The Festival of Voodoo in Benin
Trip stops/ Highlight
Village on stilts in Ganvie
Dankoli, voodoo altar
When to visit
Type of trip
The Festival is held on the beach of Ouidah in the shadow of the Door of No Return, a long procession of people leaves from the Temple of Pythons and winds along the ancient route of the slaves.
Participants dress up in traditional costumes and white is the predominant color, coming to the festival by any means, on foot, by motorbike or by bush taxi.
The culmination of the festival is reached with the arrival of Dagbo Houno, the head priest of Ouidah, on the beach are held dances, colorful masks parades, drums beat incessantly and some adept falls in trans possessed by the spirits.
Ouidah, the ancient port of the slave trade, is considered one of the capitals of the African voodoo, here one can visit the local fetish market, the Temple of Pythons, a sacred animal for the voodoo, and the old Portuguese fort, now home to the museum of history of the city.
In the days following the festival one can visit the Nokwe Lake where, aboard boats, one can reach Ganvie, an interesting village on stilts built by the Tofinou, who recovered on the water to escape the slave traders.
Another must-see excursion is at the famous fetish Dankoli, an important place of voodoo worship; here come the faithful from all over the country and neighboring countries, to pray and offer sacrifices for a good harvest, healing and so on.
This trip can continue with a visit of the rest of Benin, in the North and Center of the country.