Ouidah Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Ouidah with our comprehensive travel guide. Explore the cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, food scene, and more.

Introduction to Ouidah

One of the most culturally rich cities in West Africa, Ouidah is located in Benin, a small country on the Gulf of Guinea. This fascinating destination was once a major port for slave trade in the 17th-19th centuries and was also the birthplace of the voodoo religion. Today, visitors can explore numerous cultural and historical landmarks, natural attractions, and engage in outdoor activities.

List of Places to Visit in Ouidah

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Ouidah has a rich history and culture that is reflected in its numerous landmarks and museums. Some of the must-visit places in the city include:

  • Port of No Return: This is a historic port where slaves were traded and shipped to other parts of the world. The museum is located at the site and offers an insightful look into the slave trade and its impact on the region.
  • Ouidah Museum of History: This museum showcases the country’s history, from its tribal origins to the present day.
  • The Temple of Pythons: This temple is dedicated to the worship of voodoo spirits and houses over 60 pythons.
  • The Sacred Forest: It is said to be the home of the voodoo spirits and is a peaceful place for visitors to explore and learn about the culture.

Natural Attractions of Ouidah: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Beyond its cultural landmarks, Ouidah also offers an array of natural attractions and scenic views. They include:

  • Lake Nokué: This is a picturesque lake and is home to several species of birds and reptiles.
  • The Beach: The city’s coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches ideal for swimming, sunbathing or just enjoying the scenery.
  • The Mangroves: Visitors can explore the mangroves by boat and observe the wildlife living within.
  • Mount Gouffo: This is a popular spot for hikers and rewarded with stunning views of the city.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ouidah

The natural beauty of Ouidah makes it ideal for hiking and biking enthusiasts. Some of the trails that offer unique adventures include:

  • The Traces of Slavery Route: This trail leads visitors through the historic slave trade sites of Ouidah.
  • The Sacred Forest Route: This trail takes visitors on a hike through the lush forest of the city and offers an opportunity to encounter voodoo shrines.
  • The Beach Route: Visitors can explore the coastline of Ouidah on bike and indulge in some beach hopping.

Best Things to Do in Ouidah: Activities and Tours

Ouidah offers visitors an array of activities and tours to suit every preference. Some of the top things to do include:

  • Voodoo Tour: Visitors can explore the voodoo traditions of Ouidah on a tour and learn about its history from knowledgeable guides.
  • Slavery Tour: A tour of the slavery sites offers an opportunity to learn about the slave trade and its impact on the region.
  • City Walking Tours: Exploring the city on foot offers visitors an opportunity to soak in the city’s rich history and culture.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ouidah

For visitors planning an extended stay, here is an example itinerary for a week in Ouidah:

  • Day 1: Visit historic sites, such as the Port of No Return and the Ouidah Museum of History.
  • Day 2: Explore the natural beauty of the city, including the mangroves and Lake Nokué.
  • Day 3: Take a voodoo tour and visit the Temple of Pythons and the Sacred Forest.
  • Day 4: Relax on the beach and go beach hopping.
  • Day 5: Embark on a hiking or biking trail, such as the Traces of Slavery Route.
  • Day 6: Visit the local markets and indulge in some shopping.
  • Day 7: Reflect on the week’s experiences and dine at a local restaurant, experiencing the cuisine of Ouidah.

Food and Drink Scene of Ouidah

No visit to Ouidah is complete without indulging in the local cuisine and beverages. Some of the must-try dishes and local beverages include:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Fufu: A staple food made from cassava and yam, often served with soup or stew.
  • Red Sauce: A spicy tomato-based sauce served with rice or chicken.

Local Beverages

  • Palm Wine: A traditional beverage made from palm sap.
  • Gin: A popular local spirit, often flavored with herbs and spices.

Where to Stay in Ouidah: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Ouidah offers visitors numerous options for accommodation. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel or a budget-friendly option, here are some options:

  • Hotel de la Diaspora: A luxury hotel located close to the beach, with ocean views and an on-site restaurant.
  • Hotel Casa Del Papa: A mid-range option located near the Sacred Forest and offering a swimming pool and bar.
  • Auberge Le Nomade: A budget-friendly hostel offering private and dormitory rooms, with a shared kitchen and outdoor terrace.

What to Buy in Ouidah: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Ouidah is known for its vibrant markets that offer souvenirs and local products made by local artisans. Some of the souvenirs to bring home include:

  • Voodoo dolls: Small dolls made by local artisans as a representation of voodoo spirits.
  • Wooden masks: Hand-carved masks used in voodoo rituals.
  • Traditional fabrics: Brightly colored cloths made by local weavers, often used as clothing or home decor.

Local Culture and Customs of Ouidah

Ouidah is a culturally rich destination with a fascinating history and traditions. Visitors should respect the customs and traditions of the locals by dressing modestly and refraining from taking photographs without permission.

Best Time to Visit Ouidah

The best time to visit Ouidah is during the dry season, between November to March. During this period, the weather is mild, and there is less rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ouidah

Visitors to Ouidah should note the following do’s and don’ts:


  • Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • Respect locals and their customs.
  • Ask for permission before taking photographs.


  • Drink tap water, only drink bottled water.
  • Wear revealing clothing in public spaces, as it can be seen as disrespectful.
  • Engage in activities related to voodoo without the guidance of a knowledgeable guide.

Safety and Health

Ouidah is a relatively safe destination, but visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety and health.

Safety in Ouidah

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night.
  • Keep your valuables close and avoid flashing them in public spaces.

Health in Ouidah

  • Visitors are advised to get vaccinated against yellow fever and take malaria prophylaxis.
  • Always drink bottled water and avoid street food that may not have been properly prepared.

Getting to Ouidah: Transportation Options and Logistics

Ouidah can be easily accessed by different means of transportation, including:

Airports Near Ouidah

  • The Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport, located 35 kilometers from Ouidah.

Bus Stations Near Ouidah

  • The Cotonou Bus Station, located in the city’s center, with regular buses departing to Ouidah.

Other Options

  • Taxis and private car hire are also available from Cotonou to Ouidah.

How to Get Around in Ouidah

The best way to explore Ouidah is on foot, but visitors can also hire a taxi or motorbike to take them around the city. Bikes are also available for rent for visitors interested in exploring the city.

Where to Go Next from Ouidah: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Benin is home to several exciting destinations that visitors can explore when they are done with Ouidah. Some places to visit include:

  • Abomey: A historic city and the former capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey, located 100 kilometers to the north.
  • Ganvié: A floating village located on Lake Nokoué, 30 kilometers from Ouidah.
  • Cotonou: The largest city and commercial center of Benin, located 40 kilometers away.


Ouidah is a culturally rich city, boasting an array of historic sites, natural attractions, and adventurous excursions. From exploring its cultural landmarks to the natural beauty, Ouidah has something for everyone. Plan your trip today and experience the magic of this West African gem.