To visit the beaches west of Cotonou, you have to take the unpaved road along the beach. If you don't have your own transport, you have to take a car or motorcycle as taxi.
For the short distance it's also a nice road to walk, if you can stay in the shade of the palmtrees, just for reaching the next restaurant or one of the small beachbars.
In the centre of Cotonou you see a lot of motorcycles, like in many other West-African countries. Many of the motorcycles are taxis.
To choose the right one, just look at the yellow shirts of the drivers.
It's an easy and cheap way of transport and gives a lot of fun. Prices started from about 100 CFA. For longer distances and in the evening we took a car as taxi. The 5 KM price for a car to the campsite was 3000 CFA.
For a very comfortable and quick ride to/from Cotonou, consider hiring out a bush taxi for the trip. You have to buy all the seats, but the cost is still reasonable, US$10-15. After many cramped bush taxi rides, it was nice to have enough room for your luggage and your feet, not to mention you butt! PLus, they will take you to exactly where you want to go in Lome or Cotonou. Name the hotel, and your left at the door!
If you are heading to Northern Benin or on to Niger, and you have the time, consider taking the train. It is surprisingly comfortable, it travels away from the roads to some slightly remoter villages, and is much less crowded than a bush taxi. The down side is that it is slower and only goes to Parakou, but Parakou is a pleasant enough place to make a stop before continuing on to Pendjari National Park or Niger.
Back in the Bush Country we did not have access to the mopeds and we had a long walk from the train station to the village that we were staying in, therefore we were able to get some guys to haul our luggage on bikes to the village while we had to walk.
Do not try to drive your self, nothing compared to the traffic in the states and there is few traffic laws and the ones that they do have are not obeyed.
The most convenient way of transportation in Benin was riding one of the thousands of Moped taxies. This is something that you have to experince first hand to really enjoy. First you must negotiate a price with the driver prior to getting on to the bike. They will attempt to overcharge a tourist. Once you have negotiated a price you climb on and hold on for dear life and close your eyes, the drivers will try their best to scare you. I am a daredevil myself so I thought it was very exciting.
Make sure you know where you are going prior to leaving because the drivers will take you around the world if you do not tell them exactly where you want to go and charge you for the long trip.
the best way in the country is to rent a car or travel by BUS
the collectif CARS are cheap
in the town you may use ZEM , motorcycle with driver in yelloow coat. it is very cheap but you must negotiate before the ride, and they drive quite dangerously
but if you are 2 or 4, it is a great FUN for they like to run a race !!!
MAP of the countries....
The best way to get to Republique du Benin is fly direct from Paris CDG with Air France. You could also fly to Lome in Togo and go overland.
The coastal towns of Cotonou, the largest town in Benin and Ouidah and the run down capital of Porto Novo are all easily reached by public transportation.
As I was on a special project, rented a four wheel drive and that made the travel much easier.
The easiest way to get to Benin is to fly there. There are direct flights from several cities in Europe as well as from other african countries. I took the direct flight from Paris to Cotonou. I went from Benin to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso by taxi. It took about 17 hours or so but was not expensive.
In order to get around in Benin alot of people use socalled bush taxis. Thats taxis that wait until full of people (Too full in some cases !) and then leave for a special destination. There are plenty of motorbikes in Cotonou and all over the country. My friend Luc also had a motorbike so we travel around in Cotonou on it. When we went out of town we hired a taxi. There are also trains in Benin but I did not try them. PHOTO: LUC ON HIS MORTORBIKE IN CENTRAL COTONOU.
I recommend flying through Europe (France or Belgium) into the Cotonou Airport. Do not take an African airline (Air Afrique - bad), unless it is Ethiopian Air. I get my round-trip tickets for about $1,400 dollars (but I recieve a discount). Go through a travel agent.
There are really only two modes of transportation. First, there are the taxis. I recomend using these if at all possible. You should be able to get from one side of Cotonou to the other for about 300-450 francs. You will need to barder. If one breaks down while you are in it, do not feel bad about walking off and finding another one.
The other mode are motos called zimi's (or zimizan). These are generally cheaper, but much more dangerous. The are 'eternally optimistic' and drive very crazy. I have a friend who saw a man fall off the back of one and get his head run over by a truck. So. . . travel at your own risk. Some times they are you only way.
The road from the Togo-Benin border to Cotonou takes you through different landscapes like jungle, along the beach and you drive through many villages. It takes 3-4 hours to drive.
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Bld De La Marina
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
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