I was elated to get to my 50th country..my 18th African country - Benin. Better yet, we just walked into Benin from the Togolese-Beninois border. Benin does not need visas for Africans. Amazing, isn’t it? Check out more Africa visa latest updates here.
I experienced so many new and magical things during my Togo-Benin-Ghana trip. A few highlights...Got to Grand Popo, a resort town 20 minutes from the Togo-Benin border on Friday afternoon...Trip was quick, visa process was easy....no visas needed for most Africans coming to Benin. Only hiccup was that my African/Ghana black soap shower gel poured on most of the clothes I came with.... You will soon see why this is important. Spent a lot of beach time in Grand Popo... Lovely lovely views...I might not encourage anyone to dive in wholeheartedly into the ocean though...it has those life threatening waves and currents that I have come to respect and fear from the Atlantic as an Indian ocean typa girl...
Saturday we left for Ouidah - the home of Vodou religion..Forget what Hollywood told you about the religion (poking holes in dolls, hexes etc..) Vodou is a religion primarily practiced by the Fon people of Benin, Nigeria, Ghana and Togo and by people of similar descent in the Americas and Caribbean countries. In Vodou, all creation (plants, animals, objects) are divine and therefore contains the power of the divine. In Ouidah, the pythons of the snake temple are revered and worshipped. I'm not their spokesperson, but they might be the happiest snakes worldwide.. during the day, they roam the city, visit people's houses and are treated with courtesy. At night, they return to the snake temple.
I should add though that I have never been scared of snakes in my life. In fact as a child, I wished to have a pet snake - in addition to the many animals we already had at home. My dad, who also loved all animals... (Mum loves animals, but is terrified of snakes), used to sometimes take me and Wakonyo Kimeria to snake park. He would play with the big snakes and we would get to play with the small ones...So as much as I will go running for the hills if I see a cockroach, grasshopper or cricket....I don't get the same response for snakes. I think they are wonderful. Snake temple was nice. I got to cuddle some pythons, then we went into their main rooms....I loved that our guide knocked before we got in....I think snakes also like a heads up and we took off our shoes as we got into the main snake room housing 50 pythons. Quite curiously, the snake temple is located directly opposite the Ouidah cathedral.