confined:CB2, trading:CB2, slavery:CB2, travel:CB2, outdoors:CB2, history:CB2, nobody:CB2, monument:CB2, slave:CB2, Ouidah:CB2, Beninese:CB2

Route des Esclaves


The Route of the Slaves includes the slave auction plaza, the Tree of Forgetfulness (where slaves were branded with their owners' symbols and, to make them forget where they came from, forced to walk around the tree in circles) and the Tree of Return, another tree the slaves often circled with the belief that their souls would return home after death. There is a poignant memorial on the beach, Gate of No Return, with a bas-relief depicting slaves in chains.

It's such a beautiful spot that it's hard to fathom that 12 million people were deported from this very shore.

The end of the road features a small museum with images and illustrations about the African diaspora and the slave trade in general.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Benin attractions

1. Python Temple

0.96 MILES

Those interested in Vodou could visit the python temple, home to some 60 sleepy snakes. The guide explains some of the beliefs and ceremonies associated…

2. Musée d'Histoire de Ouidah

0.98 MILES

Ouidah's main site is its Musée d'Histoire de Ouidah, housed in the beautiful Fortaleza São João Batista, a Portuguese fort built in 1721. It retraces the…

3. Zinzou Foundation Museum

1.19 MILES

This museum of contemporary African art, housed in a stunning 1920s Afro-Brazilian villa, displays paintings and sculptures as well as light, video and…

4. Fidjirossé Beach

21.24 MILES

This pretty stretch of sand is a lovely place to embrace local culture and cool off. It's a favorite spot for Beninese to retreat to with families and is…

5. Fondation Zinsou

21.67 MILES

Named after the family that started it, this fantastic exhibition space seeks to promote contemporary African art among Beninese people through…

6. Villa Karo

22.1 MILES

On the main road through the village, Villa Karo is a small gallery with great exhibitions focusing on local art.

8. Ganvie Stilt Village

22.33 MILES

This stilt village, located in the lagoon of Lake Nokoue, was created for the Tofinu people to stay safe from slave hunters. It has become part of their…