Although Porto-Novo is the administrative capital, the nearby and larger coastal city of Cotonou is where most of the real action takes place. Even many of the governmental and diplomatic services are located here.
Officially there are around 800,000 people living here, but it could well be over 1,2 million as the city continues to expend and absorbs other nearby towns and residential areas. It is located in the southwestern coastal area between the Atlantic Ocean and Nokoué Lake.
Cotonou is hot and humid yearround, with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius on most days. February to May is a bit hotter, when even nights are very warm at 26 degrees Celsius on average. Although the rainy season lasts from May to October, there generally is a peak in May/June and another in October, while in between it is relatively dry.
Cotonou Cadjehoun International Airport (code: COO) receives a number of international flights. Destinations include Douala, Tripoli, Libreville, Lomé, Ouagadougou, Paris (Air France), Abidjan, Lagos, Niamey, Bamako, Bangui, Brazzaville, Conakry, Dakar, Kinshasa, Malabo, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Casablanca and N'Djamena.
Benin Golf Air has most connections.
Buses connect Cotonou with Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. To Niger, there are buses from Cotonou to Niamey as well. Further, there are buses and bush taxi's on the routes towards Nigeria (including Lagos) and Togo (Lomé).
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