Benin was known as “Danhomey” until becoming a Republic in the late 1980s. It is situated in Western Africa, sandwiched between Nigeria and Togo. Though most of the country is landlocked, some 30 miles of Benin adjoin the Gulf of Guinea. It is near this coast that you can find the country’s capital and largest city, Porto-Novo.
The country was a French colony, and French remains the country’s official language to this day. Culturally, Benin is extremely diverse. Though the primary religions are Christianity and Islam, its people were among the primary founders of Voodoo mysticism. All in all, its population of 6.5 million people are happy, welcoming, and always looking to show visitors an excellent time.
Though there are plenty of nightlife options year-round, it’s worth noting that during the month of Ramadan, alcohol sales will be restricted in many areas of Benin.
Here are just some of the amazing sites Benin has to offer…
Pendjari National Park:
Pendjari is one of the largest national parks in the region, housing some 90% of the West African lion population. With over 4,800 square kilometers of land, this fully intact ecosystem is a major destination for safaris. Visitors can see four of Africa’s “Big Five” (buffalo, lions, leopards, and elephants) as well birds, endangered mammals, and more.
Casa Del Papa:
Route Des Esclaves:
Temple of Pythons:
The Python Temple is located in the town of Ouidah and dates back to just after the war in 1717. The legend states that King Ouidah, whose kingdom was not yet part of Benin, fled during an attack and hi in the forest. When his enemies began searching for him, huge pythons came out of the trees to scare them away. In thanks, he built this complex dedicated to the worship of these massive snakes.
Voodoo Day (10 of January):
The Venice of Africa (Ganvie’):
Ganvié is called the “Venice of Africa” not only because of its construction over Lake Nokoué, but also due to the town’s cultural and historical significance. The community is largely built on stilts and is famous for its fishing and unique scenery. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ganvié sees nearly 10,000 tourists every year.