Somba Villages



Few tourists venture this far north, but for those who have the time and stamina, there is a fascinating reward: the villages of the Somba tribes. These traditional warriors and hunters live in the most beautiful part of the country—if your car or taxi isn't bouncing too roughly for you to enjoy the scenery, you'll see waterfalls, gorges, valleys, cliffs and stands of the bulbous baobab tree.

Taneka Koko is the main village in the Somba area, and the one you should head for. The houses of the Somba people are two-storied huts. (Animals sleep on the lower level, while their owners sleep upstairs.) The dwellings, made of red-mud bricks, look like miniature thatched-roof castles with round towers at the corners. Taneka Koko, built on a stony hill, is a beautiful village that hasn't changed outwardly for centuries. Be polite, don't attempt to take anyone's photo, and don't plan on experiencing any major cultural interchange. 210 mi/340 km north of Abomey.

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