Crime in Benin: What Travelers Need to Know

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Find out about criminal activity in Benin, how to stay safe on the roads, and common forms of fraud in the country.

Streets of Ouidah, Benin Photo © Getty Images/peeterv

The capital city of Benin is Porto Novo, but the largest city and administrative capital is Cotonou. While traveling to these cities, there are a few crime issues travelers need to be aware of.

Street crime, robberies, car-jackings and muggings do occur in the country, particularly along Boulevard de France (the beach road by the Marina and Novotel Hotels) and on the beaches near hotels visited frequently by travelers.

Criminal Activity in Benin

There have been recent reports on the use of force in robberies, including armed hold-ups. Don't carry valuables while traveling around Benin, and only carry a photocopy of your passport, not the real thing. Use your common sense and don't flash your cash, which would definitely make yourself a target for robbery.

Similar to the situation in other countries throughout West Africa, travelers should avoid isolated and poorly lit areas, and should not walk around the city or the beaches between dusk and dawn. The Dantokpa market is particularly dangerous at night. It's common sense really, stay in well lit and populated areas, and in Benin, don't wander off the beaten track.

Safety on the Roads

Some of the border areas, notably the Nigeria border are very dangerous, where armed robberies and banditry has been reported. Car-jackings have been reported on highways and rural roads. Exercise caution while in a car or taxi: keep the windows rolled up, the doors locked, and stay alert for any suspicious behavior or attempts by people on the streets to stop a moving car.

Fraud in Benin

It can surely come as no surprise that fraud is rife throughout West Africa, so you should exercise extreme caution when using credit cards and ATM machines.

Business and internet fraud is also common so if you are presented with a proposal for a quick and simple transaction, be alert and wary, don't become a victim. Also, corruption is endemic in Benin - if you are requested to provide a "gift" to facilitate official matters, just politely decline.

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  • Angela said

    Need a favor. I've been trying to get in touch with a friend that is staying at Benin Marina Hotel, in Benin Contonu.

    He goes by Jim Lawson staying there for three months for business. Supposedly managing a gas station/mini mart that is being built there.

    Can someone help to see if he is actually staying at the hotel.

    I don't have the funds to call the hotel.
    Thank you ever so much.

  • Jim Lawson said

    Yes I am alive and kicking. Come to Benin and meet me.

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