Fun things to do in Benin

  • The ever picturesque Beaches of Benin
    The ever picturesque Beaches of Benin
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  • A great place for picnics and fun
    A great place for picnics and fun
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  • Things to Do
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Benin

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    Ketou, near the border with Nigeria

    by sachara Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    When you visit Benin don't stay only at the beaches and in the towns, but visit also the countryside and the villages.
    I really enjoyed to travel in the countryside.
    The atmosphere there is very peaceful.
    The people in the villages are very friendly and the landscape is beautiful.
    Travelling can be very dusty. At the end of the day we looked rather reddish, but that was part of the fun.

    Ketou, unpaved red roads
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    Ketou, shops and stalls

    by sachara Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    In the villages and small towns we passed, we saw a lot of colourful small shops and street stalls selling clothes, shoes and all kind of food.
    At these stalls we did mostly our shopping, buying bread, vegetables, fruits, spices and other food or we took a local snack here.
    I always enjoyed to stroll around and have a look at the local products in the stalls and shops.

    Ketou, stalls and shops
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    Ganvie, church not built on stilts

    by sachara Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    Not every building in Ganvie is built on wooden stilts. In the middle of the village Ganvie you will find a small island with solid soil. Here at this island some buildings of stone, like the church and the school are constructed.
    This is also the only place in the village where you see the villagers walk around instead of moving by boat.

    In the centre of Ganvie
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    Ouidah, Musee d'Histoire d'Ouidah

    by sachara Updated Apr 8, 2004

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    The museum of Ouidah is located in one of the former forts of Ouidah, just south of the Grand Marche.
    Ouidah was one of the most important centres of slavetrading in West Africa, so the exhibitions in the museum concern for a major part the slave trade and the connections of Benin with Brazil and the Caribbean.
    Entrance fee is 1000 CFA, including a friendly guide.
    First I couldn't enter the museum, because there was not enough change.

    Museum
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    Ouidah, portuegese fort

    by sachara Updated Apr 8, 2004

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    In Ouidah were at least six slave forts.
    The old portuegese fort, Fortaleza Sao Joao Batisita, built in 1721, is still there and can be visited. In the buildings of this fort you can find the historical museum or Voodoo Museum, but also workshops, giftshops and toilets.
    You can walk in the garden and climb the fortifications. From here you have a nice view at a part of the centre of Ouidah.

    Portuegese fort
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    Ouidah, Voodoo Museum

    by sachara Updated Apr 8, 2004

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    The Musee d'Histoire d'Ouidah is also known as the Voodoo Museum. So, in this former Portuguese Fort, there are also all kind of mystical artefacts of the voodoo culture. I saw a lot of skins, skulls and other not always well recognisable materials of animals and plants.
    Also nowadays the practice of voodoo remains strong in Benin and Ouidah, and also in Brasil and the Caribbean, brought there by the Dahomeyan slaves.
    Since 1992 a second museum about voodoo culture is established in Ouidah, in the former Casa do Brasil ( 1 KM more west).

    Voodoo Museum
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    Ouidah, Sacred Python Temple.

    by sachara Updated Apr 8, 2004

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    In the centre of Ouidah, opposite the catholic cathedral, you find the ''Temple des Serpents'', one of the most famous voodoo sites in town.
    Snakes are important in the voodoo culture, because traditionally they were fetishes and a principal object of worship.
    Normally you can visit the temple and see the snakes and get some explanation about the temple and voodoo traditions.
    During my visit the temple was closed, so I didn't see the sleeping snakes, but I saw a lot of bats hanging in the trees around the temple. For me these peculiar animals looked very much like voodoo fetishes.

    Sacred Python Temple
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    Ouidah, catholic cathedral

    by sachara Updated Apr 4, 2004

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    In the centre of Ouidah, opposite the Sacred Python Temple, is the catholic cathedral.
    The grey cathedral is an important landmark in the towncentre.
    In many towns you find churches or cathedrals of the same architecture.
    The fence has some nice decorations.

    Ouida, cathedral
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    Ouidah, Route des Esclave

    by sachara Updated Apr 4, 2004

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    From the towncentre of Ouidah leads the 4 KM long Route of the Slaves to the coast, the road of no return. This is the route the slaves took to the coast to board the ships to the Americas. Along the road you can find many monumental statues of traditional African symbols. Also nowadays this road has its significance for the people of Ouidah because of the supernatural and historical legends about this road. You can still find here a lot of fetishes along the road.

    coastal at the end of the route of the slaves
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    Ouidah, memorial in honour of the slaves.

    by sachara Updated Apr 8, 2004

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    At the end of the Route of the Slaves stands an impressive memorial in honour of the departed slaves. The beach here is a symbolic and historical site as central and final departure point of the slaves, boarding the boats to the Americas. Near this ''point of no return'' are some giftshops and a restaurant.

    monument
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    Ouidah, millenium monument

    by sachara Updated Apr 4, 2004

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    A few hundreds of metres west of the memorial in honour of the departed slaves is another monument at the same beach.
    Also this monument looks very impressive.
    In the middle you can recognize the contour of the map of Benin.
    This monument is erected in 2000 at the occasion of the millenium.

    Ouida, millenium monument
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    A job for the whole village.

    by sachara Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    Driving along the coast from Ouidah to Cotonou, we saw a lot of villages. Sometimes the whole community of the fishermen village helped to get the returned boat ashore. we saw dozens of people, drawing and dragging all together the ropes.
    It was amazing to look at !

    bringing the boat ashore
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    Cotonou, walking in the city

    by sachara Updated Apr 4, 2004

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    The extension of our visa for Benin, we had to arrange in Cotonou. So we decided to spend a day here by exploring the city on foot.
    Cotonou is not that exciting, but just a relaxed city to walk around. We had a drink in the Jonquet area with the nightclubs and bars and a good meal somewhere in the heart of the city near the junction of the avenue Clozel and Avenue Steinmetz and we found some cybercafes.
    You can also visit the Grand Marche de Dantopka north of this area.

    Cotonou, citycentre, avenue Clozel

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    Cotonou, citycentre

    by sachara Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    In the heart of the city of Cotonou, near the intersection of the Avenue Clozel and Avenue, you see the colourful cathedral in red and white, like a landmark.
    From here it's only 300 M to the old bridge, the "Pont Ancien'', crossing the Lagune de Cotonou, going east.

    Cathedral in the citycentre
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    Beaches of Benin

    by sachara Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    There are a lot of beaches in Benin.
    Driving from Ouidah to Cotonou we saw during 40 KM only beautiful beaches, mostly with a lot of palmtrees.
    During the sunny days it's too hot to be at the beach unprotected, without any shade.
    So you have to look out for enough palmtrees or a also an hotel/ campsite/ restaurant with parasols or sun-roofs will do, maybe even better.

    beach west of Cotonou
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Benin Things to Do

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