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Cotonou Shore Excursion: Ouidah Voodoo City
Ouidah, conquered by the Dahomey army in the XVIII cent and transformed into a terminal for the slaves trade. Today the laid back attitude of the locals mixes with the thunder of the distant waves on the beach and the rhythm of the drums creates an atmosphere outside of time, very well described by Bruce Chatwin in his book, "The Vice-Roi of Ouidah".
We start our visit in the sacred forest where people believe that the founder of the town, King Kpasse, turned himself into a tree, which is standing in the middle of the site. The forest is the places for rites and sacrifice in honor of Voodoo and for protection of the town
Then we move to the Portuguese Fort (Fortaleza Sao Joao Batista), built in 1721, and now a museum on:
• the history of Ouidah and Dahomey Kingdom,
• slave trade,
• influence of slaves on Brazilian culture
• and the influence of former slaves who came back to Ouidah and Guinea Gulf.
Afterwards, we finish our tour of the city by following the Way of Non-Return (“slave route”) to the beach where the slaves embarked. We stop on the beach to see the touching memorial which has been set up in 1992.