Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

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West Africa - Benin - head-dress - Elter photo

West Africa - Benin - village scene - Elter photo

Benin - basilica of Ouidah - Elter photo

Practicals

Transport

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West Africa - Benin - road scene 2. - Elter photo

West Africa -Benin - mass transit - Elter photo

West Africa - Benin - handy fueling - Elter photo

Benin - train travel - k.c. photo

Benin - Cotonou - traffic

Benin - Cotonou - traffic in Boulevard Saint Michel - k.a. photo

Food

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Benin - Cotonou - Dantokpa market - fruits - k.a. photo

Shopping

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Benin - Porto Novo - market - k-t.g. photo

Benin - Ketou - market day

Benin - Cotonou - Dantokpa market - k.a. photo

Benin - Abomey - batik souvenirs - k.a. photo

Fun

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Benin - Voodoo Festivity - m.c. photo

Benin - Ouidah - Sacred forest - innovative scaring - k.a. photo

Public safety

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Benin - Ouidah - Sacred forest - excibionist satyr - k.a. photo

Health

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Benin - traditional healing therapist - treatments of all natural and supernatural diseases (referring to the Naturopathic Office of the Ministry of Health) - k.c. photo

Benin - emergency care place - s.m. photo

Benin - magical voudou dance with mystic trances - y.m. photo

Benin - Ouidah - Sacred forest - Nordic walking in the South - k.a. photo

Others

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Benin - Cotonou - Elter photo

Background

West Africa - Benin - Cotonou - National Assembly building and Congress Center - Elter photo

Destination in brief

Benin in brief
 
Benin is in West Africa with a small southern coastline on the Bay of Benin. Neighbors: Togo (west), Burkina Faso and Niger (north), Nigeria (east).
Benin was a French colony until 1960. The country was called Dahomey until 1975.

Size: 114,763 km² (44,310.2 mi²) - a narrow, key-shaped, north-south strip of land

Capital city: Porto Novo, but the commercial capital is Cotonou

Population: 12 million (2020) – Benin is home to about 42 ethnic groups - Benin’s fertility rate is among the highest in the world, with approximately 5 children per woman.

Language: French - A total of 50 indigenous languages are spoken in Benin, the most widely spoken one being the Fon language. Educated people speak French well, others just know the basic vocabulary needed to be able to do small-scale business or shop.

Religion: People in Benin follow a diverse mix of Christian, Muslim and West African traditional beliefs. Roman Catholicism is the largest religious group in Benin and is followed closely by Islam and Voodoo (or Vodun).
Voodoo majorly concentrates on spirits and divine elements that rule the earth, deities which govern human society and natural forces as well as spirits of individual trees, streams and rocks and defenders of a certain nation, clan or tribe. About 17% of the population of Benin practices this West African belief. Modern day Benin is regarded as the birth place of this religion, and the name ‘Voodoo’ itself means ‘spirit’ in the local Fon language.

Political system: a presidential, representative democratic republic – Despite being a very poor country, Benin is one of the most stable democracies in West Africa.
The dress, manners, activities, and worldview of the urban elite set them far apart from other segments of society, and people belonging to lower social classes often try to emulate their lifestyle. Speaking French, wearing Western-style clothes, eating European food, living in a house with a tin roof, and listening to modern music all distinguish a person as "civilized."

Currency: West African franc (XOF)

Average net monthly salary: about 300 USD (2020)

Most common surname: Bio

When to visit? October-February

Safety: Benin is a safe, peaceful tourist destination by West Arican standards. However, visitors should be aware of the fact that petty theft, violent crime, fraud and scams are quite common.
The country’s infrastructure is underdeveloped, power cuts are frequent.

Top tourist attractions:
Pendjari National Park and Reserve du W du Niger (expect to see elephants, lions, antelopes, hippos, monkeys)
Ganvie (a village built on a lake), Ouidah (a central location for voodoo ceremonies), Abomey, a the former royal town of Dahomey

Interesting facts:
When in Benin, never, ever touch food with your left hand. It will truly disgust people if you do. In fact, try to avoid even giving money to people with your left hand, which is considered to be your unclean hand.


History

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West Africa - Benin - The Slaves Road monuments in Ouidah - Elter photo

West Africa - Benin - Cathedral of Porto Novo - Elter photo

Benin - Ouidah - Portuguese colonial building

Benin - Cotonou -- k.a. photo

Benin - King of Abomey and his maids of honor (or/and concubines?) - y.m. photo

Benin - Cotonou - j.k. photo

Nowadays

1. On the quite, a sort of slavery still exists among the tribes in the north of the country.

People

1. The Beninese seldom raise their voice. Locals mostly resolve disputes gently.

West Africa - Benin - village girl - Elter photo

Benin - k-t. g. photo

Benin - young mother and her baby

Benin - Porto Novo - kids - d.l. photo

Benin - siesta - s.m. photo

Tourist etiquette

1. It is best to avoid discussing people's religious beliefs. Despite their Christian and Muslim religious beliefs, a vast majority of Beninese practice Voodoo, even if few will admit it.

Attractions

Cotonou

Benin - Cotonou - Boulevard Saint Michel - k.a. photo

Benin - Cotonou - Dantokpa market - k.a. photo

Benin - Cotonou - Dantokpa market - k.a. photo

Benin - Cotonou - Notre Dame Roman Catholic cathedral - k.a. photo

Benin - Cotonou - Central mosque - k.a. photo

Abomey

Ouidah

Benin - Ouidah - The Door of No Return - a memorial arch - k.a. photo

Benin - Ouidah - The Door of No Return - a memorial arch - k.a. photo

Benin - Ouidah - Temple of Pythons - k.a. photo

Benin - Ouidah - Sacred forest - two-faced - k.a. photo

Benin - Ouidah - Basilica - a Catholic church - k.a. photo

Ganvie, the lake village

Benin - Ganvie, a lake village - the small acrobats - k.a. photo

Benin - Ganvie, a lake village - k.a. photo

Benin - Ganvie, a lake village - k.a. photo

Benin - Ganvie, a lake village - k.a. photo

Benin - Ganvie, a lake village - k.a. photo

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