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Porto-novo Travel Guide, Benin

Porto-Novo, Travel guide – Location

Porto-Novo is the capital city of the African state Benin and is located 20 minutes away from the shores of the Guinea Gulf. Porto-Novo travel guide offers important information regarding this picturesque city. It is also close to Lagos, Nigeria and Lome, Togo.

Porto-Novo, Travel guide – Geography

Porto-Novo is located in the coastal area dominated by a low topography made up of numerous sandbanks and lagoons. The narrow network of sandbanks used to make the access to Porto-Novo difficult but nowadays the modern harbor can house numerous ships.

Climate in this part of Africa is equatorial with two seasons: a dry one from November to March and a wet season from April to July. The best time to visit Porto-Novo is from December to April and in August.

The local hydrograph network is represented mainly by the Porto-Novo Lagoon and the Quémé River which flows nearby the city and then into the lagoon.

Porto-Novo, Travel guide – Flora and Fauna

Local flora and fauna is characteristic for the low coast topography and the equatorial climate. The marshy areas are housing rich mangrove vegetation and the northern areas house several cultivated plants of economic importance like the palm trees. Coconut palm trees are covering important surfaces, Porto-Novo being a big producer and exporter of palm oil.

Within the city fauna is represented mainly by small numbers of domestic animals like goats, sheep and poultry and few wild animals like rodents, reptiles and water birds. The waters of the lagoon abound din fish, crustaceans and turtles, some species being caught by local fishermen for food.

Within the city there is a small zoo which can be visited by tourists and which houses some species of baboons, turtles and ostriches.

Porto-Novo, Travel guide – Transport

Due to its strategic location near the Atlantic Ocean shores, Porto-Novo is a very accessible city by all means of transportation. Air transport is the most comfortable and fast option if you arrive from abroad, the Cotonou Cadjehoun International Airport being the nearest airport located a few kilometers away from the city. Transfer to Porto-Novo can be made by taxi or minivans at a negotiable price. Road transportation is also efficient due to the good infrastructure of the country, one having the opportunity to visit the capital’s surroundings and more.

Another transport option is by boat, actually the pirogues offer transfer from the city to other locations on the sores of the lagoon for negotiable prices.

Within the city taxis and buses remain the main transport options along with renting cars or bicycles.

Porto-Novo, Travel guide – Population and Economy

The city houses about 220.000 inhabitants which represent an amazing combination of nationalities from the dominating Africans to the smaller communities of Europeans. French is the official language spoken in Porto-Novo along with some dialects like the Fon and Yoruba.

Porto-Novo is located in a quite resourceful area of Benin taking into account the vicinity of the ocean, agricultural cultures and the off shore oil reserve. Local economy is mainly based on oil industry due to the deposits located a few kilometers off shore, agriculture having as main crops sorghum and palm trees for palm oil, commerce and tourism.

Porto-Novo, Travel guide – Cuisine

Porto-Novo cuisine is characterized by the presence of such ingredients as rice, sorghum, vegetables, chicken meat, fish and plenty of spices. Locals appreciate the rice and couscous dishes served with fried meat mainly in palm and peanut oil, different sauces made with yoghurt, tomatoes or mint. There are some treats tourists should try if visiting Porto-Novo like the klouikloui which are fried peanut butter rings, fuf which is a dish made with cassava or sorghum, soumbala which is dried fish cooked and served with a spicy vegetable sauce and suya which is spiced grilled beef like the kebab.

The common beverages in the city are the mineral water, fruit juices, local beers and local palm wine called sodabi.

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