BENIN

BENIN

BENIN

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Name: Lake Ahémé
Location: South western Benin
Lake Ahémé is Benin's second largest lake, with an area of 78 square kilometres (30 sq mi) in the dry season which expands to 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi) in the rainy season. The lake is 24 kilometres (15 mi) long and has an average width of 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi). The Couffo River drains into the swampy north end of the lake, while the 10 km-long Aho Channel connects the lake's southern end to the Grand-Popo Lagoon on the Atlantic coast. This channel flows south during the wet season but reverses direction in the dry season, which causes the salinity of the lake's southern end to increase.

The Pedah and the Ayizo are the two main ethnic groups living on the shores of Lake Ahémé. Fishing and agriculture are the main economic activities in the area. In the lake, 71 species of fish have been recorded.

The 47,500 hectares (117,000 acres) comprising the marshes of the lower Couffo, Lake Ahémé, the Aho Channel and the adjoining coastal lagoon have been designated as a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Ahémé
Name: Door of No Return
Location: Ouidah, Benin
The Door of No Return is a memorial arch in Ouidah, Benin. The concrete and bronze arch, which stands on the beach, is a memorial to the enslaved Africans who were taken from the slave port of Ouidah to the Americas.

Several artists and designers collaborated with the architect, Yves Ahouen-Gnimon, to realise the project. The columns and bas-reliefs are by Béninois artist Fortuné Bandeira, the freestanding Egunegun are by Yves Kpede and the bronzes are by Dominque Kouas Gnonnou.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door_of_No_Return,_Ouidah
Name: Pendjari National Park
Location: North western Benin
The Pendjari National Park lies in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. Named for the Pendjari River, the national park is known for its wildlife and is home to some of the last populations of big game like the African forest elephant, West African lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, and various antelopes in West Africa. The park is also famous for its richness in birds.

The Pendjari National Park is an area of 2,755 square kilometres in the far north-west of Benin. The park is part of the WAP complex (W-Arli-Pendjari) which is a vast protected area in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. The hills and cliffs of the Atakora range make the north-west one of the most scenic areas of Benin. They provide a wonderful backdrop to the Pendjari National Park, which, in its isolation, remains one of the most interesting in West Africa.

In March 2009 it was nominated as a tentative site for UNESCO's World Heritage Site program, and in July 2017 it was officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a transnational extension of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendjari_National_Park
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN BENIN / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.
COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO BENIN.
FACTS:
Official Languages: French
Currency: West African CFA Franc (XOF)
Time zone: WAT (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +229
Local / up-to-date weather in Porto-Novo (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Benin travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Benin, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO BENIN.

The currency of the country is the West African CFA franc, denoted CFA (ISO currency code: XOF). It’s also used by seven other West African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the Central African CFA franc (XAF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.

There are banks in all the major cities, and most of the banks have cash machines. Keep in mind that many businesses and offices, including banks, close for several hours in the middle of the day.

Prices for goods purchased in a store, restaurant, hotel, bus tickets, etc. are non-negotiable, but almost everything else is. Depending on the item, it’s not uncommon for foreigners to be quoted a price that is double the final purchase price.

One can find any type of African commodity all over Benin.

ATMs:

MasterCard/Visa can be used to withdraw cash at the ATMs of Ecobank, Banque Atlantique, BIBE, and SGB.

BY BUS:

There is an extremely timely and reliable bus system that typically operates a tour-style bus through every major city in Benin every day, and even some international services in and out of Benin. There are many major lines with a range of quality of buses. The main systems are Confort Lines and Benin-Routes. Confort Lines seems to provide more of a variety of routes, and you even get some water and a little sandwich for long trips. Reservations for Confort Lines can be made in advance for CFA 500 at any regional office or by calling +229 21-325815. Bus lines run through: Porto-Novo, Cotonou, Calavey, Bohicon, Dassau, Parakou, Djougou, Natitingou, Tanguieta, Kandi, and even all the way up to Malanville.

Buses run on the two major paved roads running north and south, and you can have the bus stopped at any point you would like to get off at, and for differing rates. No discussion of prices is needed with the bus, as they use fixed rates. To give you an idea of prices, buses running from Cotonou to Natitingou (or vice versa) cost CFA 7,500 one way, and Cotonou to Parakou (or vice versa) costs CFA 5,500. These are examples, because there are also buses that go as far as Tanguieta and Malanville.

BY BUSH TAXI:

Bush Taxi is possible between most cities, every day in major cities, periodically for the more remote ones. The total price for long distances will be a little higher than by bus, and comfort and security are significantly lower. Drivers are often trying to maximize the number of people in the car so one can expect an intimate experience with the local population. However, bush taxis do offer flexibility that the bus systems do not; you can always find a taxi fairly quickly (at the autogarres). For trips of 3 hours (approx 150km) or less, a bush taxi might be a more flexible and reasonable option. Unlike the buses though, prices must be discussed in advance. Cost depends on the destination and price of gas. Ask other passengers what they are paying and always try to pay on arrival, although the latter is not always possible. A decent option for travelers not trying to go on the cheap is to buy up all the seats in a bush taxi, or at least all the seats in one row. It not only avoids having to wait until the taxi driver has filled up every seat, but it’s much more comfortable than being crammed in with lots of sweaty people! If you do this, you’ll typically need to give the driver some money up front so he can buy petrol along the way.

BY CAR:

Hired drivers cost more and is the typical means of transport for foreigners. The price depends on the driver and a local (Beninois) helping to negotiate is recommended. For example, a three hour car ride from the south central region along the main highway costs CFA30,000-40,000 if the car is hired, but a bush taxi would cost CFA 5000-10,000.

Traffic is chaotic and the rules of the road are rarely enforced. If you are planning on driving yourself in Benin, an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is required. Traffic flows on the right hand side of the road as in the US and Canada.

Hiring a local guide is recommended.

Police roadblocks at night occur regularly and traveling alone with a driver (especially if you are a woman) may put the driver in an awkward position explaining and/or bribing the police.

Travelling by car is recommended only between major cities. For example, to travel from Cotonou to Porto Novo or Cotonou to Abomey. Most of the time, you would be required to share the car with many other travellers who are going it the same direction as you. Expect to be cramped and hot as most bush taxis are in hard shape and drivers try to cram as many people as possible into the car to make the trip as financially rewarding as possibly. However, if you want to throw the extra money, you can hire a car to take you personally where ever you want to go with no stops. The price would depend on the driver and you would definitely need a local (Beninois) to help you to negotiate the price or you will be taken advantage of. For example, a 3 hour car ride from the South Central region along the main highway would cost you CFA 30,000-40,000 if only 2 passengers are present, where as if you share the ride and pick people up on the way you would only spend CFA 5000-10,000. This of course all depends on if you have a local present or not. Travelling in such a manner is not recommended without a local present. The danger is minimal, but the financial price would be excessive. Also, random police roadblocks at night occur regularly as a way of policing the highways and if you were traveling alone with a driver (especially if you are a woman), it may put him in an awkward position explaining to the police and it may cost you more money. Traveling by car within the city is not recommended at all due to the fact that it is simply unnecessary and uneconomical. The best way to travel in any city or village is by motorcycle taxi. They are very cheap and the drivers know the city well. You can recognize them by their yellow shirts in most cities. Choose your driver carefully, drinking and driving in Benin is very common. These guys a very reliable if you need to go somewhere and enter a building for example, for a little extra money, they will wait outside for as long as you want; just make sure you don’t pay them first! For example, you can go just about anywhere in Cotonou by zem (zémidjan = moto taxi) for as little as CFA 500-1,000if you get a local to negotiate. It is recommended to travel with a local as much as possible, mainly from a financial aspect. Also, driving yourself around in a car is not a good idea. The roads are mostly of hard packed sand, with a few paved main roads in the cities and on the highways between the major cities. Traffic is chaotic and there are no rules of the road. If you are planning on driving in Benin, an International Driver’s license is required. Traffic drives on the same side of the road as the US and Canada.

BY MOTO:

The cheapest way to travel within a city or village is by motorcycle taxi (moto, zemidjan or zem). They are cheap and the drivers usually know the city well. An average ride costs between CFA 100-300, and they are easily recognizable by their matching colored shirts with their ID numbers on them. Prices must be discussed beforehand, and payment is made upon arrival. Remember the driver’s ID number as you would a taxi driver’s ID in New York City, just in case. Choose your driver carefully, drinking and driving in Benin is very common and moto drivers are sometimes involved in crime rings in major cities.

Motos have colors for different cities (for example): Cotonou: yellow Natitingou: green with yellow shoulders or light blue with yellow shoulders Kandi: light blue with yellow shoulders Parakou: yellow with green shoulders Kérou: green with yellow shoulders.

BY BOAT:

There are many pirogues (kayak/canoe) used for the fishing industry. Normally one can use a pirogue to visit the lake villages.

BY TRAIN:

There is a train route that goes halfway up the country, from Cotonou to Parakou, run by L’Organisation Commune Benin-Niger des Chemins de Fer et Transports (2132 2206). While the train takes longer than a bush taxi, it’s a much more relaxing way of traveling. First class tickets are only slightly more expensive than second class ones and are worth the extra expenditure. The train leaves Cotonou three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) at 8AM precisely, arriving at Parakou about 6:30PM, and returns the next day, leaving at 8AM from the Parakou train station, arriving 6:30PM in Cotonou. First class costs CFA 5600, while second costs CFA 4000.

The trains on these schedules will usually stop at Bohicon, which is 4 hours from Cotonou. The fare costs CFA 1400 for first class, and CFA 1100 for second.

A tour company also hires out colonial-period trains for multiple-day touring trips at expensive, but good value prices (CFA 50,000+).

In every city/village one will find street vendors selling anything from beans and rice to grilled chicken, goat and/or turkey. Prices are nominal. But one must be careful, always choose a vendor whose food is still hot, and they have taken care to keep the bowls covered with a lid and/or cloth.

Signature dishes

  • Kuli-Kuli
  • Boulets de Poulet avec Sauce Rough (Chicken Meatballs with Red Sauce)

DRINK:

The beer is cheap and good! Local pubs (buvettes) are on every corner in every neighborhood. You can get a bottle of local beer “La Béninoise”, Heineken, Guinness, Castel and others depending on the bar. They all cost about CFA 250 for a small bottle or CFA 500 for a large bottle. In the nightclubs beer is excessively expensive, like CFA 30,000 a bottle! So stick to the local pubs, or avoid buying beer at the nightclub. There is also the local vin de palme (palm wine), an alcoholic beverage that is made from the sap of the palm tree. A fermented palm liquor (Sodabi) is also available, it costs about CFA 2000 for a liter and it is very strong stuff.

Benin’s sleeping habit is a vast contrast compared to Westerners. While most rise before the crack of dawn, they all work hard straight til Noon:30, when most take a 2-1/2 hour siesta. Then it’s back to work for 3 hours.

Depending on how far they’ve commuted to work, most are back home by 7PM. The next 3 hours are consumed by preparing dinner, TV, dancing or mingling with friends and neighbors. Then it’s time for bed around 10PM, to rest and do it all over again tomorrow.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Benin
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Lake Ahémé
Location: South western Benin
Lake Ahémé is Benin's second largest lake, with an area of 78 square kilometres (30 sq mi) in the dry season which expands to 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi) in the rainy season. The lake is 24 kilometres (15 mi) long and has an average width of 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi). The Couffo River drains into the swampy north end of the lake, while the 10 km-long Aho Channel connects the lake's southern end to the Grand-Popo Lagoon on the Atlantic coast. This channel flows south during the wet season but reverses direction in the dry season, which causes the salinity of the lake's southern end to increase.

The Pedah and the Ayizo are the two main ethnic groups living on the shores of Lake Ahémé. Fishing and agriculture are the main economic activities in the area. In the lake, 71 species of fish have been recorded.

The 47,500 hectares (117,000 acres) comprising the marshes of the lower Couffo, Lake Ahémé, the Aho Channel and the adjoining coastal lagoon have been designated as a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Ahémé
Name: Door of No Return
Location: Ouidah, Benin
The Door of No Return is a memorial arch in Ouidah, Benin. The concrete and bronze arch, which stands on the beach, is a memorial to the enslaved Africans who were taken from the slave port of Ouidah to the Americas.

Several artists and designers collaborated with the architect, Yves Ahouen-Gnimon, to realise the project. The columns and bas-reliefs are by Béninois artist Fortuné Bandeira, the freestanding Egunegun are by Yves Kpede and the bronzes are by Dominque Kouas Gnonnou.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door_of_No_Return,_Ouidah
Name: Pendjari National Park
Location: North western Benin
The Pendjari National Park lies in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. Named for the Pendjari River, the national park is known for its wildlife and is home to some of the last populations of big game like the African forest elephant, West African lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, and various antelopes in West Africa. The park is also famous for its richness in birds.

The Pendjari National Park is an area of 2,755 square kilometres in the far north-west of Benin. The park is part of the WAP complex (W-Arli-Pendjari) which is a vast protected area in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. The hills and cliffs of the Atakora range make the north-west one of the most scenic areas of Benin. They provide a wonderful backdrop to the Pendjari National Park, which, in its isolation, remains one of the most interesting in West Africa.

In March 2009 it was nominated as a tentative site for UNESCO's World Heritage Site program, and in July 2017 it was officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a transnational extension of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendjari_National_Park
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN BENIN / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

Global Immigration Leader, Big 4

“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

Internal stakeholder, Big 4

“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

External client, Private practice

“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

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