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There's a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we've left it. - Colum McCann

22 September 2019, Ouidah, BENIN to Aného, TOGO, 67.78km
La Côte du Soleil 15,000XOF (R375)  


We were awoken at 04:00 by a thunderstorm, Charl getting up to close our window, wide-open to any breeze. By the time we got on the bikes some hours later, it was dry, the world washed clean.
Our last cycle day in Benin was a good one. We have had only two cycle days between Cotonou and the Togo border, just 100km lying between the two. We have, of course, spent several more days than two in Benin, chasing down visas (Ghana, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire) and chasing down the history of the Dahomey kingdom, the charm of Ganvié, and the horrors of the slave trade in Ouidah.
Our Ouidah hotel was located on Route 1 so we simply got on the road and headed on out. The surface was in perfect condition, and the narrow shoulder more than adequate to protect us from what little Sunday traffic there was. The road curved inland for a time, then dropped back toward the coast, meeting the beach again at Grand Popo. From there it was another 20km to the Togo border. This 20km stretch of road lies on a narrow tongue of Beninoise territory, the Gulf of Guinea just a couple of hundred metres south, the Togo border running parallel to the road just somewhere not far to the north.
We had chosen to get our Togo visa at the border rather than applying for it in Cotonou. This proved easy enough, though as we are planning to spend some time in Togo, we do need to get our seven days extended to 30, which we will do in Lomé tomorrow.
We were rather taken with a road sign on the outskirts of Ouidah which advertised capital cities in the next three countries: Lomé (Togo), Accra (Ghana) and Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). Shortly thereafter we had our bikes oiled and our tyres pumped at a roadside tyre repair workshop. A man with two boys, we assume his, worked there in cheerful and efficient companionship. They had an adaptor that fitted the valves on our tyres. One of the boys started the generator by yanking on a tightly-coiled rope, which filled a pale pink container with pressurised air, which then inflated our tyres to five bar. The owner not only checked the pressure reading for each tyre both before and after he filled them, but checked via spittle on a finger whether the valves were leaking. And one of the boys found a spare cap to replace a lost one on my front tyre. Great service…
We had barbecued prawns and something crunchy, delicious and unidentified for breakfast, and rice with fish in a tomato-based sauce for lunch. In one of the towns through which we passed was the Mandela Nightclub, the image advertising it one of busty beauties, which we thought would have amused Madiba. People in the fields we passed were harvesting tomatoes, filling wicker baskets with the red and green fruit. It’s an extraordinary thing, but we have seen no mechanised farming since we left South Africa though we did today see some irrigation. Also in the fields, garrumphing in contrapuntal harmony, a multitude of frogs. Built at intervals around some of the fields were wooden towers from which callers could yell at birds to chase them from the crops.
Leaving Benin was easy, and though the visa process took a little time, entering Togo was easy too. Immediately west of the border was a busy market, and then we were in Aného proper with the ocean blue and turquoise and fresh and inviting. Sadly, much of the golden sand was littered with plastic, perhaps washed up by the waves, or blown onto the sand from dumped refuse. Much of the beach is fronted by the poorer homes of town. Hope the owners know they are sitting on a potential goldmine.
Our hotel is on the beach, this section kept clean enough to entice us into the lukewarm waters. Such luxury.

Punctures 0
Bribes paid 0 (0 requested)
Cycle tourers met 0
Total kms 112


For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…  

For Cameroon (previous country), click HERE

For Togo (next country), click HERE
For Africa overview, click HERE


Leaving Ouidah - solar street lights
Leaving Ouidah - solar street lights
Leaving Ouidah
Leaving Ouidah
Ouidah to border - softdrink break
Ouidah to border - softdrink break
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border - pumping our tyres
Ouidah to border - pumping our tyres
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border - Mandela nightclub
Ouidah to border - Mandela nightclub
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Ouidah to border
Aného, Togo
Aného, Togo
La Côte du Soleil, Aného, Togo
La Côte du Soleil, Aného, Togo
La Côte du Soleil, Aného, Togo
La Côte du Soleil, Aného, Togo
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