Parakou-Wari-Maro-Natitingou. Forest reserve of Wari Maro, Soubakpérou Mountain, Kota water fall and botanical Garden of Papatia village. Three days, total costs 200, Euro.
The preliminary program of these three days excursions involves a mycological prospection in the Wari-Maro forest reserve followed by the hicking of the mount Soubékperou (620 m asl), the visit of the Kota waterfall, the Botanical Garden of Papatia village”.
1st day : Saturday, 14th September, Wari-Maro Forest Reserve and Soubakpérou mountain
The Wari-Maro forest reserve is a sanctuary of EcM fungi and woodlands with scattered tree and shrub savannahs and forest galleries. It has an area of 105.700 ha that is lying on an average altitude of about 300 m. The forest is dominated by a series of north-south facing inselbergs, of which the highest, the Soubakperou, rises to 620 m. You will explore and if needed samples flora and fungi along a transect starting from the bottom to the top of the mountain (about 3-4 hours walk). The transect will bring you across different plant and fungal habitats, xeric plants and ephemerous habitats rich in unique plants and fungi. At the top of the mountain, you will get an breath-taking overview of the whole forest and you can experience forest fragmentation and village settlements at the same time.
2nd day: Sunday, 15th September, Kota water fall
The Kota waterfall deserves a glance. They are among the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The waterfall is located 10 km south of Natitingou, a city surrounding by the Atacora hills. The waterfall benefits from a privileged location. Compared to the savannah landscapes that extend in the north of the country, the areas surrounding the fall are much more green and conducive to a pleasant hike in the shade of foliage. The waterfall is about 20-meter-high. They flow into a vast basin of 36 km² where it is possible to swim. You will visit the waterfall following a botanical transect that goes from the top of the hills, through wooded savannah at slopes, to the bottom EcM-rich gallery forest. The Kota water fall is regarded as one of the two fungal hotspots in Benin, home to some unique fungi notably Afroboletus luteolus, Lactarius aurantifolius or Russula liberiensis.
3rd day: Monday, 16th September, Papatia botanical garden and the Kpessou arborentum
Papatia is a small village located on the route to, and about 35 km from Natitingou when you travel from Djougou. Thanks to collaboration with the University of Frankfurt, the villagers delimited a more than 50h area to raise a botanical garden, that represents one of the most preserved and species rich garden of the country, after that one of the University of Abomey-Calavi. The Papatia popular garden is recorded in the World Botanic Garden Index. You will experience here a mosaic of vegetation within an isolated forest island, as areas surrounding the garden are severely degraded. The garden harbours most of the plant and fungal taxa characteristic for the Soudanian ecozone. Here you will experience and debates on the effort of villagers to protect biodiversity, promote environmental education and awareness promotion. A stop will be made on the way back to Parakou to explore the Kpessou arborentum located in the Ouémé Supérieur Forest Reserve.
You will spend the night from Monday 16th to tuesday 17th at Parakou at your costs. Departure for Cotonou on Tuesday, 17th September.