Best time to visit Benin

Best time to go to Benin


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

Tourists are likely to spend most of their time in southern Benin, which has a tropical, equatorial climate. Rains fall here from April to the end of October, with a brief dry spell in mid-July to August. High humidity means that even the “cooler” months of June to September are still very warm. The desert-like north experiences more extreme temperatures, with November to June searingly hot, and June to October wetter and cooler. The best time to visit Benin is from November to February – not only is it dry, but you’ll be able to attend the annual voodoo festival in Ouidah in January.

WHEN TO VISIT BENIN, & WHEN NOT TO


A MONTH BY MONTH GUIDE

From mid-November or December through January, February and March, Benin is extra dry and dusty thanks to the harmattan wind that blows in from the Sahara. Bring plenty of good moisturiser and lip balm – and sup water to ease a tickly throat, especially if heading north. Contact lens wearers may also find glasses more comfortable.

The rains in the wetter south begin in April, with temperatures beginning to cool in May as the rains really kick in. This can be very disruptive to travel as many areas can become inaccessible.

The dry window in August can be a good time to visit southern Benin as you’ll benefit from cooler temperatures, blue skies and no harmattan dust!

Many trips focus around the festival in Ouidah which takes place on 10th January every year

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IN BENIN


RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL RECOMMENDS

Jim O’Brien, from our supplier Native Eye Travel, shares his tips on the best time to go to Benin: “A good thing to do in December is to go and see the Gelede dances at a place called Cové. It’s not really voodoo but it shares a lot of the same characteristics, with people getting dressed up as representations – not necessarily of gods but perhaps spirits. It’s the state religion; it doesn’t have the same connotations in Benin as Hollywood has given it.”

BENIN FESTIVALS & EVENTS


OUR TOP PICK FROM THE BENIN CULTURAL CALENDAR

Did you know about…?


The Vodoun Festival is the greatest even in the voodoo calendar. Taking place on 10th January every year in Ouidah, it is one of the best ways to get under the skin of this often misunderstood religion. People dress up as voodoo gods, complete with colourful, swirling costumes and masks, drums beat hypnotically, and goats and chickens are sacrificed throughout the festival.
Photo credits: [Temp chart new: Stefan Krasowski] [Helpdesk - Somba woman: Jacques Taberlet] [RT recommends: Grete Howard ] [Festivals & events: David Bacon]
Written by Vicki Brown
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