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Benin Safari Tours & Holidays
Benin, a French-speaking West African nation, is the birthplace of the vodun (or “voodoo”) religion and home to the former Dahomey Kingdom from circa 1600–1900. In Abomey, Dahomey’s former capital, the Historical Museum occupies two royal palaces with bas-reliefs recounting the kingdom’s past and a throne mounted on human skulls. To the north, Pendjari National Park offers safaris with elephants, hippos, and lions.
Most journeys begin in Cotonou, Benin’s largest city, and de facto capital. Cotonou has an enviable location on the Atlantic Ocean with miles and miles of beach which on weekends are crowded with local families. Cotonou Dantokpa Market is one of the largest in West Africa. Accessible from Cotonou on day trips are Ganvie, where 12,000 fishermen live in stilt villages on Lake Nokoue; Ouidah, a former slaving post and considered the birthplace of voodoo; and Porto Novo, Benin’s official capital, another former slave post, the city-state of the Yoruba Kingdom based in Nigeria, and where many former slaves settled when they returned from Brazil after their emancipation. Porto Novo means “New Port” in Portuguese. One of the great sights in Port Novo is the multi-colored Brazilian mosque. Another is the costumed voodoo figures with their roots in Yoruba culture known as the “Guardians of the Night.” Highly revered and serving as an unofficial police force, these spirits were originally created to scare enemies away. Today they still wander Port Novo streets before returning to their temple where the entrance is prohibited.
How to get to Benin
Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport is an airport in the Cadjehoun neighborhood of Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, in West Africa. The airport is the largest in the country, and as such, is the primary entry point into the country by air, with flights to Africa and Europe. The Cotonou VOR-DME is on the field.
- Ethiopian, RwandAir
- Via Kigali, Addis Ababa
- Via Kigali, Libreville
- Kenya Airways, Ethiopian
- Via Nairobi, Addis Ababa
- Turkish Airlines
- Via İstanbul
- 21h 25m+
- EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines
- Via Cairo, İstanbul
Passport, Visa, and Entry requirements for Benin
Travelers to Benin must present a valid passport and visa to enter the country. Visas are not available upon entry at the airport or at any land or sea arrival point. Visit the website of the Embassy of Benin for contact information and for details on the most current visa and entry requirements.
The health sector of Benin
In Benin, most serious epidemic diseases have been brought under control by mobile health units and other facilities. The government of Benin has set goals of expanding its health care system, upgrading the quality of first referral care, promoting private-sector care, and improving public sector care.
Travelers traveling to Benin must purchase travel insurance in order to access private medical care or evacuation for any emergency.
Malaria and Yellow fever vaccination for Benin
Travelers to Benin must present a valid passport and visa to enter the country. Ideally, you must have your passport on you, and some other form of identification (ID) card. Don’t make the mistake of traveling without a passport simply because you’re going next door to Benin, this will only cause you unnecessary delay and expenses paying off border officials.
Currency of Benin
The West African CFA franc is the official currency of Benin sometimes referred to as simply franc is the currency of eight independent states in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
Official Language of Benin
A total of 55 languages are spoken in Benin Genealogy, with 50 being indigenous. Of those, French is the official language, and all the indigenous languages are considered national languages. Of the Beninese languages, Fon, a Gbe language, and Yoruba are the most important in the south of the country.
Best time to travel to Benin
The best time to visit Benin is in the dry months of December to March – which also coincides with the annual Voodoo festival in January – an unmissable experience. These months are slightly cooler and more pleasant, although watch out for the dusty harmattan wind – lip balm and moisturizer are must-haves!
What to wear in Benin
“Many people in Benin wear traditional clothing. For men and women, the traditional garb there is called a ‘bomba. ‘For men, they will wear a long tunic shirt, a long, loose tunic shirt with loose trousers. And women will wear a wrap skirt called a ‘pagne,’ and then just a loose top.
What to bring while traveling to Benin
Benin is famous for its beaches and extraordinary festivals so while traveling to Benin here are some of the essentials to pack before traveling to Benin.
- Sunscreen lotion.
- Long and short sleeve shirts.
- Waterproof luggage.
- Shorts or short pants.
- Light footwear.
Car hire and driving in Benin
We do not advise self-driving in Benin as it can be dangerous so we highly recommend hiring a vehicle with a driver or book an organized safari package with Wilderness Explorers Africa.
Accommodation in Benin
Benin is bordered to the northwest by Burkina Faso, to the east by Nigeria, and to the west by Togo. The official capital is Porto-Novo, but Cotonou is Benin’s largest city, its chief port, and its de facto administrative capital. Benin was a French colony from the late 19th century until 1960. you will find accommodation here but outside the main capital, an advance booking is required before traveling.
Local food of Benin
Rice, beans, tomatoes, and couscous are also significant staple foods. Fruits are common in this region, including mandarin oranges, oranges, bananas, kiwifruit, avocados, pineapples, and peanuts. Yams are the main staple in northern Benin and are also often served with peanut- or tomato-based sauces.
Tipping while Travelling in Benin
Tipping is appreciated all over Benin. Restaurants don’t generally add service charges to bills and a 10 percent tip is appropriate for waitrons. Fares are usually rounded up for taxi drivers, and small tips for hotel staff are appreciated.
Further information for Benin
Benin is a West African country officially known as the Republic of Benin. Benin borders Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso and Niger to the north, and Togo to the west. French is Benin’s official language but the people commonly speak indigenous languages such as Oruba and Fon.
Safety of Benin
Violent crime is common in Benin, especially in Cotonou and regions bordering Nigeria. Robberies, car high jacking’s and pickpocketing also occur. Don’t walk alone, after dark, or in poorly lit areas. Scams and internet fraud are common in West African countries.
We recommend booking a safari with a safari operator.
|Pendjari National Park|
|W National Park|
FAUNA & FLORA
|5 Days Benin Cultural and sightseeing safari|
|7 Days Discover Benin safaris|
|9 Days Experience Benin Safaris|
|11 Days Benin, Togo and Ghana safari|
|14 Days Benin and Togo Voodoo festival safari|
OTHER TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS
|Visit Abomey palace Benin|
|Visit Tata Somba area in Northern Benin|
|Cotonou city tours Benin|
|Visit the route des enclaves site in Benin|
|Visit Ganvie the Venice of Africa Historical site|
|Safari tours to sacred forest|
|Visit Grand popo beach in Benin|
|Visit the voodoo python temple|
|Hiking tours to Mount sokbaro Benin|
|Experience the Voodoo festival in Benin|
|Visit Ouidah the west Africa’s voodoo heart|
|Visit the Royal palaces of Abomey|