|Still current at: 05 May 2011
Updated: 27 April 2011
Safety and Securitry - Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see our terrorism abroad page.
Safety and Security - Crime
There are reported incidents of mugging, personal assault and car jacking in Cotonou with armed robberies being reported in other areas, notably the border area with Nigeria.
Highway bandits are known to operate in Benin. Vehicle-jackings by these bandits in the capital have resulted in two deaths and some injuries. You should take personal security precautions and maintain a high level of vigilance in public places especially at Dantokpa market in Cotonou and around large hotels and other tourist areas. Avoid unlit side streets.
You should have a legalised copy of your passport and visa in case your passport is lost or stolen.
See our victims of crime abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
Driving standards in Benin are well below those in the UK. One British national died in Benin in a road accident in 2008.
In order to drive in Benin, you must obtain an international driving licence before arrival. You should avoid driving out of the main towns at night as roads are poorly lit. Take care after dark within cities, avoiding secondary roads and areas where other traffic is light.
In the past few years, major work has been done on the roads in Benin. Plans exist for a new international airport with associated roads, and other projects are under way in the North of Benin to improve conditions in the more rural areas.
The rainy seasons in Benin are March-July and September-November. Heavy rains can cause flooding. You should monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas.
When you leave the main roads, conditions become more difficult, particularly in the rainy season when some of the smaller unpaved roads become impassable. Public transport is dangerous. Taxis and long distance buses are poorly maintained and are often overloaded. These should be avoided. Most major hotels offer cars for hire with drivers. The reliability and serviceability of hotel drivers and vehicles is variable. If self-driving exercise caution as traffic on main roads is fast moving and ill disciplined. Cotonou has no reliable public transportation.
See our driving abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Swimming
Ocean currents are very strong along the coast. Many drownings occur each year.
See our river and sea safety page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air travel
You are advised to reconfirm flights 48 hours prior to departure. You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel - European Commission Transport - Air.
The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.
For more general information see airline security.
Safety and Security - Political situation
Benin Country Profile