10 REASONS TO GO
BENIN, MIND AT HEART Bordered by the emerald waters of the Gulf of Guinea, Benin is one of the most relaxed and colourful destinations on the continent. Hamaji Magazine offers you an escapade through this West African country evolving under the protection of its ancestors and known for its legendary hospitality.
Cotonou la vibrante. Si Porto-Novo demeure la capitale officielle, Cotonou est la capitale économique du Bénin. Avec son port de commerce, elle est une ville africaine vibrante, dynamique et polluée. La route qui mène au centre de Cotonou s’étire sur des kilomètres de bitume. Le spectacle est joyeux et animé: de multitudes d’échoppes aux enseignes pleines d’humour, des moutons et pintades qui s’invitent dans le traffic au risque d’y perdre plusieurs plumes. « Cototrou » comme on la surnomme avec humour, trouve ses rythmes dans le désordre ambiant principalement lié à l’état du réseau routier. Les Cotonois ont trouvé la parade en utilisant les services zemidjians, ces petites motos à l’essence frelatée. La nuit, l’ambiance est dans la rue avec toutes ces petites buvettes qui distillent de la bonne musique. Ambiance assurée!
2. Survival of the fittest
hey are in full expansion: Between the traders, apprentices, mechanics, dressmakers, hairdressers and barbers, Beninese compete in
ingenuity when it comes to entrepreneurship. Everyone is ready to work hard to ensure daily life or even success in life.
3. Le souffle du Yê / The breath of Yê
The breath of the spirit Yê blows over Benin. It is in the south of present-day Benin that the former kingdom of Dahomey is located. It is the cradle of voodoo. The secular rites and the art of Fa (divination) have stood against the test of time.
Abomey is a jewel of the pre-colonial era classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its power, in the past, was based on the slave trade. A visit is necessary to marvel at the royal palaces of this city that was a high place of artistic production. In Abomey, you will find a bridge between two worlds where one comes into contact with the
4. Cruising the city in “Take me fast” mode
The Cototois found a way out of the chaos by using Zemidjians. As it is often the case in Africa, Cotonou is assuming its creativity when
it comes to transport. Fast and cheap, the zémidjan, the motorcycle-taxi also called “Zem”, and driven by suicide bombers, makes travelling across Cotonou particularly picturesque. In Fon language, it means, “take me away quickly”. Launched in December 2016, the ZemExpress app is dedicated to the use of Zems for transport and goods delivery.
5. Iodized breeze
The Atlantic Ocean is at the gates of Cotonou and spreads its emerald green waters to the shores of Ouidah. Beaches as far as the eye can see, mirrors and scum swirls, tumultuous waves, indolent coconut palms… the setting is set.
6. Market Color
Cotonou is comparable to a huge animated bazaar. The Dantokpa market or simply Tokpa is the largest open-air market and the largest loincloth market in West Africa.
Placed under the protection of Dan, god of wealth, the market is a barometer of Benin’s economy. Whatever you fancy, you will find it in Dantokpa.
7. State of wonder
If you have lost it during your peregrinations inside your child’s soul, Beninese nature will be able to return it to you. Forests and wooded
savannahs, mangroves in the intertwining lagoons, nature lovers will be delighted. As for the “Big Five” aficionados, they can go on safari to the north of the country, to discover the two animal parks, including the Penjari Park, which is particularly famous. Good news: many
9. the spirit of water
Immersed or almost immersed in the Ouémé River delta.
Nicknamed the African Venice, Ganvié, a lake city, lives its daily life to the rhythm of the river. During the day, women will sell the fish caught at night by men. With its floating markets, bars and restaurants, its schools where access is only by canoe, Ganvié is steeped in the spirit of water, especially the lagoon.
10 . Cultural Incantations
Created in 2005 under the impetus of the Zinsou family, the Zinsou Foundation now has two spaces dedicated to art and Benin’s cultural heritage. One in Cotonou, the Zinsou Foundation and the other in Ouidah, the Villa Ajavon Museum. Led by its very enthusiastic and passionate president Marie-Cécile Zinsou, the artists of the continent come to nurture new dialogues with the public. Here and there, everything is free. Like culture.
Carnet de voyage au Bénin
Décalage horaire : Quand il est 12h à Kinshasa, il est 11h à Porto-Novo.
Langues : la langue officielle reste le français,
Téléphone : indicatif +229
Monnaie FCFA : 1 USD 575,85 FCA
Visa : depuis le 15 mars 2018, les touristes peuvent obtenir, dès leur arrivée au Bénin, un visa touristique d’une durée maximum de 8 jours. Tarif 10 000 francs CFA (environ 18 USD). Obligatoire : un passeport valide et d’un certificat international de vaccination à jour.
Abomey – Ouidah – Parc de la Pendjari – Porto Novo – La cité lacustre de Ganvié – Le marché de Dantokpa à Cotonou