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back to the journey

1 - Tata in Tamberma Country - Togo
2 - Taneka King - Benin
3 - Palmoil production - Togo
4 - Noukoué Lake - Benin
5 - fishermen at the beach - Togo


Round-trip Togo & Benin
with Savalou & Savè festivals

18-day round-trip through known and unknown Togo and Benin - small group journey


day 1
The day is dedicated to the journey to Benin. Depending on the airline chosen you arrive in the evening or night at Cotonou’s The day is dedicated to the journey to Benin. Arrival at Cotonou international airport, where we’re welcomed by the warmth of the African continent. After having taken care of the custom formalities, we are being transferred to the accommodation.
night in: Cotonou
meals included: -
travel distance and time: -

day 2
Before setting out to explore the country, the morning is used to get to know the guide and fellow-travelers, to take care of practical issues, such as exchanging money, to go through the itinerary and to get an impression of Cotonou, the country’s economic capital.
In the afternoon we travel the ‘Route de la Pêche’. The lovely coastal road takes us through fishermen villages and along the ocean, where - with a bit of luck - we can see the fishermen collecting the nets and pick the catch of the day.
Today’s destination is Ouidah, a town with the doubtful honor of having been involved in slave trade in times past. Nowadays it is known for the annual voodoo festival, taking place on January 10th, which is national voodoo day in Benin.
A late afternoon visit is made to a nearby village, where we can see the traditional process of salt extraction.
night in: Ouidah
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 45 ks – 1.5 hours

day 3
We explore the history and culture in Ouidah, with visits to the museum, to the pythons’ temple and the sacred forest. We walk the slave road, the final 4 ks, people had to walk before boarding vessels to far away destinations. Along the way we see the landmarks, that played an important role in the last moments, the people spent on African soil, such as the Tree of Forgetfulness and the well, where the people had to wash off their African impurities. The slave route ends at the Door of No Return at the ocean; a place where fait took a turn and changed many lives forever.
We continue to Grand Popo in the late afternoon.
night in: Grand Popo
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 45 ks – 1-1.5 hours

day 4
Grand Popo, situated at the beach, is a peaceful haven. In the morning we go on board for a trip via the Bouche du Roi to the lagoon and mangrove forest.
We visit a small private owned sea turtle conservation project, before getting on the road to Aného in Togo.
night in: Aného
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 25 ks – 1 hour

day 5
Today we are offered insights into daily life along the River Mono, which in this part of the country is the border between Togo and Benin. The South of Togo has a rich voodoo culture, picturesque villages with colorful markets and a range of crafts to explore. We visit a place where palm oil is produced, go to a local sodabi brewery, where we can taste the strong liquor and visit a potter. We come along voodoo idols and sacred places.
night in: Aného
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 60 ks – 2 hours

day 6

The morning road-trip takes us to Lomé, the capital of Togo, where we visit the largest fetish market of the region. Our local guide explains about the uses of the objects and the ingredients for ceremonies.
We continue to the Northwest of the country; a hilly and fertile area with cacao and coffee plantations, waterfalls and an abundance of fruit.
The late afternoon is used to explore Kpalimé and its handicraft markets.
The night is spent at the compound of a local family.
night in: Kpalimé
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 195 ks – 3-4 hours

day 7
A hike is made on Mount Kloto this morning, to learn about natural dyes and to visit the coffee roasting women’s collective. Today’s destination is the Danyi Plateau. A road surrounded by trees and plants, takes us through villages to Dzogbegan. If still open at the time of our arrival, we visit the monastery and the shop. The local monks master the art of making - amongst other things - jams and essential oils, all of which are for sale in their shop.
night in: Dzogbegan
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 85 ks – 2 hours

day 8
The day starts early for the road-trip to the North. Along the road we stop for lunch. A sauce with wagasi may be on the menu. Wagasi is a cheese made by the Fulani women; only available in the North of Togo and Benin.
During the day the scenery changes to Savannah, with more rocks and stunning panoramic views. Visits are made to Bafilo’s weavers and to the death rock at Aledjo. Photo stops can be added to our liking.
The night is spent in Togo’s second capital.
night in: Kara
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 335 ks – 7 hours

day 9

We set out on a morning hike on nearby Mt Kabyé. On the way we visit a potter and a blacksmith, both of them working in the traditional way. The smith works the hot iron with heavy stones, which can weigh up to 20 kilos.
In the afternoon we continue to Tamberma Country, situated on the border with Benin. The Tamberma or Batammariba are well-known for their architecture. The castle-like houses are called tatas.
We visit a tata and spent the night in style, staying on the rooftop terrace of a local family.
night in: Tamberma country
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 85 ks – 1.5-2 hours

day 10
If a new tata is being built, it’s well-worth getting up early and visiting the building site. The theme “many hands make light work” is being practised; the mason is assisted by a crowd of volunteers, who mix the mud and provide him with it.
We explore the area; our guide shares about the history and the rich traditions of the Tamberma, which are still in use today. The tatas got their shape in times past, based on the need to protect families against wild animals and hostile tribes. Even though these threats are no more around, the tatas still have the same shape and function. Only when a young man has taken care of the primary needs of a family - by building his own tata - a marriage can take place.
We cross the border to Benin, where the rest of the day is dedicated to meeting the Somba people, who - like the Tamberma - live in tatas. A Somba guide takes us on a walk exploring the area. He explains about the culture - including facial decorations - and takes us to a traditional tata for a visit.
night in: Natitingou
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 50 ks – 1 hour

day 11
We spend the day in Natitingou and surroundings. We set out on a hike - of approximately 5 hours in total - through the surroundings to visit the Fulani, the herders’ tribe. This population group lives a (partly) nomadic life and has a rich culture with many traditions, which are still being practised.
The hike ends at the Kota falls, a perfect place for a well-deserved refreshing bath / swim.
A bit further South we visit not yet widely known Taneka Country. The people in this area have well-preserved their culture and traditional way of living.
We start the visit at the cultural bank, which looks like a museum. The objects on display belong to the inhabitants of Taneka villages. Each object serves as a pledge for a micro loan granted to the owner. Once the loan is paid-off, the owner has the right to reclaim his possessions. While the microloan gives the villagers a chance to earn a living, the cultural bank benefits of an ever-changing collection.
Leaving the asphalt road we step into a different world; one where time seems to have stood still and where life is lived by the rhythms of seasons and days. The picturesque Taneka villages give us a chance to get in touch with the people and their traditions. The King and Spiritual Leader are highly respected by the villagers. Both men play a significant role in the community. Visits are made to both, to pay respect and to receive blessings for your stay and journey. We spent the night in a village.
night in: Taneka country
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 60 ks – 1-1.5 hour

day 12
We explore more of the Taneka village in the early morning, say goodbye to our hosts and continue further South. We stop in Djougou to visit some craft workshops, including a forge, where metal is being recycled, a leather workshop and a weaving workshop.
On our way to Dassa we stop at the Dankoli fetish. This voodoo fetish is considered as one of the most powerful fetishes in the country, and thus frequented by followers of the voodoo religion, to offer to the idols.
night in: Dassa
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 295 ks – 4.5-5

day 13
Today we learn about a not well-known part of Benin: Shabè country, a zone, where in times past migrants coming from all directions, settled; including Yoruba, Nagot, Bariba, Fon, Mahi, Ashanti, Fulani, Haoussa, Ditamari and Adja. They live together in harmony and Shabè has become the cradle of a rich multi secular culture. We are privileged to learn about several of the aspects of the Shabè culture today.
night in: Dassa
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 110 ks – 2-2.5 hours

day 14
Passing through Savalou yesterday, we may already have gotten a glimpse of the Yam festival. Today is the final and most import day of the annual celebrations. Yams are widely consumed in Benin, and much appreciated. The festival in honor of the yam is based on the idea that ancestors and divinities need to taste the yams, before humans. Offering ceremonies are held.
We mingle with the colourful crowd of locals, celebrating the yam.
night in: Dassa
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 70 ks – 1.5 hours

day 15
While Dassa is surrounded by many more, the holy voodoo number of 41 is used for the hills, many of which were once inhabited. They provided a safe haven to those wanting to escape the slave hunters. Remains of old settlements, which were protected by voodoo rituals, can be seen. Voodoo palaces in the hills are still in use for ceremonies and voodoo dolls can be seen there. We climb one of the hills and visit the voodoo palace.
We continue to Abomey, once the capital of the famous Dahomey Kingdom. From 1645 each King built his own palace, reaching a total of 12 at the time of the French invasion. King Gbehazin didn’t want any of the palaces to fall into the hands of the colonizers and set all of them on fire, before fleeing town. Only one palace was spared. We visit the palace and the historical museum, which has an impressive collection on display.
In the vicinity of Abomey we visit a so-called voodoo village, to learn more about the religion.
night in: Abomey
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 75 ks – 1-1.5 hour

day 16
Before traveling further South we visit Agongointo underground village, which was discovered in 1998, when an entire truck disappeared into the ground during road constructions. Extensive investigations led to the discovery of a very well-hidden underground town. It’s still unknown who built and inhabited the town, which is now a museum.
We continue to Abomey-Calvi at the shore of Noukoué Lake, where we go on board for a trip on the lake to visit its stilt villages - of which Ganvié is the most well-known. We get an impression of life on the water and of the different types of fishing practised on the lake and spend the night in a stilt village.
night in: stilt village Lake Noukoué
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 125 ks – 2 hours

day 17
Our lake trip takes us to villages where tourists are rarely seen. The locals row their traditional wooden canoes (some of them with colorful sails); the common means of transport for young and old both on the lake and in the villages, where shopping is done at the stilt shops or the floating market. In the late morning / early afternoon we set foot ashore again and continue by road to Porto Novo.
The afternoon is dedicated to Benin’s capital, where the old town, the herbal market and the palace of the 9-headed phantoms are amongst the interesting places to visit.
night in: Porto-Novo
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 20 ks – 30 minutes

day 18
The last day of our trip has arrived. Before returning to Cotonou, we make a side-trip to nearby Adjarra, a village known for its art workshops, where beautiful crafts made by local artists are for sale.
We travel back to Cotonou for a visit to the Dantokpa market, the largest market of West Africa.
Farewell dinner and transfer to the airport.
shower before departure in: Cotonou
meals included: B-L-D
travel distance and time: 45 ks – 1 hour



View photo album
View the itinerary

In short

Day 1: (late) arrival in Cotonou
Day 2: Cotonou-Ouidah
Day 3: Ouidah-Grand Popo
Day 4: Grand Popo-Aného
Day 5: Aného & surroundings
Day 6: Aného-Kpalimé
Day 7: Kpalimé-Danyi Plateau
Day 8: Danyi Plateau-Kara
Day 9: Kara-Tamberma Country
Day 10: Tamberma-Natitingou
Day 11: Natitingou-Taneka Country
Day 12: Taneka Country-Dassa
Day 13: Oba-Olé festival
Day 14: Savalou yam festival
Day 15: Dassa-Abomey
Day 16: Abomey-Noukoué Lake
Day 17: Noukoué Lake-Porto Novo
Day 18: Porto Novo-departure
Book this trip


€ 1,875 per person
single supplement € 236


2-19 August 2021 (dates Ola Obé festival not confirmed yet for 2021)

Individual extensions possible.
Available as a tailor-made journey.


All nights in accommodation, all meals, English and French speaking accompanying guide and local guides/assistants, all costs related to the excursions mentioned in the itinerary, all transport related to the itinerary, airport transfers and tourist taxes.


(Air) fare to Cotonou v.v., visas, vaccinations, personal insurances (such as travel, cancellation and health), drinks, additional meals, souvenirs, personal expenses, upgrade of rooms, accommodation or means of transport, optional and additional side-trips.

responsible travel

Papillon Reizen values taking her responsibility. That is why we pay a fair price for goods and services. Besides all our activities contribute to the Papillon funds.


Especially for the group arranged transport.


Based on double rooms (where possible with fan). During this journey the nights are spent in hotels, B&B’s, tents and basic accommodations in villages.
Note: twin rooms cannot be guaranteed. If single beds are required, we advise opting for the single supplement.
The single supplement gives right to a single room and tent. Depending on availability.

group size

4 to 8 people

comfort level
of the journey

Being healthy, open-minded and flexible as well as having an adventurous attitude are required for this journey, in which facilities are basic in several places.

practical information

Brief information on Togo and Benin is available on our website. After booking a confirmation e-mail with extensive travel information, practical information and a baggage checklist will be sent.