Exploring Sacred Traditions in Ouidah, Benin

Maarten Schafer
3 min readMay 1, 2024


Sacred Pythons Temple — Maarten Schafer — CoolTravel Stories
Sacred Pythons Temple - Maarten Schafer - CoolTravel Stories

During our journey through West Africa, we planned to visit Ouidah, a city in Benin known for its mystical and sacred traditions. Our itinerary included two key sites: the Sacred Pythons Temple and the Sacred Forest, each offering unique insights into the spiritual life of the local community.

The Sacred Pythons Temple, situated in the center of Ouidah, is an example of the city’s connection with nature and spirituality. As we entered the dimly lit temple, we were immediately struck by the quiet atmosphere of reverence. The temple is home to royal pythons, venerated as divine beings. The temple guardians explained the significance of these snakes in Vodun, the predominant religion in Benin, where they symbolize wisdom, protection, and continuity of life. We observed a deep bond between the community and their natural surroundings by watching the local people interact respectfully with the pythons.

Next, we headed to the Sacred Forest, a verdant area rich with history and legend. Walking through the forest, we came across various statues and relics depicting the Vodun gods and goddesses. The natural smells of earth and leaves added to the ambiance, making our walk through the forest a memorable experience. The forest seemed alive, filled with stories of the past and secrets of the spiritual world.

Guides familiar with the area shared stories about the deities, describing their roles in the spiritual world and their importance to the people of Ouidah. These stories have been passed down through generations and are vital to the city’s culture. The forest links the physical and spiritual worlds, where their boundaries seem to blur.

Sacred Forest — CoolTravel — CoolTravelStories — StorytellingExpedition
Sacred Forest — CoolTravel — CoolTravelStories — StorytellingExpedition

As the day ended and the shadows lengthened over the Sacred Forest, we reflected on our experiences. Visiting the Sacred Pythons Temple and the Sacred Forest was an exploration of Ouidah’s spiritual heritage. These sites, rich with history and spirituality, gave us a deeper appreciation of the city’s cultural identity.

Ouidah blends everyday life with sacred practices, leaving a lasting impression. This city is a vivid reminder of the diversity and depth of West African culture, continually fascinating and inspiring visitors.

Maarten Schafer




Maarten Schafer

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