"The Tata Sombas" Natitingou by janiebaxter

Natitingou Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 23 photos

A Unique Building Style

Natitingou is the principal town in the North of Benin, with a population of 40,000, and is the base for trips to the Pendjari National Park and to the Tata Somba region.
Although not large, the town has plenty of facilities – banks, shops, hospital, internet and places to hire 4WD vehicles and driver to go to the Tatas or Pendjari.
The Tata Somba region is slightly South of Natitingou in the Atakora Hills. You will need a 4WD to visit the Tata Sombas as the roads are not paved and can get quite muddy even in the dry season. However, it is well worth the trip to see this unique group of people called the Somba whose lifestyle is hardly touched by the modern world and who live in 3 storey houses called Tatas. The houses were originally built for defence purposes – against raids by the Dahomey slave traders and by neighbouring tribes. They are still built the same way today and each man has to build his own Tata when he wants to marry and start a family.

A Traditional Way of Life

The Somba people have retained much of their traditional way of life including the making of Shea butter by the women

For more info and details of the rest of the places I visited in Benin visit my Benin page

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fascinating traditional culture
  • Cons:Difficult to get to - may be a good thing for the Somba
  • In a nutshell:Well worth the trip - Respect the culture if you visit!
  • Last visit to Natitingou: Mar 2009
  • Intro Updated May 15, 2009
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Reviews (9)

Comments (3)

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Happy Birthday Jane !!!!

  • muguruki's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    Where's the Choukachou? I'm a Pilsner man when I'm in Kenya these days but when I'm at home I'm a right bitter man! In Northern Uganda they also use shea butter I guess that's what the Dek Ngor is cooked in that I enjoyed so much in Gulu.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2009 at 2:00 AM

    Janie what a fascinating insight into the culture of the Tata Sombas. The houses are really practical, and beautifully constructed. Thanks also for the Shea butter tip! I use a lot of it- nice to know how its made.Good photos


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