5 Reasons You Should Visit Benin Republic

I had fun last weekend…

Yeah baby, you read the first part right, I had fun! I know I actually went there to meet a victim of trafficking, but since my host knew that it was my first time leaving the shores of my country, he made sure I had a good time. If you want to read about my work, click here.

In this post, I am going to be talking about the fun part of my trip. Being on the streets by 2am to talk to a victim of trafficking wasn’t part of the fun part, it was part of the passion part. You all know I am passionate about gender and anti-human trafficking, but that’s not what this post is about. Can we like chill today?

Hey guys, how are you doing? Did I mention that Bella’s case has reached NAPTIP? Yeah, you read that right. There is an appointment on Monday. We are getting Bella out of there. Do you guys know how far her case has gone? Her case has left Africa actually. Thank you all for sharing.

Prior to my visit to Benin Republic, I have never left Nigeria. When it has to do with Nigeria, I have had my fun. At least, I have visited very cool tourist places in Lagos. I have visited Ogbunike Cave in Anambra, Ezeagu Water Falls and Pine Forest in Enugu, Olumo Rock in Ogun State as a child. I have also been to Millennium Park, and Jabi Lake in Abuja. As you can see, I have paid my dues in the country. The time to carry myself out of the country was finally here, but how? Remember I talked about visiting an African country once I was done with my Passing Out Parade? Well, that didn’t work out as things like CDS dues and Passport were just by the corner waiting to laugh at me and my plans.


When I started blogging about human trafficking, I was really touched by Bella’s story and I really wanted to meet her. You can imagine the joy in my heart when I was invited to Benin Republic and I really didn’t get to spend my money, lol. If you are on my list on WhatsApp, you would know that I am a very noisy fellow there. Little wonder when my phone was stolen in Orientation camp, my cousin was aware even without me telling her. She told my grandma that the fact that I am not online means something is up with my phone. I think I should take sometime off from social media, but if I do that, how exactly am I going to cope since I am blogging fulltime? How I go take sell my market? I’d really consider that. As I was saying, I was really excited. I know in your mind, you are saying why is this one disturbing us now because of common Benin Republic? My sister, my brother, it is not common o, they have constant power supply. What happened to your transformer again?

On Friday morning, I woke up earlier than usual as I had not packed anything for my short trip. I was finally able to throw in a few clothes into a small bag and I headed out. You want to know 5 reasons you should visit Benin republic, that’s why you are here obviously.

You don’t have to break the bank to get there
Getting to Mile 2 was quite a big deal for me; I didn’t want to board too many vehicles. I decided to go via Oyingbo. I boarded a #300 bus from Oyingbo which was headed to Okoko (this shouldn’t be strange to you if you grew up in Festac and its environs as Okoko is along Lagos-Badagry express way), I stopped at LASU (Lagos State University) gate. I boarded another bus from LASU gate to Badagry for #200. When I got to Badagry roundabout, I entered a cab for #150 which dropped me at Seme Boarder.

When I got to Seme Border, Blez sent someone to pick me; someone from the foundation. I met him and we headed out. It is important to note that motorcycles are the major means of transportation in Benin Republic. We got a bike for #500 that took us from Seme Boarder to a park where we were able to get a cab for 500 CFA that was headed to Cotonou. I stopped spending my money at the border anyway. That aside, you see, it is relatively cheap to get there. I can’t remember how much the hotel bill was because I didn’t pay for it, but I am very positive that it is not a bank-breaking affair.

There is constant electricity
I am not even joking and I know Nigerians cannot relate with this second fact. In Nigeria, if we see light for 2 days straight, we get worried. Why? It might mean that if they interrupt the power supply, it will be gone forever. We also hold our hearts in our hands when it rains as we do not know how long it will take them to dry the wire. When I went there and I heard that there is constant electricity, I wept for my country Nigeria.  I am still weeping for Nigeria. How is it that you are giving what you do not have? Like I heard Nigeria provides electricity for Benin Republic. Let’s just skip this one, I am getting angry already.


Lots of tourist attraction
If you love to explore like me, Benin Republic is the place for you. My first stop was Fondation Zinsou owned by a French-Beninese. It is an art centre for Benin Republic history. I found out that Cotonou means the river of death or la lagune de la mort in French.


It is also the largest city and the seat of the government although Porto-Novo is the capital city. At Fondation Zinsou, I learnt a lot about the history of Benin Republic. I will probably do a separate post for that.

When we were done there, we went to Unions Des Chambres Interdepartmentales Des MĂ©tiers Du Benin. It’s another art centre, but not for history.





Here, you get to see the makers of artworks at work. You get to see the process these artworks go through before they become finished product. I got a cute bracelet for myself; this place is highly recommended for tourists.

The next stop was Etiole Rouge. This is a statue and I heard that if you are flying, it is a star.

I didn’t get to see the star because I was obviously not flying, but I got to see the statue. It is a very wonderful place for lovers too.

After visiting the rouge, we headed to Obama plage (beach) resort. First off, it is owned by a Nigeria, an Igbo man precisely. How Nigerians try to establish successful business in other countries is beyond me.

I believe we are very hardworking people, but human traffickers, drug traffickers, fraudsters and other crime lords are constantly giving us a bad image. That being said, Obama Beach resort will give you the sweet 16 vibes. I was just feeling myself and being a baby girl there. Maybe it is because I haven’t been to the beach this year. I wore my playsuit and I forgot all my worries. Oh, the only thing I had in mind was that I was going to meet Bella and Bathsheba later that day.

Lots of Nigerian and African Food
If you have a soft tummy, just find a Nigerian restaurant and stick with it. There are Nigerians everywhere in Benin Republic. If you would love to explore, you should give the food a try. I had this yoghurt called lait caille and a kind of bread without sugar or salt. I don’t know what it is called again. If you are a Nigerian, don’t worry, your people are everywhere. If ugba, gbegiri, amala, egusi soup or whatever is your problem in life, you are in the right place.

Language is not a barrier.
While it is important for you to learn simple words like ‘Combien’, ‘je ne parle francais’ and more, language is not a barrier. A good number of people in Benin Republic understand English to an extent. For instance, the receptionist in my hotel wasn’t fluent in English. I remember telling him je parle anglaise, je ne parle francais and we communicated in Pidgin English. While language is not a barrier, it is important for you to try to learn simple words or sentences in French like Bonjoir, bonsouir, bon nuit, s'il vous plait, se lui and co. It will make you feel good when you communicate in a different language. I would really love to live in a country where English is not the major language. It's faster to learn the language that way and you get to practice what you have been learning.

From my post, it is clear that I had fun and I lived the life of a baby girl in Benin Republic. There are other places I didn’t visit like Snake Island, Tokpa Marche and this place where they trade on water. I am planning another trip to Benin Republic soon, but this time, there is going to be a quick stop at Togo. Who is interested?

Comments

  1. My professional waka waka baby

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  2. Wonderful piece dear!!

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  3. Wait quick stop in Togo, isn't that after Benin?
    Well let me know when you're going

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. It's 2,500 CFA from Brnin Republic. You would be duly informed.

      Delete
  4. I still don't see the reason why I should visit Benin. It looks like I can get all these things here in Nigeria, apart from the constant light though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol. Constant light is everything for me o.

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  5. How much does it take in total ,from Lagos to Cotonou. I want to school there

    ReplyDelete

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