Benin

Benin

Use Normal Level of Caution

The Republic of Benin, is a narrow strip of land running north-south in West Africa. The country is bordered by Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger, with coastline on the Bight of Benin. The capital is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the largest city. The population of Benin is about 9.1 million people. Although the official language is French, Fon and Yoruba are also commonly spoken.

The government of Benin is a democratic republic with a president as both chief of state and head of government. This country is one of Africa’s most stable democracies with many political parties and a strong society. The economy, however, is underdeveloped and with much corruption and poverty, and people depend on subsistence farming.

Benin’s coast was once known as the Slave Coast from where captured people were shipped across the ocean. It was the birthplace of the religion, Vodun, or voodoo, and some aspects of this culture and religion are still present in America.

Visitors to Benin can enjoy the wildlife in national parks, including lions, elephants, and hundreds of species of birds, along with ruins from the days of the Kingdom of Dahomey. Benin is also one of the most stable and safe countries of the region for travelling.

Currency CRA: West African franc
Language French
Capital Porto-Novo
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert March 28, 2017 - Lassa fever outbreaks in 5 African countries

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Benin. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Benin.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Benin.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Benin, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives.

Malaria

There is a risk for malaria all year long throughout Benin.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in Benin.

Meningitis

Meningitis outbreaks may occur in Benin during the dry season (December through June).

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever has occurred in Benin

Rabies

Rabies occurs in Benin. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Benin. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Cholera

Cholera occurs in this country.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in this country and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Zika Fever

Zika fever can occur in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Benin.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

A yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers 1 year of age or more arriving in this country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (but not the WHO or the British NaTHNaC) recommends vaccinations for people 9 months of age or more.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Meningitis Vaccine

Meningitis vaccination is recommended if travelling in Benin during the dry season from December through June.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Benin.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Anti-malaria medication is recommended for travellers going to Benin. Recommended medications are atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Benin

Emergency Numbers

117
118

Personal Safety

Although Benin is one of the safest African countries, petty crime and criminal violence do occur, particularly in tourist areas, near hotels, railroad stations, markets, and beaches. Robbery is common on and around the Cotonou beach areas even in daytime. Avoid walking alone, day or night. Avoid carrying valuables or large amounts of cash.

Public transportation is not reliable, road conditions are poor, and fuel may not be available at times in rural areas of northern Benin. Avoid driving at night.

Very strong ocean currents cause many drownings every year.

There are severe penalties for drug offences.

Homosexual acts are illegal.

Photography is illegal around government buildings, military zones, and/or military personnel.

Areas To Avoid

Cotonou’s shore area is an at-risk area for muggings, especially along the Boulevard de France and in the Haie Vive and Les Cocotiers neighbourhoods. In Cotonou, especially at night, avoid walking and take a taxi. In Quidah, avoid roads going to and along the coast. Avoid the Dantokpa market from dusk to dawn.

Armed hold-ups and carjackings, do occur throughout Benin, especially in Cotonou and the area bordering Nigeria so keep doors locked and windows up when driving and remain aware of surroundings for suspicious situations or behaviour.

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