Last updated: 10 Mar 2018

Benin

About

A visit to the museum in Abomey, situated about 100km northeast of the capital Porto Novo, is well worthwhile. The museum covers the history of the Abomey kingdoms and contains a throne made of human skulls. You can also pay a visit to the Fetish Temple and the nearby Centre Artisanal where local craft products are sold at reasonable prices.

In Porto Novo city, you can see many examples of colonial and pre-colonial art and architecture. The Ethnological Museum is the most notable place of interest for a visitor.

See a wide range of wildlife including cheetahs, hippos and crocodiles at Benin's two national parks. Pendjari is normally only open between December and June.

The Yacht Club in Cotonou offers sailing excurions, or you can hire a dug-out canoe or motorboat on Nakoue Lagoon.
Capital:  Porto Novo
Currency:  West African CFA Franc (XOF)
Language:  French. Many local languages are also spoken. English is understood in some areas. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 229
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +1 (1 hour behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2018:  Jan 1, 10; Apr 2; May 10, 21; Jun 15; Aug 1, 22; Nov 1, 21; Dec 25
Side of the Road: Right. An International Drivers Licence is required. 
Best Time to Go: January & February
Best for: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Wildlife
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Milk is unpasteurised.
Health: Medical facilities are very limited. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies.  Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: Normal social courtesies apply.  Benin is a patriarchal society. 
Local Offences / Laws: Homosexuality is illegal. Photography of airports, government buildings and military installations is not allowed. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Avoid protests and political gatherings. Currents are extremely strong along the coast and drownings frequently occur. Credit cards have limited acceptance. 
Duty Free: Duty Free:  The following items may be imported into Benin by persons over 15 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 25 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of spirits.
• 500ml of eau de toilette and 250ml of perfume.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of Benin
900 Charles Street (cnr Park & Orient Street),
Arcadia 0083 Pretoria
PO Box 26484, Arcadia, 0007
Tel:+27 (0) 12 342 6978
Fax:+27(0) 12 342 1823
Visa hours Mon-Fri 0830-1200
Email: pretoria@embbeninsa.org.za
Web: www.embbeninsa.org.za 

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

SA Embassy
Lot F4, Behind Air France, Cotonou, Benin
Tel: +229 21 30 6865
Fax: +229 21 213 0685/95

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever 
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Meningitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio
  Malaria Risk