Our Benin holidays and tours take you to one of Africa’s most magical countries, home to a wealth of cultural experiences that belies its modest size. A land where gods and spirits are part of everyday life, and where you might even be able to bump into one!

Benin’s coastal belt is a stronghold of voodoo, or vodoun, as it is known here. Forget what you think you know from tacky Hollywood films – voodoo is the national religion here and followed by a large proportion of the population, and definitely isn’t of the ‘black magic’ type!

It’s highly likely that you will see some sort of ceremony or ritual being carried out during your time in Benin. The most memorable of these involve masked and costumed figures that are revered as the earthly representations of deities – often striking fear into the hearts of local people. You can also encounter this much-maligned religion in local temples, and of course the ‘fetish markets’, which sell ingredients for use in religious practices.

Top highlights on Benin holidays and tours

  • Mingle with voodoo priests and adepts at the annual Ouidah Voodoo Festival
  • Take a boat to the stilt village of Ganvie
  • Learn about the fascinating history of the kingdom of Dahomey at Abomey
  • See the mask dances of the Egungun
  • Meet the traditional healers of the Taneka people

But Benin has many more secrets to uncover. Our Benin holidays and tours show you the unique Afro-Brazilian style of architecture that can be found in coastal towns such as Ouidah and Porto Novo, a legacy of slaves returned from the New World in the 19th century.

Further north lie traditional groups such as the Taneka and the Somba, who live in impressive fortress style houses deep in the remote bush. And it was home to the once powerful kingdom of Dahomey, a major force in West Africa and with a rich cultural heritage.

Benin also has a surprising amount of wildlife. Pendjari National Park is home to elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and cheetah, among others.

With gods walking the streets, temples dedicated to pythons and kings that can make themselves invisible, our Benin holidays offer you a chance to experience a unique corner of the continent.

Culture

The official religion of Benin is vodoun – voodoo, also practiced in Togo. This is an incredibly complex system of belief with a vast amount of different gods and deities, and very different from what we in the west understand by voodoo. Sacrifice is an important part of the religion and all around the country, you will find shrines and fetishes covered in candlewax and animal blood.

Rituals and ceremonies can be very elaborate, with spirits possessing the bodies of devotees as they dance. These are fascinating to see and you should not miss the opportunity if you come across a ceremony. In the north of the country, Islam is more prevalent, and there are many small ethnic groups with their own traditional beliefs.

The official language of Benin is French, but other important local languages are Fon, Ewe and Yoruba.

When to go on holiday to Benin

Benin experiences two distinct seasons. The dry season runs from October until April, and the wet season from May until September. These can change by a few weeks either side depending on climate variations. Although most people choose to visit in the dry season, it’s also possible to visit in the wet season – the rains, although heavy, do not last the whole day and usually take the form of short sharp bursts. Some roads can be difficult during the wet season though.

Start planning your trip to Benin

Check out our small group tours to Benin: Ouidah Voodoo Festival and Gold and Magic. Although many of our trips are small group adventures with set departures, as a bespoke operator, we can design and create trips to suit any traveller, from solos to larger group. If you would like to find out more about tailor-made holidays to Benin or our group tours, call us on 01473 328546 or email us via our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

Benin

Benin

Good for:Tribal Cultures and Historic Sites