Benin is a country in Africa according to businesscarriers. Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, was one of the first African countries to successfully complete the transition from dictatorship to a politically pluralistic system in the 1990s. Today it is one of the most stable countries in Africa. Although Benin’s economy has experienced a period of growth in recent years and the country enjoys a high reputation in the international community, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Within West Africa, Benin has stable relations with Nigeria, the most powerful country in the region. The only significant problem has long existed with Benin’s northern neighbor, Niger, due to unsettled ownership of some islands in the Niger River. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2005 that 16 of these islands belong to Niger and nine to Benin. Both countries accepted this arrangement.
Arriving by plane
Benin does not have its own airline. There are no non-stop connections to Benin from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Air France (AF) offers non-stop flights from Paris to Cotonou and flights from Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, Geneva and Zurich with a stopover in Paris. The national airlines Lufthansa (LH), Austrian Airlines (OS) and Swiss (LX) fly to Benin via Paris in cooperation with Air France (AF). Turkish Airlines (TK) connects Munich, Nuremberg, Salzburg, Graz and Zurich with Cotonou via Istanbul.
Frankfurt/M. – Cotonou: 10 hours 20 minutes; Vienna – Cotonou: 9 hours 55 minutes; Zurich – Cotonou: 9 hours 45 minutes (each with 1 stopover).
Arrival by car
Benin is accessible by land via its neighboring countries Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso and Ghana. The three main routes connect Cotonou with Niamey (Niger), Lagos (Nigeria) with Porto Novo, Cotonou, Lomé (Togo) and Accra (Ghana) and Parakou with Kara (Togo). Two other roads lead to Burkina Faso, one via Banikoara, the other via Porga. Long-distance buses: Various bus companies offer regular connections to the surrounding countries. Documents: In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license must be carried.
Arrival by ship
Cotonou, the country’s largest port, is regularly docked by cruise ships. Local shipping companies connect Lagos with Porto-Novo.
Seabourn and Silversea also call at Benin on their cruises departing from the USA, Australia and South Africa.
Traveling by plane
Air Taxi Bénin offers flights between Cotonou and Parakou several times a week. Flights to other locations can be chartered.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network has a length of approx. 16,000 km. The Transwest African Coastal Road crosses southern Benin between the borders of Togo and Nigeria. Another major artery runs north-south between Malanville and Cotonou. Filling stations: The filling station network is not very developed, especially in the north of the country, and there are regular bottlenecks in the supply of petrol. In the south, around Cotonou, stalls often sell contraband petrol of poor quality in bottles or jars.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
The roads between Cotonou and Malanville and Parakou and Natitingou are paved; likewise the coastal motorway in the south. The remaining roads are mostly dirt roads, mostly in rather poor condition and often impassable during the rainy season. Overland trips at night are not recommended.
Benin has a number of National Roads, denoted by the letters RN and a number, and International Routes running between borders with neighboring countries, denoted by the letters RNIE and a number.
Car hire in Cotonou is available both at the airport and in the city, with and without a driver. Drivers must be at least 21 years old and have held a driver’s license for one to four years (depending on the vehicle category); often a young driver fee is also charged.
Both car taxis and motorcycle taxis are available in the cities. Motorbike taxis can be recognized by the drivers’ yellow jackets. The fare should always be agreed before the start of the journey. Taxis can be ordered from the Cotonou Taxi Service by calling +229 44 58 85.
Bus companies, such as Confort Lines, provide regular services between cities across the country. For journeys between most cities and smaller towns, so-called bush taxis are also available, which transport several people at the same time. It is more convenient, but also a bit more expensive, to book either the whole taxi or a row in the taxi.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted.
In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license must be carried.
Traveling in the city
There are taxis in the larger cities. The fare should be agreed in advance.
Locally on the way by train
The rail network covers around 600 km. Trains run from Cotonou to Pobé via Porto-Novo and to Sègboroué and Parakou.