If you’ve been following me up across my social media feeds (instagram, facebook and twitter), you’ll notice that I recently leisure tripped to Benin republic with my travel buddy, Favour. We spent about roughly 2 days and nights in the Benin Republic. Here is a summary of our road trip, accommodation details, routes and total cost of travelling from Lagos to Benin republic (Ouidah and Cotonou).
THE JOURNEY FROM LAGOS:
Going through Lagos? Find your way to Badagry.
I and Favour departed from Lagos at about 2 in the afternoon. Since we were staying in Maryland, we had to devise the shortest possible means to badagry while avoiding traffic too. But then again, we were a bit new at this.
So, we took a bus from Maryland to Iyana Ipaja. Cost us #200 each.
From Iyana Ipaja, we took another bus to Iyana oba. Cost us #200 each.
We had to drop at the First gate, didn’t get to Iyan Oba junction. We took a private car going to badagry. It cost us #400 each.
The car dropped us at the seme-badagry junction.
You might want to read on how I survive Lagos here.
From Maryland to Badagry took about 2 hours including little stops and traffic.
From Badagry to Seme took about 20-30minutes.
A little funny story:
So, on getting to the junction, we saw commercial Taxi’s going to the seme border for #150. And we also saw an old man with a private car who said he was gonna take us straight to seme for #2000 without immigration disturbances on the road. He was really convincing. Favour told me the old man wanted to rip us off. She said we should go with a commercial taxi. That it was the same. I was already exhausted enough, needed a little comfort and decided to trust this old man. We decided to go with him after I agreed to pay the old man #1000 here and the remaining when we get to our destination. Long story short, he dropped us halfway (at the border) after demanding for the balance which we didn’t agree to give him. Since it wasn’t part of the agreement.
AT THE BORDER:
There are 2 options for getting through the border. One is legal. And the other is illegal.
The first option (legal):
With your international passport, go through the immigration gate. Here, your passport gets stamped. Benin republic is a visa-free country for Nigerians. However, some usual security questions would be asked at the gates. Questions like your purpose of visit, how long you would stay, etc.
A second option (illegal):
People without passports use this option. Even people who have expired passports or just want to avoid all the immigration procedures use this option. This is the reason why most countries have porous borders. Cos people take advantage of these means to make more money for their pockets.
There are bikes just at the entrance of seme. They take people across the border through the porous side. They are basically “registered”. Their uniform is a green vest with serial numbers on them. They charge #500 to get you across.
I would advise that you have your international passport and go through the main gates. Entrance is free. No charges. No luggage size restriction. No gadget restriction.
Not so sure of how to get an international passport? These tips would help you out.
However, if you choose to go illegally, you are required to carry only a small size bag or backpack. No big box with no laptops or camera.
Crossing the border doesn’t take much time. Except if there’s traffic or a long line of vehicles going across.
Note: If you’re going with your own vehicle, you would be required to pay #65,000 at the gate. This is to register your vehicle and its number plates before going in.
AFTER THE BORDER:
Obtaining the local currency:
Once you get across successfully, there is a place by your right where you can change money. From Naira or Dollars to Cefa. Cefa is the official currency of Benin Republic.
As at when I visited, the exchange rate of Naira to Cefa was 1 naira to 1.5 cefa. That means for every one thousand naira, its equivalent is one thousand five hundred cefa.
I came with a lot of money on me due to my travel fears.
I changed only #20,000 since I and favour were going to share the whole trip including accommodation and transportation cost. This amounted to 30,000 cefa. Which is quite an amount of money in Benin Republic.
From there, we had to make our way to Cotonou. Although we went to ouidah first, Cotonou is the connecting town between seme and ouidah. This means You have to get to Cotonou first before Ouidah.
How to get to Cotonou from seme:
Just by where you change your money, there are vehicles loading there to Cotonou. The cost of getting to Cotonou from seme is 1000 cefa.
At Cotonou, the vehicle drops around Topa (toh-kpa) area. It is important to cautiously make friends with people around you in a foreign country. Cautiously. Using these tips on how to make meaningful friendships with people around you. I and favour made friends with the driver of the vehicle and he helped us get into another vehicle going to Ouidah.
The vehicle was actually going to Togo via Ouidah. It cost us 1500 cefa each.
From seme to Cotonou is about 45 mins.
From Cotonou to Ouidah is about 1 – 2 hours.
We arrived at ouidah a little late in the evening. Say 7 pm. The driver dropped us somewhere right after the historical monument junction. He also helped us to talk to the bike men there to take us to the hotel. The bike men tried to overcharge us. Seeing that we were foreigners who didn’t understand French that much. Our saving grace was that we can count in French so the use of numbers wasn’t a challenge.
They (driver and bike men) settled on 800 cefa (huit cent). To take us to the hotel.
We stayed at hotel de la diaspora. This cost us 13000 cefa per night.
However, before booking, we had looked up several hotels online.
Before booking a hotel, there are several things to look out for. Things that make your stay easier and pleasant. Lookout out for these things that make your stay at the hotel worth it here.
We paid for one night since we were not sure of staying the next night. Remember, we split the bill.
At the tourist attractions:
The tourist attraction at Ouidah is really close to the hotel we stayed at. Some 1 minute walk. Read more on the hotel review here.
However, since we were unfamiliar with the local language, we thought of getting a translator / tour guide to take us round. The first guide that approached us set his price at 15000 cefa. This was too high for us. The next two told us 11000 and 10000 cefa each.
After much deliberations, we decided to tour by ourselves. What better way to find out how the city works if not by experiencing it. To read how our tour went, click here.
Back to Cotonou:
We finished touring pretty early. While we were checking out from the hotel, a cab came to drop off some tourists. The receptionist went and spoke to the driver on our behalf. He bargained with him to take us back to Cotonou for 4000 cefa. After much argument, he agreed. The price was higher this time cos it is a registered tourist cab service with WiFi inclusive. Sweeeeeettttt!
We got to Cotonou without even realising. Thanks to the Wi-Fi. The cab dropped us off at Topa area. We had to go in search of a hotel again. This time around, we couldn’t get any hotel online at such short notice.
We finally got a good hotel at 10000 cefa per night. We paid for one night since we were leaving the next day.
Cotonou back to seme:
Checked out early in the morning. Took a bike down to the park. Cost us 200 cefa each.
From the park to the border in seme cost us 1000 cefa each. Since we had some money left from our stay, we had to change it back to Naira at the border.
Seme to Lagos:
The trip from seme to Lagos was more expensive than when we came. Due to reasons unknown to us. We were charged #1500 each to Iyana Ipaja. At least, we didn’t stop at badagry.
From iyana ipaja, we found our way back to Maryland.
Total cost sum up per person:
Lagos to seme – #1800
Seme to Cotonou – 1000 cefa
Cotonou to Ouidah – 1500 cefa
Ouidah to hotel de la diaspora – 400 cefa
Ouidah to cotonou- 4000 cefa
Cotonou to seme – 1000 cefa
Seme to Lagos – #1500
Hotel at Ouidah – 13000 cefa
Hotel at Cotonou – 10000 cefa.
Day 1 – we brought our food and snacks from Lagos.
Day 2 – Breakfast was free.
Lunch – Ate snacks that remained.
Dinner – 400 cefa each.
Total cost of travelling from Lagos to Benin republic:
TOTAL COST: #23,750.
With this total cost of travelling from Lagos to Benin republic breakdown, would you like to visit Benin Republic?
You should read steps to plan your trip here.
What do you think about this?
Note – # is naira
CFA is cefa.
Are you interested in visiting Benin republic? Come with me on my next trip as my travel buddy. I’ll love to have you. Leave me your details and i’ll contact you.