Benin for a weekend: Places of the Past

 

Maybe not the same experience as crossing borders in Europe but nevertheless without any problems or hassle: Going from Burkina Faso to Benin by land. Tobias and I got our visa from the embassy in Ouagadougou. Oh, in fact, relations between the two countries are not the best ones, so there is only a consular - no embassy. Burkina and Benin still have open conflict about unsolved land issues. Anyway, the visa is probably ready after two days if you are friendly. If not, three days. It costs 40.000F (60 Euro) and here´s what you need:

 

 

- either hotel reservation or invitation letter from a friend in Benin, a copy of your passport

 


If you want to cross the border by your own car, you need a "laissez passer". This document basically proves that you are not going to sell the car in Benin and that you have paid tax on it. A handwritten demand to ask Madame Consular for this documents including a copy of the grey-card and your license is fine. It costs 8000F (12 Euro).

 

 

So we went from Fada to Nati. An incredible stunning ride. Streets are not good on burkinabé side (surprise surprise) but as soon as we have crossed the border, driving becomes fun! The border itself, well, we almost missed it! There is only a tiny house where you signed up with your passport and they give you the Burkina-Exit-Stamp. Then 15 Kilometers no-man-land. This is the area that causes tensions. So the

 


 

 

Benin border comes only after 20 minutes drive or so. As easy as before. We walked to the officer, he was very friendly, stamped our passports and that´s it.

 

After in total four hours we reached Natitingou. A lovely town in north Benin. Tobias and I have been here in 2015 and our favorite pizza- restaurant still looked exactly the same. Our luck! Also our friend still lives in Nati and we were so happy to stay with him again! Nati is a tourist-hub from where tours to the famous Pendjari National Park start. We did it in 2015 but this weekend, we hadn´t had time for it. For Tobias at least our trip is business. He has a new film-project and meets somebody in Parakou for an interview.

 

So Parakou, this is where we head the next day. Another three hours but easy riding due to a brand new street. Parakou - this is where I stayed and where I worked for the radio station "Arzeke FM" two years back in time. I would have never thought I will come back to this city. Wow. Surprisingly, my memory is not too bad. I found the house where I lived and the radio station. Also the best supermarket in town and the hotel where I used to go for swimming. We had delicious ice-cream, too! I even went to say "hi" at the radio station. It was a Saturday so no wonder that most journalists were at home. But at least one former colleague was at the radio and he was apparently happy to see me. He remembered straight away and also still knew some of topics that I worked on.

 

 

Important to know:

 

Information about Benin/Burkina Faso Border at Porga-crossing

 

Visa on Arrival at the Benin border: 48 hours – 33.000 F (49 Euro)

 

Visa on Arrical at the Burkina Border: 3 days – 24.000 F (35 Euro)

 

90 days – 94.000 F (140 Euro)