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Anybody been to Benin?

Between New York...
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Anybody been to Benin?

I'm looking to spend about 2 weeks end-November/beginning December and looking for any and all advice. I'll probably spend the last 3 days in Grand Popo. Otherwise want to get up-country, probably not game parks, more people/villages etc. What about going north thru Benin and coming back south thru Togo? Thanks!!!!!

Brooklyn, NY
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1. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

Just seeing your message now. I live here, in Cotonou. Let me know if I can answer any questions. How's your French? It would be hard to travel here without at least mediocre French.

Memphis, Tennessee
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2. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

We live in Togo, and travel to Pendjari National Park once a year. We've been to Cotonou and other places as well, but it been awhile. The park is great, and northern Benin is quite lovely in parts. We always see a variety of antelopes, warthogs, hippos, crocs, Cape buffalo, baboons, monkeys, and plenty of elephants. We see lions about half of the time. We've not seen the cheetahs, they are fairly elusive but we know several people who've sighted them. There are also beautiful birds.

i have the name of an excellent guide with a vehicle, and can give you contact info if you like, but he speaks only French.

There is also a lovely waterfall areas just outside of the park, and it's worth to spend a few hours relaxing and swimming there.

Sacramento
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3. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

My husband and I spent a week in Benin visiting our daughter who is in the Peace Corps. I agree with the other post that it would be hard to travel on your own in Benin if you cannot speak French. In Cotonou we stayed at Hotel du Lac which was an upscale hotel with hot water, air conditioning, a pool, and nice resturant. While in Cotonou, we rented a taxi for the day and visited Ouidah. While in Ouidah we visited the Temple of the Pythons, The Point of No Return, and the Sacred Forest. I especially liked the Sacred Forest. The tour through the Python Temple gives one a good understanding of the importance and history of the Vodoun culture throughout Benin. The Sacred Forest is a restful respite with numerous statutes and more insight into the Vodoun and Beninese Culture. The Point of No Return is a memorial to the slave trade in Benin.

We also visited Gavnavie which is a popular tourist destination that offers boat rides out to a village that is built on stilts in the middle of a lagoon. It is amazing to see and consider the difficulty of this village in terms of transportation, access to potable water, and access to schools and health care. There is a very impressive mosque built on stilts. The poverty and harshness of the daily survival makes it an important and eye-opening experience and thus I could "forgive" the boat guide who once we were in the middle of nowhere said--"okay, now we're going to negotiate my tip."

Another really interesting place we visited in Porto Novo was the Songhai Center. This is an amazing sustainable farming facility which has fantastic gardens, animal husbandry, fisheries, a resturant featuring foods from the facility, a hotel, and training facility. Songhai was started by a Nigerian who studied at UC Davis and is teaching sustainable farming practices to locals. Tours are offered. The Peace Corps uses the facilities for a lot its training. The place is also obviously well used by the locals. When we were trying to figure out what stop to get off --everyone in the van chimed in as to the best stop.

My daughter works in a village outside of Glauzoue--visiting the market there was a fun experience and I bought some wonderful fabric. We ate fabulous omelet sandwiches at The Cafeteria--a little roadside resturant.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

I'm just back from Benin - this guy did two tours for us - one by boat, another by car. His english is great - he is on facebook too. We had the best time with him - we asked for an amazing adventure - and it happened!

Mathias Lokovi Fatchao

+229 97 59 44 52

98 22 40 97

64 54 97 80

guidemathias@yahoo.fr

https:/…

We also learned there are no atms in Grandpopo and sometimes ALL the hotel rooms fill up, except for the really really expensive one.

UK
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5. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

This is an article about a trip through Benin and Niger, which is really good -

vagabondequilibrium.co.uk/working-in-niger-a…

Lagos, Nigeria
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6. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

How much would that cost?

Cesena, Italy
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7. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

i m going there too and i dont speak french at all

will it be a big barrier?

Portland, oregon
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8. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

Benin is not on too many travelers' paths. But there are interesting places to visit. Instead of going to the stilt houses of Ganvie, try Aguegue give instead. These villages can be gotten to via Porto-Novo, officially the capital city. Porto-novo has a nice vibe to it, worth a day or two to hang out and watch the world go by. The market is big. However Cotonou is where the president resides, and where all the diplomatic posts are located. Then there is Ouidah, the home of Vodun, and a former slave entrepôt. It is compelling to walk the Route des Esclaves to the beach. Abomey is the site of the ancient Abomey kingdom and still has some interesting sites. Further north, a traveler usually travels through Parakou. The largest city in the north is Natitingou, another interesting city. From there one can travel into Somba country and visit the tata-Somba dwellings. All in all Benin has a lot to offer. There are other smaller cities worth a visit but transportation, even with a personal vehicle can be challenging. People are friendly.

Edited: 11:38 pm, February 24, 2014
Cesena, Italy
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9. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

thanks genebean

excellent advices

we'll go there,hopefully, in a few days and i can tell u more

ciao

Killenaule...
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10. Re: Anybody been to Benin?

PS let me know how you go on thanks,.

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