• Benin brings an easily accessible West African encounter to tourists

    2011-05-20

    The continent of Africa often gets lumped together as one big ethnic experience. Those who have adventured there, however, know that each country has its own spirit and variety of sites to see. The small region of Benin, tucked between Nigeria and Togo, has a rich history of West African culture and style.

    Wildlife spotting is popular in Benin's Parc National de Pendjari, which stretches over 275,000 hectares, reports Lonely Planet. Many large mammals roam uncaged in the reserve, including hippos, lions and elephants. Spots by the Pendjari River or the several waterfalls are perfect for a picnic lunch.

    The marketplace of Danktokpa provides some of the most unusual wares to their patrons. A pair of bat wings or a voodoo love potion may make gift recipients raise an eyebrow back home, but they surely won't forget their strange souvenirs.

    A little break from the dusty city streets can be found at the Grand Popo beaches. The coastline is dotted with palm trees that mimic many tropical island locations. Taking a dip in the ocean is fine, but checking riptide conditions ahead of time may be a good precaution.

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