top of page

Putting Benin On The Map: The Story Of Ola, A Proud Beninese

Updated: 5 days ago

A waterfall in Benin

Self Discovery in Travel

While abroad for his master’s degree in Water engineering, Abdel Ola known as ‘’Ola Angel’’ discovered how much he loves to travel. Often, as his colleagues would criticize: “Ola is never around. Always on the move.” It is either he is in the next city catching cruise; in the nearby suburb checking out a new location or in a secret tourist destination while his colleagues went partying during the weekend. It got extreme that he was touring an entire week and had his classmates believe he was in his room the entire time.

Charity Begins At Home

“While in Algeria, my classmates would often flex about their countries. So, then I realized that when it comes to Benin I couldn’t say anything. Yet, people have that bad perception about Benin especially about voodoo.”

So this gave Ola a paradigm shift towards knowing more about his home country. From that point, every vacation was an opportunity to answer a question or two about Benin that the proud Beninese couldn’t answer in all those conversations. With time “those who were following me on Instagram begun coming to understand and appreciate that Benin is not the village and barbaric place they perceived it to be. They started seeing the beauty of Benin.”

In no time, he became the library of the coolest locations to check out; the historian for the interesting sights to see and the planner for a fulfilling treat when ever his friends needed to plan an event, to tour, travel the city or a nearby country.

Since then, he has gained enormous experience and knowledge about Benin. He is the right man to ask: “What are the coolest things to do in Benin?

Why You Should Visit Benin

1. Largest lake village in Africa

Boat ride in Ganvie, a village on Lake Nokoue in Cotonuo CIty,Benin

How about breakfast in a pirogue, on a living lake that ripples the history of survival ?

Ganvie is believed to be the largest lake village in the whole of Africa on Lake Nokoue. The ‘watermen’ live mainly by fishing. This floating village of the Tofinu tribe was built in the early years of the 18th century in an attempt to escape the Fon tribe who traded slaves with the Portuguese.

I bet you would love to see a vibrant market sitting on water. Close to Cotonou city, the Venice of Africa is home to about 30,000 Beninese.

2. Port Novo

Standing at the gate of the Mosque in Port Novo, Benin

Port Novo is the capital of Benin. It is home to some of the undaunting colonial and indigenous African history. Port Novo was one of the major ports for slave trade when the Portuguese set foot in Port Novo (then Ajase town.)

This historic capital in Africa is home of one of the most interest building on the continent: the Great Mosque of Port Novo, Cotonuo Central Mosque.

FUN FACT: Did you know this mosque was the first mosque in Benin from a converted cathedral constructed in 1925 during the colonial era? 😲🤯😵

3. La Riviere Noire

Rowing a pirogue through La Riviere Noire, in Benin. A beautiful tourist site in Benin close to the Nigerian border with Benin

About twenty-minutes to the east of Port Novo, towards the Nigerian border, Benin has one of the most peaceful locations in west Africa, La Riviere Noire (Black River). The river is situated in the middle of a dense forest of Raffia Palm trees and has a very calm demeanor that promises serenity and nature.

4. Boat Rides

Ola Angel rowing a boat on La Riviere Noire in Benin

It is as though almost all the fascinating sites of southern Benin involve a boat ride or two. How about some calm landscape and Beninese cozy hospitality in Grand Popo; blessed with a boat ride through the long wooden bridge constructed by the locals of Mono to the ‘Door-of-no-return’ in Ouida. The ride comes with intriguing Islands to visit.

5. Voodoo Is Just A Religion

Like any other systems of belief, the religion which is popularly misconstrued and misrepresented originated from Benin. “Even among your friends, when you happen to go bad once, it spoils all the thousand times you were good. I think that’s the fate the Voodoo is suffering.” A lot of the time voodoo is used for very positive things too: “For instance we have voodoo for barren women, for business growth, for arms and protection, for good health and so on.” However, the dark side is also sought, just as any other Abrahamic religions you know has its positive and negative uses.

A Word From Mr. Angel: Start Your Travel Journey Today

Ola Angel in Possotome

Just as Jooryn Nina of Camerron admonished, the journey to traveling begins with a thirty minutes’ drive to the next village or city of interest from your home town or home village. With time, thirty minutes translate into an hour or two’s drive from home and slowly you are traveling internationally to see the ever-elating divine work of art the earth is.

About Mr. Ola Angel

Abdel Ola GADO is a travel blogger - content creator and Travel Planner. He is dedicated to sharing his travel experiences across Africa with strong focus on his home, Benin in hope to help change the narrative on African tourism. His main goal is to inspire and encourage people to travel to Africa and feel how amazing the continent is. Being an engineer and a worker himself, he is determined to motivate workers to travel more.

Ola has been to eleven countries since 2017, Angel joins together culture, passion, adventure, and food anytime he is exploring a new destination. Ola enjoys discovering hidden gems and highlighting the beauty of Benin and its neighboring countries, Togo and Ghana, in order to motivate travelers to think of these destinations when traveling to west Africa.

Ola loves documenting his travel experiences via his social media handles and YouTube vlogs. To ensure that every traveler enjoys Benin as he does, Ola uses his expertise to curate, plan and help tourists discover and stay in Benin, Togo, Ghana and somethings Egypt. Ola has served clients from both far and near including those from the US, Europe and other parts of the world.


Intstagram: @ola.angel

Tiktok: @travelwithola [hyperlink]

Facebook: @TravelwithOla

Fancy help with planning your next black heritage and leisure getaway?

Tanzania, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar, Kenya, South Africa, Sao Tome, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Congo, Nigeria, Benin. If you need help planning your next holidays whether you are a solo traveler, a duo, a group of friends or a corporate retreat. If you fancy a mixture of black heritage and leisure experiences, we got you!

To find out more, email us at:

Or schedule a Zoom Discovery call to find out we could help you plan your next holidays.

7 views0 comments


bottom of page