Theyll get you everywhere in Cotonou for between CFA 2-350, theyre very handy, and theyre very unsafe. Couldnt do without them for sure, but I wish they all had proper mirrors and lights and drove a tad slower. Zapping trough town on a zemidjan at dusk is fantastic - candle lit stores on the sidewalks, zillions of huge bats in the sky.
Please note: I wrote the following information about my experiences in Cotonou. Taximotos operate all over Benin and they can even take you from town to town cheaper than any car. Also the prices in rural areas should be a bit cheaper, but Taximotos are extremely cheap anyway. So here is my tip:
The cheapest, fastest, easiest – and most common – way to travel around Cotonou is the Taximoto. You can get a ride from one side of the city to the other for 250 CFA (49 US Cents or 38 Euro Cents). You can get shorter rides cheaper by really haggling. Some Taximotos – being Taxi Drivers – will try and explain about the Official Rates. Apparently it’s official to rip you off and charge you 3-5 times too much because you did not read this tip and also rate it.
Yes, it is the Law in Benin – passed by the Government – that you get a cheaper Taximoto fare after reading this tip!!! Just print it off and show them.
So ignore the prices of 2000 CFA (pronounced ‘see-fah’) and also the ones that reduce the price to 500. Walk away! Some will immediately offer 300. Offer either 200 or 250. You can tip later and then if they see you again, you have a friend.
The first 2 guys I met offered me 3000 CFA and 2000 CFA. No way. I walked around the corner and was offered 500, then 300. I walked another 10 meters and stood in the busy road. The next guy was only too happy to take 250. There are thousands of these guys in Cotonou!
After I checked into my hotel, I flagged down a mototaxi and he tried the 500 – 300 trick. I said no. The next guy, Jonas, looked at me. He must have thought I looked honest as he said 250 first offer. I imagine locals pay 150-200, but that was a fair offer. Jonas took me clear across the city for that. Then I offered him 2000 CFA ($3.94, €3.05) for an hour and a tour of the city. Jonas smiled very widely and I knew I had just offered to overpay. No worries. Jonas showed me around for about an hour and a half past my first ride. I saw the whole city. And cheaply and safely.
In some cases, especially as you get into less travelled areas, they will wait for you and you just pay another 250 to go back. If they do not know your destination, they will ask other drivers. You may be expected to get onto another Taximoto that knows instead. It’s ok as they look out after each other and you get to where you want to go. They all have yellow jerseys or vests. Most have numbers. If you do have an issue, tell the Police the number, but I don’t think you will have any problems. These guys (the ones with honest prices) were just excellent.
OK – one big safety notice here. There are NO helmets on any Taximoto. Having said that they were generally safe, not too fast and were always very observant of traffic. Also, due to their numbers, the cars take notice of them as well.
Cotonou - Cadjehoun, Benin (COO):
Location: 6 km/4 Miles W of the city.
By Taxi: XOF 2500-3000/20-25 mins to the city.
Rental Cars: AVIS, ETS & Hertz.
Airport Tel No: +229 301 413. Updated Jun04 www.
Lome - Tokoin, Togo (LFW):
Location: 6 km/4 Miles NE of the city.
By Taxi: XOX 4000-6000/20-30 mins.
By Bus: Some hotels operate a shuttle bus for guests.
Rental Cars: ADA. Notes: Left luggage facilities available in arrivals.
Airport Tel No: +228 223 6060. Updated Aug04 www. [back].[top]
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.
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 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.
On the main street leading to Nigeria you see so many loaded cars literally stuffed full of people. This car shows three rows of seats and then still loads of luggage. Mostly you will have three people in the front seat and then as many as can fit in the back. Not always comfortable and its a wonder the cars go at all with all the rattles you hear when you are going. We often hired a taxi just for the two of us, so that we could go where we wanted. We paid 2000 cfa for one hour. Its cheaper if you share the taxi with others.
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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