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Miscellaneous: "To Benin and Back" is a memoir written by Chris Starace (me) a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin from 1995-1997. It is a collection of stories and anecdotes about what it's like to live, and travel in Benin while getting to know the people and culture intimately. It has received many positive reviews- see www.tobeninandback.com
Written Apr 10, 2012
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I have found Travla pills invaluable when travelling, to avoid upset stomachs and diarrhoea. I have now taken them for 5 trips and they have worked each time. They work by creating a layer of friendly bacteria in your stomach that prevents other bacteria getting through.
You take 2 a day with food, starting 1 week before you travel and while you are travelling. What a find! Cost in UK £8 per pack but worth it.
Written Apr 21, 2008
Miscellaneous: If you visit a village it is nice to give gifts to people. Children in the poorer villages always appreciate pens and sweets.
I also like to take something for the women such as brightly coloured patterned hair clips. I usually carry them in my daypack just in case of an unexpected village visit.
All these are light to carry around and don't take up much luggage space.
Updated Apr 20, 2008
Miscellaneous: The currency in Benin and the other French speaking West African countries is the CFA. The CFA is linked to the Euro so this makes prices in all countries that use the CFA quite expensive. At the time of my visit I got 650 CFA to 1 Euro.
Mineral Water varied between 300 and 600 CFA and a meal between 3000 and 4000 CFA. This was in good quality hotels/restaurants. If you're on a budget you can certainly reduce this by going to cheaper places. However, it's not as cheap as other African countries by any means.
If you want to see a Voodoo ceremony or get a Fa reading you will need plenty of extra cash! I spent all my cash on these sort of experiences but didn't regret it - although had none left for souvenirs!
Updated Apr 15, 2008
Luggage and bags: You pack only the bare necessities such as clothing and hygeine products. Transportion is very limited and you do not want to have to carry any excess luggage.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The climate is very humid and warm. Wear very comfortable shoes as you will be doing alot of walking.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring a basic first aid kit.
Photo Equipment: Film and other camera supplies are limited so bring everything taht you need.
Written Sep 7, 2002
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Mosquito net. Important.
Miscellaneous: Money: French Francs. The currency in Benin has
a fixed exchange rate to FF, so you get the best
out of your money. In fact, it is quite hard to
have US Dollars or German DM exchanged once you
are in the country.
Written Aug 26, 2002
Luggage and bags: just the necessary and a good camera with batteries
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: it is very hot in the dry season
NB: take always with you a bottle of water
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: pills for water, medication for malaria
imunization for Yellow fever, Typhoid, etc... (mainly if you go in the north and in the forest).
Photo Equipment: batteries and films in a cold box
(electricity 220 volts)
Miscellaneous: les paysages sont merveilleux surtout avec le coucher du soleil...
Written Aug 26, 2002
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: take light dress in dry season
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: take a lot of stuff against mosquitos,
pills to sterilize water
NB: watch carefully the water and salads (amibes)
you must wash VERY carefully salads and fruits before eating.
Written Aug 26, 2002
Luggage and bags: Take tough and durable luggage. USE LOCKS!!!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring very light clothing. Shorts, t-shirts, light colors. Good shoes help in places.
You can by traditional clothing there. I highly recomend wearing that. It is light, and very comfortable.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take malaria medication (strongly don't recommend Larium. Strongly recommend Doxicylcline)-it's a must. take sun screan - the Equatorial sun is brutal.
Photo Equipment: all current is 220v, so if you need to charge a digital camara, make sure you have a converter or you will ruin your camara.
Miscellaneous: Take sunglasses
Written Aug 24, 2002
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