Places of Interest

Spelt "WHYDAH" in history books written in English, it is the "Museum City". It is evocative of European penetration with its ancient Portuguese, English, Danish and French trading posts or strongholds. There can be seen the remains of the ancient port from which slaves were boarded and shipped to the Americas.

Referred to as the "Royal City", it is the capital of Dan-Home, the ancient Kingdom. It has one of the most impressive museums of Africa. Its artists and craftsmen, be they weavers, jewelers, woodcarvers, iron and brass workers are famous far beyond the boundaries of the Republic of BENIN.

It is the city, the cradle of "voodoos" in vogue in the Americas, namely in Brazil, West Indies, the Caribbean countries.

Porto Novo:
The "City with three Names" (Porto Novo,Hogbonou,Adjatche) . It is Benin's administrative capital, right in the middle of the Yoruba land.

The historic capital of the Baatonu people.

Its castle-type "TATA-Sombas" and the traditional huts of the Tanekas and other tribes in the North where there are the richly varied fauna of the National Parks of Pendjari and "W".

AFRICA's unique floating villages built on stilts. A population of several thousand. Motorboats or dugouts are available for the trips across the lake to the Ganvie. During the trip, there are Akadjas made of stakes and bushes in the shape of open circles or triangles driven into the bed of the plantless Lake. Seeking shelter among the foliage, the fish can thus be easily caught or kept for breeding.

General Information

Nationality:Noun and adjective--Beninese (singular and plural).

Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba in the south; Nagot, Bariba and Dendi in the north.

Benin is situated in West Africa and is bounded to the east by Nigeria, to the north by Niger and Burkina Faso, and to the west by Togo. Benin stretches 700km (435 miles) from the Bight of Benin to the Niger River. The coastal strip is sandy with coconut palms.

Beyond the lagoons of Porto Novo, Nokoue, Ouidah and Grand Popo is a plateau rising gradually to the heights of the Atakora Mountains. From the highlands run two tributaries of the Niger, while southwards the Oué­© flows down to Nokoue lagoon. Mono River flows into the sea at Grand Popo and forms a frontier with Togo.

Benin is once again making a name for itself as it embraces democracy with characteristic fervor and is catapulted onto the African stage as a model of reform. Benin is the birthplace of voodoo (voodoo museums of Ouidah). Voodoo ceremonies can be colorful events, involving feverish drumming and highly charged dancing by costumed fetish priests. The pirogue is the name of a traditional boat.

An advantage of travelling Benin is its size: it has to offer a lot within relatively short distances. For this reason this country offers great possibilities for short tours or for combined tours, covering various countries. The South of Benin has several beautiful beaches and lagoons with pile villages. What characterizes this area besides its beautiful landscape, are its voodoo practices and the interesting, often gruesome history of glorious kingdoms, slavery and colonialism.

The northern part of the country distinguishes itself by the combination of vast savannas, landscapes and hills with plenty of waterfalls. Of special interest is the area of Somba with its unique architecture and exceptional traditions and customs.

In the Pendjari wildlife park, also in the North, many animals like elephants, lions, baboons, antelopes, buffaloes and many different types of birds can be observed. In short, Benin offers brilliant opportunities for nature and culture lovers


Industry accounts for only a small percentage of the gross domestic product. Fishing industry meets only local consumption, so does textile industry. Palm processing facility needs improving; a sugar complex and a cement factory are jointly owned with Negeria. Breweries, soap unit... meet only local demand. Possotome village is, however, known for its internationally recognized mineral water.

Apart from limestone found in open quarry at ONIGBOLO, deposits of gold, phosphates, iron ore, marble, clay... are yet to be explored. The development of off- shore fields at SEME and elsewhere are underway. A Benin/Togo hydroelectric power has just been completed on the Mono river (the NANGBETO dam). There are attractive industrial projects and feasibility studies are available for some of them. The Beninese code of investment has been reviewed to insert, among other things, more incentives for investors. Benin is the natural gateway to Togo and Nigeria and to such landlocked countries as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

Direct investments by American companies are promoted and strongly encouraged by the Benin Government. There can be joint ventures between Benin private sector and American companies to carry out such industrial undertakings as canning, paper processing units, glass manufacturing, salt processing units, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, clothing, palm oil, building materials,chemicals and any other items reflective of an industrial developing nation.

Information courtesy of The Republic of Benin : Embassy to the United States of America