Capital: Porto Novo
Time zone: GMT + 1
Telephone services: Country Code: 229
Outgoing Code: 00
Emergency telephone numbers: 30 14 31 (UK Embassy)
Tourist information: Office National du Tourisme et de l’Hôtellerie (ONATHO), BP 89, Contonou, Benin Tel: 315 402.
Passport information: Valid passport required by all except the nationals of the following countries, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar, Niger Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, where possession of a national identity card or expired passport of less than five years will be accepted. Return Ticket Required. May be subject to short term change. Contact the Embassy before departure.
Visa information: Visa required by all excluding the above nationals in addition to the national of Denmark, Germany, Italy and Sweden.
Health information: Polio, Typhoid: Vaccination recommended.
Malaria: Take precautions as Falciparum variety present.
Yellow Fever: Required with a vaccination certificate if arriving from an infected area.
Other Health Risks: Bilharzia, Meningitis, Rabies, Trypanosomiasis, Cholera
Food & drink: Water is untreated and not safe to drink. Avoid dairy products as they are not pasteurised. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled before consumption.
Currency: CFA Franc = 100 centimes
Benin is part of the French Monetary Area. Only currency issued by the Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale is valid Credit cards are accepted on a very limited basis. French francs are the preferred currency in traveller’s cheques.
ATM availability: Unavailable.
Cost of living: Moderate growth resulting in continuous rising prices.
Languages: French. A variety of languages are also spoken by ethnic groups. Some English is spoken.
Weather: South: hot and dry from Jan to Aug. Rainy season is May – July and Sept – Dec. North: hot and dry from Nov to Jun and cooler and very wet Jul – Oct.
Electricity: 220 Volts AC 50 Hz.
Post: 3-5 days for airmail.
Transport: RAIL: 600 km of track runs from Contonou to Pobé, Ouidah, Seg boroué and Patakou. ROAD: these are reasonably good but most are impassable during the rainy season. It is advisable to clear your itinerary with the authorities. Foreigners travelling outside Contonou are subject to restrictions and visitors are advised to check their position before travelling. TAXI: Settle fares in advance. CAR HIRE: A number of local car hire firms now exist. DOCUMENTATION: International Driving License is required.
Special information: NOTE: Recent attacks and armed robberies require the visitor to be vigilant. Importance is placed on religious beliefs which should be respected.