Monday, January 17, 2022

Things To See in Benin

AfricaBeninThings To See in Benin

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Benin is probably best known to the rest of the world as the home of the Vodun religion, or voodoo. There are voodoo temples, roadside fetishes, and fetish markets all throughout the nation, but the most well-known is the skull and skin-filled fetish market in the Grande Marche du Dantopka—enormously Cotonou’s crowded, huge, and chaotic main market. The most significant fetish in the nation is the monstruous Dankoli fetish, which is located on the northerly route near Savalou and is a suitable place to entreat gods.

Benin was a significant hub of the slave trade during the Dahomey monarchs’ reign, and the Route des Esclaves in Ouidah, which ends at the beachfront Point of No Return monument, is a tribute to individuals who were abducted, sold, and sent to the other side of the globe. Ouidah’s local museum, located in a Portuguese fort, concentrates on the slave trade, among other aspects of local culture, religion, and history, and is a must-see for anybody traveling through the nation.

Abomey was the capital of the Dahomey Empire, and its destroyed temples and royal palaces are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The ruins, their bas-reliefs, and the Abomey Historical Museum in the royal palace (which contains macabre tapestries and even a throne of human skulls) bear witness to the wealth brought to the Dahomey kings by the slave trade, as well as the brutality with which they oppressed their enemies, providing fodder for human sacrifice and bondage.

Ganvie, home to 30,000 people who escaped the harsh Dahomey monarchs by constructing their town on stilts right in the middle of Lake Nokoué, is without a doubt an interesting and naturally attractive location, and a popular visit as one of West Africa’s biggest lake cities. However, it has been harmed to some degree by the strained connection between residents and tourists. (For visitors interested in West African lake communities, Ghana may provide much more rewarding experiences.)

While the country’s biggest city and commercial hub is frantic Cotonou, the capital, Porto Novo, is tiny and one of West Africa’s more attractive cities. The majority of the country’s main museums are housed here, among the decaying architectural heritage of French colonial control. Grand Popo is another popular destination for visitors looking to unwind, although not so much for the city itself as for the beaches.

Benin in the north is significantly different from the mainly congested, filthy towns of the south, of which Cotonou is a prime example. Pendjari National Park and W National Park (shared by Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger) are two of West Africa’s finest for wildlife watching, and are located in magnificent, steep highlands.

The Somba people’s distinctive and quirky mud and clay tower-houses, known as tata, in the north, west of Djougou near the Togolese border, are a little-known expansion into Benin of the kinds of structures used by the Batammariba people in Togo just west. Almost all visitors to this region go to the UNESCO-designated Koutammakou Valley across the border; the Benin side is even further off the beaten path.

How To Travel To Benin

By planeThe primary airport in Cotonou receives a large number of foreign aircraft. From here, you may fly to Paris, Amsterdam, Moscow, and a number of West African destinations. To enter the country, you must provide evidence of a yellow fever vaccination, which must be readily accessible at the...

How To Travel Around Benin

By busThere is a very punctual and dependable bus system that runs a tour-style bus through every major city in Benin every day, as well as certain international services in and out of Benin. There are many main routes with buses of varying quality. Confort Lines and Benin-Routes are...

Destinations in Benin

Regions in BeninNorthern BeninTribes and arid landscapesSouthern BeninThe coastline, the capital, and the most of the attractionsCities in BeninPorto-Novo — Porto-Novo is the capital, at least in name.Abomey — The Royal Palaces of Abomey are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.Cotonou — Cotonou is Benin's biggest city...

Money & Shopping in Benin

Benin uses the West African CFA franc (XOF). Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Sénégal, and Togo also use it. While technically distinct from the Central African CFA franc (XAF), the two currencies are used interchangeably at par in all CFA franc (XAF & XOF)-using nations.The French treasury...

Food & Drinks in Benin

Food in BeninStreet sellers offer anything from beans and rice to grilled chicken, goat, and/or turkey in every city/village. Prices are negotiable. But be cautious; always pick a seller whose food is still hot and whose dishes have been kept covered with a lid and/or cloth.Kuli-KuliBoulets de Poulet avec...

Language & Phrasebook in Benin

The official language is French, the previous colonial power's language. Fon and Yoruba are spoken in the south, Bariba and Dendi in the north, and over 50 additional African languages and dialects are spoken across the nation. English is becoming more popular.Local languages are utilized as the primary language...

Culture Of Benin

ArtsLong before French became the main language, Beninese literature had a rich oral history. L'Esclave, the first Beninese book, was written in 1929 by Félix Couchoro.Following independence, the country's music culture was lively and creative, with local folk music blending with Ghanaian highlife, French cabaret, American rock, funk and...

History of Benin

Precolonial historyBenin now includes three regions that had distinct political and ethnic systems prior to French colonial rule. Prior to 1700, there were a few significant city states along the coast (mainly of the Aja ethnic group, but also of the Yoruba and Gbe peoples) and a swath of...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Benin

Stay Safe in BeninThe easiest method to remain safe in Benin is to always be in the company of a local you can trust, such as a friend or a professional tourist guide. They know which places are safe and which are not, they know how much things cost...

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