Benin or rather the Republic of Benin is a small state of West Africa, sadly famous for the slave trade in the past from the ancient kingdom of Dahomey, that had its capital Abomey, and known to be one of the homeland of the voodoo, along with Togo and Nigeria.
Benin overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, on the gulf that takes its name from the country; its borders are to the East with Nigeria, to the West with Togo, and finally to the North with Burkina Faso and Niger; in collaboration with the latter two countries, Benin has started a wonderful conservation project, creating a trans-boundary park, the W, thus protecting a very large area where many animal species live in an uncontaminated habitat.
The Atlantic coast of Benin is 120 kilometers long, low and straight and bordered by beautiful and large golden sandy beaches where several palm species grow; in the area immediately behind the coast, large lagoons of brackish water are formed, largely navigable, following almost uninterruptedly throughout the width of the state.
Benin is part of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, an organization designed to improve the economic relations of the member states and united by the same currency, the Franco CFA.
The other countries that are part of UEMOA are Togo, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
Morphologically the country is characterized by the absence of high mountain ranges, the Atakora massif reaches a maximum of 800 meters a.s.l., the rest of the territory consists of plains with some hills in the various areas of the country.
Most of the population focuses on the Southern plains where the main cities of the country are present, such as the capital, Porto Novo, the economic capital, Cotonou, and the capital of the voodoo, Ouidah.
The predominant ethnic groups live in the South: the Fon, the heirs of the kingdom of Dahomey, representing almost 40% of the population, and the Yoruba, originating in Nigeria, where they are one of the main ethnic groups.
The population of Benin is very welcoming, smiling and kind, divided into different ethnicities each with its own language, while French is the official language of the Republic.
The predominant religion in the country is voodoo, while 42% of the population declares to be Christian; there is in fact a strong mix of Christian beliefs and voodoo rituals that often coexist and it is common that a Christian practices rituals or sacrifices to voodoo fetishes.
From a tourist point of view, Benin is a destination that is rich in historically interesting places and hosts several sites protected by UNESCO.
Abomey still houses the royal palaces of the mighty kingdom of Dahomey, with reliefs of clay painted in polychrome depicting aulic, hunting and animal scenes, and hosting a collection of objects that tell the story of the sovereign power and the role they have played in the slave trade.
But also the Ouidah slave road and the Door of No Return on the beach from where ships loaded with men slaughtered in slavery and deported to the new world were departing; places whose history and tragedy cannot be ignored.
The Tamberna valley with their incredible fortress houses, able to withstand the military attacks of other tribes and even Western weapons.
Benin, in the North of the country, also hosts two national parks that protect an area of open, shrub and wooded savannah, that is very important, as there are many species of mammals here, one of the most important areas of the whole West Africa: the Penjari National Park and the well-known section of the W National Park, together with the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso and the Oti-Mondouri Wildlife Reserve in Togo, constitute the cross-border area of WAPO.
In terms of security, Benin is an extremely secure country, crime is virtually non-existent.
The climate of Benin is tropical with a driest season in winter and a rainy season in the summer, although Benin, especially in the Southern part along the coast, has a humid climate throughout the year; generally during the rainy season, precipitation is never abundant.