Benin Travel: A Grand And Rich African Adventure

The Land Of The Ancient Kingdom Of Dahomey

Your Benin travel is a trip to the ancient land of the Dahomey Kingdom, which thrived in the 18th century. In Abomey, the Royal Palaces stand as evidence of this glorious past.

In Ouidah, the Slaves Route symbolizes the memory of the millions of slaves sent to the Americas. This contrasts the spirituality of the voodoo religion, mostly present in this part of West Africa. Moreover, the Route des Pêches between the ocean and the laguna is a beautiful coastal stretch dotted with fishing villages that leads to Cotonou. Cotonou is a bustling hub where zemidjan (motorbike taxi) is the most popular mode of transportation.

Further north, landscapes are magnificent. From the hills around Dassa-Zoumé to the national parks in the extreme north, the fauna and flora exhibit their beauty.

Map of Benin and West Africa

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Benin Travel Highlights

This part of the travel guide is to inspire you for your next trip to Benin

The South West

On the coast, Ouidah is a must-see. Learn about the voodoo rituals and beliefs at the Pythons Temple and the Sacred Forest of Kpassè. The infamous Slaves Route is a reminder of a dark historical chapter.

From Ouidah, the Route des Pêches is an excellent way to go to Cotonou. Alternatively, you could travel in the opposite direction and spend some relaxing time in one of the beach resorts in Grand-Popo.

Venture a little more into the country, and you will find Lake Aheme. In this peaceful haven, you can find eco-friendly accommodation and enjoy activities in and around the lake.

The South East

Cotonou, the country's largest city, hosts the Dantokpa Street Market, the biggest in West Africa. The city also offers museums, shopping opportunities, and a myriad of restaurants, including maquis, where you can enjoy the local cuisine.

On Lake Nokoué, Ganvié, nicknamed the Venice of Africa, is a village where people live in stilt houses on the lake and move around in pirogues.

On the east side of the lake is Porto-Novo, the laid-back capital city. Its Afro-Brazilian and colonial architecture characterizes the town. It also has many voodoo temples and museums.

Great Mosque of Porto-Novo, illustration of the Benin Travel Guide
View of Dassa-Zoumé from one of the nearby hills, illustration of the Benin Travel Guide

The Central Region

The Royal Palaces of Abomey, the former capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and house a museum explaining the kingdom's history and how it fought against the French Colonial Empire.

Visit the recently discovered underground village of Agongointo-Zoun-Goudo. This village used to be a hideout and is dated back to the 18th century.

The 41 hills of Dassa-Zoumé boast superb landscapes with rock mass, making it a perfect place for hikes.

The Northern Region

In the north, the Somba people live in mud houses that resemble miniature castles, a perfect example of traditional African architecture.

Natitingou is a great hub wherein you can explore the northern region. The regional museum, dedicated to the people living in the Atakora mountains, is worth a visit. Further north, one of the highlights of Benin travel, the Pendjari and W National Parks offer some of the best wildlife adventures in West Africa with chances to spot elephants, lions, antelopes, monkeys, buffaloes, cheetahs, and other mammals.

Buffalo in Pendjari National Park, illustration of the Benin Travel Guide

Benin Travel Practical Info

Travel Requirements

Yellow fever vaccine or medical exemption

Passport valid for the duration of your stay

Visa unless you hold a passport from one of the 56 African countries

Best Time to Come

Main dry season: November to March

Short dry season: August and September

Maximum average temperature : in dry season 90°F (32°C), in rainy season 82°F (28°C)


International Airport: Cotonou (COO)

Ethiopian: flights from USA with stops

Air France, Brussels: direct flights from Europe

Royal Air Maroc: direct flights from Casablanca

Country Info

Capital city: Porto-Novo

Population: 11.5 milions

Official language: French

Other languages: Fon, Ewé, Yoruba, Bariba

Currency: CFA franc (XOF)

Time: GMT + 1

Power: 220 V with Type E socket (this type is of French origin)

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