Benin Guide

Benin Guide

Benin – country information

Country name Benin
Official name Republic of Benin
Capital Porto Novo
Continent Africa
Area 112,622 km2
Population 10,323,000 (2013)
Foundation of a state 1/8/1960
State system a pluralist republic with a unicameral parliament
The biggest cities Cotonou (seat of the president and government) 725,000, Porto Novo (capital) 275,000
Official language French
Ethnicity/National Composition Fon 66%, Bariba 9.5%, Yoruba 9%, Somba 5.5%, others 10%
Religious affiliation traditional faith 62%, Roman Catholic 21%, Muslim 12%, Protestant 2.3%, other 2.7%
Currency 1 CFA franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes
gross domestic product (GDP) US$1,556 (2012)
Average life expectancy of the population 53.04 years (2006)

Benin – Neighboring States

State Capital Area Population
Burkina Ouagadougou 274,000 km2 17,322,796
Niger Niamey 1,267,000 km2 17,129,076
Nigeria Abuja 923,768 km2 173,615,000
Togo Broken 56,785 km2 6,191,155

Country overview

According to Abbreviationfinder, Benin (formerly Dahomey) is located on the Gulf of Guinea, bordering Togo to the west, Burkina and Niger to the north, and Nigeria to the east.

Benin is a country in West Africa. Common borders in the north – with Burkina Faso, Niger, in the east – with Nigeria, in the west – with Togo. The capital is Porto-Novo. The official language is French.

The climate is equatorial. Drought – December-May, rains – June-November. Temperature in winter +25*С, in summer +32*С.

Country data

Location: West Africa

Time zone: CET (during summer time: CET – 1)

Total area: 112,620 km²

Land area: 110,620 km²

Water area: 2,000 km²

Length of the state border: 2,123 km

Bordering countries:
Burkina Faso: 386 km
Niger: 277 km
Nigeria: 809 km
Togo: 651 km

Coastline: 121 km

Capital: Porto-Novo

Provinces: 12
Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou

Telephone code: 00 229 (Source: Allcitycodes)

Highest point: Mont Sokbaro 658 m


Population: approx. 10.2 million residents (Countryaah, 2021)

Population growth: 2.8% per year

Population density (residents per km²): 91

Life expectancy: 60 (male), 62 (female)

Official language: French


  • 27% Catholic
  • 24% Muslim
  • 17% Vodoun
  • 10% Protestants
  • 22% other


The country is dominated by an equatorial climate with two dry and two rainy seasons.

The dry and warm period lasts from the beginning of January to mid-April, as well as all of August.

The cooler rainy season lasts from the end of April to the end of July and from the beginning of September to the end of December.


The north of the country only had one rainy season (June – October) and one dry season (November – May).

Currency / finance

Currency unit: CFA franc (XOF)

Classification: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes

ATMs: There are only individual ATMs in some banks in Cotonou.

International credit cards: only accepted in a few hotels.

Regulations: There is no limit to the amount of foreign currencies that can be imported. The export is permitted in the amount of the declared import. You should keep all receipts until you leave the country.

The export of the local currency is allowed up to an amount of 500,000 XOF, the import is unlimited.

When entering Benin, a declaration of the foreign currency being carried is required.

Customs regulations

The following may be carried duty-free:

  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 25 cigars or 250 g tobacco
  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
  • small amounts of perfume

(Information applies to people aged 16 and over)

Tourists and people in transit can bring items of personal use with them duty-free.

When taking valuable items with you, it is common for them to be entered in the passport or for a security deposit (money) to be deposited in order to ensure re-exportation.

Travel advice

Entry visas are no longer issued at the border or at the airport.

A yellow fever vaccination is required for all persons to enter the country. A vaccination against hepatitis, meningococcal ACWY and polio is also recommended.

We strongly advise against traveling to the National Park “W” because of the high risk of armed attacks.

In general, traveling to Benin is safe as the crime rate is low and tourists are treated well.

However, it is recommended to observe some safety rules:

  • do not carry any valuables openly with you
  • avoid poorly lit areas
  • don’t go for a walk alone (not even in big cities)
  • lock the doors from the inside every time you drive

If you have a car accident, we do NOT recommend stopping, but rather continue to the nearest police station (regardless of whether you caused the accident or not). There you can then take care of all formalities and take care of injured people.

Behavioral advice

Photography or filming is prohibited for all military installations (including airfields and the presidential palace) and for religious institutions (monasteries, temples, museums).

Camping is prohibited anywhere in the country. People who camp anyway, have to expect arrest and confiscation of their equipment.

There are also isolated attacks by armed gangs.

Water must be boiled and filtered before use, as the quality of the water is very poor even in larger cities.


Most of the residents of Benin work in agriculture. As the largest branch of industry, cotton, peanuts and coffee are mainly grown here.

The oil deposits on the coast are exported to obtain foreign currency.

Industries: agriculture, food production, oil, textiles, cigarettes

Natural resources: wood, limestone, marble, oil

Land use:

  • Land: 13%
  • Grain cultivation: 4%
  • Pasture area: 4%
  • Forests: 31%
  • other: 48%


Extensive savannahs and areas with large mixed forests extend especially in the north of the country.


The species-rich fauna of Benin is home to monkeys, antelopes, elephants, hyenas and leopards, among others.

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