General Information

officially the Republic of Benin and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital. Benin's climate is hot and humid.

Local languages are used as the languages of instruction in elementary schools, with French only introduced after several years. In wealthier cities, however, French is usually taught at an earlier age.

A range of mountains extends along the northwest border and into Togo; these are the Atacora. The highest point, Mont Sokbaro, is at (2,159 ft). Benin has fallow fields, mangroves, and remnants of large sacred forests. In the rest of the country, the savanna is covered with thorny scrub and dotted with huge baobab trees. Some forests line the banks of rivers.

In the north and the northwest of Benin, the Reserve du W du Niger and Pendjari National Park attract tourists eager to see elephants, lions, antelopes, hippos, and monkeys. Pendjari National Park together with the bordering Parks Arli and W in Burkina Faso and Niger are among the most important strongholds for the endangered West African lion. With an estimated (range: 246–466) lions.

Historically Benin has served as habitat for the endangered painted hunting dog, Lycaon pictus; however, this canid is thought to have been locally extirpated.

Beninese cuisine is known in Africa for its exotic ingredients and flavorful dishes. Beninese cuisine involves fresh meals served with a variety of key sauces. In southern Benin, the most common ingredient is corn, often used to prepare dough which is mainly served with peanut- or tomato-based sauces. Fish and chicken are the most common meats used in southern Beninese cuisine, but beef, goat, and bush rat are also consumed.

The main staple in northern Benin is yams, often served with sauces mentioned above. The population in the northern provinces use beef and pork meat which is fried in palm oil, peanut oil or cooked in sauces. Cheese is used in some dishes. Couscous, rice, and beans are commonly eaten, along with fruits such as mangoes, oranges, avocados, bananas, kiwi fruit, and pineapples.