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Benin, a country you have probably never heard of, but nonetheless, it is a country with a lot of interesting things for explorers. So where is it?
Benin is located in western Africa, between Togo and Nigeria.
It may not be a typical tourist destination but, perhaps surprisingly, it offers plenty of interesting sights. The country has a grim history with slave trade on one hand and a place on the Unesco world heritage list on the other
What makes Benin most interesting for tourists is its main religion, Voodoo.
Benin is one of only two countries in the world where Voodoo is the official religion – the other being Haiti, in the Caribbean. Another place that Voodoo is widely practised is in New Orleans in the state of Louisiana in the USA.
Your first sight of voodoo in Benin is when you walk around the towns and cities in the morning and come across dead sacrificial chickens – everywhere! But that’s not all you will see. If you visit the voodoo market you will see a greater variety of props used for their religion. Be warned, this is not a pleasant sight, and it’s not for everyone. They offer a huge selection of body parts from almost every animal you could imagine; Gorilla hands, hippo heads, crocodile heads and dried elephant trunks are just a few examples of what is available.
The photos I’m sharing here show less than 5% of the public market in Cotonou, one of Benin’s two capitals. I also visited other markets around the country, and they offered a much greater variety than this market – I was told the further away from the capital of Benin I travelled, the larger the markets would be.
While travelling, I had the “pleasure” of meeting the voodoo king and attended a voodoo festival. Unfortunately, I had my camera stolen (!) so the only photos I have from Benin and the rest of Western Africa are from this market. This is only because I shared the photos with some friends before my precious snapshooter was stolen. There is no hope for Wi-Fi in this part of the world to backup your photos online, so keep that in mind if you are planning a trip to these parts!
I recommend bringing several SD cards so you can swap them out and carry them on your person.
Might be overkill for some, but there is nothing worse than losing your photos (a camera can always be replaced, photos can’t).
These photos may be a bit “raw” for some, and you might not agree with what is happening – But, don’t shoot the messenger, as they say – I’m just sharing the reality of the world.
These photos are from a public voodoo market of benign, it’s not hidden away, it’s in the middle of the capital!!
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