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Born Free Safaris and Tours
Safaris, Tours and Travel to Africa for 35 Years
Series: Odyssey
Location: Benin
Length: 6 Days
Accommodation Comfort: Simple Pleasures
Priced From: $3134.00





 
 
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Novotel Orisha Hotel

AREAS VISITED:
BENIN
Cotonou
Ouidah
Abomey
Ganvie




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WEST AFRICAN MOSAIC: BENIN

Voodoo, History and Culture

Overview

West Africa is an area of mysterious, exotic and historic countries. Discover the many cultures, visit ancient and historic cities, travel through deserts and meet voodoo priests. Art is abundant and the beauty of the human spirit is striking. Travel to one or several of the culturally-rich countries that make up this region. Born Free Tours offers a true “West Africa Mosaic”. Choose to take one of our special scheduled departure group tours, or we will create a special-interest mosaic with segments to Senegal, the Gambia, Ghana, Benin and Mali on a custom itinerary. Many trips are built around the fabulous festivals of each country.

Benin was once one of the most powerful empires in all of Africa – the Dahomey kingdom. The ruins of the palaces and temples can be seen in Abomey, while Ouidah is a reminder of the slave trade. This was the stepping off point for slaves bound for Brazil and the Caribbean. Voodoo is an important part of Benin’s culture, and stops will be made at a fetish market stocked with many unusual items. There are also stilt villages built over lagoons, which are home to thousands of people. Benin is rich in diversity, sites and experiences for the traveler.



Travel to Abomey to see the ancient palaces

Visit Ouidah, the birthplace of voodoo

See the stepping off point for the slave trade

Watch the ‘Guardians of the Night’ spirit dancers

Take a boat ride through a village built on stilts


Day 01: Cotonou
Day 02: Cotonou
Day 03: Ouidah
Day 04: Abomey
Day 05: Ganvie
Day 06: Your Journey Onwards

Full Itinerary


 
 

Benin

DAY 1 Cotonou

Benin is a small but interesting country. It is the birthplace of Voodoo and home to unique architecture, wonderful handicrafts and colorful history. A warm reception by our local representative upon arrival in Cotonou and a transfer to the hotel, before the adventure begins tomorrow.

Novotel Orisha Hotel (Dinner)

DAY 2 Cotonou

A full-day tour takes you to Notre Dame and the market of Dantokpa. After lunch, drive to Porto-Novo, stopping at the Museum of Ethnography which houses one of the best collections of voodoo artifacts and a collection of Yoruba masks and drums. Later, visit the Royal Palace Homme and meet the Superior Chief of Zangbeto (The Night Guardians).

Novotel Orisha Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 3 Ouidah

A fascinating day lies ahead. Travel 25 miles west and step a hundred years back in time in Ouidah, a former slave trading post and the birthplace of Voodoo. Ouidah is known as the religious capital of the country, with numerous festivals taking place throughout the year. Local superstitions are strong and have barely changed over time. Voodoo was born in the villages that lie between Abomey and Ouidah, and carried across the Atlantic by slaves. An unforgettable visit includes tours through the Voodoo Museum, the Sacred Forest, the Cathedral and the Temple of the Pythons. Walk the “Road of Slaves” to the awe-inspiring slavery memorial. Continue to the place of the common grave, the tree of forgetfulness and the “door of no return”. Later, there is a welcome reception from Dagbo Hounon, high priest of the voodoo cult.

Novotel Orisha Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 4 Abomey

The journey continues to the port of Abomey, which was once the capital of the Dahomey kingdom. It is also the birthplace of Louverture, the founder of Haiti. Visit the Palace Historical Museum, located in the King’s Palace complex, built between 1625 and 1900. The Palace houses a huge display of Beninese art: sculpted bas-reliefs, statues, furniture, thrones, scepters, tapestries, embroidery, and bronze and copper artifacts. To the north of Abomey the palm groves gradually fade away and bush country takes its place. This is an area covered in light forest, punctuated by black hills.

Novotel Orisha Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 5 Ganvie

One of the highlights of any trip to West Africa is Ganvie, “The Venice of Africa”. Over 12,000 inhabitants live in bamboo huts on stilts above Lake Nokowe. The village is made up of bamboo houses resting on teak stilts, perched above the water. It was originally built as protection against the Fon and Dahomey kingdoms because of a religious ban that prevented their warriors from venturing into the water. There is a colorful floating market and the entire scene is rich in lively culture. The fishermen provide a special welcome ceremony, and the local people craft fine wooden carvings that they will gladly sell to the visitor.

Novotel Orisha Hotel (Breakfast)

DAY 6 Your Journey Onwards

Today, bid farewell to Benin and board your onward international flight – or choose to extend this itinerary with convenient journeys to other West African destinations.

(Breakfast)

TOUR EXTENSIONS
Senegal & the Gambia
Ghana
Mali
Rates

Born Free Safaris 2013 Tariff Rates per person, US dollars

Season Double Occupancy Single Occupancy Solo Traveler*
All Seasons $3134.00 $3740.00 $4200.00

Rates are for land arrangements only. International airfare not included.
The Born Free Travel Desk will assist in the coordination of the most cost-effective air schedule.

* Solo Traveler rate is for a guest traveling alone, not joining a group.
Holiday surcharges may apply.

TOUR DATES:
Contact the Born Free office for departure dates.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURES:
This tour is operated by an associate and subject to a minimum number of passengers to operate. Should the minimum number of guests not be met, we will offer one of the following options: offer an alternative date; modify services, if necessary, with the approval of the traveler; or an optional supplement will be offered. Should no alternative be acceptable, Born Free will offer a full refund of all monies received. Accommodations are subject to change; you will be notified of these changes in advance whenever possible. Substitutions would be in the same or better category.

IS THIS TRIP NOT EXACTLY AS YOU WISH?
Not to worry. Born Free will customize your trip. Custom does not mean more expensive – in some cases, it may even be less. Custom means doing what you want, when you want, in the style you want. A Born Free specialist will listen to your ideas and/or advise you of hidden gems that you may not be aware of. Call 800-372-3274.



Meet and greet services at the airport; All transfers to and from airports, hotels and lodges; Accommodations as specified in the itinerary (subject to confirmation); Meals as specified in the itinerary; All touring and game activities as specified in the itinerary; All entrance fees; Professional English-speaking guides; Hotel & local tourism taxes

Born Free is Fully Insured * U.S. Bank Account * Assistance with Visas and International Airfare

NOT INCLUDED:
International airfare; internal airfare (required from Durban – Port Elizabeth; travel insurance; passport and visa fees; airport departure taxes, unless noted; gratuities to dining room and room staff; gratuities to private guides; meals other then what is stated; beverages; excess baggage charges; personal expenses such as laundry, communication charges.

Gratuities are not included for local guides and are at the traveler’s discretion and should be based on the level of satisfaction of the services received. Recommended guidelines for each safari will be provided on the Born Free pre-tour documentation.

HOW TO JOIN A TOUR:
Call the Born Free office at 800-372-3274 to request space availability and departure dates. We will also assist in coordinating the best airfares or guiding you on how to use your points or mileage. If you are planning to make your own air arrangements please request a suggested flight schedule from us first.