Porto Novo Flights:
Flights to Porto Novo Porto Novo is the official capital of Benin though Cotonou is the larger city. Once controlled by France, Benin has been an independent nation since 1960. The main language spoken is still French though many traditional Beninese languages are common too. If you can speak French, you’ll get along well in Porto Novo.
The nearest airport for flights to Porto Novo is the Cadjehoun Airport (airport code: COO) just outside of Cotonou. It’s about 25 kilometres from Porto Novo. There are only a few flights to Porto Novo and they all have two connections when travelling from Johannesburg. South African Airways stops in Accra and Abidjan, and Kenya Airways goes another way through Harare and Nairobi. You can also get flights to Porto Novo that travel via Europe with Lufthansa, and connect in Frankfurt and then again in Brussels.
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The Tourist Attractions of Porto Novo:
Porto Novo Museum of Ethnography
Many exhibits of Benin’s history and culture are on display at the Porto Novo Museum of Ethnography, with a special large exhibit of Yoruba tribal masks. It’s one of the best museums in the city and you should take some time for a walk-through. You won’t be able to take any photos inside though.
King Toffa’s Palace
This is actually another museum, though it was used as a residence for Benin kings until 1970, hence the name. The complex is filled with displays from the royal history of the country, with a focus on the reign of King Toffa (which was at the end of the 1800s). You can see how the local Orisha religions played a role in his rule. It is a very interesting look into the royal lifestyle. There are many historical photographs and the royal carriage is also on display.
The open-air Adjarra Market is a short drive just north of Porto Novo, and offers a wide range of goods for sale. It operates every fourth day. You can get many kinds of hand-made souvenirs, including many unusual voodoo trinkets (Voodoo is one of the main religions in Benin).
The city of Cotonou is not far from Porto Novo and offers another range of sights if you take a day-trip there. Their Dantokpa Market is huge and offers hundreds of vendors selling fruit, vegetables, fabrics, jewellery, souvenirs and other handicrafts. The uniquely red and white striped Cathedral of our Lady of Mercy is another popular sight in the city. Because Cotonou is right on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, there are also some good beaches just south of the city.
When Should You Visit?:
It is hot in Porto Novo all year long with only a few degrees of variation from one season to the next. Most days will reach 27C (81F) in the daytime, though July and August are slightly cooler. February through April is slightly warmer by a degree or two. Rains are very heavy in April, May and June though so you should avoid those months for better weather. August and September are really the best times to go, being cooler and drier than the rest of the year.