Cotonou, Benin

Benin is situated in West Africa and is bounded to the east by Nigeria, to the north by Niger and Burkina Faso, and to the west by Togo. Benin stretches 700km (435 miles) from the Bight of Benin to the Niger River. The coastal strip is sandy with coconut palms. Beyond the lagoons of Porto Novo, Nokoue, Ouidah and Grand Popo is a plateau rising gradually to the heights of the Atakora Mountains.

Abomey, situated about 100km (60 miles) northeast of the capital contains an excellent museum covering the history of the Abomey kingdoms (with a throne made of human skulls) and the intriguingly named Fetish Temple. Cotonou has a market, the Dan Tokpa, which is normally open every four days. Porto Novo, the capital, contains many examples of colonial and pre-colonial art and architecture. The Ethnological Museum has a wide range of exhibits.

There is a selection of restaurants and hotels in Cotonou, serving French food with table service, although some also serve local African specialities, particularly seafood. The city has several nightclubs, but elsewhere local festivals form the main entertainment. The range of dining places in Porto Novo is more limited.

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