Togo & Benin: Voodoo Explorer (Ouidah Festival)

Togo & Benin: Voodoo Explorer (Ouidah Festival)

878 Views
15 Days From

$5244

$5008

Togo & Benin: Voodoo Explorer (Ouidah Festival)

15 Days Starting in LOME (TOGO) and ending in LOME (TOGO)

Visiting: Benin, Togo

Tour operator:

Wild Frontiers

Tour code:

TBE

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:

Low, Low / Moderate

Age range:

1-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Wild Frontiers with any specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:
$5244
$5008 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$236

NB: Prices correct on 27-May-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Home to a fascinating variety of vibrant cultures, Togo and Benin are lands of quite extraordinary scope and spectacle, being the spiritual home of voodoo and steeped in the tragedy and horror of the tragic trans-atlantic slave trade. Beginning in Lome, Togo’s lively capital, our journey takes us into the heart of some of West Africa’s most culturally diverse regions and geographically varied landscapes.

We’ll explore the tropical forests along the slopes of Mount Klouto and visit the spectacular adobe architecture of the Tamberma and Somba people. We’ll then head north to take in the scenic landscapes around the Atakora Mountains and hike amongst the villages of the Taneka plateau, our gateway into the voodoo world. Filled with an extraordinary wealth of experiences and encounters, we’ll get to witness fire festivals and mask dances and meet fetish priests, before heading south to the UNESCO setting of the Abomey Royal Palace and the stilt village of Ganvie.

As a fitting climax we will attend the spectacular annual voodoo festival in Ouidah, the spiritual home of this most fascinating religion.

Highlights

  • Witness the remarkable spectacle of the Ouidah voodoo festival and explore the fetish market of Lome

  • Discover the haunting slave history of the region as you walk the slave route to the ‘Door of No Return’

  • Glide through the water channels of Ganvie, the largest stilt village in Africa

  • Visit the UNESCO Royal Palace of Abomey to learn about the fascinating history of the Dahomey kingdom

  • Witness the town of Ouidah, long considered the spiritual home of voodoo

  • The chance to watch a fire dancing ceremony, meet fetish priests and see unique adobe architecture

  • Visit the town of Ouidah, long considered the spiritual home of Voodoo

  • Venture into the natural beauty of the Atakora highlands and the forests around Kpalime

  • See the UNESCO Royal Palace of Abomey, a monument to the ancient Dahomey kings

  • See the UNESCO Royal Palace of Abomey to learn about the fascinating history of the Dahomey kingdom

Show all

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Tour Starts In Lome (Togo)

Accommodation: Hotel Onomo or similar

Meals Included: Dinner

The tour begins this evening in Togo’s lively capital city, Lome. Overlooking the Gulf of Guinea, the city has been at a crossroads of trade and cultures for centuries, a fact reflected in the character of its people and architecture. After checking into our hotel we’ll take the chance to talk about the exciting trip ahead over our first group dinner.

Day 2: Lome - Kpalime

Accommodation: Hotel Gess or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The only African city to be colonised by the French, the British and the Germans, Lome is home to a fascinating fusion of styles and influences and includes amongst its more intriguing attractions a unique fetish market, which we will visit this morning. Departing the city we drive north-west towards the Ghanaian border and the market town of Kpalime. The land here is rich in coffee, cocoa and cotton and provides us with some of the most fertile panoramas in the country.

Day 3: In & Around Kpalime

Accommodation: Hotel Gess or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The forest around Kpalime is home to a staggering array of butterflies, with some 500 different species to be found amongst the delicate eco-systems around the slopes of Mount Klouto. This morning we’ll join a local entomologist to learn more about the native insects and pristine wilderness, before discovering some of the colonial heritage, art centre and the market in Kpalime later in the afternoon.

Day 4: Kpalime - Sokode

Accommodation: Hotel Lamirelle or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Continuing north this morning we head for the city of Sokode, situated between the waters of the Mo and Mono Rivers. Multi-ethnic and multi-religious, the city lies in the heart of agricultural farmland and provides an opportunity to enjoy the rich diversity of rural life. On arrival we’ll check in to our hotel and after dinner head out to witness a traditional fire dance in a small village close by, a truly hypnotic ritual combining the handling and even swallowing of glowing coals, frenetic drum rhythms and, dare we say it, magic!

Day 5: Sokode - Kara

Accommodation: Hotel Kara or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we’ll notice the change in the landscapes and visit some of the region around Sokode which is inhabited by the Bassar people. Living in large clay houses with conical roofs, the Bassar are famous for their skilful iron production and the customs that go with it. Here the elder women are the only ones allowed to climb the mountains that surround the villages to collect rocks that contain the iron ore, whilst the men must refrain from sexual activity during the smelting process if they want it to be successful. In the villages we will meet with traditional chiefs and learn about the role of traditional chiefdom today, before continuing to Kara for the evening.

Day 6: Kara To Natitingou (Benin)

Accommodation: Hotel Tata Somba or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we drive off into the mountains of Togo to meet with the Kabye people, whose traditional soukala huts are laid out in large circles and home to patriarchal families. Settled on high plateaus the Kabye women still form clay pots in the time-honoured fashion, whilst the men fashion iron tools with rocks rather than hammers, reminiscent of the early Iron Age.

This afternoon we will cross into Benin and after border formalities will make our way to the Taneka mountain and spend a few hours here exploring the hills and villages that surround the mountain (easy walking, approx. 2 hours, easy terrain). The Taneka villages that have been inhabited for centuries and the different populations that have been based here over the years have formed an interesting melting-pot of cultures. The upper part of the village is inhabited by fetish priests and their initiates, dressed in goatskins and carrying long pipes and as we wander around along alleys bordered by a series of smooth stones, we will meet people going about their everyday life.

Day 7: In & Around Atakora Region

Accommodation: Hotel Tata Somba or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we will head out to visit the Betammaribe people, also known as the Somba and close neighbours of the Tamberma. Geographically isolated, the Somba’s traditions have been little affected by the outside world for centuries and their remarkable two and three-storey dwellings bear close resemblance with the fortified structures of the Tamberma. Today we’ll learn more about the initiation rites of these fascinating people, including learning about the delicate and complex geometrical patterns that are scarified on the bellies and backs of the young men and women. We’ll also have the opportunity to speak to some of the young people themselves about their experiences and beliefs. (approx 4 hours walking, easy terrain)

Day 8: Natitingou To Dassa

Accommodation: Hotel Jeko or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning we will travel to a Fulani camp and share in part their day to understand their daily activities. The Fulani are mainly shepherds and the men move around with their herds while the women take care of the camp as well as milk the cows and produce the butter to be sold at the market. From here we’ll start heading south as we drive to the town of Dassa for the night (approx. 5.5hrs). We will pass the Dankoli fetish, an important place of Voodoo an important place of voodoo worship and long considered the gateway to the voodoo world. On arrival we’ll learn about fetishes and witness some of the rituals the religion is famed for. Depending on who is around we may get to witness an animal sacrifice, so be prepared! 

Day 9: Dassa

Accommodation: Hotel Jeko or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Once the capital of an ancient kingdom, Dassa can trace its royal ancestors back to the latter years of the 14th century. Today it’s still possible to find evidence of its regal past and the graves of the old kings are said to still be protected by voodoo magic. We'll take a quick tour of the town to see what sites remain from this dynast then walk though the hills (approx 1 hour) around Dassa to a scared place where kings are buried and still protected today by several voodoos.

Later today we will get to experience a traditional voodoo Egun mask dance, which starts off with a kind of bull fight designed to create fear and respect amongst the crowd. Be warned that though the Egun may look colourful, the locals believe them to be the dead themselves so people tend to keep well back as the performers emerge from the forest and form a procession through the village streets. Remember you don’t want the Egun to touch you because if he does, there is danger of death, so watch out!

Day 10: Dassa - Ketou

Accommodation: Hotel Residence Celine or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we will visit the Royal Palace of Abomey, a monument to the ancient Dahomey kings. Inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List, it is a rich repository of weaponry, statues and bas-reliefs that tell of a kingdom in a perpetual state of war. We also visit the underground village, discovered in 1998 this subterranean town of over fifty dwellings lying thirty feet beneath the ground consists of a series of bunker-type cellars, rooms and passageway thought to date back to the late 16th or early 17th century.
We will then head to our overnight accommodation in Ketou (approx. 2 hours)

Day 11: In And Around Ketou

Accommodation: Hotel Residence Celine or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we will hopefully get the chance to meet with Benin royalty, Oba (King) Adedu Loye and his dignitaries. Ketou is the capital of the ancient and prestigious Yoruba Kingdom that "rules" on the border region of Benin and Nigeria. After completing the mandatory protocols we will be introduced to the King and will be able to ask his majesty about the history of Ketou. Next we will learn about and witness the Gelede celebrations, a tradition of the Fon and Yoruba people of Southern Benin. Gelede is dedicated to Mother Earth and celebrated by the whole community to promote the fertility of both the people and the soil. Each Gelede mask represents a different character with only the initiates knowing the true nature and secrets of the symbolic characters. The masks are brightly painted and they move like puppets as they relate myths and moral stories using mime in a fascinating mix of theatre.

Day 12: Ketou - Porto Novo

Accommodation: Residence Ouadada or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we drive to Porto Novo (approx 2 hours), an old  town with colonial architecture and colourful markets including a large traditional herbal market.  Our city tour includes the ethnographic museum, an interesting museum that takes an intensive look into the past of Porto Novo’s kings with displays of fetishes, old Yoruba toyal masks, costumes, and some musical instruments. We’ll also visit King Toffa’s Royal Palace – a former residence of the King is now officially called Musee Honmé. This well maintained, rather simple, palace provides a window into how African royalty really lived. We also plan to visit to the Songhai Center which helps young people to face future challenges in farming through agricultural training, research, and production to provide them with the knowledge to generate a sustainable livelihood in rural Africa. 

Day 13: Porto Novo - Ganvie - Ouidah

Accommodation: Hotel Casa del Papa or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We continue our journey west to the stilted village of Ganvie on Lake Nokoue, the largest of its kind in Africa. We’ll visit the thatched houses of the Tofinou people, whose traditions and lives still revolve around the lake, on which we’ll witness an abundance of pirogues that men, women and children guide with ease using brightly coloured poles. It is with these pirogues that men fish, women deliver goods to the market and children go to school and play. From here we continue to the coast and the town of Ouidah, long considered the spiritual home of Voodoo.

Day 14: Ouidah (Voodoo Festival)

Accommodation: Hotel Casa del Papa or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ouidah, once one of the largest trading posts along the infamous Trans-Atlantic slave routes, its crumbling Afro-Portuguese architecture still seems to harbour the ghosts of those who suffered such horrors from the barbaric trade. In Ouidah we’ll visit the small Python Temple and follow part of the old slave trail known as ‘La Route des Esclaves’, before witnessing the town’s unique annual voodoo celebration that culminates at ‘The Door of No Return’ on the beach. It’s a truly remarkable event as people dress up in traditional outfits and take part in lively dances, and is sure to be a real highlight of the tour.

Day 15: Ouidah (Benin) - Lome (Togo)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast we start our drive back and across the border into Togo along the main coastal highway via Grand Popo on the shores of the Gulf of Benin. Once back in Togo we will have lunch and, depending on traffic and the time taken for border formalities, we may also have some time to relax by the ocean. Those on the group flights will be transferred back to Lome airport in good time for the suggested group flight this evening.

What's Included

  • TRANSPORT

    On this tour we will use a minibus and your own two feet!

  • MEALS

    14 x Breakfasts14 x Lunches14 x Dinners

  • GROUP SIZE

    Maximum: 12

  • CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

    Contributions to climate and community projects for all bookings

  • EXPERT TEAM

    The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

  • ACCOMMODATION

    All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

  • ENTRANCE FEES

    All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

  • FITNESS RATING

    Low / Moderate

What's Not Included

  • We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tourationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatoryTips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documentsInternational Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UKAirport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flightsBeverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

  • We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tourationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatoryTips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documentsInternational .Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UKAirport .Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights.Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

Visas

VISAS

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact a reputable visa agency. More details can be found here - https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

For this tour UK passport holders currently require visas in advance for both Togo (double entry) and Benin (single entry). For both Togo and Benin you will need to apply for an E Visa.

Passports should ideally be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the end of your tour.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

VACCINATIONS & ADDITIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is a mandatory requirement for all travellers to Togo and Benin.

For all destinations, please make sure you are up-to-date with any standard vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Hepatitis A, Tetanus) as recommended by your local health care provider. 

Malaria is present in all parts of Togo and Benin and precautions are essential.

For the most up-to-date information on all vaccination requirements and the most suitable anti-malarial tablets, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from your local travel centre or consult an official travel health website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Covid Testing: No mandatory testing is currently required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

If necessary further details will be sent out to you upon booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas & vaccinations are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Key Aspects to Consider

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. To get the most out of the tour you should be comfortable with some easy/moderate day walks and be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Please note that although this trip is not necessarily physically demanding by way of exertion, this is not a particularly touristy part of the African continent. Facilities and infrastructure of both countries will be relatively basic and to enjoy this tour fully you should be comfortable travelling without luxuries. Road conditions, particularly in rural areas, may be poor leading to some bumpy drives. We will use the best accommodation available, but these are often of a lower standard than would be expected in other areas of Africa. 

As you can appreciate there are not a huge number of trained ‘guides’ in Togo and Benin, so please do not always expect the same standard of service you will find in some other African countries.

Though vegetarians can be catered for, the variety of food will be limited at times. This is not a ‘foodie’ tour and our main evening meals are likely to consist of a combination of chicken/fish, vegetables and basic carbs. Clients with specific dietary requirements might struggle at times on this tour so this should be discussed with the office before booking. Please be aware that if you suffer from any kind of nut allergy you must discuss this with the office before booking this tour as nuts are used so extensively in food throughout the West Africa region.



Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

Travelling Solo and single supplements

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.
On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

Travelling Solo and single supplements

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!



Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.



Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.

 

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights

  • What is the maximum group size?

    12

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    Visas will always be tour
    ationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    We have a complete Covid-19 hub here: https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/covid-hub

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 70% of passengers on our group tours are solo adventurers. Unlike many tour operators, we don’t believe in charging solo travellers a premium, so if you are happy to share a room with a fellow traveller of the same sex, you will pay exactly the same as a couple..Occasionally you may even end up with your own room. You can travel as a single traveller on any of our holidays, from our escorte

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2002

  • Do I need to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel with you?

    In most cases, yes. Not only are many destinations making double-vaccination a requirement of entry to the country and/or access to restaurants, museums etc., but additionally on all our group tours for the foreseeable future, for everyone’s peace of mind, we are asking that all clients be double vaccinated.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Catherine Wilkinson  

Catherine Wilkinson

My first Wild Frontiers trip blew my expectations

My first Wild Frontiers trip blew my expectations away - I'm not sure I'll be able to cope travelling with other companies now!

Want a private tour?

  • Personalise your trip

    Make changes to the itinerary, accommodation, or transport method

  • Travel more exclusively

    Your tour guide can focus all their attention on your group

  • Travel for a special occasion

    Celebrate an important event by only travelling with your friends or family

1 Dates & Availability

tourhub Discount Available - Sign In

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Sunday

Dec 28, 2025 - Jan 11, 2026
$5244 $5008

Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$236

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Wild Frontiers allows you to make 2 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 90 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Wild Frontiers requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of wild frontiers charges.

    Up to 71 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 51 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • Wild Frontiers' COVID Promise

    You will have the right to transfer without any transfer fee, from any of our trips at ANY time if your trip is not Covid Viable (see below).*
    We will not ask you to pay your final balance if your trip is not yet Covid Viable.
    If your trip is not Covid Viable, by 30 days prior to departure at the latest, we will cancel your holiday and you can either transfer your funds to another departure or have a refund.**


    We will only consider a trip Covid Viable*** if pre-departure it meets all of the following criteria:

    There is no national lockdown or ban on foreign travel for the period when your trip is due to depart.
    Destinations on the tour must not be on the UK’s Red List. ****
    No destinations visited on the tour have in place any significant COVID-19 restrictions for travellers.
    Tourist visas (if required) are available.
    There is reliable airline access to/from the start/end of the trip.
    Following an assessment by both Wild Frontiers and our local partners we are confident that your trip is able to run in both a safe and enjoyable manner.*****




    ** If you were originally booked to travel before 30 April 2020 and transferred to a later date, or if you have a tailor-made booking, there may be some irrecoverable costs which we cannot refund. Please speak to us and we will be able to advise you if this is the case for your booking.
    ***Since our HQ is in London, Covid Viable status for our Group Tours will be assessed on UK-based travellers. However we are fully aware that many of our clients live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. As such, when we deem a trip to now be Covid Viable, everyone booked will have a chance to review their own personal situation before deciding whether or not to remain booked on the trip. Anyone wishing to, will have the option to transfer without fees to another trip at this time. For tailor made bookings, we may also able to consider additional countries’ travel advice when deciding if a trip is Viable. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.
    **** This relates to bookings from UK clients only. We may operate trips to destinations which the British FCDO advise against travel for Covid reasons. If this is the case, anyone wishing to will have the option to cancel with a refund or transfer to another trip. In some cases we may choose to offer a tour to a Red destination but these will be at both clients’ and Wild Frontiers’ discretion and will be subject to alternative conditions to be discussed on an ad hoc basis.
    *****If a destination, that we have deemed to be Covid Viable, subsequently fails any aspect of the criteria for two consecutive weeks, you will have the right under our Covid Promise to transfer without any fees.

Why book with tourhub?

Safe & Secure

Your money is protected in an external trust until you travel.

pts logo

100% Guaranteed Refunds if your trip is cancelled.


The safest way to make overseas, multi-currency payments.

Guaranteed Best Value

Industry leading discounts, we won't be beaten on price.


No cancellation or amendment fees from tourhub.

(Operator terms may apply)

Expert Knowledge

Reliable & unbiased advice from travel experts.


Direct contact with the tour operator via our messaging service.


Inspiration & advice from a community of 6000+ real travellers, influencers & content creators.

Trusted Service

Official partners & licensed agents of 1000+ tour operators worldwide.


Don't just take our word for it...

"Tourhub: Friendliness, Professionalism & Integrity I would happily give tourhub a 6* review if I could..."

Similar Tours

Travel Guru Features

Our Reviews