Last updated: 21 Dec 2021



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 2022: 

Jan 1, 10; Apr 18; May 1, 3, 26; Jun 6; Jul 10; Aug 1, 15; Oct 8; Nov 1; 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.

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 08/09/2021

Benin is open for travel. Passengers are subject to two screening tests on arrival and must pay for the tests in advance.

Form requirements

  • Passengers must complete a health form here prior to travelling and present the generated QR code upon arrival in Benin.

Vaccine requirements

  • Passengers aged 18 years and older travelling to or from Benin are advised to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Testing on arrival

  • Two screening tests (TDR and PCR) will be performed on passengers, aged 6 years and above, upon arrival. Passengers are required to present proof of payment of 50,000 CFA or 76 Euro before departure for Benin. This is payable only online from here before departure. 
    • Transit passengers are exempted from undergoing the tests, but will be required to quarantine at a designated hotel at their own cost.
  • Passengers will be invited to obtain the result at Benin COVID centre 48 hours after their arrival in Benin.
  • Tests are free for the following passengers:
    • Minors aged 6 years or older;
    • Passengers on mission on behalf of a government, department, or any other national institution;
    • Beninese student grant holders from a state or partner institution;
    • Beninese citizens illegally repatriated to Benin;
    • Passengers holding an exemption authorization issued by the Ministry of Health.
  • Passengers in transit are not required to test but must quarantine in a hotel at their own expense.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

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

Visa Requirements

  • No visas are required for visits of up to 30 days for SA passport holders.
  • They must, however, be in possession of the following :
    -An Original valid passport with at least 6 (six)months of validity period.
    -Two (02) ID photos.
    -Yellow fever vaccination card.
    -A letter of invitation and a proof of accommodation.
    -One (01) photocopy of information pages of passport.
    -Return ticket or flight itinerary from travel agency giving details of the ticket.

Visa Processing Time

7 working days

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