Benin — Shopping and Leisure
Benin is not exactly a shopper’s haven, but this doesn’t mean that there are not great souvenirs to be picked up and unbeatable deals to be found. Benin’s rich heritage and culture make for unique and interesting crafts such as carved wooden masks which are used during traditional ceremonies, hand-woven baskets, pottery, brass goods, and textiles. The same products are more expensive elsewhere in the world, so buying them in the country of origin is a good idea and more authentic.
Cotonou is the best city for shopping – souvenir or otherwise. By far the best place to find anything is the highly popular and somewhat overwhelming Grand Marche du Dantopka. This Benin market, which spans miles, is one of the best and biggest in West Africa. Tourists can find everything from clothes and household appliances to authentic handicrafts. Brave shoppers should keep an eye out for the fetish section where voodoo dolls, herbs, and potions can be purchased freely.
For those looking for something a little more established, there are supermarkets and a few department stores which sell traditional articles of clothing and more expensive souvenirs. Tourists need only go to the center of Cotonou around the Marché Ganhi area to find a range of stores in Benin to suit their needs.