Must-see attractions in Benin

  • PORTO NOVO, BENIN - JANUARY 01: F Godfrey Nzamujo, Director of the Center of Songhai;Dominican father, inhabitant of Niger of origin. He started 20 years ago the Songhai Center , the center of development of the agriculture in Africa. A real success on January 01, 2010 in Porto Novo, Benin. (Photo by Xavier DESMIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    Centre Songhai


    The Centre Songhai is a major research, teaching and production centre in sustainable farming. There are one-hour guided tours to visit the plantations…

  • Zinzou Foundation Museum


    This museum of contemporary African art, housed in a stunning 1920s Afro-Brazilian villa, displays paintings and sculptures as well as light, video and…

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    Route des Esclaves


    The Route of the Slaves includes the slave auction plaza, the Tree of Forgetfulness (where slaves were branded with their owners' symbols and, to make…

  • The Dantokpa Market in Cotonou, Benin, one of the largest open air markets in West Africa. (Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)

    Grand Marché de Dantokpa


    The seemingly endless Grand Marché du Dantokpa is Cotonou's throbbing heart, bordered by the lagoon and Blvd St Michel. Everything under the sun can be…

  • Elephant crossing path

    Parc National de la Pendjari


    This 2750-sq-km national park is one of West Africa's best for wildlife. Visitors may spot lions, leopards, elephants, baboons and hippos. The best…

  • COTONOU,  BENIN - CIRCA NOVEMBER 2010  : View of COTONOU CATHEDRAL.; Shutterstock ID 1115889482; full: digital; gl: 65050; netsuite: poi; your: Barbara Di Castro

    Cathedral de Notre Dame


    With its vibrant red and white stripes, this Catholic cathedral is not just a place of worship but also home to a small bookshop selling titles by…

  • Musée Historique d'Abomey


    Abomey's main and seriously impressive attraction (and a World Heritage site since 1985), this sprawling museum is housed in two palaces, those of the…

  • Fondation Zinsou


    Named after the family that started it, this fantastic exhibition space seeks to promote contemporary African art among Beninese people through…

  • Musée d'Histoire de Ouidah


    Ouidah's main site is its Musée d'Histoire de Ouidah, housed in the beautiful Fortaleza São João Batista, a Portuguese fort built in 1721. It retraces the…

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    Ganvie Stilt Village


    This stilt village, located in the lagoon of Lake Nokoue, was created for the Tofinu people to stay safe from slave hunters. It has become part of their…

  • Ouidah, Benin - 30/12/2019. Entrance to the Temple of Pythons.; Shutterstock ID 1644523357; full: 65050; gl: Online editorial; netsuite: POI updates; your: Ann Douglas Lott

    Python Temple


    Those interested in Vodou could visit the python temple, home to some 60 sleepy snakes. The guide explains some of the beliefs and ceremonies associated…

  • Fetish Market


    This market sells anything associated with Vodou, including varieties of tree barks and dried plants (both used in traditional medicine) and stalwarts…

  • Musée Honmé


    This museum is housed in the walled palace of King Toffa, who signed the first treaty with the French in 1863. It focuses on the alounloun musical…

  • Musée Régional de Natitingou


    Housed in a colonial building built by slaves at the beginning of the 20th century, this museum gives an overview of life in Somba communities. The…

  • Kota Falls


    Fancy a refreshing dip? Consider heading to the Kota Falls, 15km southeast of Natitingou, off the main highway. You can hike around in the hills, swim in…

  • Musée Ethnographique de Porto Novo


    Housed in a pretty colonial building, this museum is well worth a gander. The top floor is organised thematically around birth, life and death, with…

  • Villa Karo


    On the main road through the village, Villa Karo is a small gallery with great exhibitions focusing on local art.

  • Mosque


    This mosque's two white towers stand out in this city of low-lying structures. It's an interesting place to pause for a few moments for a spot of people…

  • Fidjirossé Beach


    This pretty stretch of sand is a lovely place to embrace local culture and cool off. It's a favorite spot for Beninese to retreat to with families and is…

  • Eglise St Michel


    This pastel pink and green Catholic church is a simple affair, but notable for its exterior (it looks a bit like a pink gingerbread house). The interior…

  • Grand Marché


    Manic, chaotic, full of questionable smells, this is your typical fresh produce plus anything market. Excellent for picking up picnic supplies.

  • Tanougou Falls


    On the park's periphery, some 11km before Batia in Tanougou, you can take a dip in the lovely natural pools at the bottom of these falls.

  • Musée da Silva


    This wonderfully eclectic museum full of Afro-Brazilian artefacts is housed in a beautiful 1870 Afro-Brazilian house.

  • Musée d'Adjara


    This cultural museum offers a handful of local artefacts and a good display of African masks.

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