It may not be the true capital city of Benin but Cotonou sure does feel like it. The city is an intense blast of urban energy combined with African charm. The city can be a little bit daunting and full on but for those willing to risk the adventure, Cotonou has plenty of rewards These rewards include a number of stunning paradise beaches with golden sand and palm trees.The Pendjari National Park is also a must see in Cotonou and is seen as one of the leading animal reserves in Africa.
Porto Novo is a port city and the official capital of Benin, with approximately 250,000 inhabitants. The city exhibits a profound Portuguese influence, still evident in the present day. The Royal Palace in Porto Novo is a 19th century palace with royal residence and artifacts. There are many museums in the city that depict the unique history of Benin.
The Artisanal Center:
The artisanal Center is a great place to visit if you are interested in checking and purchase arts and crafts unique to Benin. The center has multiple spaces built with an African architectural design. Each spaces has specific craftsmen selling goods or sometimes making goods to be sold. The prices are reasonable and the items are very unique.
Abomey was the capital of Ancient Dahomey for around 300 years starting in the 17th Century. The main attraction and reason for visiting the city is the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Abomey Royal Palaces. Although the palaces have largely been destroyed and are in a ruinous state, the site still has enormous historical value and the tales of kings that once resided here are fascinating.
This lake and small village is a great place for birdwatching. The species that call this 16,000 hectare lake there home include the African Openbill and the white crested heron. The lake is under threat from several environmental and biological issues such as logging, pollution and hunting of the wildlife. Conservation efforts are being made but the threat level is classified as high, so view this amazing area while you still can.