"Cotonou" Top 5 Page for this destination Cotonou by janiebaxter

Cotonou Travel Guide: 103 reviews and 283 photos

The City on the Lagoon

Cotonou sits on the Atlantic?s Bight of Benin where the sea runs inland to form a large lagoon, and is next to Lake Nakoue. It is one of the most surrounded-by-water main cities I have ever visited and is certainly unusual for an African city. The lagoon side of the city gives the impression of a small lakeside town, with fishing boats dotted around the lagoon. If you look into the lagoon in some places you can see many fish.
As soon as you leave this area and get into the main part it is a very busy and bustling city with lots of traffic and noise most of the day, and there are not a lot of tourist attractions here. However two of Benin?s main tourist attractions, Ganvie and Porto Novo, are within easy driving distance for day trips so Cotonou is a good place to base yourself for a few days if you get a nice hotel.
Cotonou is Benin?s main commercial city with the international airport and the port, as well as most government buildings. However, Porto Novo 30km away is the official capital of Benin. It was due to its deep water port that Cotonou overtook Porto Novo as the main city in the early 1900?s and the port of Cotonou is now the main port serving many of the countries along this stretch of coast.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Close to Ganvie and Porto Novo
  • Cons:Busy, noisy, not much to see
  • In a nutshell:A good base for a few days
  • Last visit to Cotonou: Mar 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (1)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2008 at 3:35 AM

    I'm enjoying this education on West Africa - a place I've not paid much attention to! I like the looks of both your hotels but can see why you had to make a slight adjustment! Great tips on the nearby attractions too.


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