Outside the shrines were a number of clay mounds, each representing a shrine dedicated to the ancestors. The Bassamba, being animists, worship their ancestors and sacrifices will take place atop each of the shrines for special occasions. The larger shrines represent village chiefs and elders, and the smaller mounds, little children who may have...more
This area, known as Koutammakou, is home to the Taberma or Bassamba ethnic group, whose name means good builder. There are 37 different ethnic groups in Togo, of which the Bassamba are one minority who live in the north of Togo and neighbouring Benin. They are famous for their unique architecture. Everything they do is based on tradition and...more
I was always impressed how Daniel the chef could prepare such fabulous meals for the 15 traveller and the five staff in such a short time, with limited resources and in rather primitive conditions. For our dinner on Christmas Eve we were served with an onion soup to start, Guinea Fowl in a nice creamy sauce with chips and beans for mains and a Fruit Salad for afters. Excellent as always!
Although Noah claimed the area where we camped was very safe, he hired four local people to guard us all night, one on each corner. He insisted it was to keep the inquisitive children from pestering us, but I was not convinced. The guards would collect all the bags left outside the tent after we’d all gone to bed (if it is so safe here, why do they need to do that?), but I totally confused them! I was sleeping on a mat outisde the tent, and they initially thought the ‘lumpy form in a sleeping bag’ (me) was a piece of luggage! I must say it is the first time I have been mistaken for a rucksack! Once they had shone their torches on me and decided I was not some bag, they left me alone.
A little bit of retail therapy never did anyone any harm! We were not spoilt for choice when it came to shopping in West Africa, as souvenir shops were few and far between. All I wanted was some post cards from Togo, and this was the only place we visited in the entire country where I saw them.
Also on sale were wood carvings, carved gourds, cloth, booklets (in French only), clay figurines, a few musical instruments etc. It was all proper locally made handicrafts, none of the usual touristy plastic tack you get many other places.
The word sacrifice comes from an old English expression “to make sacred”, and sacrifice is part of everyday life in rural Ghana. Sacrifice is basically making an offering in the form of food, drink or an animal to appease the gods and is used in traditional religions all over the world. We saw evidence of chickens being sacrificed, as well as...more
In Kouadangou village itself, there were a few facilities for tourists, including this public toilet. There seems to be one cubicle for ‘number one’ and one cubicle for ‘number two’. Bring your own toilet paper and if you are only doing a ‘number one’, there is nowhere to place the paper, so make sure you have a sealable plastic bag with you for...more
Despite the fact that it was Christmas Day, I was a bit concerned to find the drivers drinking in the local bar while we, the tourists, were shopping for souvenirs. It was before 10:00 in the morning and whilst on duty, the drivers were not allowed to have any alcoholic drink. The tour leader was not amused when he found out!
As you can see from picture one, David joined them for a drink. The guy in the blue stripey shirt on the left is Daniel, the chef, in red is Kofi, the driver of the kitchen van and in pink and a grey vest are the two tourist mini-bus drivers, Lucian and Osman respectively.
Although modern petrol stations are found in the bigger cities, in the smaller villages, fuel is sold in smaller quantities such as these bottles we saw just outside the village of Kouadangou. I am sure this petrol is not quite pure, in more ways than one. There is a major problem with illegal smuggling of oil and petrol from Nigeria to Benin and...more
Guinea fowl are bred for the eggs as well as their meat, and we saw lots of them in the area around Kouadangou, more than we had seen anywhere else. I expect Daniel had bought a couple from the local farmer yesterday as we had guinea fowl for our dinner last night. The guinea fowl belongs to the same order as turkey, pheasants and other game birds....more
Not only was it Christmas Eve, it was also Clive’s birthday that day. Noah had bought some champagne to celebrate, but most of it went on pouring on Clive’s head amidst a lot of clapping, shouting and singing. Supposedly a local tradition! We all enjoyed a few drinks in honour of Clive and a good night was had by all.more
We arrived in Kouadangou on Christmas Eve – this was to be a rather unusual celebration. From England we’d brought with us the Santa Hats and an inflatable reindeer (as you do), and we wore the hats all evening. The reindeer started the evening on the roof of our tent, continued on the dining table and finished being deflated and given as a gift...more