The place to Explore Benin and its Culture
Located in the economical town of Benin named Cotonou, Dantokpa is the biggest market in Benin if not in West Africa. Anything anyone is in search of can easily be found in this market. The market is located by a lagoon and the St. Michel Boulevard. It’s about 20 acres and it’s easy to get lost inside. The market will overload your senses through the sounds of bicycles, taxis and motors driving around people. The smell and colors are buoyant and you will feel overwhelmed by everything in your surroundings.
The best advice is to take your time, take a few deep breaths and try to casually enjoy your sight. For those that like photography, this will be heaven as there are so many scenes and images to be captured. All we leave much to desire.
There is no particular plan or order in the market design. Everything and everyone is mixed. Some sellers have a wide variety of merchandise while others carry one. In addition, you also have mobile sellers carrying their merchandise on their head and while making a call to grab the attention of buyers. All goes in Dantokpa market. The real estate is used above maximum level.
There is an exterior and interior part. The merchants outside tend to sell food, fruits, meats and grains.Based on their financial means, some have their merchandise covered while others merchandise are left in the open.This doesn’t mean the goods sold are different. You will also notice that those that do not have an umbrella covering their merchandise tend to wear a huge straw hat to keep them protected from the sun and heat.
In the interior is where more expensive goods such as, African cloths, alcohol, grains in bulk, imported items, are sold. Just like the exterior of the market, it’s overfilled with people and goods to sell. There are some sellers that have little kiosks while others are built in stores. The hallways are also used to display and sell items.
An interesting part of the market is where goods sold during religious rituals, to make fetishes and talismans are sold. You can find items such as all genres of animals skulls, herbs, oils, candles, bones and leather materials. This is a great way to get an idea of how many items are used during a traditional ritual or to make a fetish or talisman. The sights isn’t for anyone to see but interesting to check out.
One thing anyone must always remember when buying an item is to negotiate the prices even if you think they are already low. The sellers tend to inflate prices especially if they see you are a foreigner (they are quite good at recognizing them quickly). Don’t be afraid to walk away either. Most of the time, they will call you back and accept the price that you are offering or another seller might have.
Dantokpa is a great place to try the local food and drinks as well as purchase local and unique gifts at very reasonable prices. The price is always the lowest here especially if you have great bargaining skills. It’s also a great to find and try local food and drinks. In addition, it’s always recommended to visit any foreign places with a local person as they can help and teach you tricks and tips on interacting and bargaining with locals.