"Porto Novo" Porto-Novo by janiebaxter

Porto-Novo Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 30 photos

Benin's Small Quiet Capital

Porto Novo is close to the border with Nigeria, on the river Oueme and the East side of Lake Nakoue. It is actually the capital of Benin, although it is much smaller than Cotonou, and is only about 40 minutes drive and 30km from Cotonou so you can easily visit it on a day trip from there. Being so close to Lagos, many goods are brought into Porto Novo from Nigeria as prices are cheaper there for almost everything. You will see motorbikes adapted to take many cans of petrol, with the rider almost invisible in the middle. Porto Novo is very quiet and relaxed and you can walk most places. The main Voodoo gods in Porto Novo are Zangbeto and Egungun.

History and Museums

Porto Novo was founded in the 16th Century but was overtaken in importance in the late 19th century by Cotonou which has a deeper and larger port. The museums in Porto Novo are excellent, as all the ones I visited in Benin were, particularly the Ethnographic museum and the Royal Palace museum, which used to be the Palace of King Toffa.

Sustainable Agriculture

A highlight of the trip to Benin, getting away from history and bringing attention right back to the present is the wonderful Songhai centre. This place has been quietly doing for years what we’ve all just started talking about – sustainable self-sufficient agriculture, running on bio-fuels. And it helps farmers in Africa

See my main Benin pages for more general information on Benin.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small, quiet and easy to get around
  • Cons:None
  • In a nutshell:Worth a day trip if you are in Cotonou
  • Last visit to Porto-Novo: Mar 2008
  • Intro Updated May 18, 2008
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Reviews (5)

Comments (1)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2008 at 3:53 AM

    Fascinating details on both the new way of self-sufficiency and the history of Benin. Those various metal statues are quite amazing! The Zangbeto temple was interesting too & reminded me of a 'Haus Tambaran' I saw in remote Angoram, Papua New Guinea.

janiebaxter

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