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About Benin

Benin has a rich and diverse history seeped in Voodoo magic and ancient palace ruins. Friendly locals, prime game viewing, beaches, museums and markets make Benin budget travel ideal for Africa exploration.

Benin Budget Travel

Below is a list of Benin's top destinations, click on the link to view all details and tours.

Ganvie

Fast Facts

Currency
Communaute Financiere Africaine Franc(CFA)

Dialing Code
229

AIDS

Benin HIV/AIDS has a devastating effect on the populations, and while many campaigns are underway to promote AIDS awareness and education, many of the country do not have access to decent facilities and face extreme poverty, which add to the epidemic and its spread. Travellers exploring the country should be extra cautious during their travels and follow precautions at all times.

Airports

Benin airports include: - Cadjehoun International Cotonou Airport - Benin City Airport

Birdlife

Benin is a land of diverse habitats, and even with severe deforestation and land abuse, the country's remaining protected forest areas and important wetlands and coastal regions are home to a wide diversity of bird species. While recorded numbers are fairly small compared to neighbouring countries, Benin birdlife still includes a range of rare and endemic species which are sure to enthrall bird watchers of all ages.

Conservation

With environmental threats spanning from major deforestation to desertification, poaching, hunting and land abuse, Benin has one of the most fragile environments in West Africa. Benin conservation efforts are slowly being initiated to address the balance; however large portions of land are being affected.

Culture

Benin cultures includes the following: - Music is a huge influence in Benin with singer Angelique Kidjo originating from the country - Literature is a strong culture, with mostly oral story traditions before French influence - Voodooism, while also a major religion, also has a strong influence on culture - Arts are also important, with iron, brass and cloth applique among art forms - Homosexuality is a crime in Benin, so exercise caution and respect if you are traveling with a same sex partner

Customs

Benin customs allowances are as follows: - Free import by tourists over 15 years of age - 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 25 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco - 1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of spirits - 1/2 litre of eau de toilette and 1/4 litre of perfume

Health

As one of the poorest countries in the world, Benin health is typical of an undeveloped nation with very basic healthcare. When traveling in Benin you should take precautions to ensure that you stay healthy, so that your travel adventure isn't ruined by a tummy bug or something more serious.

Innoculations

The following inoculations are required when visiting Benin: - Diphtheria - Hepatitis A - Rabies - Tetanus - Typhoid - Yellow Fever

Languages

Benin languages include the following: - French (official language) - Fon - Bariba - Dendi - Fula - Yoruba

Malaria

Benin malaria medication includes the following: - Mefloquine (Lariam) - Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone) - Doxycycline

Money

Benin money and banking information is as follows: - Benin's currency is the West African CFA Franc (XOF) - The Euro is the easiest currency to covert in Benin - Credit and debit cards are accepted at very few places - Western Union branches can be found throughout the country - Banks are open Monday to Friday from 08h00 - 11h00 and 15h00 - 17h00

People

Benin people include the following groups: - Fon/Dahomeyans 25% - Adja 6% - Aizo 5% - Goun 11% - Bariba 12% - Yoruba 12% - Somba 4% - Fulani 6% - Holli, Dendi, and Pilapila/Yowa 18% - European 1%

Phrase

Benin local phrases include the following: - Thank you - A houanu kaka (Fon) - Hello / Welcome - Mi Kwabo (Fon) - Thank you - Merci (French) - Hello - Bonjour (French) - Goodbye - Au revoir (French)

Plants

Benin plant life includes some 2, 500 species of plant species and vegetation areas range from palms to small forest areas, to dry shrubs and grasslands. Excessive deforestation, fires and land abuse have led to a marked decrease in Benin's plant life, with a small number of plant species facing vulnerability and extinction.

Population

A July 2006 UN estimate puts the Benin population at 7,862,944.

Religion

Religious groups in Benin include: - Christian: 42.7% (Catholic: 27.1%, Celestial Christian: 5%, Methodist: 3.2%, other Christian: 7.5%) - Islam: 24.4% - Vodun: 18.5% - Other traditional local religious groups: 6% - Other religious groups: 1.9% - No religious affiliation: 6.5%

Safety Tips

Benin safety tips include the following: - Avoid walking alone after dark, especially in the beach areas which can be unsafe for lone travellers - Avoid large crowds, rallies and street demonstrations which may turn violent - Keep valuables safe and out of sight, and keep a certified copy of important travel documents on hand - ATM's should be avoided due to fraud incidents and robbery - Always drive on the right and be careful when driving in Benin

Transport

Benin local transport options include: - Train - Car - Taxis (bush, scooter and private)

Travel Books

Benin travel books include the following: - Benin: Bradt Travel Guide by Stuart Butler - Show Me The Magic by Annie Caulfield - West Africa Travel Guide by Lonely Planet - Benin and Togo: International Travel Map

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements for Benin include the following: - Visas approximately 2 working days to process - Visas are valid for 30-90 days - Visa applicants must include copies of all documents from ID to letter of invitation from Benin resident or organisation - 30 day visas cost US$40 (single-entry) or US$45 (multiple-entry) - 90 day visas cost US$45 (single-entry) or US$50 (multiple-entry

What To Buy

What to buy for Benin safaris: - Luggage and a good backpack - A decent money bag - Plug adapters (especially US and UK travelers) - French phrase book and Benin travel guide - Malaria medication before you leave for Benin

What To Pack

What to pack for Benin safaris: - Comfortable walking or hiking shoes as well as sandals - Loose lightweight long sleeved clothing - Swimming costume - Sunglasses, sunblock and sunhat - Warm jacket for cooler nights - Camera and binoculars

When To Go

When to go to Benin: - The best time of the year to visit the country is from November to February - Weather in these months is cooler and dry with low humidity - Rainy season runs from April to July and September to October in the south - Rainy season in the north runs from June to October - Hot desert winds are prevalent between December and March

Wildlife

Benin wildlife species are fairly diverse, although numbers are greatly threatened from poaching as well as habitat loss. There are two major national parks situated in the country, which both offer protected game rich areas and ecologically sounds natural habitats which include fairly strong populations of wildlife and birds.

 

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