I came up with an idea that we should have to visit a place for our retreat. I and my husband took time to think of a place where we will have fun and enjoy our holiday. After a long thought we came up with a solution, and the place we had come up with was Benin. A country in Africa which we had heard that it is very attractive. We planned for our trip very well. We booked our flight early so as to ensure the smoothness of our travel. Indeed we travelled to Benin, a place rich in history and culture. We enjoyed our moments there and I’ve got a small story to narrate about Benin, it is really wonderful.
The day of our travel finally came, we took our flight as planned and we arrived at Port Novo at the Cotonou International airport. We were warmly welcomed at the airport; agents in this airport were really friendly and we liked them. They started by telling us more about Benin and told us to enjoy our travel in Benin.
We were driven off by a taxi to Benin Sheraton Cotonou Hotel de L’etoile Cotonou. It is a very classy hotel and actually when you are there you will feel at home. The servants in the hotel are very friendly and they treated us as if we were the only ones in the hotel. We had arrived at the hotel in the evening and so we had an appetizer before we embarked on the dinner. We were served with very delicious food. We were also served with traditional Benin food. Their food is very delicious and if you do not take care you will find yourself having taken a lot. We finished our dinner and we had a little entertainment before going to the room we had been assigned. The room was well furnished with classy furniture. It was indeed a first class hotel.
The next morning we woke up at a convenient time to allow us to visit many attractions in Benin. We started with the city of Port Novo. We roamed around the city observing the architecture of the city. It was fun glancing at the beautiful buildings of Port Novo. Port Novo is the capital city of Benin. It is the administrative capital of Benin. The city is also right in the middle of Yoruba land. It is a very interesting capital one can imagine to be. We also strolled in the Ouando market, it is a very eye catching market where the nationals of Benin are busy buying and selling. We also saw some of the administrative buildings of Benin, we could see the parliament building of Benin in the capital. It is a very lovely building in Port Novo.
Later we went to Port Novo Museum of Ethnography. The building of the museum is well designed inside and very well arranged. The museum contains a large collection of Yoruba masks. It’s also a very large collection of history of Benin. It was really fun looking at this. This was not the only museum we visited in Port Novo, we also visited King Toffa’s palace. A museum which is majorly based on the African life in royalty. We had time also to go to da Silva Museum which is majorly based on Benin history. It shows how life was with the return of Afro-Brazilians. It was really enjoyable looking at this.
It was now in the evening, we had explored many attraction sites in the city of Port Novo. This time we decided to have different taste of a hotel in Port Novo. We went to Hotel de La Cotonou. It was a good one too, we had great moments there. The hotel was quite expensive but not that much.
On the second day of our travel, we were directed to another attractive site in Benin. This time we were going to have adventures in Abomey. We were told that it is referred to as a Royal City. Abomey is the capital city of Dahomey, the ancient kingdom and a bustling center of slave trading. This museum is the most attractive of all the museums we’ve visited so far. We were able to see Royal palaces of Abomey. One of these is a group of earthen structures built by the Fon people of the Dahomey kingdom between the mid-17th and the late 19th centuries. These structures were really interesting and I enjoyed looking at them. We could not miss out taking photos of these beautiful structures. We were informed that each king had a new palace built for himself. They are filled with large numbers of bas-reliefs and artwork that display everyday life, including war, sacrifice and torture methods.
We also visited a nearby museum, the Musee Historique d’Abomey. It simply means historical museum. The museum was very impressive. It houses a number of artifacts and relics from the area. Some of the banners we saw show torture and war tactics of the former kingdom. We learnt a lot of history in this museum and I was happy I was never the same again.We were also able to see the throne of Ghezo which was exhibited. It was built on top of human skulls. There were some souvenirs, including banners and bronze figurines sold at the museum. We couldn’t have missed out taking home some of these. We bought souvenirs to remember our travel to Benin when while back at home.
Our day ended having visited two attraction sites in Abomey. The day was really good for us, we had seen a lot and learnt a lot.
The next day we went north of Benin. We didn’t know exactly what we would find there. But finally we arrived at the Pendjari National Park. This is a very beautiful park which is rich with a lot of wildlife. I really enjoyed looking at the birds while taking pictures of them. I really loved the western hartebeest. They made my day; they are extremely beautiful. We also saw other beautiful wildlife in the park, starting from elephants, West African lions, buffalos and antelopes. It is a park which is indeed very good.
After visiting the park the next place we travelled to was Ganvie. This is a unique floating village on stilts. It is lovely to have a glance of it at a far place. It is really fantastic. The village has a population of several thousand. We took a motorboat which took us across the lake of Ganvie. There are Akadjas made of stakes and bushes in the shape of open circles of triangles driven into the bed of the plant – less lake. I liked having a motorboat ride, it was really lovely and memorable. At first, I was very fearful but with time I really enjoyed it. I liked it very much, and my husband also liked this.
We travelled to Ouidah, our last place of travel in Benin. This place is spelt ‘Whydah’ in historical books. It is also known as ‘museum city’. It is a really a good place where we learnt a lot of history. We learnt that Ouidha is an evocative penetration with its ancient Portuguese, English, Danish and French trading posts or strongholds. We saw the remains of the ancient port from which the slaves were boarded and shipped to Americas.
We then travelled to Port Novo where we took a flight back home. While being in Benin, we learnt a lot of Benin’s history and culture. Indeed our travel to Benin was worth to be praised. The photos of all the attractions from Benin are very lovely and I have them for remembrance of our memorable trip. I also thank my husband for organising for the two of us a very wonderful travel.