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Travelling from Lagos to Benin Republic by road is not easy at all. From the bad roads, customs to border crossing. It can be overwhelming if you are not prepared for all possible outcomes.
In this guide, I will give you all the information you need to travel from Lagos to Benin republic by road and tips on how to cross the border hassle free.
Getting to Cotonou from Lagos
There are multiple routes to take to Benin Republic by road from Lagos for all types of budgets. Here’s a breakdown of a few of them:
There are two land borders in Lagos – Idi-Iroko in Ogun State and Seme – Krake 30 minutes from Badagry. The Seme-Krake border is closer if you’re leaving from Lagos mainland so, keep this in mind when planning your trip.
To get to these borders, you can either go by public or private transport. If you want to go by private transport, going in a group would be best and could cost anywhere from N50,000 upwards for a one-way trip. Although more expensive, private transport is more convenient because you are dropped right on the doorstep of your accommodation in Benin Republic.
If you’re taking private transport, you can either take 1 or 2 cars. Most drivers only take you up to the seme border where you get a different vehicle to take you inside Benin – this is the cheaper option. If you prefer have 1 driver to take you straight from Lagos to Benin then expect to pay upwards of N120,000 each way. This is because they unlike other drivers, they are spending more money on fuel.
So, for my budget travellers, if you want to take private transport, go with a group so you can split costs and it’s also safer. I went with a group organised by Tripscove so transportation was very affordable.
If private transport isn’t an option for you, you get take public transport. It’s a lot cheaper however, less straightforward and could be stressful.
If you’re departing from Lagos mainland, you can get a shared vehicle at Mile 12 to the Seme border through Ojo for N20,000 and below. Where you’ll negotiate with a taxi or motorcycle to take you into Cotonou and to your desired destination. Negotiating with them can be a major hassle.
Commercial buses are a mix of private and public transport. You get the luxury of private transportation and the prices of public transport.
Transport companies like God is Good (GIG), Chisco, ABC Transport, and GUO that travel these routes, check they websites for prices and travel times.
The roads along the route from Lagos mainland to the Seme border are very bad which makes traffic inevitable. There are also 20+ police stops between Badagry and the Seme border, all these factors have turned what should be a 3 hour journey into 4+ hours.
For my trip, we left Lagos at 7am and got to the border at 11am where we spent another 30+ minutes.
Crossing the Seme Border
If you’re crossing the seme-krake border, these are the requirements and how much they cost:
- Nigerians need a valid international or ECOWAS passport to cross the Benin Republic land border. You can get an ECOWAS passport at any immigration office for N25,000 and because the process is manual, you can get it in under 6 hours. You will also need to pay an extra N1,500 – N3,000 to have your passport stamped at both the Nigerian and Benin borders.
Don’t travel without a passport, some people do it but it’s not at all advisable.
- You will also need to present your COVID-19 and Yellow Fever and Meningitis vaccination cards to pass through immigration.
To get your Yellow Fever and Meningitis vaccination, first register and pay N2,000 online and print the payment confirmation. Then take the payment confirmation and a printed copy of your passport bio page to the nearest Port Health Services office where you’ll be administered the vaccine and given the vaccine card.
Even though I have taken the meningitis vaccine, I did not have a record of it with me, so the border officials demanded an extra N3,000 to give me the stamp to let me pass. This was a hassle so I recommended getting it beforehand.
Please research before travelling because entry requirements are constantly changing.
Top Tips to Note Before You Go
Read this post for a full guide to a 4 day weekend in Benin Republic.
- The best place to change your money is in the city (not at the border because the notes could be fake). Transferring money will get you a lot more than changing cash will.
- Get a local SIM card (from any local vendor in Benin) on your first day so you are always connected to the internet. I used MTN, and it worked very well.
- Download the Gozem app to get around.
- The electrical sockets in Benin are not the same as Nigerian plugs. They are European rounded two-pin plugs, so pack a universal adapter.
- Tipping is not mandatory, but it is appreciated.
- Learn some words and phrases in French and have Google Translate handy to communicate with the locals.
- For 4 days, you should have at least N30,000 in spending money for food & souvenirs