Plopped into the heart of Nigeria, Benin City is Nigeria’s cultural heartland. Though it’s not the capital, nor is it an economic powerhouse like Lagos, Benin City beats with that same ferrous pulse that can only come from truly powerful cities. It’s busy, and traffic dominates the streets which can only be described as chaotic, but there is also a misunderstood elegance to Benin City that can only be described in a visit. Home to some of the most interesting bronze work in the world, not to mention relics from the Benin empire still stored at the museum, Benin City is one of the few cities in all Nigeria that seems to really appeal to tourists. Though the tourism infrastructure is still sparse here, it has all the potential to inspire.
Time Needed: 2-3 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: $40-60USD Per day
Things to Do and See in Benin City
- The National Museum: Sitting in the middle of the main roundabout, the national museum is incredible. Although it’s a bit rough, the products inside the national museum are absolutely amazing. Ivory carvings, bronze figurines, and loads more. It’s a shame you can’t take photos in here.
- Bronze: This city is known for it’s bronze. Head to the UNESCO-listed part of town to see the bronze construction at work. There are also loads of huge bronze statues worth seeing.
Where to Eat in Benin City
There are loads of little restaurants in Benin City serving up local grub like obgono soup. You’ll also find quite a bit of fufu. Otherwise, there are some decent fast food places too.
- Patties: Everything from fried chicken to burgers.
- Sizzlers: Similar to Patties and just down the street. Good food, for pretty cheap.
Where to Stay in Benin City
Although there are cheaper options, I decided to stay at the Uxbor Hotel which is right down by the main roundabout and walking distance to anywhere you need to go. There is good food at the restaurant here, the rooms have hot water, and the electricity stays on better than other places. It cost me about $35 a night.
Getting out of Town
Right on the edge of the roundabout there is a bus station that is chaotic, but serves all the other cities nearby. From here, you can catch transport to Ibadan, Calabar, Lagos, or pretty much anywhere else in the region.
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