Largest city: Cotonou
Official languages: French, plus indigenous languages: Fon & Yoruba
Religion: Christianity, Islam and Vodun
Currency: West African franc
Visas are required by all visitors unless passport holders from: Algeria, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Côte D’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Taiwan, and Togo.
The Government of the US advise all citizens that visit Benin to keep a notarized photocopy of the “photo page” of their passport and visa with them at all times when traveling in Benin.
It is advised that visitors to Benin are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation. This should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider a Rabies jab as there is a small risk in some areas of the country. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Malaria is an issue within the whole of the country. Use of antimalarial medication is advised.
Lassa fever has been reported in the country. It is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans via contact with food or items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces. There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever, so prevention and good personal hygiene is vital.
Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. A number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold have come to our attention.