Overland Journeys: West Africa Overland

Benin is a small country in West Africa but one with a wealth of historic, cultural and natural attractions. Abomey was the capital of the powerful Kingdom of Dahomey which ruled in this region for centuries and the royal palaces there are reminders of previous glories. The darker side of Benin's history is evident in Ouidah, a centre of the slave trade. Benin lies at the centre of voodoo culture in West Africa while in the north traditional tribal groups still maintain their centuries old customs. The natural landscape is as diverse as the cultural one, from the Atakora Mountains in the north to the beaches on the Gulf of Guinea in the south. Explore in depth highlights of Benin.

Travel Information for Benin
Time zone:GMT +1 (West Africa time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:French
Other languages:Bariba, Fulani, Fon, Yoruba
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF)

1 = CAF655, $1 = CAF0.00, £1 = CAF781

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.bjInternational Dialling Code:    229

For help planning your trip to Benin including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Benin trip planning page.

Further information on Benin

Discover more about Benin - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of benin

Total area: 112,620 sq km (2,000 sq km under water)

Coastline: 121 km (Gulf of Guinea)

Neighbours (border lengths): Burkina Faso (306km), Niger (266km), Nigeria (773km), Togo (644km)

Climate: Tropical climate, hot and humid in the south, semi-arid in the north. There are two rainy seasons and a dry season between December and March.

Highest mountain: Mont Sokbaro (658m)

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Benin from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldFree -
Democracy IndexHybrid regime 90/167
Economic FreedomMostly Unfree 99/179
Press FreedomNoticeable problems 82/179
ILGA LGBT rightsLimited rights -
Corruption PerceptionsMedium corruption 80/174
Overall Ranking:    89/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Republic of Benin     Status: Independent Country

Population: 10,160,556 (rank: 87/196)     Density: 90.2 people/sq km (rank: 90/196)

Ethnic groups: Fon and related 39.2%, Adja and related 15.2%, Yoruba and related 12.3%, Bariba and related 9.2%, Peulh and related 7%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4%, Dendi and related 2.5%, other 1.6% (includes Europeans), unspecified 2.9% (2002 census)

Religions: Christian 42.8% (Catholic 27.1%, Celestial 5%, Methodist 3.2%, other Protestant 2.2%, other 5.3%), Muslim 24.4%, Vodoun 17.3%, other 15.5% (2002 census)

GDP (PPP): $16.65 billion       GDP per capita: $1,600 (rank: 170/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.