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Travel Notes: Africa: Benin Travel Notes

Benin Travel Notes

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The Republic of Benin is one of Africa's smallest countries; formerly known as Dahomey.

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Benin Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Benin.

Benin Attractions, Benin Country Information, Benin Travel Tips, Map of Benin.

Benin Country Information

Countries neighbouring Benin are: Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.

Map of Benin

Benin gained full independence as the Republic of Dahomey, in 1960, and changed its name to Benin in 1975.

Abomey was the centre of the early kingdom of Dahomey, with a rival state at Porto-Novo.

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Local weather forecasts for destinations around Africa.

Travel in Benin

Benin has been something of a closely kept secret since a group of young army officers, led by Major Kerekou, put a halt to twelve years of repeated coups by taking control of the country themselves, in 1972.

Even now, after the relaxing of the Major's Marxist-Leninist line that turned colonial Dahomey into the People's Republic of Benin - and earned it a somewhat naive title of The Cuba of West Africa - the Gulf of Guinea's least known nation is still not on most travellers' list of destinations.

Being in Benin:
An account of travel through Benin by shared taxi; the easiest way to get around Benin, but not always the safest.

For many Europeans on the Trans-Sahara Peugeot run, the road ends in Niger; although flights to Europe are generally cheaper from the northern Nigerian town of Kano.

Those who do travel along the coast between Abidjan and Lagos, look at Cotonou as nothing more than a stop between Ghana's beaches and the flight home.

There's not really that much to do in Cotonou, except get out; unless you like the idea of paying to join the French around the pool at the Sheraton.

International representation may be lodged in Benin's characterless coastal town of Cotonou, but it is not the country's capital.

Principal status is reserved for a town with a more pleasant setting, and a proper place in history; Porto Novo.

If all routes lead to Cotonou, then once official business is seen to, diversions and ways out of the sandy grid are sought.

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Benin Attractions

Abomey and Ouidah

A two-hour drive from Cotonou takes you back to the former capital of one of the great West African kingdoms in pre-colonial times.

Lake Ganvie:
The most accessible attraction to Cotonou, is the lake dwellings at Ganvie.

Lakes, Rivers and National Parks in Benin

Birdwatching in Benin:

Important bird areas in Benin are Lake Nokoue, and the Lake Aheme and Aho complex.

W du Benin National Park lies in the Niger border region.

Benin Travel Tips

You really should visit Pendjari National Park, the best game park in West Africa, on Natitingou and the Atacora region with its many waterfalls, caves, and the famous 'Tata Sombas'.

When in Natitingou, travellers looking for good food and a good clean room should stay at the Hotel Bourgogne (Tel. 82 22 40).

Meta-Travel Members By John Conry.

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Benin Maps and Travel Guides

Lonely Planet West Africa (Travel Guide) Togo / Benin (International Travel Maps)

Benin Travel Guides - Benin Maps.

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