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Travel Guide Africa Benin Porto-Novo

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Introduction

Porto-Novo is the capital of Benin. It has a population of roughly 300,000 people and is located southeast of the country, near the Atlantic coastline. It is a major port along the Gulf of Guinea and is the second largest city of the country, after Cotonou which is more important, both culturally and politically. The latter also has the best international flight connections. The area where Porto-Novo is located was inhabited since the late 16th century and nowadays it is fairly interesting city to keep you busy for a day or so, with the main attractions being the Porto Novo Museum of Ethnography, King Toffa's palace, several churches and mosques and a lively colourful atmosphere, especially on the markets. Several other cultural and natural landmarks are nearby, as well as some nice beaches.

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Sights and Activities

  • The unique and perhaps most colorful building in West Africa is the 19th century Brazilian style church now converted into a mosque. A must-see.
  • Ethnografical Museum of Porto Novo (Museé Ethnographique de Porto Novo). This is an interesting museum that takes an intensive look into the past of Porto Novo’s kings. Displaying a good selection of fetishes, old Yourba king masks, costumes, and some musical instruments, this is definitely worth the CFA 1,000 Entrance fee.
  • Honmé Museum (Musee Honmé, Palais Royal du Roi Toffa). Former residence of King Toffa. Well maintained, rather simple, palace is a nice look into how African royalty really lived. 1883 was the year King Toffa signed the treaty with French, agreeing to hand over land. The kingdom of Porto Novo was one of the longest lasting in Africa, lasting up until 1976. Entrance fee CFA 1,000.
  • Jardin Place Jean Bayol. Large plaza which contains a statue of the first King of Porto-Novo.
  • Governor's Palace (Palais de Gouverneur). Home of the national legislature.
  • Museé da Silva. Celebrating Afro-Brazilian influence on the city, this fairly new museum offers a lot of variety. The museum grounds consist of a traditional house, a small library, an open-air cinema showing French films, and a hotel.
  • Celestial Church of Christ's Headquarters (Paroisse Mere de l'Eglise du Christianisme Celeste). Celestial Church of Christ (Eglise du Christianisme Celeste) is a christian denomination, which has grown world wide. The church was founded by S.B.J Oschoffa. your visit should be free.
  • Lycee Behanzin (Behanzin high school). lycee Behanzin is the first secondary school of Benin. The school celebrated it's hundred years in 2015

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Weather

Porto-Novo is hot and humid year-round, with temperatures around 30 °C on most days. February to May is a bit hotter, when even nights are very warm at 26 °C 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.

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Getting There

By Plane

Although the capital of Benin, one must fly in to Cotonou and take a taxi (600cfa) to Porto Novo.

By Bus

Minibuses and taxis go to Cotonou regularly and are cheap (600cfa for the 45 minute trip). You will most likely end up at the big market Dantopka in Cotonou unless you choose to descend somewhere before that. It can be quite intimidating getting out there especially in peak times. You will be immediately surrounded with people wanting to give you rides. They will grab your bags and start to usher you to their moto or car, so make sure you have a good handle on things before stepping out of the car.

Also, from the Porto Novo auto gare, there are taxis to Abomey and Lagos, Nigeria. For traveling north, head to Marche Ouanho and say you are looking for a car for your destination. Every hour or so, when filled, cars leave for Pobé and Ketou.

By Boat

There are pirogues leaving from Porto arriving less-visited lake villages nearby. Ask around down by the lagoon, about 50m east of the bridge for prices. No fixed prices, but usually expect to pay around 2,000 cfa round trip.

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Getting Around

Traffic isn't overwhelming like in Cotonou. However, like Cotonou, the best way and easiest way to see Porto Novo is by zemidjan. A full day with driver waiting on you should cost 5,000cfa maximum.

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Eat

  • Comme Chez Soi, western side of Rond-Point Ataké. Good, cheap African food.
  • Maquis Katchi Ambiance, Carrefour Catchi. Inexpensive place where the local specialty is bush rat, and is quite good.
  • Restaurant Mahi, just south of Place Kokoyé. Hearty, Beninese style meals, good prices.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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Contributors

as well as Hien (2%), hasbeen (2%)

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This is version 8. Last edited at 17:24 on May 24, 17 by hasbeen. 2 articles link to this page.

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