|With an underdeveloped economy, tourism hasn’t yet taken off in a big way in Benin although there are plans to attempt to increase the number of visitors to the country and to expand the industry. In the meantime, there are still plenty of attractions to make Benin a worthwhile country to visit.
Port Novo is the capital city of Benin and the second largest city in the country. Although it does not hold the international airport and is smaller than Cotonou it’s an attractive city and is worth the short expedition inland from the coast. The two main attractions here are the museum and the palace.
The Musee Ethnographique de Port Novo gives visitors an in-depth look at the past kings of Porto Novo including costumes, masks and more whilst the Musee Honme (formerly the Palais Royal du Roi Toffa) shows you how the kings lived, in particular the last resident, King Toffa.
The town of Abomey in southern Benin was formerly the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey and is now a popular destination for the royal palaces of Abomey, a collection of structures which are protected under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites designation. The palaces were built between the 16th and 19th centuries by the Fon people.
Grand Popo is a coastal resort town close to the Togalese border in the south west of Benin and its main attraction is the beach. There are other things to see and do in the area, though the best way to experience these is to hire a guide through the hotel you’re staying in.
National Parks of Benin
Benin has two national parks. The first is called W National Park, most of which is actually situated in neighbouring Niger, though both Benin and Burkina Faso hold some of the park and it is jointly maintained between the three countries. This park is best known for its large mammals including the African Elephant, buffalo, hippos, lions, cheetahs, leopards and more.
In north western Benin is Pendjari National Park which was named after the Pendjari River. This park is also well known for its mammals and other wildlife, and particularly for its huge numbers of birds with over 300 different species. The Pendjari National Park is also an excellent place to see some of the most scenic parts of Benin including the hills and cliffs of the Atakora range.