Lagos to Benin Republic

Spending a Weekend in Benin Republic

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Benin Republic has sort of become a yearly destination for me. Since my first visit to Fidjrosse in 2016, I have visited the country four more times now, going there twice in 2017 to Ganvie and Grand Popo and to Pendjari with Mark in 2018 for my first West African Safari.

This year, Mark and I got the chance to visit again from Lagos. Since we had just 3 days to spare, inclusive of travel days, we figured we’d limit our trip to the country’s economic center, Cotonou.

Lagos to Cotonou Road Trip 2019- Bab's Dock

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Getting to Cotonou from Lagos

We decided to go to Cotonou in a hired vehicle. My friend, Omolara recommended a driver to us and he arrived promptly to pick us up at our agreed time. We left Lagos at 6 am and got to the Seme-Krake border at around 12 pm.

The journey was particularly tiring due to the traffic and road conditions. The roads leading to the Seme border from a large part of the Lagos mainland were in terrible condition and that, combined with terrible driving habits, caused slow moving traffic and standstills.

I was so glad when we arrived to better road conditions from the border and onward into Cotonou.

Crossing the new Seme-Krake Joint Border

In my previous visits to Benin, I have always gotten my passport stamped at the back road borders. These were mainly make-shift shacks on dirt roads that served as a border control for travelers.

This time, our driver drove us straight to the fairly newly commissioned administrative building that serves as a joint border for both Nigeria and Benin Republic.

Joint border Seme Krake

It took us a little over 30 minutes to get our passports stamped. The immigration officers on the Nigerian side spent this time passing our documents from one official to the next and back again. One positive thing about the whole experience was that we weren’t asked for money in the usual forceful way.

One of the officials did ask me to ‘give him something’. When I told him I didn’t have anything, he handed my passport back to me without pushing further. Our interactions with the Beninese officials, on the other hand, was much faster.

Cotonou – Eat, Sleep, Do

Lagos to Cotonou Road Trip 2019

Once we arrived in Cotonou, we headed straight to Guesthouse Haie Vive, our accommodation for the night. The rooms in the guest house came with basic amenities needed for our stay. After settling in, we took a walk around the city before going to lunch at the Livingstone restaurant.

Booking.com

Lagos to Cotonou Road Trip 2019 Living Stone Cotonou

Lunch was fantastic and the service, even more so. We spent the rest of the day hanging out at another restaurant (Puravida) with some of Mark’s friends from his days with Peace Corps.

Lagos to Cotonou Road Trip 2019

The next day, after having breakfast at Puravida, we set out to Bab’s Dock to spend our second day. The first time I couch surfed with Mark, he brought I and the other surfers here for dinner. It felt really nice coming back and seeing all the notable changes the place had undergone.

The biggest one was the road. When I first visited, it was just a sandy beach road and it took quite some time to drive down from Fidjrosse. This time, our ride only lasted about 10 minutes.

Spending a day at Bab’s Dock

Lagos to Cotonou Road Trip 2019 (20)

I loved everything about the beautiful cabins we checked into. Well, everything apart from the compost toilet. I’m quite embarrassed to say that I am not a big fan of toilets like this even though they are actually better for the environment.

We spent the rest of our time here just relaxing. There was the option to go kayaking or sailing across the lake but I just wanted to stay in bed and finish the book I was reading.

Later in the evening, Mark organized a lovely dinner and evening for us. It was such a lovely way to end our visit to the country that has captured both our hearts.

Bab's Dock Benin RepublicLagos to cotonou road trip Bab's DockLagos to Cotonou Road Trip 2019 - Bab's Dock Bab's Dock

We left Bab’s Dock after breakfast the next morning and made the journey back to Lagos from Cotonou. I am always excited to visit Benin Republic. Each trip has given me incredible memories and this last one gave me one to remember for a lifetime.

7 Comments

  1. I found Benin quite interesting and hauntingly beautiful in its way. Great post!

    • Thanks Andy, Just caught up with your posts on Benin as well. I wasn’t aware there was a train that ran from Cotonou to Parakou. That was quite the journey for you.

  2. Is it important for children to go with their yellow cards aswell.
    If I go by bus can a child under 5 years be laped?

    • Hi Tomilola, technically, yes. You can get their cards by showing the Port Health officials a copy of their immunization certificate.

      Some buses won’t let you carry a child over 2 or 3. Some offer discounts. You need to confirm from the service you choose to use. The trip from Lagos to Cotonou is quite long and with the current road conditions, it may not be the best idea to carry a child on your lap for that long.

  3. Manuel Mendoza

    Amarachi it’s a great post!! I love the pictures, it seems to be a very quiet and relaxing place to go and take a special time with someone (or why not for yourself) and just relax and get a change of vibes! The place where you stayed looks awesome, very comfortable! I wish I could go there for a quick trip!

  4. Nice post! I’d be travelling to Bénin soon and I’d love to go to Bab’s Dock too. Sadly I’ve not seen any info on how to get there from Cotonou.

    And again I’d need the driver’s number. Thanks

    • Thanks Cindy. I would think it’s a pretty easy find from Cotonou. Seemed like a straight road to me. But I will ask Mark for specific directions and update this post/comment. I’ll send the number via email.

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