Benin is located in West Africa and is certainly an off the beaten track destination where you will get the authentic experience away from the tourist crowds. Expect a mysterious voodoo culture and colourful festivals throughout the year where you can learn more about the country and local people.
Get inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to go travelling, backpacking or take a gap year in Benin.
Originally, Benin was under the reign of Dahomey, an affluent West African empire. In 1872, the region was colonized by the French until it became an independent nation in 1960. By 1972 a sequence of military governments collapsed and Mathiew Kerekou came into power instilling a government with a strong base in Marx and Lenin philosophies.
The country was named Dahomey, after the tribe, until 1975 when it was renamed the Republic of Benin. Steps towards a representative government started in 1989, and a couple of years later a free election occurred and Prime Minister Nicephore Soglo was ushered in, establishing a transition of power from a dictatorship to a democracy.
Kerekou eventually stepped down, and Thomas Yayi Boni took over; although Yayi was a political outsider and an independent he has made the fight against corruption a priority and has been committed to the country’s economic development. If you would like to visit and want an authentic experience our holidays will appeal to you.
Benin is tropical, hot and humid in the South, and semi-arid in the North. Dry season is from December to April.
If you would like to travel to Benin search our ideas for things to do including sightseeing, eco tourism & special interest activities.
Benin is a safe destination to visit on a gap year but always keep up to date with latest news and check vaccinations prior to departure. We have a selection of programs which can be joined on a gap year - this will be the experience of your life if you are open to a new country and culture which is probably like nowhere you have been before.
View our Africa travel guide.