Why your next small group holiday should be in Benin Republic

Being so close to Nigeria and as a visa-free country, Benin Republic is a great place to consider for a weekend getaway for many reasons.

Lifestyle blogger Cassie Daves and friends at their Lake house adventure [Cassiedaves.com]

From preserved culture to the breathtaking beaches, to the beautiful lake houses, Benin Republic is just the perfect destination for vacationers on a budget.

For one, cost is not exactly an issue, especially planning with a group of people — it helps to split bills. Secondly, Nigeria's currency is a bit better than the Benin CFA, so that helps too. Travel documents and transportation from Nigeria is also not an issue, as long as everything needed is intact.

All the many beaches and lounge time will definitely not give you a moment to regret your stay.

In case you're planning on it, here are some of the fun experiences you can have.

The lodge is a beautiful lake house in Ouidah, just 2 hours away from Lagos. It is a great location to take 5 more of your friends and hole up away from the hustle and bustle of the city for the next 2 days.

In addition to its location on the bank of a lake, it is also a 2-minute walk from the beach. Located 10 km from the Ouidah History Museum, Nature Luxury Lodge offers 3 bedrooms, water sports facilities, free Wi-Fi and a shared kitchen and lounge. It is also very close to tourist attractions like the Gate of No Return and the Python Temple. Because it is "Glamping" there are no food services, so you and your friends have to source for foodstuff at the closes market and cook in the in-built kitchen.

Ouidah is one of the towns in Benin Republic. In this town, pythons aren't feared but rather revered and worshiped. While Porto-novo is regarded as the country's economic capital, Ouidah is recognised as the country's spiritual capital. The town houses the 'Temple des Pythons' which is historical and modern symbolism and spiritual practice in Benin republic. It also acts as a basilica for voodoo worshippers in West Africa and all over the world.

Bab's Dock is a private bar, restaurant and zoo located on a dock in Cococodji, 11km from Cotonou. The twist is, the restaurant property has the option to be accessed by boat. The motor boat takes you through an extremely scenic ride through the thick mangrove, for an access fee of CFA2500 per person. Getting to Bab's dock, you can lounge on the dock with your food, engage in water sports or explore the grounds. The food here is a bit pricey but you have the option to just chill.

This ancient village lies close to the city of Cotonou in Benin Republic, and is home to around 20,000 inhabitants. This quaint village is reminiscent of the city of Venice whose unique charm comes from the waterways which serve as the only form of transport. The major difference lies on the fact that all the shops, houses and restaurants are built on stilts. Ganvie was formed between the 16th and 17th centuries by the Tofinu people to evade capture by the Fon, the prevalent slave catchers of the time who sold people to European traders.

Benin Republic is a coastal country with lots of beautiful beaches, at almost every turn. Sun, sand and coconuts, Benin has everything you've ever dreamed of your dream vacation spot.

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