Expedition XII




02 MARCH 2024 – 10 MARCH 2024

Cost €2450

For further details or for any questions please contact

Dr Louise Fenton

[email protected]





Join historian and anthropologist, Dr Louise Fenton on our expedition through Benin in search of Voodoo, carvings, masks, contemporary art and mind-blowing food. An extraordinary adventure to see the ‘Cradle of Voodoo’ and to immerse yourself in this amazing culture. This will be our fourth expedition to Benin, and we have built up a network of local guides and contacts that means we hope to be able to get permission to take you to ceremonies, sometimes deep in the bush, as these are not planned far in advance, we may not know what we are going to see until the actual day (there will be no staged ceremonies in hotels).


You will need to come with an open mind and flexible approach to travel. Voodoo, or Vodoun, permeates the very soul of this part of West Africa. Dr Fenton will lead you on a journey to see altars, shrines and temples, you will meet Vodoun Priests and have the adventure of tracking down a ceremony, you will learn about the history and culture of this incredible country through visiting sacred and historic sites. We will visit Ouidah to see the Python Temple, the Sacred Forest, Fetish Market and the final departure point for enslaved people and learn about the complexities of the slave trade. There will be visits to the fetish Vodoun markets in Benin to see the eclectic stalls selling Vodoun implements and animal parts. There will be numerous opportunities to taste the cuisine, dine in some of West Africa’s finest restaurants, buy incredible artefacts, see the art and culture of these countries and to relax and enjoy this amazing journey through Benin.



What you can expect…


When we visit Vodoun Priests we will be walking on sacred sites. The Priests we have now come to know offer us a warm welcome to their altars and shrines and will give a blessing to us on arrival. The blessings usually start with an offering of water followed by an offering of (very strong) alcohol. Dr Fenton and our guide will be on hand to talk you through what is expected of you and what is happening. These are very intimate gatherings to afford you the privilege of meeting the Priests of Vodoun.

Ketou Benin December 27 2014 Gélédé festival in Ketou. This festival is held by the yoruba people in Benin and Nigeria.

There will be an opportunity to meet an Ifa Priest who will give a Fa reading to help with a personal situation. You should never enter these sites with ill-wishes, the Priests are there to help and guide you. A Fa reading is undertaken by the Priest throwing his beads and then reading how they land. He then uses shells, stones and other objects to answer your question. This can be very personal and so we do ask other guests to wait outside, Dr Fenton and our guide will be present to help with understanding what is said. This is followed by a suggested ceremony which costs around €75 – €150 depending on the complexity of the issue. There will be an opportunity for ceremonies to take place later in the week. We usually only have time to provide two readings so if this is something you are considering please let Dr Fenton know prior to travel.

As our contacts and relationships with guides have grown, we are being allowed exclusive access to more ceremonies. These sometimes include small village celebrations. Dr Fenton and the guides will help to explain what is happening and what is expected. We will be entering sacred sites and so shoes must always be removed. These smaller gatherings often involve the Vodoun drummers, the power and energy they exude is incredible. We will meet the Priest who will give us his blessing to be there and then we join in, you may need to dust off those dancing shoes and be ready to show us your best moves!

There are also large village and town ceremonies. These are the ones with the costumes where hundreds of people attend. We are finding we have been given exclusive access to some of the most powerful Vodoun ceremonies, the Kokou and the Egungun. The Kokou ceremony does involve the cutting of skin, however, if we are lucky enough to be invited to any of these ceremonies, Dr Fenton and our guides will explain what is happening, what you need to do and ease any anxieties as these are loud, vibrant, energetic and exhilarating!

Sacrifice is part of Vodoun. The blood from the animal is used for the ceremony as an offering to the deity, it is a life force. The animal is then cooked and shared amongst those gathered, nothing is wasted. We do not sanction sacrifice for the bloodlust of visitors, but we will also not ask for sacrifice to be sanitised for us. Chickens, goats, sheep and cows are used.


This really is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Vodoun.



PROVISIONAL ITINERARY (subject to change due to the occurrence of ceremonies). The locations will be accurate, the visits may change as we need to react to events!


Day / Date Location / Activity



Day 1

Sat 02 March 24


Flight to Cotonou

(2 nights Cotonou)


·       Guests arrive at Cotonou airport and are met by Dr Fenton and our guide just outside the arrival area

·        Transfer to hotel



Day 2

Sun 03 March 24


Cotonou / Ganvie


·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Change money

·       Visit Ganvie stilt village by boat

·       Lunch in a restaurant

·       Afternoon visits in Cotonou (Ifa Priest for Fa reading, monuments, murals, artefact market)

·       Dinner at hotel to meet each other in more relaxed environment



Day 3

Mon 04 March 24


Cotonou / Abomey

(2 nights Abomey)


·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Measure up for clothing with tailor

·       Visit Dantokpa Market and Cathedral in Cotonou

·       Departure to Abomey

·       Lunch in a restaurant

·       Visit UNESCO heritage site Dahomey Royal Palace / Museum and Centre for Contemporary Art

·       Possible Evening Vodoun Ceremony (fee)



Day 4

Tue 05 March 24




·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Visits around Abomey: Vodoun Temples and shrines (Chameleon Church and village)

·       Visit to Vodoun Priest in Bush

·       Visit Fetish Market

·       Lunch in a restaurant

·       Afternoon free time to attempt spontaneous ceremonies

·       Dinner at local restaurant




Day 5

Wed 06 March 24


Abomey / Possotome

(2 nights Possotome)


·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Drive to Possotome (possible visits)

·       Lunch in stilt restaurant in Possotome

·       Afternoon free time to attempt spontaneous Vodoun Ceremony

·       Dinner at hotel



Day 6

Thu 07 March 24


Possotome / Grand Popo / Possotome


·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Boat tour of Lac Aheme

·       Visit to Grand Popo, lunch on the Beach

·       Visit to local Museum

·       Return to Lac Aheme

·       Village walk (shrines / cemetery / sacred forest)

·       Dinner at hotel



Day 7

Fri 08 March 24


Possotome / Ouidah

(2 nights Ouidah)


·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Drive to Ouidah

·       Visit the Temple de Python and the Sacred Forest (walk to see sculptures and shrines)

·       Lunch in local restaurant

·       Visit to Slavery Road and Memorials

·       Late afternoon free time to attempt spontaneous ceremonies

·       Dinner at hotel


Day 8

Sat 09 March 24




·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Visit to art gallery

·       Visit Saveurs du Benin or other local restaurant for lunch

·       Back to Fa reader for ceremonies if required / visit to Yoruba King

·       Shopping at artefact market

·       Late afternoon free time to attempt spontaneous Vodoun Ceremony

·       Dinner at hotel



Day 9

Sun 10 March 24


Ouidah / Cotonou


·       Breakfast at the hotel

·       Leave Ouidah transfer to Cotonou

·       Lunch in a restaurant in Cotonou

·       Transfer to the airport END OF SERVICES



  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Tour Guide
  • Tour Leader
  • Visits
  • Water



  • Dinner
  • Drinks
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tips for guide and driver (not mandatory)
  • Spending money 




For further details or for any questions please contact

Dr Louise Fenton

[email protected]