life through the lens
Location - West Africa; Capital - Porto Novo; Population - 10 million; Currency - CFA Franc MORE BENIN
I spent 3 weeks in the small West African state of Benin, flying into Cotonou in February 2005.
All Francophone countries in West Africa, along with Guinea Bissau, use the CFA Franc
The Gulf of Guinea as seen from Hotel de la Plage, Cotonou. Many oil tankers can be seen going to/from Nigeria
Moped taxis, called zemidjans, are the speediest way of getting around Cotonou
Taking our Charlie Brown pirogue across Lake Nokoue to Ganvie
Fishing nets on Lake Nokoue
A glimpse of Ganvie village on Lake Nokoue, a fascinating place worth staying the night to soak up the atmosphere
Most buildings in Ganvie are made of bamboo and built on stilts - this is the main 'street'
The dining area of Chez M Hotel in Ganvie, where I stayed with my friend Christina
The market area of Ganvie, where people bring their produce by boat
Opposite the hotel, locals queue up in their pirogues to replenish their freshwater supply from a pump - Ganvie
A voodoo (or vodou) shrine in Lake Nokoue
Christina at a cafe in Porto Novo, Benin's capital
Porto Novo's Hotel Beaurivage has lovely views of fishing pirogues in the lagoon below
There are many colonial buildings in Porto Novo, this one now housing the Ethnographic Museum
A map of Benin and a vodou feticheur on the walls of Musee da Silva, Porto Novo
The grounds of the Hotel Tata Somba in Natitingou, northern Benin
Drinking at the shores of Lake Bali, Pendjari National Park. Baobab trees are common in the Sahel regions of West Africa
An elephant at Pendjari National Park
Warthogs in Pendjari National Park
Impala, Pendjari National Park
Hippos laze in the Sacred Lake, Pendjari National Park
I think these are waterbuck, Pendjari National Park (I must write the names down..)
Link to Pendjari National Park website here
Taking shelter from the fierce heat at Pendjari Hotel - Pendjari National Park
Walking to Tanougou Falls, close to the national park entrance
Tanougou Falls - the perfect place to refresh yourself after working up a sweat in the park
Making our way down from the top of Tanougou Falls
Tanguieta is the main town between Pendjari and Natitingou
Driving past a pen of harvested cotton near Tanguieta
The Betamaribe people of northern Benin live in tata somba houses, made from clay.
Tata somba houses, between Natitingou and Boukoumbe
The gardens of Chez Monique in Abomey
Some of Chez Monique's residents greet us in Abomey
Traditional song and dance was laid on for a Belgian delegation who were eating at the guesthouse (little did they know there had been no running water all day, but the food was good anyway) Abomey
The dancers are blurred but I like the effect - Chez Monique, Abomey
Vodou symbols on the walls, Abomey
Hwemu Temple is a vodou temple in Abomey
Houndossou, a vodou god, painted on Hwemu Temple in Abomey
Abomey was the capital of the Dahomey kingdom, which existed from the 17th century until 1894.
Dahomey kings were represented by different images - Abomey.
Agonglo Palace in Abomey
Agonglo's image is on the left, Guezo on the right (see postcard above) - Agonglo Palace, Abomey
On the walls of Agonglo Palace is the voodoo symbol of Segbolissa - Abomey
Tegbessou is one of the Dahomey kings, as depicted at Agonglo Palace, Abomey
Semassou Temple is another vodou temple in Abomey
The vodou god Legba is the gatekeeper and, with his erect penis, an obvious symbol of fertility - Semassou Temple, Abomey
The painting gives a warning to those doing wrong. To its right is Legba - Semassou Temple, Abomey
Statue of Behanzin in Abomey, the Dahomey king from 1889-1894 who was defeated by the French
The Royal Palace of Abomey is now a museum
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