Of the many things that Cotonou, Republic of Benin, has to offer, shopping is one of the best. I decided to list some of my favourite things to do in Cotonou so you can maximise your time in this vibrant city.
Ganvie is one of my favourite places in Benin, it really feels like you are in a world of floating market halls. You can walk around for hours and come across the best tailors, and what they can do is up to your imagination.
It is located in the beautiful hilly highlands and is considered West Africa's best wildlife observation area. Every tourist wants to see lions, antelopes, elephants and monkeys, and it is considered one of the best places in Benin for tourists who want to see them.
The lake is located north of downtown Cotonou and the city is divided into two parts by a canal and a lagoon that connects it to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bay of Benin is bordered in the south by a body of water bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and in the east and west by the Bokeh River. The latitude is between 6º 30 n and 12º 30 n, and there are no land connections to the bordering countries. The conflict only recommends crossing the two coastal borders with Togo and Nigeria.
In Benin, drink driving is very common and sometimes motorists are involved in criminal rings in major cities. The best way to be safe in Benin is always, always and always to be sure that you can trust a local person or hire a guide. An extremely punctual and reliable bus system runs an average tour bus every day in the style of all major cities in Benin, but choose your driver carefully. There is a bus line that runs from the city centre of the capital, Côte d'Ivoire, to the coast and back.
There is a train line halfway through the country from Parakou to Cotonou, but there are no plans to run it. There is a very punctual and reliable bus line that runs from the centre of Ivory Coast to the coast and back.
If you are travelling to Benin, you can take the bus from Cotonou to Côte d'Ivoire and back, and then the same way back to Ivory Coast.
To give you an idea of the price, a bus from Cotonou to Natitingou costs CFA 7,500 each way and from Parakou (or vice versa) CFA 5,500. The country has two large cities, Benin and Côte d'Ivoire, where the majority of the population lives. As our guide Mireille explains, in the early 19th century the king cost ten pennies, while the monarchy in Benin lasted. Today, the current President of Benin is a technocrat who served under the tutelage of former President Soglo.
It borders on the east and west with the Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal and Togo. Benin is a member of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and acts as a member of it.
The port brings shops, and at night you can see truck queues heading for and leaving the port. The Portuguese fortress, which houses the local museum of Ouidah, is a must-see for anyone travelling through the country. It focuses on the history of Benin and its history as a port city in the Middle East and Africa.
For tourists who want to experience the local spread, the Dantokpa market in Cotonou is the largest local market in West Africa and a great place for them to eat and drink. The CDC recommends a vaccine if you plan to visit parts of Benin that are in the meningitis belt during the dry season (December to June), when the disease is most common. For tourists looking to experience the local spread, Bangui's DantsokPA market is one of the largest and most popular local markets in Africa. In addition to the main market and the tourist market, there is also the Cotinou fetish market, where Beninese buy shares.
Starting in July 2019, it will be possible to obtain a $20 visa when entering the United States. It is also possible to book a one-way trip to Cotonou from any other country in West Africa at the same price.
If you want to plan a big trip to Benin, you should definitely read our long Ben in Travel Guide and Itinerary. Non-resident British nationals wishing to travel to Nigeria or Ghana cannot obtain an entry visa in Benin, but they can obtain a one-way visa to Togo from any other country in West Africa. This information is designed as a guide and should not be construed as an endorsement of any health care provider or insurer. Only a licensed physician can provide such information, so please contact your local health care provider for more information on how to stay healthy in Benin.