Parakou-Bohicon-Cotonou, combining forest visits, visit of the underground village of Agongointo-Zoungoudo and the Danhomè kingdom. Three (3) days, total costs 250,- Euro
Southern Benin is home to the humid forests and impressive archaeological sites of Benin. Bohicon is located at about 300 km southern from Parakou. This package includes three days activities;
1st day: Saturday, 14th September, Visiting the Lokoly swamp forest
The Lokoli forest located in southern Benin is the only swampy forest with a known permanent river in West Africa. With an area of 2,965 ha, it is located about 100 km from Cotonou and 30 km from Bohicon. It remains the only best-preserved wetland ecosystem. It shelters plant and animal species that are endemic and/or endangered or vulnerable according to the red list of the IUCN, such as: Hallea ledermannii, Uapaca paludosa, Nauclea xanthoxylon, Cercopithecus erythrogaster erythrogaster, Cercopithecus mona, Colobus vellerosus, Ceriagrion citrinum, Barboides britzi, etc.
You will explore and cross the forest by canoe with intermittent stops to observe the local flora and the animals endemic to this forest. No mycological expedition has been made in the forest that surely harbours sapotrophic and aquatic fungi.
2nd day : Sunday, 15th September, Semi-deciduous Forest Reserve of Lama
With an estimated area of 16,250 ha, including 11,000 ha of dense forest, the Lama Forest Reserve is located in the Great East-Lama clay depression, a hundred km north of Cotonou.
The Lama Forest Reserve still constitutes a unique natural reserve by its extent, its originality and its great diversity. It is the last remnant of natural forest in this transition zone between Guinean and Congolian Forest zones, and can be classified as dry semi-deciduous forest. Established without human intervention and resulting from natural regeneration, the floristic richness is estimated at about 286 specific species divided into 77 families. It is home to 5 globally rare plants (Asparagus warnekei, Campylospermum glaberimum, Dennettia tripetala, Warnekea memeclyloides, Placodiscus boya) and plant species categorized as near threatened or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Monkeys are an important component in terms of the effectiveness of protection measures for wildlife in the Lama Forest Reserve; some are unique in the world, such as the endangered red-bellied monkey (Cercopithecus erythrogaster erythrogaster). The forest harnours also some rare and endangered species such as the colobus magistrate (Colobus vellerosus) or the olive colobus (Procolobus verus). Other species such as antelopes, blue duiker (Cephalophus monticola), black cephalopus (Cephalophus niger), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), or sitatunga (Trageohalus spekei). As important sightseeing, you will (1) the emblematic animals, plant and fungi of the forest; (2) rise of three 25m watchtowers that will give you a splendid panoramic views of the entire forest; (3) cross agro-forestry centre to discover holli people and their adaptation strategy to the clay soil, nursery areas of the Massi sectors.
3rd day: Monday, 16th September, Underground village of Agongointo-Zoungoudo and the Danhomè Kingdom
Discovered in 1998, the underground village of Agongointo-Zougoundo consists of a series of cellars of the German bunker type, made of tropical ferruginous soil and presenting different geometric shapes. This open-air museum, covering an area of approximately seven hectares, is home to fifty-six underground shelters or ahwando (literally a war hole in the local language). These are small openings cut in a forest, on the ground and usually not more than a meter in diameter and serving as a refuge for former warriors. The vertical entrance leads to a main bedroom of rounded shape. The latter serves in turn other secondary rooms that revolve around it. These houses were built since the 16th century under the reign of King Dakodonou (second King of Abomey). You will also visit and discover the Danhomè kingdom, a dynasty that lasted over 300 hundred years. Here you will learn more about the resistance by one of the most famous king of Africa (King Behanzin) to the french occupation. The visit of the underground village of Bohicon and Danxomè kingdom brings together history, archeology, vodun, plant virtues as well as a pleasant walk through vegetation rich in flora and fauna.
End of the excursion around midday. In the afternoon, travel back Cotonou for departure.