Surface area : 112622.0 km2
Population : 7000000 inhabitants
Theoretical - opening hours for shops: 9:30AM - 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM. The considerable diversity of craftwork in the Beninese markets is a delight for the visitor. The Guèlèdè masks from Ketou, the basketwork, the pottery, the carved chairs, the nickel, copper, bronze or silver jewellery will all be equally pretty souvenirs of your trip.
The basis of Beninese food consists of two dishes: "amiwo" and "ablo". Amiwo consists of peanut maize flour pasta cooked in a sauce with condiments, tomatoes and chicken stock. It is generally served accompanied by chicken. Ablo is a steam-cooked rice and maize cake.
Voodoo, of which Benin is the birthplace, is a traditional polytheist cult based on the idea that God is in everything and is everywhere in the universe. It is expressed by the adoration of numerous divinities. The cults therefore address themselves to Héviosso, the god of thunder, Ogoun, the god of iron and blacksmiths, and to various divinities (Dan) that procure happiness for man and as such are opportunities for festivities.
At Cotonou, go and walk around Plakodji, the district where the Pla, originally from Grand Popo, live on the opening of the lagoon, at the tip of the town.
In Natitingou, go to the Saint-Paul Centre, where you will enjoy a superb view over the whole of the region of Atakora. Ask the parish priest to show you the way as it is not at all touristic.
If you are staying in Benin in December, do not miss the customary celebrations of the Gani, in Nikki, capital of the kingdom of the Bariba, during which the different Bariba chiefs confirm their allegiance to the king of Nikki and give him presents.