As the birthplace of voodoo, Benin oozes the exotic.
With its glittering palaces, floating villages and python-filled temples, this is a country that has always moved to its own beat. From filling your belly with fried beans and yams, to paddling across a lagoon or following in the footsteps of slaves, Benin is filled with engaging, curious and amazing experiences.
Our Benin trips
Benin travel highlights
Learn about voodoo in Ouidah
Travel by pirogue to the lake village of Ganvie
Spend lazy days on the beach in Grand Popo
Benin holiday information
At a glance
Best time to visit Benin
Geography and environment
Top 5 Distinctly Beninese Moments
Health and safety
Benin travel FAQs
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
Please obtain your Benin visa in advance. We advise you to check current visa requirements with your nearest Embassy or Consulate. Australians & New Zealanders will need to apply through the Embassy in London.
Please note however that visas are valid for three months from date of issue. If you send your application by post or courier, it will be returned the same.
VISITORS WILL REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING: 1. Valid Passport 2. Valid Visa (See below) 3. Yellow Fever Certificate 4. Typhoid and Malaria Protection (Recommended)
VISAS: Visas may be applied for by post or personal application at the Consulate. Callers at the Consulate will normally be able to obtain visas while they wait. All applications must be accompanied by the following: a. Valid Passport b. Complete application form c. 2 Passport type photographs d. Appropriate fee: 15 days =£50 Postal applications MUST be accompanied with a pre-paid registered or recorded envelope large enough to hold a passport for return.
OPENING HOURS: The Consulate is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm You will need a letter of invitation to apply for the Benin visa. Please contact Peregrine for a copy of this invitation. Please allow between 2 -3 weeks for the courier and visa issue time.
It may also be possible for most nationalities to obtain a visa for Benin in Accra, Ghana. An express visa in Accra takes 1-3 working days but may be subject to additional fees.
Tipping 10% is customary in most touristy places.
Internet access is fairly sparse outside of the largest city, Cotonou.
Mobile phone coverage is limited outside of major centres. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone.
Benin’s toilets may be basic. Be prepared for squat toilets, even in major centres.
Credit cards aren’t commonly accepted outside major tourist areas.
ATMs are very uncommon and cannot be relied upon to work. Payment in cash is always preferred.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 10 Jan Vaudoun Day
- 17 Apr Easter Monday
- 1 May Labour Day
- 25 May Ascension Day
- 5 Jun Whit Monday
- 25 Jun Korité / End of Ramadan
- 1 Aug Independence Day
- 15 Aug Assumption Day
- 1 Sep Tabaski / Feast of Sacrifice
- 1 Nov All Saints' Day
- 30 Nov The Prophet's Birthday
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Benin go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/benin/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Benin
- Be considerate of Benin’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
- Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
- For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
- Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
- When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
- Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
- Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
- Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
- Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
- When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.