Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 16, 2017

Traveling in Benin

benin 2

Benin is a French-speaking country in West Africa. It is a fascinating place and is the birthplace of the vodun or “voodoo” religion. It’s also home to the former Dahomey Kingdom dating from 1600 – 1900. Even though it is a small country it does have a few large cities and beckons to tourist to explore its impressive architecture, museums and markets. A trip here will bring you many adventures, a look at amazing wildlife and relaxing on great beaches.

benin cotonou

Visit the city of Cotonou with lovely beaches full of golden sand and palm trees. It’s a large port city on the south coast of Benin.

benin cotonou boulevardbenin dantokpa

Some of its highlights include the huge Dantokpa Market at the eastern end of Boulevard St. Michel.

benin cotonoucathedral1

There is the 19th century Cotonou Cathedral with an impressive red-and-white stripped facade.

benin zintsaou museum

At the Foundation Zinsou Museum you can see contemporary African art.


After a visit to Cotonou take the time to explore the Pendjari National Park which is one of the leading animal reserves in Africa. Here you can see such wildlife as antelopes, baboons, warthogs, birds and much more. The park is named after the Pendjari River, creating a natural border between Benin and Burkina Faso.

benin pendjari Elephants_Pendjaribenin pendjari lions

In the north-west end of the park is the Atakora range. This reserve was established in 1961 and in 1986 was added to UNESCO’s World Biosphere Reserve list. The larger animals here are lions, elephants, Sudanese buffaloes and leopards.

ouidah slave route

A city that offers a mix of French and Portuguese is Ouidah. This city is where you can learn a great deal about African history. It has museums that explore slavery and voodoo. There are many stunning beaches as well. Among the highlights are The Slave Route which is a track down which slaves were taken to the ships and is lined with monuments.

ouidah door of no return

It leads to the Door Of No Return, a memorial arch on the waterfront.


There is the Ouidah Museum of History based on an 18th century Portuguese fort, chronicling the city’s slave-trading past.

benin porto-novo-benin-8

Porto Novo is the capital city of Benin and the former French capital of Dahomey. Highlights here include the Royal Palace and gardens and the Museum of Porto Novo kings.

benin porto novo first king

Benin First King

It is known for its colonial buildings such as The Musee da Silva, recounting Benin’s history and celebrates Afro-Brazilian culture. The Honme Museum was King Toffa’s 19th century royal palace.

benin Abomey-Benin

Abomey was once the capital of Ancient Dahomey. The main highlight here is that this is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Abomey Royal Palaces.

benin royal-palaces-of-abomey_benin_2008

Even though most of the palaces are now in ruins there is still much to be seen. It is home to 12 palaces. The surviving palaces of Ghezo and Glele form the Historical Museum of Abomey, which features bas-reliefs on the palace walls and a throne mounted on human skulls.

benin grand popo

The town of Grand-Popo has played an important role in the slave trade. Here you can find great beaches upon which to relax and where to swim.

benin mono river

You can enjoy great walks along the Mono River and see mangroves and exotic birds. The small town is also known for its voodoo culture. It has a celebrated beach lined with coconut palms. On the main road, Villa Karo you’ll find a Finnish-African cultural center with art exhibitions. The local market Marche de Grand-Popo is located next to the Mono River.

benin Parakou-Benin-1024x768

The second largest city in Benin is Parakou. The city’s economy focuses on cotton, textiles and peanut oil. There is a wonderful open-air museum, showing traditional Bariba architecture. The name of the city means “city for everyone”. This is Benin’s final port of call before goods move along the Niger River. It is home to the largest market in Benin Grand Marche Azeke, an international market spanning over a block. The center of the city has a roundabout with a distinctive tall pink column with the red encrypted words “Parakou”.


There is much more to do and see in Benin.


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  1. Beautiful photographs and destination Rasma. I am at a new blog now:

    • Glad you enjoyed the tour. I will take a look at your new site. Thank you for letting me know.

  2. Loved the pictures. Especially the waterfall picture and the animal pictures. Fun Fact: I road an Elephant once when I was a kid.

    • How exciting to have ridden on an elephant Crystal. I am enjoying exploring Africa. Never knew there was so much to do and see. However I will say it is difficult finding just the right information it is a lot easier when it is about countries that everyone knows about and tourists always flock to. This is becoming a real learning experience.

      • I’m sure it is. One reason why I like your Picture Journeys

  3. I love the photos! They are all awesome!

    • Thank you very much Lyn. It takes me awhile to find the right photos but it is worth the search. Also many of these photo come from travel sites so these sites also get exposure on their photos which is good for them and great for me.

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