Flights to Cotonou Cotonou is the de facto capital of Benin, in Western Africa, and the country’s largest city. The official capital is Porto-Novo, but Cotonou is Benin’s centre for economy and a major sea port. It isn’t a hugely popular tourist destination, but if you are passing through there are several sites of interest to stop and see.
When getting a flight to Cotonou from Johannesburg, you will arrive at the Cadjehoun Airport (airport code: COO) which is not far from the city. The only airline that has a scheduled service to Cotonou direct from South Africa is Interair South Africa, flying from Johannesburg, but all other flights to Cotonou will have 2 connections. With some airlines the flight to Cotonou may take a total of more than 2 days because of infrequent connecting flights. Kenya Airways has a more reasonable route through Gaborone and Nairobi that will take less than 14 though. Otherwise you can fly with Ethiopian Airlines and have stops in Addis Ababa and Lome. Lufthansa and South African Airways also have indirect flights to Cotonou.
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The Tourist Attractions of Cotonou:
Officially named the Cathedral of Notre Dame des Apotres, Cotonou Cathedral is by far the major landmark of the city. Its very striking façade makes it hard to miss this building with its red and white stripes created by rows and white and burgundy tiles. The interior is quite plain in comparison to the outside, and it’s been designed for functionality rather than aesthetics.
Cotonou Central Mosque is another major religious landmark, for the Islamic population of Cotonou. Catholics and Christians are most adundant in the city, though there are many followers of Islam too.
Ancien Pont Bridge
The cathedral is quite close to another of Cotonou’s major landmarks, the Ancien Pont Bridge. This is one of the main bridges that cross over the canal that essentially splits the city in two and was dug by the French in 1855.
The centre for shopping in Cotonou is an open air market, called Dantopka Market. You may not believe that a market could be so important, but Dantopka is actually one of the most important shopping areas in the whole country of Benin, let alone Cotonou. This is where much of the city’s trade takes place and it’s where the locals come to shop, so as a tourist you’ll get to experience an important part of everyday life in Cotonou if you shop here.
When Should You Visit?:
You will probably want to avoid the two rainy seasons that occur in Cotonou each year as rainfall is very high at these times. The first one is between March and July, and the second is mainly October, though there is a lesser amount of rainfall across the other months too. Another period to avoid is December to January as during this time the city is affected by strong winds, so really this leaves February, August, September and November as the best times to visit Cotonou. During these months the temperatures are in the high 20’s C.