life through the lens
Location - West Africa; Capital - Porto Novo; Population - 10 million; Currency - CFA Franc MORE BENIN
From Abomey we returned to the very south of Benin and one of the centres of voodoo, Ouidah, in February 2005.
All Francophone countries in West Africa, along with Guinea Bissau, use the CFA Franc
Palm trees surround Le Jardin Brasilien Auberge de la Diaspora, on Ouidah's coast
The beach on the Gulf of Guinea, Ouidah
A farmer shepherds his cows along the beach at Ouidah
The Point of No Return, at the end of the Route des Esclaves in Ouidah, is very close to the Auberge
The Point of No Return is a memorial to the slaves that were sent in ships to the Americas - Ouidah
This memorial lies next to the Point of No Return, Ouidah
A great view from the Auberge, on Ouidah's beach
A storm is brewing over Ouidah
Eating lobster at the Auberge with Christina, Ouidah
Full moon on the beach, Ouidah
Ouidah's history museum is housed in the 18th century Fortaleza Sao Joao Batista, a Portuguese fort.
Their website and a brief history of Ouidah here
The restaurant opposite the museum in Ouidah
The Route des Esclaves is the route that slaves took to the ships bound for the Americas. It is also the link between Ouidah town and the beach
The female warriors of the Dahomey kingdom were known as the Dahomey Amazons - Route des Esclaves, Ouidah
I'd love to know what this statue represents. A vodou fetish maybe? Route des Esclaves, Ouidah
Fisherman in the lagoon between Ouidah and the beach
The lagoon is surrounded by marshland and greenery, Ouidah
The origins of voodoo, or vodou, are traced to Benin.
Vodou and other West African traditional beliefs/religions were exported with slavery to the Americas, establishing Candomble in Brazil, Vodou in Haiti and Santeria in Cuba, amongst others.
The government of Benin officially recognised vodou as a religion in 1996.
The voodoo Temple des Serpents (Python Temple) in Ouidah lies opposite the Basilica.
An offering is made to the vodou spirits at the sacred Iroko tree in the form of animal's blood (often a bull) when wishing for eg. good health, a baby etc - Temple des Serpents, Ouidah
The vodou feticheur's entrance to the temple (ie. vodou chief) - Temple des Serpents, Ouidah
A blood stained wall where offerings are made at the Temple des Serpents, Ouidah
41 virgins collect jugs of sacred water which are used by the vodou feticheur in a ceremony to cleanse the town - Temple des Serpents, Ouidah
This is where the pythons are kept.
Legba the gatekeeper shows off his willy again at the entance to the Kpasse Sacred Forest in Ouidah. Yes he is a symbol of fertility..
Aidohwedo is the rainbow god and also the god of continuity and wealth - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah
Heviosso or Shango is the god of thunder - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah.
Sakpatassi is the god of smallpox - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah
A follower of Heviosso, the god of thunder - Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah
This is the female representation of the thunder god Heviosso, Kpasse Sacred Forest, Ouidah
Taking a dip at Awale Plage hotel, Grand Popo
The beach at Awale Plage in Grand Popo
Locals gather in the fishing nets at Awale Plage, Grand Popo
Awale Plage's beach bar, Grand Popo
Lake Aheme at Possotome, a day trip from Grand Popo
Fishing nets hang from the trees lakeside near Possotome
Taking liquid refreshment at the village of Bopa, on the shores of Lake Aheme
The piroguier told us that this is a bar for the Bopa locals. I'm not convinced, though I guess it is a place to get away from it all..
Mangroves are in abundance around Lake Aheme
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