"BENIN" Top 5 Page for this destination Benin by janiebaxter

Benin Travel Guide: 450 reviews and 1,767 photos

Beautiful Benin

Benin is the nicest country I have visited in Africa – and I have been to 39.
Benin is a small country on the West Coast of Africa between Nigeria and Togo with a tropical climate in the South and savannah in the North.
It has a fascinating religious culture and interesting history dating back to the early 17th century, colourful and vibrant towns and many lakes and rivers as well as a lovely coastline.
The hotels and restaurants have a good standard of facilities with excellent fresh food and plenty of cold beer! The people are extremely friendly and welcoming, making it an easy and pleasant country to visit. Benin is all that is positive about Africa. I left with such a favourable impression and with a smile on my face.
If you like Africa you will love Benin!
You can follow the links in the Highlights section below to see the pages for all the places I have visited in Benin.

History and Culture

Benin’s history centres around the slave trade and the powerful kingdom of Dahomey which was established in the 1600’s and expanded by conquering the surrounding areas and selling the captured people to the Europeans as slaves. The history is well documented in the many museums and monuments.

Religion
There are many Christians in Benin as well as some Muslims. However, Benin is best known for its voodoo religion which is still practised by many people in this part of Africa as well as in the Caribbean and many parts of the American continent where the slaves were transported to.
The origin of the voodoo religion goes back thousands of years and although it is believed to be about spells and evil this is not the case at all. The main basis of Voodoo is the belief in a supreme being who created the world, with a system of lesser spirits and gods, and the power of the natural forces of the earth. It is a very complex belief system

Landscape, Lakes and Rivers

The South where most of my first trip was taken is very tropical and green with pineapple and banana trees, market gardens and smallholdings growing all types of fruit and vegetables. There are many lakes and rivers with fishing villages and the Atlantic coastline has vast stretches of wide sandy beach.
The North is drier with more of a Savannah type terrain but still with plenty of greenery and hills.


Highlights
The laid back coastal town of Grand Popo where you can take a boat down the Mono River or relax on the beach under the palm trees.

The sacred forest of Ouidah the site of the annual voodoo festival, and the centre of the slave trade.

The lake village of Ganvie, built in the middle of Lac Nakoue and home to 25,000 people who live completely in and on the water.

Abomey the city of the 12 Kings of Dahomey, where the palace is a UNESCO world heritage centre.

Pendjari National Park One of the best places to see wildlife in West Africa.

The Tata Sombas The unique 3 storey houses built by the Somba tribe in the Atakora mountains.

I also travelled to -
Porto Novo, the official capital for a day trip to the museums and the Songhai centre and stayed in Cotonou, the commercial capital.

Dassa Zoume The town in the hills which is the most important Catholic pilgrimage site in West Africa.

I travelled to Benin with UK company Fulani Travel who specialise in West Africa and who organised a wonderful tailor made trip to suit my requirements. I had a lovely guide Alex (Thank You Alex!) and a driver. If you would like contact details, email me and I'll pass them on.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots to see, happy and welcoming, good facilities & food
  • Cons:Absolutely None!
  • In a nutshell:If you like Africa you will love Benin
  • Last visit to Benin: Mar 2009
  • Intro Updated Feb 4, 2014
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Reviews (64)

Comments (15)

  • mickybleck's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Wow. Great pages! I just decided to stay in Benin for 9 days after a business trip and had no idea what to expect - now I have it, thank you very much. I will definately come back for more details.

  • Wafro's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Parc national de Pendjari or W is on wish list.
    Great info, thanx.

  • muguruki's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    Brilliant tips! Another country on the 'to visit' list. Right, I am now off to worship my plate and then refresh my body.

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    Excellent, informative and a very interesting insight into this little visited country.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    excellent page of excellent travels Janie - very motivational and informational to head off to see a bit more of AFrica! Thanks for yr visit to my Ouarzazate page!

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Jun 5, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    Thanks for this amazing insight into the country & culture of Benin. The tip Ouidah - Slavery, Voodoo and Pythons I found fascinating. I would hate the Fetish thing- I am vegetarian. Good photos. I will return to finish reading tips soon.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2009 at 9:20 AM

    Hello, Jane! It's a wonderful page, thanks a lot!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    Incredible page of Benin. Enjoyed reading your excellent tips of the local culture, vodoo ceremony, etc and airport corruption.

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2009 at 6:09 PM

    Amazing Jane! We're going to the big Africa meet in 2011 so looking at some pages. Your pages here are excellant! What a fantastic holiday you had! Thanks for the tips :o) Cheers, Ann.

  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2008 at 8:20 AM

    Nice to see your updates and pics again. Paul

janiebaxter

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