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Departement de la Donga
Type of Location
About Location

Djougou is the largest city in north west Benin. It is an important market town.The commune covers an area of 3,966 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 181,895 people.

Djougou is a warm and welcoming community with much potential.There are many dynamic and forward-thinking people here who want to see Djougou grow and develop.As a large city, it is already has the advantages of many resources that are lacking in smaller villages.However, its large population makes coordinating activities and taking advantage of these resources more difficult. The problem with Djougou seems not to be one of access but of utilization facilities and resources are available, but people are not taking full advantage of them for whatever reason.Therefore, education and social marketing must be a cornerstone of any development project in Djougou.

The city of Djougou is the capital city of the department of the Donga, and is considered to be the commercial capital of the Atacora-Donga region, with Natitingou acting as the seat of government and the primary tourist city. Djougou has a population of over two hundred thousand.While Dendi is the primary language and ethnic group in Djougou, there are also a number of Pull, Yoruba, Bariba, as well as transplanted Fon from the South.Like most of Benin, Djougou has a young and growing population.Large families and multiple wives are common leading to a large number of young and school-aged children and pregnant women.There are many different neighborhoods throughout the city, but they are fairly amorphous. People are quicker to identify where they live not by the name of their neighborhood, but by which main road it lies on or by a nearby landmark or mosque.

The population of Djougou is predominantly Muslim, with each neighborhood boasting at least one mosque.Muslims in Djougou range from the very conservative to the fairly liberal. It is relatively common to see women completely veiled in black, including their faces.More often, however, Muslim women wear a headscarfe and a few wear no veil of any kind.This wardrobe decision is made by following family tradition until marriage, after which she follows the traditions of her husband’s family.Conservative Muslim men refrain from alcohol, but most are not opposed to drinking.Nearly all Muslims abstain from eating pork and observe the calls to prayer.There is a considerable Catholic presence in Djougou as well with a large cathedral, a convent, seminary, and Catholic school system that runs through secondary school. Religion is important to the people of Djougou and it is common to be asked your religious affiliation when meeting someone new.This is done out of curiosity, not prejudice,and there appears to be a considerable amount of religious tolerance here.Christian and Muslim holidays are both celebrated any excuse for a fete day.

How to Reach

By Air

Djougou Airport (IATA: DJA, ICAO: DBBD) is an airport serving Djougou in Benin.

By Road

There are four major roads that intersect to form the city’s center the roads to Cotonou, Parakou, Natitingou, and the Ouake/Togolese border.As a relatively wealthy city, there are members of the community who own private cars, including the other families in my concession.Many families in the community have at least one moto that they use as their primary means of transportation.In addition, Zemidjians are easy to find throughout the city.

Key places to visit
Pendjari National Park, Tata Somba, Grand Marche


Places to Visit

Pendjari National Park

One advantage of the best road’s quality in the park is the opportunity to visit it in almost four hours. From Natitingou to Porga or vice versa, just make a detour along the road Tanguieta - Batia - Hotel Pendjari - Porga or vice versa.Compared to the direct way, you’ll have about 140 km more, but the sensation gained back is one of the most agreeable.In the park, a green lawn appears by the first rains. It could be admired especially in flooded plains.The majority of the roads is under construction.It is recommended not to go fast as the roads are not yet well stabilized.

Tata Somba

Tata Sombas are fortified huts that are the architectural treasures of the Betamaribe. It is said that the distance between two tata sombas is the distance an arrow can be shot from the roof of one.Each house is considered to have life, being divided between shade and light, masculine and feminine.A tata is a symbol of fertility and fecundity that the women honor by decorating its surface with grooves made with the tips of their fingers on the wet mud.While waiting to discover somba country first-hand, you can learn more details in the Practical Guide to Pendjari which can be found at the Park entrances, the SONAEC bookstore in Cotonou and other places.

Grand Marche

The grand marche in Djougou is held every 4 days,but the market area is open every day.Djougou is the largest market in the area.

Right Time to Visit

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