For any West African adventure travel, Benin is a great country to discover. Since the last few years, Benin government has put into place various measures to increase the number of tourists, especially adventure travelers, visiting this country. Benin also puts ahead its relative stability and democracy.
Benin has a strong traditional and cultural heritage due to its past as Kingdom of Dahomey and being the birthplace of a famous religion. We consider Benin as a strong destination for cultural exchange during adventure travels and adventure travelers will be amzed by this impressive culture.
Benin is a small country situated in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. The country is basically divided into five geographic zones, from south to north: the Coastal plain, the plateau, the elevated plateau and savannah, hills in the northwest and fertile plains in the north.
The equatorial south of Benin experiences two rainy seasons of the year, from April to mid July and from mid-September through the end of October. The rainy period in the subequatorial north runs from March until October. The best time of the year to visit the country is from November to February, when the temperature moderates, and the weather is dry with low humidity.
Why visit Benin ?
Adventure travelers will find a large quantity of palatial ruins and temples of the powerful and influential West-African Kingdom of Dahomey (1800s–1894). Abomey was the capital of the Dahomey Empire, and its ruined temples and royal palaces, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, are one of the country’s top attractions. These Royal Palaces of Abomey where constructed by the twelve kings of Dahomey kingdom.
The ruins, their bas-reliefs, and the Abomey Historical Museum in the royal palace (which contains all sorts of macabre tapestries and even a throne of human skulls) are a testament to the wealth brought to the Dahomey kings from the slave trade, and brutality with which they oppressed their enemies, fodder for human sacrifice and bondage.
Benin is the birthplace of Voodoo and all that goes with it—to this day Voodoo remains the official religion of the country, and an important part of the life of ordinary Beninese.
Benin’s National Parks
- Pendjari National Park
- W National Park
Main attractions in Benin
All symbols of the lifestyle of the grand royal dynasty are still visible in Abomey’s majestic palaces, the tombs of long departed monarchs and the extensive-collection housing museum. The ancient palaces have the distinction of being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Adventure travelers are going to witness the opulence of a rich monarchical legacy. The places itself are charming earthen structures that were erected by the Fons, an important ethnic group in Benin.
Ganvie is a unique village situated on the Nokoue Lake. Ganvie is reputated to be a very touristy site and most famous for its stilt village on the large lake that provided a safe hide out from early slave trading. The village is fully equipped for living, most people living from fishing. For this reason, Ganvie is comparated to Venice, Italy.
Porto-Novo is Benin’s capital and it is the second largest city in this country. This inland city is worth adventuring into because it is very stunning and holds two major attractions which are its museum and the Kings’ palace.
Cotonou is the country’s largest city and economic center. The great market – Dan Tokpa should be visited, with also museums.
Ouidah is a small town and a spiritual haven of Voodoo. There is a monument named Point of No Return, which is a memorial to slaves who were kidnapped, sold, and sent off to the other side of the world. Because Benin was a major hub of the slave trade during the rule of the Dahomey kings, Ouidah’s local museum focuses on the slave trade, in addition to other facets of local culture, religion, and history, and is a real must see for anyone passing through the country.
The W National Park and Pendjari National Park are well worth a visit for their impressive wildlife. Adventure travelers will find crocodiles, cheetahs and hippos.
Grand Popo is a resort town on the coast of Benin adjacent to the border of Togo. The main attraction in this place is the beautiful beach lined with a stunning stretch of sand and interfered with gentle waves of clear clean water. The place is a wonderful destination to enjoy the various beach activities and take a break.
Watersports in Benin
There’re many facilities for watersports through beaches at Ouidah and Grand Popo. Adventure travelers should be aware by the tides which make the sea dangerous.
Sailing is possible at Yacht Club in Cotonou. There’s also a possibility of hiring a canoe or a motorboat on the Nakoue Lagoon.