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The Republic of Benin is a small West African nation along the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic coast and bordered by Niger and Burkina Faso in the north, Togo to the west and Nigeria eastward. The country has a democratically elected multiparty government which rules over an ethnically diverse population.
Much of Benin’s ancient traditions survive and the use of figurative masks, the practicing of the Voodoo religion and the presence of witch doctors makes this country a fascinating yet mystical place.
The beautiful palm-lined tropical beaches along the coast contrast sharply with savannah in the north. The climate is classed as tropical in the south and dryer and cooler in the semi-arid northern region.
Benin’s currency is the West African Franc, presently very weak against all major currencies.
French is the official language and it’s advised that you enlist the help of a guide if self-travelling, however, staff at most popular resorts speak English.
Benin is conveniently located from Europe and the perfect destination for holidaymakers looking for an assortment of tourism options in a single country.
Things to do
Soak up the sun on the palm-lined golden beaches of Benin’s entire coastline. Surfing is popular at the Route des Pêches west of Cotonou.
In a huge valley surrounded by the Atakora Mountains lies Pendjari National Park. The park has an abundance of game and the roads are easily travelled. Expect to see big game species such as the endangered West African lion, elephant and cheetah. Avoid the rainy season between July and September and take precautions against malaria.
The old town and sprawling markets at Porto-Novo are worth a stop.
The ancient city of Abomey is a must on any itinerary to visit the beautiful UNESCO-listed royal palaces and temples believed to have been erected with mud and the blood of sacrificed prisoners. Also to be... Show more