The birthplace of voodoo, Benin is a tiny little nation nestled between Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger on the west coast of Africa. The country is a hidden gem, a veritable diamond in the rough, and while this coastal nation is relatively poor in terms of economical wealth, it is rich in scenery, culture, and a history steeped in the traditions of voodoo and haunting reminders of the 17th and 18th century slave trade era. Rich with French history due to its colonial heritage, Benin has a distinctly different feel than its West African neighbors.
From the rising peaks of the Atakora Mountains and the Pendjari and “W” National Parks, to the beaches of Quidah and Grand Popo along the coast, the country has a diverse range of activities and sites for the adventurous traveler. Benin is not a place for the uninitiated. Travelers will be required to provide proof of a yellow fever shot at the airport along with their passport, and it is absolutely recommended that you travel with a group or a qualified travel guide at all times. Crimes against tourists can be a threat and a hazard, but only if you don't take the necessary cautions. If you are careful, and play things by the book, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about, giving you free rein to explore the wonders of his hidden African nation.
Once a colonial area for the French, the official language of the country is French. The major cities will provide the Western traveler with all the amenities they are used to, including transportation. However, in poorer nations where street vendors are the fast food of that particular culture, it is always wise to be careful where you eat. Street vendors often have some of the most unique and culturally interesting foods to be had while visiting a strange country, but make sure the food is hot, always drink bottled water, and tried to stick to places who cover their open dishes with lids or coverings.