Lush and colourful Benin City showers visitors with a welcome that few other places can muster. Benin was once the capital of a mighty West African empire. With palaces, precious metals and a living ruler, today’s Benin City still radiates majesty. There’s a real atmosphere of vibrancy and self-assurance. Make no mistake, this is a city that knows where it comes from and is rooting its future in that illustrious past.
About Benin City
Although the city is commonly called ‘Benin’, it’s full name is ‘Benin City’ since there’s a country called Benin just a few hours away. Benin City is the largest city in southern Nigeria with a population of just under 1 500 000 people.
The main languages spoken in Benin City are English, Hausa and Igbo.
Flights to Benin City
The flight from Abuja to Benin City is just one hour long.
Best time to fly to Benin City
November to February is peak season in Benin City. It’s summertime and the prime season for wildlife watching. June to October is when the city becomes humid and rainy. However, this is also when you’ll find the cheapest deals on everything from flights to accommodation.
We always advise our clients to book flights from Abuja to Benin City well in advance so that they can get the best deals.
Benin Airport (BNI) is the city’s airport. It’s mainly for local airlines.
The airport is about 10 minutes from the city centre of Benin City. Taxis, the favourite method of transport, are readily available outside the building.
ArikAir and Air Peace both fly this route regularly. Cheap Nigeria Travel will help you find the best deal for your flight to Benin City by comparing all airlines for you.
Visas and customs
Since you’ll be arriving from Asaba, there’s no immigration process to go through upon arrival at Benin International Airport. However, always have your travel documents at hand as officials are authorised to do random checks. For Nigerians, carrying an identity card or passport is required.
Each airline has its own baggage policy and we’ll inform you of yours once you’ve booked your flight. However, there is a general tendency amongst airlines to restrict economy passengers to a 30kg – 45kg checked baggage allowance. That excludes hand luggage of around 7kg and a handbag for under the seat in front of you. Should you have any special equipment that needs to be checked, Cheap Nigeria Travel will gladly assist you.
Benin’s jam-packed with fascinating histories and stunning monuments. The best advice we can give you is to let go and allow the mystery and majesty of Benin to work their magic.
Benin City National Museum
Benin’s well-known for its metalwork. Some stunning examples of this centuries-old art are on display in this well-curated museum. This is one of Nigeria’s largest museums so prepare for an afternoon lost in the tales of Benin.
Okomu National Park
To explore the natural environment surrounding Benin City, the Okomu National Park is a must. It’s a lush forest that’s home to a variety of indigenous animals: buffaloes, monkeys, leopards, butterflies and birds are just some of the species that coexist here.
Royal Palace of the Oba
The Edo people have traditionally been ruled by an Oba who is regarded as a divine being. His palace is therefore seen as a place of sacred significance. The Royal Palace was originally built in the 13th century and repaired in the early 20th century. It’s an architectural marvel and UNESCO World Heritage Site that can’t fail to impress visitors.
The Oba still resides in this magnificent abode so there is a hushed atmosphere and certain rules are strictly enforced. For example, black clothing is prohibited as the Oba, being a divinity, has no reason to mourn. These fascinating customs will surely take your breath away.
Another World Heritage site, Igun Street dates back generations. It’s the traditional centre of Benin’s illustrious brass and bronze casting industry. The objects on sale are simply stunning and rich in tradition and culture. Be sure to ask about the symbolism of the souvenirs you buy…it’ll make an amazing tale to tell back home.
And now for a thoroughly modern attraction: Club Joker is Benin’s premier nightclub. Strong cocktails and lively music keep this club sizzling.
Health and safety
Visitors to Nigeria should receive a handful of vaccinations, including ones against cholera, yellow fever and polio.
Nigeria seldom receives good marks for safety from foreign governments. In fact, many governments warn their citizens not to visit Nigeria at all. But there’s no need to go to that extreme; take precautions and you are very likely to leave Nigeria with no regrets.
Cost of living
Compared with cities like Abuja and Lagos, Benin City offers good value for money.
● Basic meal: 1500 NGN = 4,12 USD
● McMeal at McDonald’s: 1200 NGN = 3,30 USD
● Monthly public transport pass: 20 000 NGN = 54,95 USD
● 1 night in a double room, budget hotel: from 2762, 28 NGN =7,59 USD
If you’re confident in your communication skills, then use the bus. There are no predetermined stops so you have to ask the driver to drop you off, as well as flag the bus down. On the upside, buses are a cheap way of getting around Benin City.
Taxis remain popular with tourists since they’re quick and comfortable. Official taxis are painted red in Benin City.
Benin may be full of history but no-one can complain that it’s dull. On the contrary, visitors are full of praise for the colour and upbeat atmosphere of Benin City. The city draws travellers in with its unique monuments and offers a cascade of fun activities. What’s not to love about Benin City? Book your flight from Abuja to Benin City to get in on all the action!