Benin, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, by Nigeria to the east and by Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. A majority of the population live on its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country’s largest city. Benin covers an area of approximately 42,000 sq mi, with a population of approximately 9.05 million.
From the 17th to the 19th century, modern day Benin was ruled by the Kingdom of Dahomey. This region was referred to as the Slave Coast from as early as the 17th century due to the large number of slaves shipped to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. After slavery was abolished, France took over the country and renamed it French Dahomey. In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France.
- Visa required for all US Passport Holders, if you are not a US Passport holder, please consult the embassy in your region.
- Proof of immunization (Yellow Fever)
Benin has an average temperature high of 90°F and an average low of 77°F
Language: English and French are the most widely used
Sites of Interest
Village of Ganvie
is called the Venice of Africa, and is a large lagoon where the locals live in stilt houses. Ganvie is a four hundred year old town on top of a lagoon built to protect villagers from local warring tribes. Until now, the stilts are still being inhabited by locals and everything seen in normal towns are available in Ganvie.
Royal Palaces of Abomey
In Benin you will find the center of one of the most powerful kingdoms in African history, the Royal Palaces of Abomey. The Abomey Royal Palaces were constructed by the Fon people between the 17th and 19th centuries. These structures served as lavish dwellings to the twelve successive rulers of the kingdom of Abomey, formerly known as Dahomey. Because the Royal Palace was practically the seat of power in Abomey, it was protected by a mud wall with six guarded gates and surrounded by prickly acacias, a common method of defense in African strongholds. During this period, the kings held absolute power over everything in Abomey, even its residents. They enjoyed a life of luxury and prosperity. However, in the 1890s, the Fon people were engaged in a war against the French. France eventually overcame the kingdom and destroyed most of the Royal Palaces of Abomey.