Bordering Burkina Faso and the Republic of Niger in the north, Federal Republic of Nigeria in the east and Republic of Togo in the west, Benin is located in West Africa and covers a land area Of 112,622 Sq. km. The country constitutes a long stretch of hand perpendicular to the Coast of the Gulf of Guinea. With a 124 kilometers long coastline, it stretches North to South some 672 kilometers while its breath extends 324 kilometers at the evident point rising above two third the Size of Portugal. There are five distinct geographic zones which are the coconut palms in the south that grow n a narrow coastal strip broken by lagoons and creeks, a plateau of fertile iron clay soil interspersed with marshy areas support oil palms, the central area is a wooded savanna with some hilly areas. The Atacora mountain chain in the northwest is the area of greatest elevation, while the northeast is part of the Niger River basin.
The people and culture
There are approximately twenty socio cultural groups and the cultural cluster is associated with one or more of the ancient kingdoms. The Fon who founded the Dahomey kingdom are the largest group; their language is closely related to that of the Aja and Goun. There are close ethnic ties with those groups as a result of shared pre-colonial history. The Afro-Brazilian community in the south is descended from European traders, Africans who lived near European trading establishments, traders and returned slaves from Brazil. Lines of cleavages create constantly changing northern, southern, and south-central coalitions of leaders who vie for control of limited resources and political power.
Concerning culture, Benin’s culture is one of the most unique and interesting in Africa, rich and diverse as its landscape. It has strong religious roots to inform most of the traditions and dance together with music is the utmost importance in the country heard at most festivals and religious events. French is the most spoken, 15 percent of the population is Muslim, and 15 percent is Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. The rest of the population follows indigenous systems of belief.
How to obtain a tourist visa
Travelers to Benin should apply for the visa by post or personal application and the completed application forms must be accompanied by valid passport, 1 passport type photography and the appropriates fee . All visas are only valid for three months from the date of issue with an exception of a multiple entry visa which expires after 180 days.
Activities and attractions
The attractions include the Royal Palaces of Abomey Built between the 17th and 19th centuries by the Fon people; Abomey Historical Museum Situated on an ancient palatial site, the Abomey Historical Museum provides insight into the fallen kingdom of Dahomey and the Temple of the Sacred Python among others. Travelers to Benin can participate in different activities which among others include wild life safaris, Dassa zoume pilgrimage, Cotonou adventures, climbing of Mt sokbano and the Bight of Benin among others. These all provide memorable and great experience for travelers never to forget.
National parks in Benin
There are several national parks and protected areas among which is Pendjari National Parks the best national park which lies in northwestern Benin, against the international frontier with Burkina Faso. W National Park contains important areas of high biodiversity and significant natural habitats for threatened species. It is home to major populations of hoofed mammals (ungulates) and wild plant species among others. These support wild life safaris and nature walks that provide memorable experiences. Travelers should not miss out visiting the national parks for the greater and memorable experiences.
In conclusion therefore, Benin is the best tourism destination with many unique natural, cultural, historical and manmade features all interesting to the travelers providing them with greater and memorable experience.