From Dassa-Zoumé to Natitingou
This article is part of a sequence of posts about my experience traveling by bus in West Africa.
Price: 4000 CFA (6€)
Duration: From 11:00am till 6:00pm – Total: 7 hrs
Bus company: C.T.V. + AYA
Natitingou is a very nice city with lot of places around that you would love to visit. I’ll talk about this in another post. This one now is just to tell you about my bus trip there.
Ok, let me then describe you here and now how a 7-hours bus trip in West Africa can look like (based on my true story of this day):
In the morning you go to the “bus station” in Dassa-Zoumé, which is actually not a bus but a gas station and you just wait sitting on the floor (impossible to find a chair somewhere around there, lol). So you wait for a bus coming from Cotonou and going to Natitingou. Of course you don’t know if the bus departed on time from Cotonou or if it’s “few” hours delayed and there is no one who can call and check this for you as there is no reception desk and no workers from the bus company around there. (It’s a simple gas station in the middle of the road).
You will have to ask every single bus that stops there if they are going to Natitingou and when the right bus comes, then you just jump into as soon as possible because it stops only for a minute. You pay your ticket once inside the bus.
Please note that almost nobody has change in the West African countries when you want to pay something in general. This is very important and apply for ALL West Africa. I don’t know what happens to the small notes and coins but they are always difficult to find. Every time I asked the people there why they don’t have change, they said: “There is no money in Africa“. Well… there are many 10.000 CFA notes but not many 1.000 CFA notes. Haha.
The biggest note here is in fact 10.000 CFA (15€) but as I said, you will barely find change. The price of the bus ticket was 4.000 CFA. If you pay with a 5.000 CFA-note they will write with a pencil on the back of your ticket that they own you 1.000 CFA and they will give it back to you when they find change. But you better remind them later about this money, otherwise they will probably “forget” about it, like happened to me at some restaurants where they say they will give me the change later.
The bus will stop every hour and the sellers/vendors from the street will get into, walk freely inside the bus and almost seat beside you. All necessary things will be done in order to sell you some food and drinks, cause they do take care about you. Haha 😜
Few hours later, when you think you are almost reaching your destination, the bus could stop because of some technical problems and the passengers, who seem to be all mechanicals from profession, will help the driver to repair the bus.
You will continue the route (of course with some delay) until you see everyone getting out of the bus and you realize that you have to change to another bus because yours is still showing technical problems (you didn’t understand the announcement of the driver cause you don’t speak his local language, lol).
So I changed from C.T.V to AYA bus company and finally reached Natitingou at 6pm
But after the long waiting hours and the long journey, once I arrived to my destination I found out that my accommodation looked much better than I expected and it’s not expensive at all. So…happy endings do exist 😜🇧🇯
You can check my daily summary of my travel adventures in Africa on my Instagram account.
Don’t forget my advice: always travel in West Africa with small notes, if possible (500, 1000 and 2000 CFA) and of course, coins.
Dont miss my next story about how I made it to Niger by bus. This one will be longer but also interesting 😜
Enjoy it and stay tuned! 😊