Cotonou, the vibrant and economical capital of Benin, is located on the Southern part of the country near the sea. The town is bordered by the sea, lakes and lagoons and has a lot of activities and sights to see. Here are some of the must-see and top 5 things to do in Cotonou.
1. Dantokpa Market
This huge market is where beninese people go to shop for practically anything. It doesn’t only serve to buy produces but also, to buy souvenirs and any other basic necessities you may need including an area to buy items to make fetishes.
2. Fondation Zinsou
This is a non-profit organization aiming to promote art, education and culture of people of Benin. They work in conduction with all the historical museum in Benin in order to provide a platform. Beninese and visitors can learn about the culture and beauty of the country. They also have resources such as 6 mini libraries, art classes and schools and special bus excursions to help and facilitate the transportation to children of lower income in various historical sights.
The foundation is a great place to learn more about the local contemporary artists and arts of Benin. They have great paintings, screenings and pictures on display.
3. Bab’s Dock
If you are looking for an awesome day trip somewhere in Cotonou, then Bab’s Dock is the place to visit. Bab’s dock is a private lake home owned by a couple from Belgium. However, finding it is like traveling through a jungle where the final destination is an indescribable beautiful open lake with a breathtaking sight. It’s located about 30 minutes North of Cotonou. You have to call ahead to announce your arrival as they have to send a designated boat to take you to this unique and secret destination. You will drive through a beautiful mangrove where you can explore the wildlife. The final destination looks almost like an island. You are loading on a dock to walk toward a land surrounded by water.
At the location, you can sit, relax and be at one with nature or take on sport activities such as Kayaking or playing Volley Ball. There is also a small restaurant making very delicious local and continental dishes. There is a fee to pay but it’s rather quite small for the reward you get from visiting this beautiful site.
4. The Artisanal Center
The Artisanal Center is a great place to visit if you are interested in checking and purchase arts and crafts unique to Benin. The center has multiple spaces built with an African architectural design. Each space has specific craftsmen selling goods or sometimes making goods to be sold. The prices are reasonable and the items are very unique.
5. Eldorado Beach Club
The Eldorado Beach Club is located by the beach and offers many activities. It can be considered a one-stop place to relax and participate in sports such as swimming (beach and pool), horse riding, Beach Volley Ball, Tennis and more. It’s very relaxing and the amenities offered are quite updated and well kept.
Chinenye Emezie-Egwuonwu is an author and essayist. She enjoys reading, baking, and wouldn’t mind spending her day buried in the pages of decor magazines! She is the subeditor at Afro Tourism.