Which of us does not have some connection with the dark continent, in one way or another? Who does not have someone in his immediate family, or does not know someone, who has travelled, resided or worked in that part of the world? The colonies were established there and without doubt a common past is a factor in the psyches of one another, with all that this entails in terms of nostalgia, passion and love, contradictory feelings, sensitive questions and answers that are only appropriate to a certain extent. Sublimated representations, idealised images, but caricatures and prejudices too jostle with each other at the gateway to our subconscious.
Through its faithful and respectful recreations, its inventive approach and its targeted activities, the World of the Country of Origins bears detailed and rigorous witness to the realities on the ground and offers its visitors an authentic way of finding out about the life of the people and the animals of this founding continent.
To achieve such objectives, it was deemed useful to recreate the Tamberma village and its houses of the “builder people” (northern Togo, along the border with Benin) and the stilted lakeside village of Pairi Daiza, inspired directly by the famous lakeside village of Ganvié (in Benin, formerly Dahomey). In both cases the intention is the same - to demonstrate to the public the diversity and ingenuity of African architecture. Buildings that are closely related to the spiritual dimension and the rituals of the people who originally created them.
At the same time we get to discover various aspects of African art as a whole, its industry and its textiles. The range is impressive, both in the creation of utilitarian objects as in those for religious practices and ceremonies which accompany them. Adornments, prints, jewels, masks, fetishes and other artefacts originating in various regions of the continent illustrate the expertise and the life skills of these peoples who, well before the arrival of the Whites, enjoyed many different ways of life, in societal organisations and structures that were rather more sophisticated than believed by people in western societies.
In the Country of Origins there are also snapshots of everyday life. Slices of life which the setting of the stilted lakeside village referred to above offers its visitors: music, gastronomy, hairdressing, advertising boards, primitive painting, local grocery store, magic and voodoo... Nothing is lacking in the appeal of this colourful and rhythmical portrait.
But the Country of Origins is ALSO, and especially, in our memories of films, novels or comic books, the territory of big cats, large mammals and huge birds. Observing them, photographing them and seeing them develop is a pleasure to be shared with other visitors to Pairi Daiza. The Country of Origins welcomes them to its territory with all the care and attention they deserve. You will see the majestic lion, the “king of the beasts”, the predatory hyena, the fascinating cheetah, the fastest land animal, and in the “heavyweight” category the African elephant, the largest land animal in the world, as well as two other legendary hulks, the white rhinoceros and the hippopotamus. In this fabulous range of creatures, let's not forget to also mention the elegant giraffe, the extraordinary gorilla and the zebra with a coat like no other.
Birds are not forgotten either, with the surprising shoebill, the magnificent grey-crowned crane, the enigmatic marabout and the majestic pelican... As for the other residents of the Country of Origins, they are impatiently waiting for your visit!