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Benin / Togo

date of entry 31/01/1991
mileage 65,129


capital Porto-Novo

area 112.622 km²

population 8.971.944

GDP 5.433 M. US-Dollar

official language French


capital Lomé

area 56.785 km²

population 6.587.239

GDP 2.497 M. US-Dollar

official language France

Two French-speaking countries, narrow strips, sandwiched between the larger states of Ghana and Nigeria, where English is spoken: Togo and Benin are very similar and were visited by Otto at the same time. Back then, in 1991, oil had not yet been discovered off the coast of these countries, and therefore very traditional structures were still to be found especially in the villages inland.
  • ... but as a rule the residents greeted Otto with shy interest at least.
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  • Typical round huts in the interior of the West African country of Benin, which lies to the east of its twin Togo on the Atlantic.
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  • Shortly after Otto’s arrival more and more villagers gathered. The Holtorfs visited the two countries in 1991 on their first tour of Africa.
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  • Loads are carried – as in many parts of Africa – on the head. Gunther Holtorf, Christine and Otto did not stay for long in the Togolese capital Lomé by the coast.
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  • They drove into the interior where the range of goods on offer among the traders was rather more limited.
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  • Wooden bowls were still used here – not plastic bowls as in the capital.
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  • They encountered traditional clay dwellings whose thick walls provide good protection against the often intolerable heat close to the equator .
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  • Small storage facilities – also made from clay – stand on narrow feet to protect against vermin.
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  • Here the huts are grouped around a shady baobab, also called a monkey-bread tree.
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  • The fortress-like walls appeared somewhat unwelcoming at first glance ...
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  • Video: Benin and Togo – between tradition and modernity