Parakou is the largest city in northern Benin, with an estimated population of around 206,667 people, and capital of the Borgou Department.
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.