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Benin

GEOGRAPHICAL INFO

 

This tiny country has the highest concentration of attractions in this part of West Africa - fetish markets and voodoo culture, the remnants of the mighty culture that fed on the slave trade, and architectural anomalies such as stilt villages and mud fortresses. If you don't want to get wet, avoid Southern Benin's rainy seasons in April to mid-July, and mid-September to late October. Northern Benin gets a soaking from June to early October. The hottest time of the year is from February to April when temperatures can soar to 46°C in the north (the coastal south is significantly cooler). Harmattan winds billow out of the Sahara between December and March, so November and February are your windows of opportunity for a pleasant stay. Parts of the northern Atakora region occasionally receive heavy rainfall, and smaller roads throughout Benin may be impassable during the rainy seasons; notably those in the wildlife parks, particularly Parc Regional du W.

 

Capital: Porto Novo

Official language: French

Currency: CFA franc (XOF)

 

Climate

While the northern area of Benin stays hot and dry from October to April, with temperatures sometimes topping 40°C (104°F), the country's diminutive coastal region has two rainy seasons (in May-June and October) and more comfortable conditions throughout the year. December to February is the time to visit the south, as the temperature remains constant around 25°C (77°F).

 

Geography

Benin is a cultural West African country with a population of over 7 million. It is roughly the size of Tennessee, and the geography of the land primarily consists of long coastal strips and swampy or forested plateaus. Stretched between the Niger River in the northeast and the Bight of Benin in the south, Benin's elevation is about the same for the entire country. Most of the population lives in the southern coastal plains, where Benin's largest cities are also located, including Porto Novo and Cotonou. The north of the country consists mostly of savanna and semi-arid highlands.