km walk to the Door of No Return. The monument is impressive and stands at the head of the...

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  • Slavery Museum in the Old Portugese Fort

    The slave trade is a big part of the history of this part of Africa. It lasted for around 300 years starting from the 16th century and during this time millions of Africans were transported from their homes to work in plantations in America, Brazil, Cuba and the Caribbean countries. The kings of Abomey raided towns and villages to get prisoners to...

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  • Gozin Temple, Sacred Forest

    This temple is dedicated to the Gozin, which is a clay pot that was used in traditional ceremonies. If a King ruled for 10 years a ceremony was held in celebration, and then held every 10 years he ruled after that. The Gozins were carried to the river by young girls who must be virgins. They filled them with water and carried them back to the...

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  • Chacha Place

    Chacha Place was the site of the old slave market where the slaves were auctioned under the big tree, planted in 1747 by one of the Dahomey Kings. They were then taken to the dungeons to await their shipment to America. There is a monument of hope to the slaves who were shipped here and the home of Don Francisco de Souza the main slave trader.

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  • The Cathedral

    The Cathedral is not one of the prettiest, and considering all the other fascinating and wonderful things to do and see in Ouidah it is easy enough to miss. It was built in the early 20th century and refurbished in the 1980's.It is opposite the entrance to the python temple - far more interesting!

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  • Chodaton Plantation, Festival for Twins

    The Chodaton plantation is the venue for the annual festival in honour of twins which is held the first Sunday in October. Twins travel from all over the country and are given special food to eat, then they celebrate with their families.Twins are considered extremely special and a great blessing in Benin. If a woman gives birth to twins she becomes...

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  • The Sacred Forest of Kpasse

    The forest of King Kpasse has been a highly important sacred place in Ouidah for hundreds of years, and only Voodoo priests and priestesses were allowed to enter until 1992 when it was opened to the public for the first annual Voodoo Arts and Culture Festival. King Kpasse ruled the Xweda people in the 16th century and at this time the Kings of...

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  • Ouidah - Virgin Beach

    One of the most quiet and silent beach that I ever visited is the Casa Del Papa beach in Ouidah. This beach is slightly rough. But very clean and beautiful. The maximum number of people whom I have seen in this beach during my numerous visits was during a party when there were 30 people. But otherwise I have always been happy enough to be the only...

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  • Museum - Ouidah

    This museum is situated in the Ouidah Town within the compound of the Portuguese Fort. In its earliest days the Portuguese conducted trade for slaves within the walls of the compound, and throughout its history until it was taken by the Kingdom of Dahomey it served as the site of the diplomatic presence of Portugal in the area. After the fort...

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  • Voodoo Festival , Ouidah

    If you are in Benin in the month of Jan, then you can attend the Annual Voodoo Festival on Jan 10. 60 percent of Benin's 6.3 million people practice voodoo. Almost 10,000 people visit ouidah every year to attend the festivals. Natives who live in US and south America come to re-live the cultural and traditional practices. The annual festival is...

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Ouidah Restaurants

  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo
    Benin Diasporo Auberge Restaurant

    by janiebaxter Written Apr 30, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We ate lunch here and although it was not as good as some of the places in Cotonou and Grand Popo it was perfectly fine with nothing to complain about. We had the usual basket of French bread and some very welcome fresh peanuts to start. This was followed by fish with rice and tomato sauce and then fresh pineapple.
    There are rooms here too but we didn’t stay.
    It is in a nice but quite busy location on the beach close to the door of no return. The restaurant is outdoors and very large, covered with a canvas roof and is next to the swimming pool which is a good size. It was extremely busy at the time we visited so booking is probably a good idea.

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    • Historical Travel

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Ouidah Warnings and Dangers

  • georeiser's Profile Photo
    Ouidah, Benin

    by georeiser Updated Nov 8, 2010

    My best memory of Oidah is the corrupt police. The bush-taxi was stopped by the police for nothing, just to pay a dash-bribe. There were two different road blocks within the city border. I was sitting in the back seat of the car and was told to "hide my white face" when the driver went out to pay the usual 5000 CFA in bribes.

    You should avoid police roadblocks as they act as an unofficial revenue collection exercise.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Road Trip

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Ouidah Tourist Traps

  • mi5chelle's Profile Photo

    by mi5chelle Written May 27, 2004

    Ouidah is reportedly the birthplace of Voodoo and even if you are not remotely interested in that, it is still a great destination. However, be wary of voodoo witches who want to show you various ceremonies that are in essence just an excuse to do cheap visual tricks for a high tip price. Look for well known voodoo practioner, not a quickie tour guide.

    Unique Suggestions: I still would highly recommend stopping in Ouidah just take your time to explore and find out as much as you can. If you zip by you will get a shallow experience. Try to go when there is a festival.

    Fun Alternatives: No alternative to the genesis of Voodoo, unless you want to head to the Carribean, instead.

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    • Historical Travel

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Ouidah Favorites

  • georeiser's Profile Photo
    Welcome to Ouidah 4 more images

    by georeiser Written Nov 7, 2010

    Fondest memory: Ouidah is the spiritual capital of Benin with a population of 100000 people. The city has some popular attractions like the Market Center, Maison du Brésil art gallery, a voodoo python temple and numerous statues and monuments where the slaves were taken to the beach.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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