Mono River

Mono River, Benin City: Address, Phone Number, Mono River Reviews: 4/5

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A Boat Trip on the Mono River
The Mono River is 500km long and flows from Togo into the sea at Grand Popo. We passed a temple of the Voodoo God Zangbeto and many other temples along the way and saw lots of different types of birds - kingfishers, herons, geese and different types of waders as well as black fish eagles which I had not seen before. We travelled to Les Bouches du Roi where the river meets the sea and there is a big sandy beach deserted apart from a fisherman fishing with a net from the shore. The land there had eroded dramatically and we saw the remains of a small settlement that had partly been washed away. The river has lots of small villages along its banks so there is quite a lot of activity - people fishing in small boats, women washing their clothes, people bathing and villagers travelling to and from Grand Popo to sell fish or salt, which is made in some of the villages. We visited one of the small villages, called Avlo, with a population of 600, and as our boat approached the landing area the group of children standing on the bank watching us approach grew into a small crowd. They followed us up the path into the village running around us and shouting. Obviously visitors are not so common here. At the entrance to the village we passed the Legba (symbol of the messenger) and a temple - signs that this village follow the traditional religion of Voodoo. We entered the main village square where families were sitting and many children were running around. Our local guide who buys salt here talked to the villagers and introduced us. One lady was weaving a straw mat and another was selling bread. Most of the villagers were friendly, except for one lady who either didn't like me or didn't want visitors! The children, as usual, all wanted their photograph taken and crowded around the camera. They always seem to think they need to get as close as possible to the camera to get a good picture. After a few attempts, we managed to get some reasonable photos of them and they were happy when they viewed them. The sticky hand prints were easily removed from the camera later with lense wipes! I gave out pens and sweets to the children and hair clips to the ladies and we watched the salt making. To make the salt they take sand from the mangroves which they mix with water and filter in a big traditional basket made from mangrove branches. The mixture is then tested for salinity in a bowl with Kola nuts. If the Kola nuts float the mixture has enough salinity, if they don't there is not enough. The salty mixture is then skimmed off and and baked in an oven to produce the salt. The whole process takes one day and the salt block sells for only €3! On the way back to the boat we met the chief and some of his wives, and we stopped to shake hands and say hello. Our boat trip took about 2 hours in a motor boat which had a cover to shade us from the sun, and travelled at a leisurely pace so there was plenty of opportunity to take photographs. My trip was pre-organised by my tour company. The Auberge Grand Popo can organise Mono River trips, or you can walk down to the Old Town of Grand Popo where the boats are moored by the river and ask.

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bibi49
perugia10 contributions
travelling in a pirogue to your paradise
Jan. 2012 • Couples
the best to discover the Mono river in a peaceful atmosphere is by lòetting you guide in a pirogue without motor till the end where the river joins the sea: just paradise
Written 22 January 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

A Boat Trip on the Mono River
The Mono River is 500km long and flows from Togo into the sea at Grand Popo.
We passed a temple of the Voodoo God Zangbeto and many other temples along the way and saw lots of different types of birds - kingfishers, herons, geese and different types of waders as well as black fish eagles which I had not seen before.
We travelled to Les Bouches du Roi where the river meets the sea and there is a big sandy beach deserted apart from a fisherman fishing with a net from the shore. The land there had eroded dramatically and we saw the remains of a small settlement that had partly been washed away.
The river has lots of small villages along its banks so there is quite a lot of activity - people fishing in small boats, women washing their clothes, people bathing and villagers travelling to and from Grand Popo to sell fish or salt, which is made in some of the villages. We visited one of the small villages, called Avlo, with a population of 600, and as our boat approached the landing area the group of children standing on the bank watching us approach grew into a small crowd. They followed us up the path into the village running around us and shouting. Obviously visitors are not so common here. At the entrance to the village we passed the Legba (symbol of the messenger) and a temple - signs that this village follow the traditional religion of Voodoo.
We entered the main village square where families were sitting and many children were running around. Our local guide who buys salt here talked to the villagers and introduced us. One lady was weaving a straw mat and another was selling bread. Most of the villagers were friendly, except for one lady who either didn't like me or didn't want visitors!
The children, as usual, all wanted their photograph taken and crowded around the camera. They always seem to think they need to get as close as possible to the camera to get a good picture. After a few attempts, we managed to get some reasonable photos of them and they were happy when they viewed them. The sticky hand prints were easily removed from the camera later with lense wipes! I gave out pens and sweets to the children and hair clips to the ladies and we watched the salt making. To make the salt they take sand from the mangroves which they mix with water and filter in a big traditional basket made from mangrove branches. The mixture is then tested for salinity in a bowl with Kola nuts. If the Kola nuts float the mixture has enough salinity, if they don't there is not enough. The salty mixture is then skimmed off and and baked in an oven to produce the salt. The whole process takes one day and the salt block sells for only €3!
On the way back to the boat we met the chief and some of his wives, and we stopped to shake hands and say hello.
Our boat trip took about 2 hours in a motor boat which had a cover to shade us from the sun, and travelled at a leisurely pace so there was plenty of opportunity to take photographs.
My trip was pre-organised by my tour company. The Auberge Grand Popo can organise Mono River trips, or you can walk down to the Old Town of Grand Popo where the boats are moored by the river and ask.
Written 3 June 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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