Travel

How To Discover Cotonou in One Weekend

Up until Thursday Night last week, I was not sure I was going to head from lagos to cotonou by road for the weekend. However, I spent last weekend in C-Town without any previous plans. I really just went with the flow. Again just like I did here, I traveled from Lagos to Cotonou by road. It was really the same procedure only this time, I went through the border posts to have my passport stamped and caused a bit of drama :mrgreen: .

Lagos to Cotonou by Road

The Immigration Officers on the Nigeria side had asked my friend for money because it was his first time through the Seme border post, and I definitely was not having any of that. What really set me blazing was the attitude. Stamping is free. No officer should be asking anyone for money, and even if you would, approach matters, the officer came at us like he had a right to ask for money and that was when I went livid.

Seme Border

My Friend ended up having his passports stamped without paying,  however, we paid with loss of time and a lot of talk. I would like that more people stand firm against the exploitation and corruption going on at the borders. Our Lagos to Cotonou by road trip took about 7hours from when we set out at about 3PM, this was mostly because of traffic and unnecessary stops, hence Friday after work might not be such a good time to head from Lagos to Cotonou by Road. I must point out that despite the fact that we traveled late, I didn’t feel the least bit unsafe.

lagos to cotonou by road

By way of update from my previous post, transportation time from Seme Border to Mile 2 took over 3 hours, I am guessing this was because we hadn’t set out early. Also the transportation price now ranges from 800Naira which we paid for our Bus trip to 2,000 which you could potentially be paying for a taxi. I must say that the bus was mostly uncomfortable and if you can afford it, you should go by Taxi Instead.

Price Breakdown Per Person

Outbound

Boarding Destination Price
Obalende Oshodi N150 (Bus)
Oshodi Mile 2 N150 (Bus)
Mile 2 Seme N800 (Bus)
Seme Tokpa Market (Cotonou) CFA 1000 (Shared SUV)
Tokpa Market Accommodation CFA 200

Inbound

Boarding Destination Price
Accommodation Tokpa Market CFA 250
Tokpa Market Seme CFA 1000 (Shared Taxi)
Seme Mile 2 N1500 (Shared Taxi)
Mile 2 CMS N150

Cotonou was fun, from partying at a local bar,  trying new beer and vibing to almost solely french music,

Cotonou

To holding up conversions conveniently in french, long walks at about 1am, dancing on the streets at 3am, swimming in a salt water pool,  sun, sand and sea vibes on the beach.

lagos to cotonou by road

To skeptically trying new food, surviving on what we could comfortably get down our throats, to finally getting some food we ate without reservations.

findingae (1 of 1)-136

To goofing around in the hot weather and taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

Uche Kayode

Cotonou

To discovering there might be a difference between Piment and Poivre, two french words  which I previously thought could be used interchangeably to mean Pepper in English, to learning new words and lastly making new friends (Fabrice, Abu and especially Dimitrie who went all out for us).

lagos to cotonou bus

If you found this useful, I would totally love to know in the comment section. If you have any questions, Do not hesitate to ask. Want to keep up with my travels real time? Go check out my Instagram

 

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34 Comments

  • Reply Ridwan April 5, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Nice one!
    Thanks

    • AE
      Reply AE April 5, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks for reading Ridwan. Hopefully we’d be headed somewhere together soon.

  • Reply ARIYO April 7, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    My city 😁. Miss this city and can’t wait to go back before heading to Togo for the first time. Thanks for sharing your experience, I usually take the idi-iroko border route as it’s of lesser hassle compared to seme border. Got the link from Uche Kayode’s WhatsApp status by the way.

    • AE
      Reply AE April 8, 2019 at 8:40 am

      Lol…Are you from Cotonu? I also have plans to head out to Togo sometime soon.

      • Reply ARIYO April 23, 2019 at 12:19 am

        No I’m Nigerian. Just got back from Togo and Lomé is such a beautiful city. You should definitely visit soon.

        • AE
          Reply AE April 23, 2019 at 8:13 am

          Hi Ariyo, I also visited Lome about a year ago. I intend to visit again sometimes soon.

      • Reply Duke July 4, 2019 at 3:51 am

        Good morning Anu, I have found your article quite interesting. I do have a few questions, maybe you might be of help. While going through your Itinerary, and also reading through your comment section, I noticed that you wrote in one of your articles that you travel to Cotonou through Mile2 and in another article you said you to Cotonou through Mile 12, so which is it really and whats the fastest route that’s hassle free? I also noticed that one of your commenters said it is easier traveling through idi-iroko border route. I am a first-time traveler to Cotonou of course and I intend traveling there these weekend but unsure how to Navigate from MMIA since I will be landing Nigeria at 11pm at night and would love to head out there immediately. Please advice if its safer to spend the night in nigeria before I begin my journey to Cotonou and what route is safest and quickest to to get to Cotonou. Also Do I need to bring along my Yellow card ? Is it Mandatory to get a Stamp at the Border post ? Thank you in advance.

        • AE
          Reply AE July 4, 2019 at 10:57 am

          Hi Duke, I will respond to this as comprehensive as I can. If i leave any thing out, please let me know. The route is MILE 2. I made a mistake and would correct it to consistently read MILE 2. I have not been through the Idiroko border and I do not have much to say on it. My parents have been there and I will ask and revert on how the route is. However that is the route for smuggling of cars and I do not recommend it. Also considering that you will be landing at MMIA, Seme border is a better choice. I will advise you find a hotel or Airbnb to spend the Night close to the Airport in Ikeja, then find your way to Seme as early as possible. The road leading out is extremely bad due to the raining season and there is a lot of traffic. Please head out as early as possible. It is safer and better to take your yellow card. This is to avoid extortion on the route. It is NOT mandatory to get a border stamp. You can travel with mere Identification. When you get to the last stop. You can just take a bike for 5ooNaira across the border.

    • Reply Duke July 4, 2019 at 3:56 am

      Good morning ARIYO, so it seems like you have experienced traveling to Cotonou more than once. What was your experience whilst traveling to Cotonou from the Seme Border compared to the Idi iroko border route? Please If I was to travel from the Airport in Ikeja Lagos, what’s the best route to follow and what’s the travel time? Do I have to present my passport at the border post for stamping plus a Yellow card? Also is it best to have the CFA currency handy or best to travel with other currency or just my Debit cards? Please advise. Thank you

      • AE
        Reply AE July 4, 2019 at 11:01 am

        While Ariyo is also responding, it is better to take cash and change at the border. As at Friday 28th June 2019. 1000 Naira was changed for me at 1610 Cefa, this can be more depending on your bargaining skills. I arrived Cotonou at 11pm and couldn’t be bothered with hassling. Upon getting into Cotonou, your Naira devaluates and exchange rate is lesser.

        • Reply Duke July 4, 2019 at 1:43 pm

          Hi Anu, thank you for your speedy response. So I did check out Air BnB on the internet as I have used them quite a bit on my Journeys around Europe, and the experience I have gained with Air Bnb Is that some Landlords can be from HELL and make your entire Vacation a terrible one as compared to A Hotel Experience.

          1. That said, racism played a big part in my bitter experience with Air BnB. I have no Idea how the Beninoise people treat their guests so I am a little bit apprehensive, hence I would like to get your candid opinion while putting cost into consideration, is there a difference to getting an Air Bnb as to Staying in a Hotel ??

          2. I noticed in your email, you mentioned, exchanging the Niara to the Cefa before entering Rep Benin because it will devaluate upon arrival, does this also apply to the Dollar? Do I get a better Value for money if I take dollar into the country and have it exchanged to the local currency? Please Advise.

          3. My flight into Nigeria Arrives a little past midnight, is it advisable to begin my Journey to Benin after midnight in order to save up cost of Hotel in Nigeria and also to beat the hellish morning traffic in and around the Ikeja Area or is it not safe to journey at night, and will I get transportation to the Border in those hours of the night? Are there any miscreants I should watch out for around the Border? Anything particular I should be watchful for ?? Thank you very much for your time and I await your response.

    • Reply LO October 11, 2019 at 11:21 am

      Hi Ariyo, can you please explain how you go about the route through Idi-Iroko? Thanks in advance.

      • AE
        Reply AE October 11, 2019 at 6:49 pm

        Hi LO, pls don’t hesitate to share with us when you make the trip through Idi Iroko

  • Reply Olamide June 21, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Nice one Anu,I like this more so cause of the break down,you are a real life saver

  • Reply Victoria July 7, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Thank you so much for this post AE. Very helpful! I will be visiting next month, i hope to find any travel buddy willing to join also . Holla

    • Reply Bliss July 8, 2019 at 11:24 pm

      Hy will be visiting too
      Buh in DEC

      • AE
        Reply AE July 9, 2019 at 6:07 pm

        Great, safe trip.

  • Reply Seyi Pope August 2, 2019 at 8:50 am

    How and where do you get accommodation in Tokpa market please?
    I am planning travelling to Cotonou but not sure of how much to prepare for accommodation for three days.

    • AE
      Reply AE August 5, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Hi Seyi, I didnt get accommodation in Tokpa Market. I have sent you an AIRBNB Link via email. When you sign up, you can checkout accommodation depending on you budget.

      • Reply Tobi August 22, 2019 at 6:40 pm

        Hi AE. Your detailed breakdown is a life saver! Thank you. I intend to visit Cotonue first week of September, spend a few days (3 days) and head to Lome for another 3 days before coming back to Nigeria.

        I am trying to see how the cost implication is and I even though straightforward, I am still a little confused with the cost of your accomodation. Your breakdown said 250CFA at Tokpa Market, is this correct? You also said you booked via airBNB, I will love to have a link as well.

        Thanks.

        • AE
          Reply AE August 25, 2019 at 8:44 pm

          Hi Tokpa, I will send you the Airbnb link shortly, however what I meant was the cost of Transportation fro Tokpa Market to our Accommodation (Airbnb) was 250CFA not the Accommodation itself.

  • Reply Lekan December 10, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Please Ariyo, can we private chat or can i call you? I want to have a family vacation this December and prefer an african country. Maybe you can be of help. Number is +2348073925638. You can whatsapp it too.

    Please Sir, its a bit urgent, help a friend

    Thanks.

    • AE
      Reply AE December 11, 2019 at 12:27 am

      I’m a Ma not a Sir 🙃. I’ll reachout shortly

  • Reply Teslim December 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Hello, please are there direct buses/cabs from Mile2 to Ouidah? or must someone get to Seme then connect Ouidah?

    • AE
      Reply AE December 25, 2019 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Teslim, I’ve not tried this so I do not know for sure but there should be. Let me know if you eventually do

  • Reply Topshay April 9, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Hey Anyu

    Thanks for this amazing piece, I enjoyed reading it. i saw on your Instagram best places to stay in cotonou, could you please send an air bnb link for me to choose. Also could you share places you visited and things to do in cotonou please?

    Because after this corona madness, i plan to leave my life and start travelling by starting small instead of waiting for the money for the big trips. please help me ?

    THANKS

    • AE
      Reply AE April 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      Lol…Hi Topshay! Nice move. YOLO Yeah! I also intend to travel more when all of these is over. Use my link to get at least $20 off your first booking
      https://www.airbnb.com/c/anuo121?currency=USD. Also Airbnb allows you to filter the homes by price. Put in your budgeted amount and you will get options within that price range. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Reply Temitope Akinbo💕 April 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm

        Thanks Anu for the reply , please what are things you can do in Cotonou , places you can go also ? I didn’t find a piece of information about that on your site . Thank you

        • AE
          Reply AE April 26, 2020 at 4:40 pm

          Hi Temitope, I have a blogpost on it, if you search Cotonou, you’ll find it

  • Reply Aboosman May 6, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Actually everything I see here is awesome, from the topics to the comments I love it.

    My travel experience to Benin republic was easy but funny and full of dramas for the fact that I can’t speak French as well as the use of quoins money, unlike in Nigeria. Is an experience I often laugh at whenever I remember.
    That was a time I get to understand that English is sometimes useless. I went through the Idiroko Border and I took the back door as a radical Nigerian instead of following the due process lol.

    • AE
      Reply AE May 6, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      Lol…How was the Idiroko border? I’ve never been to Benin through that route but my parents have. How did it go?

      • Reply Aboosman May 7, 2020 at 11:50 am

        I didn’t go through the border post neither did I took bike, even though there are bike men around that cross people through the back route for a certain fee, ranging from 1k to 1500. A friend connect me with someone who reside at the border, we trek through the garage linking the back route down to Igolo the Benin side, even though there is presence of security personnels as well as area boys from both countries with several stick mounted gates, collecting money randomly, from #50 #100 or #200, is advisable one should just pay the bike men to avoid the stress and paying higher since that route doesn’t have anything to do with passport. I didn’t pay anything though, because they all know my guy and he speaks their languages.

        I gain more knowledge. After changing my naira to cefa, I enter motor from Igolo to Tokpa in Cotonou 1500cefa, they even collect 2000cf from others because transport fare was at the high side that time, due to fuel scarcity bedeviling them as a result of Nigerian border closure, because they rely on Nigeria for fuel. I returned same day through same route.

  • Reply Micheal E June 21, 2020 at 12:17 am

    Anu I intend on traveling to Cotonou on the 27th of June to catch a flight from COO. Can you suggest a decent hotel near the airport where I can stay and what are the price range. This will be my first time. How do I navigate the border crossing. Your advice will most appreciated

    • AE
      Reply AE June 23, 2020 at 2:33 am

      Hi Micheal, you can check booking.com or aibnb.com for a place to stay. I am not familiar with hotels at the airport. My post pretty much says it all. Just be prepared to part with some money or be subject to delays, in the alternative just take a hike across

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