I’m sorry for bringing in the final post in my Benin Republic travel series this late/far away from the rest. I’m a bit obsessed with order and I try to put up my posts according to how I mapped them out in my planner. I hope you haven’t lost interest already please. Lol
Anyways, this is going to be a bit shorter than the previous post where I shared travel tips and details for anyone planning to go road trippin to Benin Republic from Nigeria.
In this post, I’ll be sharing the little exploring we got up to while we were there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to be as “touristy” as I would have loved to and we didn’t really visit lots of places or do lots of sight seeing. My travel partner already had some laid out plans for the trip and I just went with the flow.
We also didn’t have a lot of time – spent roughly three days (including arrival and depature day). Hopefully, I get to go back to Benin again and be a tourist proper.
P.S – Some pictures were taken by Alabi
Our first stop after we settled into the guest house (the same day we arrived) was the Tokpa market in Cotonou. I personally was looking forward to going thrifting as Alabi (Travel Partner) had said that we could get really nice hats in the market. Unfortunately, we got there really late and most of the shops were closed already. I managed to find someone selling towels, which was really important because I didn’t bring mine with me.
One thing I noticed was that the usual back and forth price haggle we do here isn’t really done there. They state their price and leave little or no room for haggling. I kept looking back and waiting for the seller to call us back but he didn’t. In my heart, I was like why so tough Oga? Lol
After buying the towel, we decided to just take a few pictures so our trip there wouldn’t be wasted. Alabi set up his tripod and we got snapping. We definitely got more than a few stares but unlike in Nigeria (specifically Lagos), no one came to harass us for taking pictures.
We went back to the market another day but to get foodstuffs to cook and also take some pictures.
The majority of the people we met spoke french, a few Yoruba and the rest – a language we couldn’t decipher. Lol
We made do with body languages and asking everyone “parlez vous Anglais” before going ahead.
I noticed that the market people can be such bad belles sha! Especially when you’re buying from their neighbor. One woman practically insulted me and kept shouting, when I didn’t even speak to her or anything. *sigh*
The plan for our day two was to go down to the Casa del papa resort – a little slice of goodness tucked away in Ouidah, one of Benin republic’s cities.
We had to leave Cotonou to get there and It was a loooong ride! At some point, we went through the bushes and I was low key scared that it might be a kidnapping LOL.
That fear wasn’t half of what I felt actually biking from the junction at Ouidah to the resort. It was the longest and scariest bike ride ever, and it didn’t help that we weren’t passing roads but long stretches of vegetations and sands with the beach on the side and scary looking locals.
The resort made up for all the terror though and we finally had our first real meal there. After which, we spent some time on the beach taking pictures. Unfortunately, I didn’t document a lot here because I was too busy snap chatting. *Sigh*
Someone approached me and asked if I was a blogger though hehe, apparently I looked “interesting”.
We had planned to go to Porto Novo, another city in Benin on the third day but ended up not going and just spent the rest of the time instead exploring our own neighborhood.
I absolutely love the scenery of Benin Republic (especially Haie Vive in Cotonou where we stayed and Ouidah!) I had this feeling of being in new Orleans or morocco while I was there. Their architecture and general aesthetic is on point. Almost everywhere I looked was a building, wall or road suitable for a dope picture. It gave me serious life.
Like I mentioned in the other post, the main transportation means is via bikes and a lot of people also use it as their personal ride. I also noticed that lots of people owned bikes as opposed to cars as their personal cars and it isn’t uncommon to find women in their Ankara outfits riding one.
Crossing the road was a serious task that required deep concentration because of the way the bike drivers unleash on the road ehn!
Another thing I found interesting was that they had no fuel stations, they sold their fuels on the road sides in jars and bottles.
The Beninese are quite patriotic! It seemed like we couldnt walk for a minute without spotting their flag somewhere.
Asides from the market woman incident and a rude cab man, they generally seemed like nice people. No one tried to cheat us or get bribes from us.
Cotonou seemed pretty safe. The owner of the hotel we stayed in told us it was safe to walk around at night without worries.
Oh and there was 24hr light! I didn’t hear a single generator sound where we stayed and that was really amazing! Like Nigeria, see your neigbours oh? Do they have two heads??
All in all, I had a pleasant stay but I’m definitely looking forward to going back and being a tourist proper, indulging in their nightlife and seeing more of their historic places.