Benin is a small country in Western Africa bordering Togo and Nigeria. Despite its meagre size, Benin is teeming with tourist attractions including national parks, museums and it even gained a UNESCO World Heritage listing for the ancient town of Abomey. Benin has a wealth of interesting sites, however there is a lack of facilities for tourists.
The capital city of Porto Novo has a rich culture, coloured by an interesting history. Local architecture and food have a distinct Brazilian flavour, as many Afro-Brazilians arrived in Porto Novo after emancipation in Brazil. The Porto Novo Museum of Ethnography showcases an impressive collection of Yoruba masks, as well as documenting the history of the city. The da Silva Museum is a museum on the history of Benin.
Abomey, once the ancient capital of the ancient Kingdom of Dahomey, is one of Benin’s chief tourist attractions. A cluster of earthen buildings serves as Royal Palaces during the 17th and 19th century, and constitute one of West Africa’s most famous and historically significant sites. Cotonou is the economic centre of Benin, and has a few notable attractions such as the Cotonou Cathedral, Cotonou Central Mosque and the Ancien Pont Bridge.
Benin is home to some of the best wildlife in Western Africa, and the best time to visit is during the dry season. Pendjari National Park and W National Park are both located in the north of Benin. Pendjari National Park is easy to access and has a good range of accommodation at the site. W National Park is located further afield and is more difficult to access.
Cotonou International Airport on the outskirts of the city provides direct connections to France, Belgium and other African countries. A wide range of accommodation is on offer in Benin, ranging from quality city centre hotels to lodges in national parks. Both the Novotel and Sheraton groups offer luxury resort accommodation in Benin, complete with swimming pools, tennis courts and nightclubs.