BENIN HOLIDAY ADVICE
Marian Thompson, from our West Africa-based supplier, M and J Travel, shares her travel tips for visiting Benin:
“Benin has a lot of wildlife – several of the Big Five live here, and you can see them in Pendjari National Park. Ghana just has elephants, so if you combine it with a trip to Benin you can see elephants, lions, cheetah, hippos… it’s a good way to combine the culture with wildlife. We usually spend two nights in Pendjari to have time to go on safaris. And at Ganvié you have the “Venice of Benin” – a village on stilts in the middle of a lake. It’s very authentic; the people you see there are just living their lives. You can stay in a hotel that is actually out in the middle of the lake, it’s totally unique, and one of the best experiences in Benin.”
Our Benin Holidays
Health and safety“The tip is to be well prepared. You must have all your injections, there is malaria so you must have tablets, and mosquito spray as well. And be sure to take out travel insurance – if you can find one which has a local agent that is good, that will help you out a lot.”
There is a lot of metalwork in Benin. There are markets in every town but the best place to go is the craft market in Cotonou.
Jim O’Brien, from our Benin supplier Native Eye, shares his Benin travel advice:
“There’s a really interesting fetish at in Savalou called the Dankoli fetish. It is the most powerful fetish in the whole country, so you get a lot of pilgrims coming there to make sacrifices. I don’t know what it was originally but so many people have made sacrifices here that it’s just this mound of blood and feathers and wax and just congealed, rotting matter that they pay homage to. Voodoo is the state religion; it doesn’t have the same connotations in Benin as Hollywood has given it. It’s almost like a fairytale world. I’m slightly in love with Benin!”
Being prepared“No one comes to West Africa as a first time visitor to the continent; everyone tends to start off with East Africa or Southern Africa. West and Central Africa are much harder, and the attractions are less well defined, so you have to look for it and you have to be prepared for a bit of adventure, and to be honest a fair few problems along the way. We do our best to mitigate any problems that there might be but we always tell people to travel to Benin with a sense of humour and expect things to go wrong from time to time – and be patient while we sort it out!”
If you'd like to chat about Benin or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Health & safety in Benin
More about Benin
The best time to visit Benin is in the dry months of December to March - which also coincide with the annual Voodoo festival in January - an unmissable experience.
When you travel to a country whose state religion is voodoo, you know this is going to be no ordinary holiday.
Click on our interactive Benin map and highlights to learn more about this little-explored nation.
When choosing things to do in Benin, don’t overlook Pendjari National Park – one of the only safari destinations in West Africa.
Discovering the culture in Benin is the highlight of any holiday to this West African nation.
Rhythmic drumming, extraordinary costumes and performers channeling spirits – the Voodoo festival, Benin, is an otherworldly cultural treat.
Many holidays to Togo and Benin explore the vibrant Vodou culture of these nations. While this official religion may not be as “dark” as many Western myths suggest, there is one aspect of it which is very dark indeed.
Responsible tourism in Benin is vitally important.