Benin, an urban center located in the southern part of Nigeria is such a cosmopolitan city! It can be stressful, messy and chaotic sometimes, but its diversity, food, art and music scene are just incomparable with other parts of the continent. Benin is beautiful, unique, and it is certainly one of the best capital cities in the country.
If you are planning to move to Benin or are simply paying a visit, here are a few reasons from Jovago.com, Africa’s No.1 online hotel booking portal, on why you should love this place.
The exquisite arts and culture
Benin City is known as one of the most ancient cities in the whole of Africa. From its rich history to traditions, culture, festivals and arts, it really is a culture enthusiasts haven! The Igue festival which is held towards the end of each year is one event that any lover of great culture around the world would not want to miss.
Laid back lifestyle
Benin City is surely not as fast-paced as several other metropolitan cities in its category. The lifestyle in the area is laid back, and it is as though its inhabitants live with the mantra: work hard, play harder. The bars are always spilling onto the streets (especially after payday), and restaurants are packed. Also, there always events going on all the time that it is almost impossible to get bored of the city.
A bounty of gastronomic delights
The people of Benin are not lacking in the area of local foods and snack. Not only are there bountiful options, the ingredients on each recipe ensure that each meal is mouth-watering. Again, the city is full of good places to eat- even vegetarians get well fed! Local favorites are local bukka like Mama ebo pepper rice where food is not only authentic and tasty, but also affordable.
A taste of royalty
The Benin City is a kingdom. Its royal family is one of the oldest and most recognized in the world. From the Omo N’Oba to the royal chiefs and of course, the royal palace, as well as the Holy Arousa cathederal, there is enough to keep you enthralled. You really do not even need to be a fan of Monarchy to be fascinated by all of it!
Visiting or living in Benin will give you the chance to see famous sights and attractions in Nigeria without rushing them. From the royal palace to the Benin moat and the Igun-Eronmwon Quarters -listed as a Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, you will become so familiar with the area that when you next watch a documentary on the Benin Royal dynasty you will easily recognize where they are going.
Not everyone in Benin feels the need to own a car as the transport system ensures that vehicles are easily accessible and affordable. The traffic in the city is not excruciatingly heavy either. You can actually cover half of the city in 2 hours and without spending much. The private cabs /taxis also are open to haggling, but usually will not go below N500, no matter how short the distance.
The best markets are tourist free
Unlike some markets that are eternally crowded with tourists, a good example is the Lagos Island market, most of the best markets in the city are tourist free. Whether it is Ekioba, Ekiagbado, Uselu or even New Benin market, you can easily mingle with the locals and make purchases from select destinations without being fleeced or treated like a tourist also.
By Ndem Nkem, Travel/Tech Writer