About this book
Since Bradt first published a guide to Benin over 10 years ago, the country has become more popular with visitors to West Africa. Bradt’s Benin remains the original and one of the only comprehensive guides in English to this French-speaking country, arguably the region’s best wildlife destination and the birthplace of the much maligned and little understood religion of Vodou (voodoo).
This new edition includes coverage of the growing range of eco-travel and community based tourism options that have sprung up in recent years. Also included is more information on the wildlife and national parks of the north which are becoming more popular with general safari tourists, including the Parc National de la Pendjari (now under African Parks Management), increasingly recognised as the closest place to Europe easily to see lions and elephants. A dedicated chapter on Cotonou ensures the capital is covered in full detail, including up-to-date recommendations for places to eat and stay, while the rest of the country is divided into five easy-to-follow chapters, each replete with listings, hotels and restaurants, background and historical text, as well as recommendations on what to see and entertainment.
Bradt’s Benin also includes a field guide to gods, ghosts and dead people: after all, it’s easy here to arrange to have a cup of tea with a wizard and buy spells to make someone love you. And what makes Benin so special from a visitor’s perspective is that such characters are a visible part of day-to-day life and encounters with them may well form the backbone of a Benin adventure.
But there is more than just storybook magic to this country. It has a huge and varied array of birdlife and two of the finest parks this side of the continent and it is a place in which heart-in-the-mouth encounters with buffalo, elephant and lion are day-to-day events.
Whatever your interest, whether it’s wildlife, culture, golden sand beaches or tracing your ancestral roots, Bradt’s Benin offers comprehensive and extensive travel information for all price bands and is the perfect companion for a successful visit.
About the author
Stuart Butler is a writer, award-wining photographer and guidebook author specialising in Africa and the Himalaya region. He has authored over forty guidebooks including the first edition of this book. He has travelled extensively in every part of Africa and written on subjects as varied as conservation in Africa, indigenous rights, tourism, food and music. His travels throughout Benin and the rest of West Africa have led to numerous meetings with Gods, ghosts and sorcerers as well as a few elephants, hippos and lions.
PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
Geography, Climate, Natural history and conservation, History, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language, Education, Voodoo and Beninese culture
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Where to go: highlights and suggested itineraries, Tour operators, Red tape, Getting
there and away, Health, Safety, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around,
Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays and festivals, Shopping, Media and communications, Business, Cultural guidelines, Travelling positively
PART TWO THE GUIDE
Chapter 3 Cotonou
History, Highlights, Getting there and away, Orientation, Getting around, Tourist information and local tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Entertainment and nightlife,
Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Excursions from Cotonou
Chapter 4 Southwest Benin
Abomey-Calavi, Ganvié, Allada, Ouidah, Possotomè and Lac Ahémè, Comè and Lokossa, Grand-Popo, Hilakondji
Chapter 5 Southeast Benin
Porto-Novo, Kraké, Sakéte
Chapter 6 Central Benin
Abomey, Bohicon, Ketou, Dassa-Zoume, Save, Savalou, Bassila
Chapter 7 Northwest Benin
Djougou, Natitingou, Boukoumbe and the Tata Somba, Tanguieta, Parc National de la Pendjari
Chapter 8 Northeast Benin
Parakou, N’Dali, Nikki, Kandi, Malanville, Parc National du W
Appendix 1 Language
Appendix 2 Further Information