Travelling to Benin Republic From Nigeria – All You Need to Know
If you are planning to visit the Republic of Benin from Nigeria, this post is for you. It will cover everything you need to know about crossing one of the busiest borders in West Africa. It will also cover the cost, where to stay, places to visit etc. The Benin republic/Nigeria border is in a town called Seme. The Nigeria Benin border is popularly called the Seme Border.
About the Republic of Benin
The Republic of Benin is one of the many countries that share a border with Nigeria. Other countries that share a border with Nigeria include Chad, Cameroun and Niger Republic. Benin Republic shares a border with Nigeria at Seme in Lagos State and around Idi Iroko in Ogun. Seme is a few minutes drive from Badagry. The country was formerly known as Dahomey. It was, however, renamed Benin in 1975.
The Capital of Benin Republic is in Port Novo. However, the most popular city in Benin Republic is Cotonou. It is also the economic capital of Benin Republic. The country was colonized by France. It got its independence on August 1, 1960. The official language of the Republic of Benin is French.
The Republic of Benin is home to pristine beaches, robust culture, wildlife, and beautiful tourist attractions.
Requirements For visiting Benin Republic from Nigeria
For Nigerians planning on visiting Benin Republic, the following are the requirements:
- Nigerian Passport: Nigerians visiting Benin Republic will have to present their International Passport at the border. The Nigerian International Passports is a document issued by the Nigerian Immigration Service.
- The Yellow Fever Card: The second requirement is the yellow Fever card. This yellow card is proof that you have received a dose of the yellow fever vaccine. The card is also for keeping records of vaccines required to visit other countries. You can only travel after ten days of getting the dose.
Also Read: How to Get A Yellow Fever Card
Vaccines To Take Before Visiting Benin Republic
Ensure you take these two vaccines before you visit Benin republic. If you do not, you will have issues with the Port health at the border. When you go for the yellow fever vaccine, ensure you ask them for Meningitis too. They will probably fix another date for that. These are the two basic vaccines you need to take before visiting Benin Republic.
- Yellow fever vaccine: This vaccine is to protect you against yellow fever
- Meningitis Vaccines:
French is the official language. The other languages include Yoruba, Fon and a Gbe languages. These are the indigenous languages of the Republic of Benin. They are all considered national languages.
The official currency of the Republic of Benin is Cefa, it is also known as the West African CFA Franc. It comes in the following denomination.
Coins 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200
Notes: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20000
How to Get To the Republic of Benin Through Seme Border
If you are looking for stress-free access. You can get a direct bus to the Republic of Benin from Lagos. These are some major transport companies that visit Benin Republic Efex, ABC transport, Chisco Group Transport etc. They will handle the border protocols, the stamping etc. They offer air-conditioned buses.
However, if you are on a low budget or an adventurer like me, you can decide to do the stamping on your own.
From Ikeja board a bus to Egbeda – 200 to 300 Naira
At Egbeda board another bus to Iyana Iba – 300 Naira
From Iyana Iba board a bus or car to Badagry – 500 to 700 Naira
Once you get to Badagry, get a bus going to Seme. Tell the driver you will stop at the border. Please note they may scare you that stamping is hard, do not mind them. Just ignore and tell them to stop you at the border.
At the border, just walk straight into the complex. Ask for where to stamp, and do it yourself.
Once you stamp your passport, you will go through another set of routine checks by Port Health who will ask for your yellow fever card.
Then another routine check by the NDLEA and customs.
Depending on where you are coming from, if you are coming from the mainland around Ikeja and environs, you can go through Egbada, Iyana Iba axis. If you are coming from Oshodi, you may have to go through Mile
Crossing to the Seme Border
At the park, the driver may try to charge you to cross the border, just tell them to stop you at the border you will handle the border protocols yourself.
Once you are approaching the border’s small gate, flash your Passport, this will grant you entry into the premises and sometimes you may get questioned by the Immigration officers on duty. You can move to the point where you can stamp your passport.
To stamp your passport, you will be asked pay some money. Well this should not be the case but it is what it is.
For virgin passports, you will pay 1,000 or more depending on your negotiation power and for already stamped passports, you will pay 500 Naira.
Once your passports have been stamped,
You will go through the Port health who will ask for your yellow fever card, then the customs who will also try to check your luggage, then the NDLEA who will also check for drugs and other forbidden substances,
Once you are clear, you will move to the Benin side where you will go through another check.
Tips When you get to Benin
- Understand the Country: The first thing you should do is to understand the country, their currency, exchange rates etc. You should also know some basic laws of the country. Also, you should familiarise yourself with some of the beliefs and culture.
- Change your money from naira to Cefa: The first thing you should do is to change from Naira to Cefa. Please do not rely on your ATM card. It may not work there due to CBN restrictions.
- Keep Your Transport Fare: As a rule, ensure you have the transport that will take you from the border to your house stored separately. This is to avoid spending your transport fare when you travel.
Please keep your transport fare separate from your other money.
- Get a SIM card: Nigerian networks don’t work over there unless you roam them. However, the network company will excessively when you make and receive calls. Therefore you may need to get a Benin SIM card. I will suggest either MTN or Airtel. Once you get that, you could load it up and activate internet connections, this will save you a lot of stress.
- Get a Universal Adapter: they use a different kind of socket different from the ones we have here. You need to get a universal adapter that will allow you to plug in your device. This is very important, it may be difficult getting one once you step out of the border.
- Get an English speaking driver: Look for an English speaking driver to take you to your destination. This will help you with the language barrier. If you are going to take another bus after getting to your destination, you may also tell the driver to help you out.
- Learn basic Vocabulary: You should learn basic vocabulary like bonjour(good morning), Bonsoir (good evening), Anglais (English). Etc
Things to Do at Benin Republic
- Enjoy the Street Food: The first thing you will notice when you visit Benin is the presence of street food vendors everywhere. Street food is popular here. Get adventurous and have a taste of the street foods.
- Visit the Python Temple: The temple of the pythons has become one of the major tourist attractions in Benin Republic.
- The Slave Route: This is the journey to the original slave route in Benin. You also get to see the door of no return. It is the place where slaves are shipped to Europe and other unknown destinations, never to return again.
- Visit the National Park: Benin Republic has a rich nature and wildlife experience. A visit to the National parks will blow your mind.
- Attend a Festival: The country has a rich cultural heritage, you should attend one of its cultural festivals.
- Visit the Beach: Benin Republic is a coastal country with different beaches. Enjoy the blue skies, the pristine beach sand and the beauties of its beautiful beaches.
The Cost of Visiting Benin Republic
Transport to Badagry Between 1,000 to 2,000 (depends on where you stay in Lagos)
From Badagry to Seme 500 to 1,500 (Depends on whether you use a bus, car or bike)
Crossing at the Border (between 1,000 and 2,500) depends on your negotiation power and if you are using a virgin passport or an already stamped one
From Seme to Cotonou (1500 to 2,500)
Total – Between 4,500 and 7,000
Hotels In Benin Republic
Hotels are moderately priced in Benin Republic, the cost of a standard hotel in Benin varies from 6,000 Naira per night to 15,000. Though there are more expensive ones between 20,000 to 150,000 per night.
Hotels in Benin Republic
- Le Jardin Secret
- Diaspora Auberge
- Hotel Dk
- Auberge de Grand Popo
- Hotel La Casa Cielo
- Hotel de la Diaspora
Tourist Attractions in Benin Republic
- There are so many tourist attractions in Benin Republic
- Zinsou Foundation Museum
- Pythons Temple
- Slave Road
- Bab’s Dock
- Grand Popo
- Fidjirosse Beach
- The Cotonou Littoral Monument
Differences Between Nigeria and Benin republic
Roads: Benin republic has far better roads than Nigeria can ever imagine. All the major highway are tarred. Throughout my stay, I did not encounter a single pothole in the places I visited. This is not an exaggeration, all the major highways are tarred.
Amenities: They have basic amenities like good roads, street light, water etc.
Development: In terms of development, Nigeria is far more developed than the Republic of Benin. It is rare to see a new major construction around the city.
Data: Internet Data is pretty expensive here in the Republic of Benin compared to Nigeria.
Road signs: There are road signs on every street, every highway.
Driving: Driving here is too sane that I was almost freaking out. LOL.
Cars: There are more exotic cars in Nigeria than in the Republic of Benin. I hardly see the latest cars around.
Transportation: Most of the citizens own bikes, bikes are one of the popular means of transportation in this country. It is also very common to see women riding bikes.