Cotonou is a large port city on the south coast of Benin, in West Africa. At the eastern end of central Boulevard St. Michel is the huge Dantokpa Market, which features religious items and spices alongside everyday objects. To the southwest, the 19th-century Cotonou Cathedral has a striking red-and-white striped facade. Nearby, in the Haie Vive district, the Fondation Zinsou museum shows contemporary African art.
Benin, a French-speaking West African nation, is a birthplace of the vodun (or ?voodoo?) religion and home to the former Dahomey Kingdom from circa 1600?1900. In Abomey, Dahomey's former capital, the Historical Museum occupies two royal palaces with bas-reliefs recounting the kingdom?s past and a throne mounted on human skulls. To the north, Pendjari National Park offers safaris with elephants, hippos and lions.