Everything you need to know about Benin: news, reviews, in-depth analysis, opinion and more
Benin : The Unexplored African Safari
Benin was formerly known as the Dahomey Empire upholding a unique and medieval place in African lore. By the 18 th century, European settlers began arriving to this part while Portuguese, Dutch and French colonizers began settling at Africa Benin's coastline for trade purposes. However, the major influence was of France and in the year 1900, Benin became its colony and was ruled over by a French Governor. And in 1960, the country became the Republic of Benin and gained independence from French rule. In the past the Africa Benin was infamous for its slave trade, which flourished at Ouidah in Benin. Although Porto-Novo is the capital of Benin and its second largest city, culturally and politically, the Beninois city of Contonou is more important.
Fast-Facts on Benin :
Geography and Climate of Benin:
enin's terrain is varied ranging from flat, low-lying and coastal plains to rugged mountainous ranges in some parts. Mostly the area is arid and semi arid. Due to the presence of beaches along the coastal plains the land nearby is of marshy nature. Whereas, some parts in southern Benin are covered by thick forests comprising mangroves and majestic Baobab trees.
The climate of Benin is mostly tropical in nature characterized by humidity and extreme hot temperatures. It receives rainfall in the months of April to July. The summer lasts from December to April with temperature touching 31 degree Celsius and lowest being at 24 degree Celsius in winters. The annual precipitation averages 36cm level.
Benin's economy is primarily based on agriculture and cotton production forms an integral part of its economy. This contributes to 40% of Benin's GDP and rest accounts to export receipts. Besides this, Benin produces Cocoa, Corn, cassava, yams, cashews and other agriculture crops. It also produces limited quantities of oil from offshore areas.
Culture and Cuisine of Benin:
Beninois people represent a rich cultural influence of tribal customs. There is also a unifying theme in Benin culture, which is depicted through their music and dance. The tribal rites and rituals are popular among the locals organized at different events, festivals or just as a part of leisure. The nomadic influences can be seen through their arts and crafts and Voodoo culture.
Benin was majorly influenced by French culture, thereby the cultural influence is clearly depicted through their cuisines but it does not at all change the traditional flavor of Beninian cuisine. In fact the French flavor compliments the native Benin cuisines. Meat being expensive is consumed occasionally by the locals and also because of large availability of vegetables people rely on vegetarian diet. The dishes include corns, beans, yams, millet and cassava. The local drinks are Sodabi and Tchoucoutou.
Tourist Attractions in Benin:
Though not a very rich country Benin offers a plethora of tourist sites. One of the most significant sites is Cotonou, which is the center of business activities and the largest city. Porto Novo, the capital city of Benin is a small but important administrative town of the country. Besides this, it has an anthropological museum, which showcases the cultural remnants of the African tradition.
Some other Tourist Sites are :
Pendjari Game Park
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