To travel to Cotonou in Benin Republic from Nigeria is relatively simple. But, if one does not know the way around it, one would be stuck. More so, it can be tedious and complicated if one does not know the way around it. Therefore, it is very essential that you get every help, information and advice you can before you embark on such journey into another country.
Yes, the prices are good and the exchange rate is favorable to Nigerians. However, if you leave Lagos unprepared, you will spend a lot at the border or in trying to enter Cotonou. And in light of this, there would be a need for you to get all the necessary information you can get before embarking on such journey as this.In this post, i will share with you well-detailed information on how to Travel to Cotonou from Lagos in this post.
Things You Will Need for Clearance
- Yellow Card: This is a precautionary card used for any travelling done to another country. It is used to track your travel immunization. This card is a very small one that can be easily fitted into your Visa. So, whenever a physician immunizes you, he or she would put the details there. Read a detailed post on how to get your yellow card here
- Identity Card: This is one of the essential documents. It is a way to assure them you are a Nigerian. It would validate your stay in their country. In a case you do not have Nigerian Identity Card, then you can use your voters card. They accept it also.
- International Passport: this is another essential document you would need over there. Meanwhile, in a case you do not have the international passport, you can use Ecowas Passport. This passport allows you to move within Ecowas Country.Read a detailed post on getting your international passport here
- Luggage Would Be Checked: Just like any international border, they have the right to check your luggage before you are allowed into the country.
Note: Money exchange: it is advisable you quickly change your money to their currency the moment you get to their border as the exchange rate is more favourable there. Thngs may begin to get more expensive when you get into the city proper.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MONEY.
If you are a new bee.It is easy to get cheated if you do not know the the process and steps by which people change their.
Let me explain to you simply.Lets say you get there and they say the exchange rate is 625. What you do is get your calculator and divide the naira you are exchanging by 0.625.
So say you are exchanging N50,000, You will divide N50,000 divided by 0.625= N80,000.So you are going to be given N80,000.They have notes of 10,000 5000, 2000 and 1000.Then coins of 500 100 50 etc.
The Process for Travelling
This post would focus on Two Methods- Travelling by air and Travelling by Road.
Travelling by Road:
There two major ways you can go by road to Cotonou from Lagos- Seme Border or Sango Border. Below, you will find an extensive explanation of how to deal with each of these borders.
How to Cross Seme Border by road
The Seme border is one of the borders you can possibly take to Cotonou. However, it is the rougher option. Therefore, It is essential you know the way to go about it before you fall into the wrong hands. Many people have had to pay excessively. To avoid this, take note
- In-Country Travelling: You will need to go from your house to some major places to take the bus. You can either take a bus from mile 2 bus stop or Iyana-Ipaja or Ojodu Berger to Seme border. The price from Mile 2 is confirmed to be around four hundred naira (N 400).
- Getting Yellow Card: You will pay two thousand naira for Yellow card. As we have explained up there about the Yellow card, it is one of the necessary documents. Therefore, you should prepare for it.
- Immigration Desk: Pay one thousand or two thousand naira for the Nigeria Immigration Desk.
After all these, all you have to do is to board a cab or bike to anywhere you want to go in Cotonou. Please shine your eyes very well.People have been “obtained” when they enter the wrong bikes.
How to Cross Sango by Road
Sango border is one of the borders you can possibly take to Cotonou. But just before go, it is wise you have a good knowledge of how it can be done. If you have this knowledge, it would be very hard to fall into the wrong hands.
- In-Country Travelling: Take a bus to Sango. It is as simple as that. When you get to Sango, cross to the other side of the road. Then, take a bus to Owode Idiroko/border. In case, you are confused about how to get to this bus, just ask anybody around to you point to the place you will get a bus going to Owode Idiroko.
- Custom Office Authentication: When you alight at the said bus stop, the next step is to cross the border.You either do this legally by going to get your passport and yellow card like the seme border.Or you do this illegally by taking a bike that will “cross” you.
At this stage please be careful.If you decide to take a bike, a simple trick is to ask the driver who carried you to suggest someone they know to take you.The reason is that there are some hoodlums who will take you through the wrong way if you are a jjc.They will take you through the bush and then steal from you.It happens all the time.When you have finally crossed
After all these, all you have to do is to board a cab or bike to anywhere you want to go in Cotonou.From there, a shared taxi is about 2000CFA
How to Travel to Seme Via Iyana-Ipaja
Traveling via Iyana-Ipaja is another very easy way to go to Seme. Simply get to Iyana-Ipaja busstop very early in the morning- as early as 5am because if you get there as late as 7am you may not get any vehicle. Cross to the side that faces Egbeda(i don’t know how else to explain). You can also ask people around where to get a bus to Seme but remember to be careful. One way to know that you are at the right place is that you will hear the drivers shouting “Seme”. Board the car or Seanna along with other passengers. Buses go to Seme too(they are also cheaper) they take forever to get full and also take forever to get to Seme- you will cry if you enter lol. You will drop at the Last bus-stop and Voila! You are at Seme! Cross the border and go about your business
How to Cross Seme Border without Papers
If you don’t have your papers, simply look for Garuba park when you get to Seme. It is a big wide park after the area where the banks are to the right after the filling station. All the okada men will tell you they are Garuba but simply ignore them. Get to Garuba, pay and they will cross you- no need for papers.No harassment from officials. If you enter those regular guys’ bikes you may get harassed on the way- remember you are on a strange land- try to always be on the safe side.
Major Transport Organizations That You Should Take to Cotonou
Another way into Benin Republic is via certified transporters.This is more easier and way less stressful.If you are a tourist, this is your best option.
Of the numerous transport organizations available, the following transports organization has shown themselves worthy of being mentioned. And they are:
- ABC transport: They move between 6:30 am- 7:00 am. They are located at Lagos, Lekki Terminal
- Chisco Group: They move around 6:00 am. They are located at Lagos, Jibowu terminal. The transport fare cost N6,300.
Transport from Lagos to Cotonou by Air
To get to Cotonou by air is relatively simple. All it requires is for you to have the essential documents for travelling by air. If you are moving from Lagos, the most reliable means of travelling to Cotonou is by using ARIK Airline. They operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. And the journey from Lagos to Cotonou would only last for thirty minutes. The transportation fare is N162,670 but has being known to change.
Major Markets in Cotonou
It is not news that goods are cheaper within Cotonou. And it is good to have a handful knowledge of the place before you tour the country. These are the major markets and you can get your needed goods there.
- Missebo Market: This market is a home to farily used items popularly known as OKRIKA.It is a big market so be ready to walk! This is where the traders in Nigerian OKRIKA markets such as Katangowa go to buy their goods. You can also get good textiles here. It is dominated by Indian retailers and wholesaler who finds pride in selling African Ankara textile. More so, the market women are pleasant and makes haggling of prices very easy.
- Marche Dantopka (Tokpa Market): Here you buy new items. Traders and buyers have had reasons to write good reviews about this market. In the market, you can easily get various things like Clothes. Jewelries, Motor Spare parts etc. It is a major market that combines the features of all other markets in Cotonou and that is why many people favour it.