Things to see in Benin

  • Benin
    Benin
    © Danita Delimont / age fotostock
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Benin

Landscapes

It may not be very touristy but Benin is home to the most beautiful nature reserves in French Africa. It presents magnificent tropical landscapes comprised of savannas, forests and beaches, and will therefore surprise visitors with its unexpected panoramas. Because of the different climatic influences crossing the country from north to south, the landscapes are varied and range from tree-covered savannas in the northern regions to wet flatlands in the south. It is recommended to visit Benin during the period from November to February, when the temperatures are moderate. The rest of the year it is very hot and humid. Beware of the rainy seasons as well!

Coasts

On the Gulf of Guinea, the Beninese coast consists of large beaches of fine sand, coconut trees, and lagoons. Although it is extremely attractive, it is, however, not very suitable for bathing and water sports. The currents and fish are dangerous here.

Arts and culture

A country of intellectuals, Benin was for a long time considered to be the 'Latin Quarter' of Africa, as evidenced by its many museums. The city of Porto Novo, the country's official capital located in the south, is notably home to the Adandé Ethnographic Museum. It has a collection of traditional objects, such as masks, Shango axes, musical instruments and statuettes on display. The da Silva Museum of Arts and Culture brings together objects from Afro-Brazilian art. It is also unthinkable to visit Benin without pausing before the Tata Somba, the emblematic two-storey fortified huts of the Tammari people. Symbolising fertility and fecundity, they include one altar per person so that everyone has a place to worship their voodoo deity. Benin is actually one of the last countries in Africa where this religion (animist) is widespread.

The fauna

Many wild animals live in Benin's savannas. In the north where the climate is dry you may come across buffaloes, antelopes, panthers, monkeys, crocodiles or wild ducks. The centre and south of Benin have some remarkable African reserves where you will find extraordinary animals like elephants, buffaloes, hippopotamuses, lions, cheetahs, caymans, antelopes, etc. It is possible to go on a safari in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, a unique place where more than 850 elephants, 2,000 buffaloes, 1,205 hippopotamuses, 350 lions and other wild animals live in protection. The W Regional Park is also an incredible place to discover: it is the largest cross-border biosphere reserve in the world.

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