Benin is characterized by unusually dry conditions. This is due primarily to two very important factors. First, the situation of the coast which is rather well protected from the western winds; second, the Atakora Barrier in the West and North West which decreases the amount of rainfall.
The great part of the country is under the influence of transitional tropical conditions. Rainfall is not as abundant as found in areas with the same latitude thereby giving rise to tropical conditions known as the BENIN variant. These conditions are marked by a dry season from November to the beginning of April and a rainy season from the latter part of April to October.
The Southern portion of the Republic of Benin, i.e. the Coastal zone, is under the influence of a Northern transitional equatorial climate characterized by a long dry season from November to the end of March, a first rainy season from April to July, a small dry period in August and a second rainy season in September and October.
The Northern portion of the country is subject to a true tropical climate. A long dry season in winter can be observed with a long rainy season in the summer.
The mean temperature is between 77oF and 82oF (25o to 28oC).
The best time to visit the Southern area is from December to March and July/August while visiting period for the Northern part of the Country is between December and April.
The geographic setting of Benin serves to integrate the region and provides direct access to the bordering states by water, rail, airlines and railways.
5-seaters ply between Cotonou and Lome, Cotonou and Lagos to name the nearest other capital cities while buses and lorries are available for such long distance trips as Cotonou-Parakou, Parakou-Kandi, Parakou-Malanville, Parakou- Djougou .
Roads: 8,000 kilometers will 1,000 km or bitumenized roads
Railways: 570 kilometers in joint venture with the Republic of NIGER.
Airport: Main airport is in Cotonou with many foreign air companies.
Port: International harbor with modern facilities in Cotonou. Telecommunications: Infrastructures are performing more than 6,000 lines with direct contact with the external world.
There is a full range of postal services in most towns and localities. Telex and Fax facilities are available in Cotonou.
The National Flag was, for the first time, hoisted formally on the independence day, August 1, 1960 to replace the French Flag.
The colors are green, red and yellow.
As explained in the second verse of the National Anthem, the green denotes hope for renewal, the red evokes the ancestors' courage while the yellow calls to mind the country's richest treasures.
But when the country went red in 1975 after a military coup on October 26,1972 the then one-party regime, with its Marxist-Leninist ideology, decided to change the National Flag. It became a plain green flag with a red star on its upper left part.
Fed up with a centrally governed State whose ideology had but retarded the country's development in all fields, a National Conference in which all walks of life participated from February 19 to 28, 1990 decided among other things to re-establish the above-mentioned flag of August 1,1960.
Greetings in Fon
- Good morning: AH-FON Ghan-Jee-Ah
- Good evening: Kou Do Bah Dah
- How are you: Ah-Doh Ghan-Jee-Ah
- Thank you: Ah-Wah-Nou
- Good bye: OH-Dah-Boh
The ATLANTIC "department"
- Fon, Alada, Ayizo, Seto, Tofin, Toli.
The ATAKORA "department"
- Basila, Cabrai, Dendi, Dompago, Dyerma, Fulfulde, Gourmantche, Kotokoli, Mossi, Natember; others are ouinzi-ouingi, Peul, Pila, Somba, Waama, Ditamari.
The BORGU "department"
- Bargu, Bariba, Bouko, Dendi; others are Dyerma, Fulfulde, Peul, Niendi.
The MONO "department"
- Adja, Guin, Mina, Nago; others are Popo, Saxwe, Waci, Xweda, Xwela.
The OUEME "department" - Ayizo, Gun, Holi, Idaca, Ife; others are Nago, Weme, Yoruba. The Zou "department" - Fon, Idaca, Ife, Mahi; others are Nago, Seto.
1/ Two (2) application forms in legible writing.
2/ Two (2) passport size photos.
3/ International certificate of vaccination (yellow fever and cholera).
4/ Visa is issued for fifteen (15) days: Entry and transit within 3 months. Extensions may be obtained at the Immigration Office.
5/ A $ 20.00 (twenty dollars) fee for each applicant (cash, money order of certified cheque only. No personal cheque please.)
6/ A letter of guarantee from employer of travel agency or Xerox of
round trip ticket or a Bank letter of guarantee.
- Join your passport to the forms.
- Please allow 48 hours for issuance of visa.
- Passport must be valid for at least six (6) months and if it is to be sent back by mail, please enclose self addressed certified envelope or an express mail envelope.
It may be recalled that Benin, former Dahomey, is perhaps the "most beaten track by Europeans of any Africa". The history of Benin is a succession of kingdoms. In 1704, France received permission to erect a port at Ouidah, and in 1752 the Portuguese founded Porto Novo. On June 22, 1894, the territory was named by decree the "Colony of Dahomey and its dependences" and was granted autonomy which it retained until October 18, 1904 when it became part of French West Africa. On December 4, 1958 the Republic was proclaimed. Dahomey became independent on August 1, 1960 and is a UN member country.
If the first independent Government was ousted by a military coup
on October 28, 1963, Dahomey, during the ensuing years up to 1972,
through a lot of political upheavals that always climaxed in military
That of October 26, 1972 was the starting point of a 17-year regime
which three years later went red with a Marxist Leninist ideology. In
words, on November 30, 1975 Dahomey was under a centrally
controlled government and eventually became the People's Republic
At the National Conference held in Cotonou (February 19-28, 1990)
and at which all walks of life were represented, fundamental
- abolition of Marxist ideology as the State philosophy.
- the reversion to the genuine flag.
- the reversion to the multi party system.
- the dissolution of all one-party structures.
- the release of all political detainees and prisoners.
- the respect of all Human Rights.
It is an escutcheon with:
- in the first quarter, a gold Somba castle.
- in the second quarter in silver, the Star of Benin painted to the life, that is to say an eight azure point cross with, at its angle, silver radiuses and sand in abyss.
- in the third quarter, a sinople silver palmtree laden with heralds.
- in the fourth quarter, a ship evocative of European penetration into the Country.
Supporters: Two gold brindled panthers.
Crest: Two horns full of sand with maize in the ear.
Motto: Fraternity, Justice, Labor sandwritten on a lancepennon.
Industry accounts for only a small percentage of the gross domestic product. Fishing industry meets only local consumption, so does textile industry. Palm processing facility needs improving; a sugar complex and a cement factory are jointly owned with Negeria. Breweries, soap unit... meet only local demand. Possotome village is, however, known for its internationally recognized mineral water.
Apart from limestone found in open quarry at ONIGBOLO, deposits of gold, phosphates, iron ore, marble, clay... are yet to be explored. The development of off- shore fields at SEME and elsewhere are underway. A Benin/Togo hydroelectric power has just been completed on the Mono river (the NANGBETO dam). There are attractive industrial projects and feasibility studies are available for some of them. The Beninese code of investment has been reviewed to insert, among other things, more incentives for investors. Benin is the natural gateway to Togo and Nigeria and to such landlocked countries as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.
Direct investments by American companies are promoted and strongly encouraged by the Benin Government. There can be joint ventures between Benin private sector and American companies to carry out such industrial undertakings as canning, paper processing units, glass manufacturing, salt processing units, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, clothing, palm oil, building materials,chemicals and any other items reflective of an industrial developing nation.
Business hours Monday - Friday: 8a.m. to 12:30 a.m 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Government Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 12:30 3 p.m. 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
January 1: New Year's Day Easter Monday Ascension Day May 1: May Day Whitmonday August 1: National Day August 15: Assumption Day November 1: All Saints' Day December 25: Christmas Day Ramadan Ad-el-FlTR Maouloud
The details regarding Muslim Holidays are but approximative since they are observed following the sightings of the moon.
Benin Sheraton Cotonou Hotel de L'etoile Cotonou P.O. Box 1901 Cotonou P.O. Box 1866 Telex: 511-5112 Tel. (229) 31-56-41 Tel. (229) 30-01-00 and Telex: 5340 (229) 30-12-56 PLM Aledjo Cotonou Hotel de France Cotonou P.O. Box 2292 P.O. Box 921 Telex: 5180 Tel.(229) 32-19-44 Tel. (229) 33-05-61 and (229)33-05-62 Hotel de La Plage Cotonou Hotel Beaurivage Porto Novo P.O. Box 36 P.O. Box 387 Tel. (229) 33-25-60 and Tel. (229) 21-23-99 (229) 31-25-61 Hotel du Port Cotonou Hotel Dona Porto Novo P.O. Box 7067 P.O. Box 95 Tel. (229) 31-44-43 Tel. (229) 21-30-52 and Telex: 5377 (229) 21-30-38 Hotel du Golfe Cotonou Hotel Dako 1er Bohicon/Abomey P.O. Box 37 P.O. Box 218 Tel. (229) 33-09-55 Tel. (229) 51-01-38 and Telex. 5321 (229) 51-02-38 El Dorado Cotonou Hotel Gbena Ouidah P.O. Box 37 P.O. Box 208 Tel. (229) 33-09-23 Tel (229) 34-12-15 Hotel G. L. Cotonou Etoile Rouge Hotel Lokossa P.O. Box 1226 P.O. Box 17 Tel. (229) 33-16-17 Tel. (229) 41-12-30 Telex: 5311 Hotel de L'Union Cotonou Le Relais des Routiers Parakou P.O. Box 921 P.O. Box 81 Tel. (229) 31-27-66 and Tel. (229) 61-04-01 (229) 31-55-60 Croix du Sud Hotel Cotonou Hotel Tata Somba (PLM) P.O. Box 280 P.O. Box 82 Tel. (229) 30-09-54 and Tel. (229) 82-11-24 (229) 30-09-55 Village Club Aheme B.P. 2090 Cotonou