Benin – Chilling in Cotonou

There aren’t many sites in Cotonou, but it is a pleasant enough place to while away a day or so.

My priority when in town was to check out the Haring exhibition at the Foundation Zinsou. First step – try and find it! I walked for 4 k trying to find the building – damn google maps and the lying/lonely planet! It turns out the foundation has moved. The first moto taxi promised me he knew where it had moved to…. I have heard that before :-). So, i had an extended tour around a bunch of sites around Cotonou for about 45 minutes while we asked random strangers where it was, and then ended up back about a 10 minute walk from where I started.

It was a lovely free gallery with outstanding coffee and an exceptional chocolate brownie! There were two extraordinarily well behaved school groups when I visited, who were adorable. The shop on the top floor was worth a visit if you want high end african art souvenirs. Although the gallery is free, you do get assigned a mandatory guide when you arrive. I asked the guide to leave me be as I was happy wandering by myself. But I realised that he got bumped to the back of the queue of waiting guides when I ‘rejected’ him. Feeling bad, I did let him guide me up the stairs, and gave him a reasonable tip given I didn’t have to pay entry and it would have been churlish not to.

Very studious school kids at the gallery
I also checked out a few other things in Cotonou – the place d’etoile, the place des martyrs, and the stade d’amitie. I was honestly too lazy to check out the grand marche, as I feel like i have seen more than enough African markets for this month. None of the sights are mind blowing but Cotonou is a great place to chill for a couple of days. The ONLY way to get around town, similar to Togo, is on the back of a zemijohn or moto-taxi. It isn’t particularly safe, but there isn’t much choice as taxis are rare and the traffic in a car is painfully slow.
Statue of the martyrs
I stayed at the very chilled out and reasonably cheap Guesthouse Cocotiers which I would highly recommend.

December 22, 2016

Queue of mototaxis waiting at the lights

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