Benin City is the Capital of Edo State located in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. The city has a rich cultural heritage dating back to hundreds of years before British colonial rule. It is bordered to the west by Okitipupa, to the East by Igbanke, and to the South by Sapele. The city houses an estimated population of about 1.7 million people
Benin City is blessed with a lot of tourist attractions, it is also a beehive of economic and socio-cultural activities. Major tourist attractions include the Benin City National Museum, the palace of the Oba of Benin and the King square recreational park. Though the city gets relatively more exciting during festivals such as the Igue Festival, the Ebomisi festival and the Adu Ikukun festival, Benin is a great place to visit all year round.
The city of Benin has a tropical climate and the average annual temperature of 26.1 degrees celsius. There are two major seasons in Benin; the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season runs from around April to September while the dry season last from October to the end of March.
How to get to Benin City
The Benin Airport is the official designated air-based entry point into the Benin and Edo State. The airport receives flights from major Nigerian cities including Lagos and Abuja. It is located about two kilometres away from the major business district of the city.
The major airlines which operate at the Benin airport are Aero Contractors, Arik Air and the Associated Aviation. The average cost of air travel to the Benin Airport from the major cities in Nigeria is N23,000 and the average travel time is 20 minutes.
Road transportation is the most common form of transportation from other parts of Nigeria to Benin. It is easier to get direct vehicles from the South-south, South-East and South-West of the country to Benin City, than from the Northern parts of the country. However, the close proximity of Benin City to Lagos makes it easy for travellers who cannot access Benin directly to do so via Lagos.
The major rail network into and out of Benin City is the Benin City-Agbor-Onitsha-Nnewi-Owerri-Aba rail line. The rail provides a cheaper but slower transport alternative into Benin City. This rail links Benin with several cities in neighbouring states.
The average cost of this means of transportation is N3000. However, in recent years, the comatose nature of the Nigerian railway sector has hampered transportation into Benin by rail lines.
Getting around Benin City
Intra-city transportation in Benin City is often by commercial motorcycles (known as okada), the regular transporter buses and the private cab operators. The most comfortable way to get around the city is by the private cabs. Be advised, however, as cab fares are often considerably high.
Things to do in Benin City
Benin City has a lot of rich cultural sites that take you on a journey through the city’s history. Some of them are;
The Benin City National Museum
This home of history is located in the King’s Square. It tells a graphic story of the ingenuity and creative abilities of the people of the Benin Empire. These are highlighted by bronze figures, pieces of cast iron and the popular terracotta artefacts.
The Oba of Benin’s Palace
The Royal Palace is where the Oba of Benin and notable Royals in the Kingdom reside. It serves as both a source of attraction for tourists and the seat of the city’s traditional administration.
The Benin Moat
The Benin Moat also referred to as Iya in the local Benin dialect, was erected to defend the Benin Empire during its precolonial wartimes. The walls which can be traced to the 13th century had an initial height of up to 60 feet and covered a land area of more than 15,000 km.
Free things to do in Benin City
There are a number of free things to do in Benin on a budget. You can visit one or more of the city’s numerous historical monuments, go to historic places of worship, partaking in one of the many colourful cultural events and festivals or view the natural splendour of the Benin layout.
How to spend 48 hours in Benin City
Although 48 hours is barely enough time to soak in all the fun and entertainment that Benin City has to offer, we have put together the ultimate guide to enjoying the city in a limited time.
Where to shop in Benin City
Benin City has a vibrant economic life characterised by the presence of several open-air markets and shopping centres. Some of them are;
Phil Hallmark Shopping Plaza
This shopping plaza located along Sapele road offers household items as well as food items and beverages.
This market is Benin City’s oldest Market and is located at Ring Road. This market offers shoppers a wide range of items which range from food items to jewellery and other quality items.
This market is mostly popular for the sales and acquisition of fishes and other aquatic derivatives which are imported from Delta State. Other edible items are also sold at the Santana Market. This market is situated along the Sapele road in Benin City.
This market is open for business at four days intervals and is mostly involved in the sale of farm produce chief of which is palm oil and cassava. This market is found in Ovia North East local government area of Benin City.
Where to eat in Benin City
A variety of local and foreign cuisines are served at the various restaurants of Benin City. Local eateries known as roadside bukkas are the cheapest meal alternative. However, irrespective your budget, you can always get a decent meal in Benin with as little as N300.
Popular restaurants in Benin City include;
Bamboo House and
The Sanik Hut
At these restaurants, you can try some of the famous local delicacies like Omoebe soup and Omi Ukpoka.
Staying in Benin City
Benin City has its fair share of hotels ranging from low budget to luxury Hotels which visitors can choose from.
If you are looking for a luxury experience, there are various hotels to choose from. A few of these luxury hotels include Protea Hotel by Marriot, Uyi Grand Hotel and Suites and Golden Tulip Essential Hotels.
Good To Know: Benin Postcode
The Benin city postal code is 300211 and extends to 300281 depending on the area. The Benin zip code is the same. Postal codes for Benin can be determined by adding a three digit suffix to 300. Postal codes are used by NIPOST and other delivery services to sort mail.
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