"Benin City, Edo State" Nigeria by franksaey

Nigeria Travel Guide: 515 reviews and 1,066 photos

Benin City revisited (January 2008)

I'v just come back (28 Jan) from a one month stay in Benin.
Throughout my stay there was a rather strong Harmattan-wind. Nigerians were complaining about the cold weather, (some were wearing wintercoats!) but I just loved the dry air and the early-morning coolness. Temperatures in the afternoon were well over 30°C though.
Visited some remote villages in Edo State, went to Onitsha market and made a trip to Abuja.

Benin City

I visited Benin City twice in 1999, once in 2000 and once in 2005. The experience in 1999, under the military regime (and my first visit to an African country) was quite shocking. The whole place looked very downtrodden, shelves in 'supermarkets' were empty and I almost ended up in the Benin City prison because of starting an argument with a soldier who confiscated my camera because I took a photo of a relative too close to the palace of the state governor. Communications (NITEL) were a nightmare in those days.
In 2000, after the presidential elections and the transition to civilian rule, the atmosphere had become a little bit more relaxed.

On my 2005-trip, though, I was really surprised at the progress that had been made over the preceding five years. All over the city, new shops had opened, new schools had been build, whole area's that I had known to be nothing more than empty land, were filled with new houses and on every corner of the main streets in the center of the city, you could just walk in to a cybercafé. Cell phones had become common place and even a real 'Bruger King' and 'Benin Stock Exchange' had opened their doors!
And even more important for the daily life of a 'low budget tourist' (as far as this can apply for a Nigerian trip, because most things remain awfully expensive for the poor value you'll get), shelves of the old and new supermarkets were stocked with a wide variety of food and other goods.

So, if you're preparing for a trip to Benin City, don't let you scare off by (older) reviews. Life has become quite bearable for the tourist in Benin, you'll be able to find decent food, internet and telephone connections have become ubiquitious and you'll probably have a nice stay.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:A life-altering experience!
  • Last visit to Nigeria: Jan 2008
  • Intro Updated Mar 30, 2008
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Comments (2)

  • Apr 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    How nice!But how come you've visited again after your experience with a soldier?I am sure most people in your shoes wouldn't dare after the first visit.Thumbs up!

  • Apr 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    How nice!But how come you've visited again after your experience with a soldier?I am sure most people in your shoes wouldn't dare after the first visit.Thumbs up!

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