Benin formerly known as the kingdom of Dahomey is home of Lake Nokoue, which is also known as the Venice of Africa. Benin is a small but mighty African country located on the southwestern part of Africa. Its capital city is called Porto-Novo which lies on the coast but the largest city is Cotonou. The country shares a border with Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo. The national currency is the West African Franc (CFA).
Fun Fact! About a 1/3rd of the country’s land is woodland meaning this country is bursting with Nature!
Learn more about Benin by watching the video below!
So, lets break this country up into PARTS.
The Beninese people are a mixture of different ethnic groups with Fon, Adja and Yoruba being the largest ethnic groups. Other ethnic groups such as Fulani also makeup Benin’s unique demographic. French is the official language as Benin was a former colony with Fon and Yoruba also commonly spoken.
If you’re in Porto Novo why not check out the Royal Palace, alongside the different Great mosques of Porto Novo and appreciate the architecture.
Visit Cotonou, Benin’s most populous city also has a lot to offer such as the Notre Dame des Apostles Cathedral, Place of Marty’s and the relaxing beaches of Fidjrosse and Obama.
Or if you’re outside of the big cities, there’s still so much to see! Such as: W National park and Pendjari National Park are perfect for those animal loving travellers, from exotic birds to cheetahs, elephants and more. These parks really showcase Benin’s amazing wildlife. Not forgetting the World heritage site of the Royal Palaces of Abomey a World heritage site, showcasing the former Kingdom of Dahomey. Marvel at Benease history in this museum.
Rituals and Culture
Benin is the home of Voodoo. Although the religion drastically decreased, with Islam (28%) and Catholicism (26%) being the country’s main religions. Benin recognises Voodoo as an official religion with national religious festivals.
Due to the country’s lush vegetation, agriculture is a big source of income for the country affecting their staple foods. Rice, Okra, leaves, maize and cassava are some common staples in the country. Some specialty dishes include: Jollof rice (Rice cooked with tomato sauce and red palm oil) and Aloko (plantain)
– Travel Light. Depending on where you go, it may be considered as rude to refuse food or drinks offered to you
– Have a pocket full of sunshine. It may be handy to have a phone with flash or a torch on your trip as lighting throughout the country, especially at night is still a problem.
– Get the currency: It is better for you to get the local currency as it may be difficult to find ATMS outside of the big cities.
– Get your doc in check. You must have a yellow fever certificate to enter the country