Top 10 Destinations in Benin
Experience the beauty of Benin and enjoy the sights and sounds around it
The Republic of Benin, which is a West African country formerly known as Dahomey, is one of the safest and stable travel destinations across the African region. Benin is said to be where Voodoo originated along with all of its aspects, wherein up until the present day, it is still being observed and practiced by the locals. Apart from being famous for Voodoo, Benin is also rich in natural beauty - from its alluring beaches to its rugged greenery.
Here's the top 10 places to visit in Benin you shouldn't miss!
Cotonou, which is the economical center and largest city in Benin, is considered as the de facto capital of this West African country. This destination, which is the country’s main port, is known to pristine beaches that are truly inviting and irresistible. Cotonou is one of the most visited and recommended places to visit Benin as it offers wide range of sights and wonders.
Ouidah, which was once considered as the center for slavery and palm oil trading, is one of the historically important cities in Benin. This destination showcases museums, monuments and other structures that were built in memory of slavery. Some of the top attractions in Ouidah are Maison du Bresil Art Gallery, Sacred Forest of Kpasse and the memorial arch named the Door of No Return. An additional important fact about Ouidah is that it is the capital of the Vodun religion.
Porto Novo, which is the official capital of Benin and the second largest city next to Cotonou, is packed with historical heritages and other tourist attractions. Some of the places to visit in this destination are the Museé Ethnographique de Porto Novo, da Silva Museum, Palais Royal du Roi Toffa and Jardin Place Jean Bayo. Porto Novo has embraced huge culture from Portuguese with its architectures and other structures, but their Afro-Brazilian roots are also still observed.
Once the capital and center for slavery during the ancient Dahomey, Abomey is one of the main tourist attractions in this west African country. The Royal Palaces of Abomey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the main attraction in this destination. These structures were said to be built between 17th and 19th centuries by the Fon people. Also Musée Historique d'Abomey is another tourist spot where souvenirs and collectibles are being sold.
Grand Popo, which is a beach-front town and the center of voodoo, is known for its inviting and exciting beaches. There are other tourist attractions in this destination like the Bouche du Roy where the Atlantic Ocean is meeting the Mono River. Grand Popo is where Villa Karo is situated, a Finnish-African culture center, that has been occupying the town since 1999. Also, the main source of living in this town of Benin is fishing.
Slave Route (Route d’Esclaves)
The Slave Route project was built to remember and share the horrifying moments of slavery and slave trade involving Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas and other countries during the early times. This destination showcases how the Africans were sent and sold as slaves, and their sufferings along the journey. The Slave Route is located in Ouidah, which was the center of slavery and slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries. One of the famous spots in this destination is the rebuilt fortress now called as the Door of No Return.
Ganvie, the most popular and probably the largest lake village across Africa, is situated in the heart of Lake Nokoue in Cotonou, Benin. This destination is said to have been existing for almost five hundred years and often tagged as the Venice of Africa. Ganvie watertown was the back door of the people who were able escape slave trade and slavery from the Portuguese.
Pendjari National Park
Part of the protected area named WAP (W, Arli, Pendjari) Complex involving Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. Pendjari National Park is home to West African wildlife such as hippos, buffalos, West African lions, antelopes and a known bird sanctuary. There are various species of birds that are visible in this national park, which is considered as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Benin.
The Fetish Market (Dantokpa Market)
Dantokpa Market is the largest market in Benin and possibly across West Africa, and is where the voodoo fetish market is located. The Fetish Market is one of Cotonou’s attractions because of the exotic items and products that are being sold here, such as dead animals and other voodoo ritual needs. This interesting destination showcases what ancient people are using for their religious rituals and voodoo practices.
Sacred Python Temple
Situated in the town of Ouidah in Benin, the Sacred Python Temple is one of the famous tourist spots in this West African country. This destination presents how the town of Ouidah worships what they call as the royal pythons, and how significant these reptiles are to the Vodun religion. The pythons are seen all over the place and locals assure tourists that the animals are harmless as they are well cared for.