Benin Tours & Holidays
Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays
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Bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north, Benin’s cultural complexity and rich heritage has long been shackled to the slavers who haunted this corner of West Africa for nearly three centuries. The spiritual birth place of voodoo, Benin is a land of fetishes and spirits, whose palm-fringed beaches and rugged northern landscapes play host to a colourful Afro-Brazilian culture and one of the finest wildlife parks in West Africa. Home to nearly ...
Bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north, Benin’s cultural complexity and rich heritage has long been shackled to the slavers who haunted this corner of West Africa for nearly three centuries. The spiritual birth place of voodoo, Benin is a land of fetishes and spirits, whose palm-fringed beaches and rugged northern landscapes play host to a colourful Afro-Brazilian culture and one of the finest wildlife parks in West Africa. Home to nearly 11 million people, the country was dominated for nearly three hundred years by the kings of Dahomey, whose power and prestige came from a flourishing slave trade that saw the area become know as the Slave Coast.
Today the country is home to over 40 different ethnic groups, including Yoruba, Somba, Fon and Dendi. A predominantly Muslim and Christian population, traditional religions nevertheless still have a firm hold in the country, with animistic beliefs still strong amongst the people of the Atakora region, whilst Ouidah is very much considered the heartland of voodoo. Blessed with a reputation for exotic and flavourful food, Benin cuisine is a fusion of African and European styles, with rich sauces accompanying fish, shellfish, stews and fried foods. Its landscapes too will come as a pleasant surprise to many, with its mountains and mangroves, forest-covered savannahs and coastal plains, whilst in the Pendjari National Park you can find some of the largest remaining populations of lions and elephants left in West Africa.
Start your journey
Travel to Benin with like-minded people on one of our small group tours (usually max size 12), featuring knowledgeable local guides and an expert tour leader.
WHEN TO GO
The rainy season runs from around June to September, making travel in the country more challenging than usual, so it's best to avoid these months. The best time to visit is October through to April though it will be hot whatever time you choose to travel, with high levels of humidity throughout much of the year.
Health and Vaccinations
For travel to Benin you will need to have a Yellow Fever Vaccination prior to travel. There are no other mandatory immunisations for travellers to Benin though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. Malaria is present in most parts of Benin so we recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.
In Benin the official unit of currency is the West African CFA.
To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com.
On our tours you will frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your tour-leaders and guides will always be able to advise you accordingly.
Please note that some areas we travel through have strong Muslim influences and people may be offended by revealing clothing. You should dress with respect for local sensibilities on this tour.
Benin is one of the main centres of voodoo practices and that culture remains prevalent. You should respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Language & Religion
In Benin, the official language is French. The main religions in Benin are Christianity, Islam and traditional beliefs.
Benin is 1 hour ahead of GMT.
A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.
Food and drink
The food in Benin is some of the best in West Africa and there are lots of places to try it. As is the same in most West African countries’ meals are usually based on a starch staple accompanied by sauces. In Southern Benin, fish is a highlight in the local cuisine including barracuda, dorado or grouper and are served grilled or fried.
Benin has its fair share of local drinks ranging from local beers, La Beninoise or you can try the palm wine, Tchapallo, which is a fermented millet-based drink. For those adventurous types, why not try Sodabe, a clear coloured alcohol distilled from palm wine which will knock your socks off!