Magun's Compass
Learn from the Travel Experiences of Others

Being in Benin.
Enjoying a part of West Africa.

Lake Ganvie

Benin has been
something of a closely kept secret
since a group of young army officers, led by Major Kerekou,
put a halt to twelve years of repeated coups by taking control
of the country themselves, in 1972.

Benin FlagEven now, after the relaxing of the Major's Marxist-Leninist line that turned colonial Dahomey into the People's Republic of Benin, and earned it a somewhat naive title of The Cuba of West Africa, the Gulf of Guinea's least known nation is still not on most travellers' list of destinations.

International representation may be lodged in the characterless coastal town of Cotonou, but it is not the country's capital. Principal status is reserved for a town with a more pleasant setting, and a proper place in history; Porto Novo.

All routes lead to Cotonou though, and once official business is seen to, then diversions and ways out of the sandy grid are sought.

For many Europeans on the Trans-Sahara Peugeot run, the road ends in Niger; although flights to Europe are generally cheaper from the northern Nigerian town of Kano.

Those who do travel along the coast between Abidjan and Lagos look at Cotonou as nothing more than a stop between Ghana's beaches and the flight home.

In fact there is not really that much to do in Cotonou, except get out; unless you like the idea of paying to join the French around the pool at the Sheraton.

Sheraton Hotel, Cotonou -- by Michel Guntern.
The Sheraton pool, Cotonou.

The most accessible attraction is the lake dwellings at Ganvie.

[An Introduction]

[From Niger to Benin]

Africa Index

Nomadic Gatherings - Travels in Asia and Australia

Travel on trains and buses in Asia, then jump into cars with complete strangers in Australia and New Zealand as Michel introduces you to a collection of characters that bring Nomadic Gatherings to life.

If you can't afford to buy a copy of Nomadic Gatherings, the chapters are slowly being made available online - for free.

You may even decide that it really is worth having a hard copy in your hands; a useful read for those long bus journeys being written about, and for endless waits at ferry ports.

Nomadic Gatherings - Online Chapters.

Find out more about Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, The Middle East, and The Americas.
Magun's Compass

Originally Hosted on Geocities - in 1996

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