The center of one of the bloodiest empires in Africa was based in this little city in the heart of Benin. Though Abomey isn’t exactly swarming with tourists, there is plenty for visitors to the old capital of the Dahomey Empire to see and do. From the ancient palaces of the empire and the museums to just wandering town chatting with the beyond friendly locals, the town of Abomey really has a way of tugging at your heartstrings. Though I only had very limited time in Abomey, it’s one of the places that I really felt comfortable. I’d love to go back for more.
Time Needed: 1-2 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 30-45USD per day
Things to Do and See in Abomey
People come to Abomey to learn a little bit about the history and culture of the Dahomey Kingdom, and the town delivers. The city is proud of its past and manages to incorporate a lot of that into the city’s core. Even if you don’t go to the sites, you’ll see lots just wandering around this place.
- Abomey Historic Museum: In a series of palaces, this is a very interesting visit, which includes a guide. You’ll see some of the old carvings, lots of the torture scenes, and a couple of the tombs. It’s haunting and very cool.
- Palaces: Throughout the city there are a bunch of palaces where are basically just left out in the fields these days. The most notable are the Akaba Noble Palace and the Palace of Glele.
Where to Eat in Abomey
Food in Abomey is mostly taken at small maquis and, to be honest, the selection isn’t great. The grub, though, is very tasty where you can find it.
- Chez Delphano: This was easily my favourite place for food in Abomey. Such friendly service and the food is great. They do crepes for breakfast, which are awesome.
Where to Stay in Abomey
There are some good place to stay in the city as well. The quality of accommodation is pretty up and down though. Personally, I chose to upgrade a bit and I stayed at Hotel Chez Monique which is on a huge compound with brilliant carvings, lots of art, and even has a couple antelope running around. The staff is awesome, and will take care of you. I’ve also heard that Auberge d’Abomey is good if you’re looking for a cheaper option.
Getting Around Town
The best way to get around town is on a moto-taxi. The city is so hot that certain places might seem near, but you’ll sweat yourself dry walking too far. If you’re not wandering, jet a moto-taxi, they’re cheap.
Getting out of Town
There are lots of mini-buses that run across to Bohicon which is the hub for transportation. From there you can get basically anywhere in the country. If you’re driving, this is where the turn-off to the easy Nigerian border is.
Back to the Benin travel guides