In our recent articles on India Imagine, we discussed in detail the untouched raw places hidden in the African continent, Benin is definitely bound to hold a place in tourism. Even though Benin is an African country, the locals prefer to speak French predominantly. The city is well known for many reasons. The 13th-century architecture, handicrafts of wood and ivory, antique pieces from early kingdoms and natural beauty make the place to earn a special mention. Benin is also popular with the student as the famous University of Benin is located in the heart of the city.
But what makes the place different from the other African cities? Benin is considered the birthplace of “voodoo” a religious practice that is considered dark in some parts of the World!
So, let us go a bit deep into what it is to be a tourist in Benin and things that we should expect from the place! lets check out Things to do and explore in Benin
Visit the Capital and learn the history
Porto-Novo is the capital of Benin City which is known for its historical significance. It is also a port-city that contributes to the economic layer to a large extent of the city. The place is home to many architectural eminences such as the Great Mosque, the Ethnographic Museum, the Musee da Silva and the Honme Museum. Each and every architectural exploration has its significance. Tourists do have a great time roaming around the city and enjoying the mesmerizing beauty.
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Explore the Royal – Abomey
Abomey was once home to Kings and Queens. And now you can imagine what the place has to provide for the tourists. The giant castles, palaces that adorned with valuables and the history that has ruled the city are the major attraction of Abomey. The place has some major military powers and economic dealings during the ruling days. And one of the major trading consisted of slave trading. It is said that the war prisoners were brought in here as slaves to the Kingdom which in return earned a huge revenue. At Abomey, there are more than 12 palaces spread across that marks the presence of the Dahomey Kingdom.
An Errand to the French Colony
As we had already discussed, Benin had a past of Slave trade. And that has led to the colonization of various other creeds and communities. And the French colony is the product of such one episode. The colony however has a rich history and people find it interesting in learning about the Slave trade. The French colony was established in the 19th century and remains flourishing to date. The official language spoken here is French that regained after the struggle for independence. With the entire diverse situation, the place is best known for ethnic advocacy.
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Arrival at the Port City -Cotonou
Cotonou is a port city, basically one of the largest in Benin. The city is famous for markets where you can purchase authentic spices. The Dantokpa market also has religious items and handicrafts that reflect the religion of the place. Also, they have 20 hectares of the live market where the tourist can enjoy and savor fresh fruits and vegetables right from the plant. Also the city has a majestic cathedral with beautiful red-and-white stripes that marks the presence of the best architectural presence in the city.
Don’t miss the Wildlife
African countries are meant for exquisite wildlife. And Benin is not exceptional. It too has the best of Flora and Fauna. There are few conservative sanctuaries and wildlife protection centers to protect the animals and birds are on the verge of extinction. There are two main National Parks at Benin with a surplus range of wildlife like African buffalos, hippopotamus, Burkina Faso. both the national parks are listed as UNESCO sites for preserving nature and wildlife.
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Top of Waterfalls in Benin
Benin has the best of nature and no one can argue that for sure. Mountains, terrains, waterfalls, rivers and wildlife are the face of Benin’s natural beauty. There are two major waterfalls from the wilderness of the place. One is the Kota waterfalls and the other one is named Tanougou falls. Both are mesmerizingly beautiful. The Kota fall is situated 15 kilometers from the south of Natitigou. Tourists often hike through the surroundings and swim under the waterfalls. Tanougou falls is situated in the Pendjari Game Park, and falls from the height of 15 meters. This particular fall paves the way to major seasonal fluctuation.
Venice of Africa – Ganvie
Ganvie is a small village with a population of nearly 20000 people. It is also a lake village which is the biggest lake in the African continent which lures tourists throughout the year with its mesmerizing beauty. The lagoon created in between the lake gives it a pleasantly beautiful look. This is the area where the slave-trading remained untouched in the 19th century. You need to hire a boat to explore the village and thus Ganvie gained the nickname “Venice of Africa”.
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The exquisite Street market of Benin
Street markets of Benin makes you’re shopping a blissful experience. Every place in Benin you find street markets. The main economy of the city depends on these markets where locals buy the product directly from the live markets. Fruits, vegetables and spices are available fresh and plucked straight from the garden. These markets are also famous for their handicrafts and Voodoo items. Try to shop for some souvenirs to take home for memories.
African countries and cities are full of lively experiences. It is meant for tourists of all age groups. Nature, history and culture, wildlife are a boon in this African City. What more could a tourist eager to be close to nature ask for? Till you ponder over it, it’s a bye from me.