Index


Introduction



The climate in Benin, a small African country overlooking the Gulf of Guinea, is tropical, with a dry season in winter and a rainy season due to the African monsoon, which runs from May to September in the extreme north and from mid-March to October in the south. Along the coast, there's a pause in the rainy season in August.
Precipitation is below 1,000 millimeters (40 inches) per annum in the extreme north, where the dry season lasts nearly seven months, while in the rest of the country, it ranges between 1,000 and 1,300 mm (40 and 51 in).

The center-north



Winter, from November to January, is hot: it's often scorching in the north, where highs can exceed 35 °C (95 °F), while it's less hot along the coast, where highs are around 31/32 °C (88/90 °F), but it's also more humid and with a bit of cloudiness in the morning.
In the center and north, a wind from the desert blows in winter, called Harmattan, which can fill the sky with dust, making it whitish and creating a peculiar mist in the early hours of the day. Moreover, in the north, nights are cool, and sometimes even cold, so much so that the lowest records are about 5 °C (41 °F).
From February to May, the temperature increases further in the north, often reaching 40 °C (104 °F). In the extreme north, the W National Park, where the temperature can reach 45 °C (113 °F), is particularly hot; the Pendjari National Park is very hot as well, here, however, the rains arrive a few weeks earlier, bringing a bit of relief.

Pendjari National Park

Kandi

Here are the average temperatures of Kandi, located in the north.
Kandi - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)182226272624232323232017
Max (°C)343840393734323031343635
Min (°F)647279817975737373736863
Max (°F)931001041029993908688939795

The first showers begin in March in the far south, and gradually move from the ocean to the north. In the north-central inland areas, the wettest period is from July to September; in these months, the daytime temperature remains around 28/29 °C (82/84 °F) along the coast and around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F) in the north, but relative humidity is high and cloud cover is frequent. The rains cease in early October in the extreme north, and gradually recede towards the south; on the coast, they cease about a month later. With the return of the warm northeast winds, the temperature rises again, while the air returns to be dry in inland areas.
Here is the average precipitation in Kandi.
Kandi - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)02104010514520026519540211005
Prec.(in)00.10.41.64.15.77.910.47.71.60.1039.6
Days001381014171440071

In the north, the sun shines very often in the long dry period, from October to April, but there are numerous sunny periods even in the rainy season. However, the least sunny month is the wettest, namely August. Here are the average sunshine hours per day in Kandi.
Kandi - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours1010999986791010

The coast



In the capital, Porto-Novo, near the eastern part of the coast, the wettest month is by far June, with more than 300 mm (12 in) of rain, then, from mid-July to late August, the rains decrease (while cloudiness remains widespread), while they rise again in September and October but without excesses, to around 140/150 mm (5.5/6 in) per month.

Cotonou

Here is the average precipitation of Cotonou, the largest city, located on the coast, not far from Porto-Novo.
Cotonou - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)1035751351953551456510012540201310
Prec.(in)0.41.435.37.7145.72.63.94.91.60.851.6
Days1247111585884275

On the coast, the temperatures are more stable than in inland areas, however, here too, the coolest months are actually those of the summer, when the prevailing currents come from the sea. Here are the average temperatures in Cotonou.
Cotonou - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)252627262524242424252525
Max (°C)323232323230292829303232
Min (°F)777981797775757575777777
Max (°F)909090909086848284869090

Along the coast, the sun shines quite often in the dry season, however, a bit of cloudiness can form even in this period. In the rainy season, the sun shines quite rarely, even during the August break.
Cotonou - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours777775456787

The temperature of the sea is high throughout the year, although it is a bit warmer in the winter months, as can be seen from the following table.
Cotonou - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)282829292928262526272928
Temp (°F)828284848482797779818482

Best Time



The best time to visit Benin is from November to January: the air is dry and the weather is usually good. It is true that it's hot during the day, especially in the north, but less so than in the following period, from February to May. The rainiest and sultriest months are May and June on the coast, while they are July, August and September in the center-north.

What to pack



In winter: in Cotonou and the coast, bring light clothes for the day, a light sweatshirt for the evening, and a light scarf for the wind-borne sand and dust. In the north, bring light clothing, a sweatshirt and a light jacket for the evening, and a scarf for the desert wind. For women it's best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.
In summer: bring light clothing of natural fibers, a light sweater and a light raincoat for the rain showers. For women it's best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.

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