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Benin (Other Places Travel Guide) [Paperback]

Erika Kraus , Felicie Reid
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 12.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Jan 2010
Benin is a country of wonder and mystery, fitting all levels of adventure and comfort. Its unique mixture of culture, history, geography, and wildlife provides the ultimate West African experience. From thrilling zemidjan moped rides to spotting hippos from dugout canoes, traveling across Benin will surely stimulate visitors' senses and broaden their horizons. Erika and Felicie, the authors, lived, worked, and played in Benin for over two years while attached to the Peace Corps. They experienced this fascinating country like few outsiders have before and created a national network of locals who all contributed their own specialty and unique insight for this book. To see the real Benin and to travel like a local, this book is a must. - Discover Cotonou's lively markets and nightlife. - Explore the settlements along the mighty Mono River and hike in the picturesque granite hills of the central Collines region. - Lounge on the sunny, palm-fringed beaches of Grand Popo before exploring the historical cities of Ouidah and Abomey. - Embark on a veritable wildlife safari in the national parks of the north, and marvel at the vast plains of the Sahel in the upper Atakora and Alibori regions. - Enjoy the resilient spirit, charm, and vitality of the Beninese people who will captivate visitors and keep them coming back for more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Other Places Publishing (26 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982261918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982261910
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greetings!

I was very eager to publish a guide book on the Republic of Benin after having lived there for three years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer. I co-authored the book with a fellow Volunteer, and between us, we shared everything we know about the country. Benin is vibrant, greatly diverse in languages and cultures. Although I had studied French and Biology in college as an undergraduate, it wasn't until I was well into my sojourn in Benin that I had learned many practical application of my education, such as speaking French fluently and working in a tree nursery. I also learned some of the native language, called Mina.

I recently finished teaching my third semester of beginning-level French at my alma mater, where I also assisted in the biology laboratories. I will be a beginning student of Arabic from June to August, and then in an African Studies master's program in the fall. I intend to apply the studies for further work in Benin and throughout West Africa. I am most interested in the sacred forests and botanical gardens which the native healers and religious leaders use in traditional medicine. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I coordinated a reforestation project in sacred forests. The sacred forests are used in vodoun worship, and are slender remains of what was once a vast forest. The forests have suffered and shrunk due mostly to pressure and demands from human population. I was impressed by the leaders' knowledge of the the plants and their many uses to soothe gastrointestinal illnesses, headaches, stop bleeding, and many other ailments.

My plans as an author are ambitious, yet so far not well formed. I write regularly and eagerly, though, and tentatively assemble a book based on blogs I wrote while living abroad. We'll see how that goes...

Thank you for your time! Please leave a note.

Product Description

About the Author

Erika Kraus
Originally from a small town in rural Kansas, Erika graduated college with a degree in Biology and French. After being stumped with finding a suitable outlet for her refined skills, Erika decided to join the Peace Corps giving her an opportunity to live in a francophone West African nation. Erika was assigned to Benin where she immersed herself in the new surroundings and discovered everything her new home had to offer. Erika currently teaches beginning French and a bit of Biology at Benedictine College. She plans to take advantage of any opportunity she finds including coauthoring this book.

Felicie Reid
Felicie Reid is a French-born aspiring writer with a degree in Environmental Science. Her passion for nature, travel, and adventure has taken her across much of Europe, the United States, South America, and West Africa. She served for two and a half years with the Peace Corps as an Environmental Action volunteer in Benin, where she had the opportunity to experience firsthand the culture and way of life of this amazing country. Felicie used the knowledge she had gained while living and traveling across Benin to write this book. She plans to continue her adventures around the globe with a second term with the Peace Corps in Morocco.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Better for south Benin than the north 2 Mar 2014
By Casey
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Considering there are no other guide books for Benin in print at the moment (except as part of West Africa) this is worth having. There is much more detail on the south of Benin than the north. About one third of the book is introductory chapters on history, music, food, money etc which are useful. Where the town is covered in the book there are details about hotels, banks, eating places etc.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good guidebook for a hard to navigate country. 15 April 2010
Format:Paperback
Benin is one of those places where you really need a "local" to show you the country. Not only are there cultural barriers, but things just don't work the same as they do at home. I like this book because the authors actually lived in Benin for several years (apparently as aid workers in rural areas) and know the country inside and out. It's not geared towards visitors with resort holidays in mind, but rather open-minded travelers looking to experience another culture/place. There is also lots of practical information (like to get a bus from point A go to this location and it will cost you XXX) and some great recommendations on places to stay and eat (this part I especially like as finding descent food in West Africa can often be a challenge). Probably one of my favorite features is the off-the-beaten path spots that I haven't found in other books about West Africa. For instance, Lake Doukon where a family of hippos resides. The local residents have started a small tourism business offering rides for visitors who venture off the tourist track and stumble into their village. Not only is it interesting to see the hippos (local fishermen will take visitors on a tour of the lake inside their dugout canoes) but experiencing village life like a local is what I especially like. A great feature throughout the book.
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Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finall an up to date guide book to Benin 6 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Having been to Benin a couple of times now there was always one thing missing: an up to date guidebook as all others are quite old and have not been updated in a long time. So I was quite glad to discover this new current Benin (Other Places Travel Guide.
Useful and nice to read are the little paragraphs named "Insights" which show some aspects not written about in other guide books. Only useful if one reads this up prior to the trip are the "On The Web"-Links as the internet connection in most of Benin ist quite basic and one needs a lot of patience to check up on anything not really necessary on the web.
The book starts with nice and easy to read introductory chapters about history, politics, religion and flora and fauna, food and drinks.
There is a good section on the rstaurant and bars of Cotonou but very little or hardly anything about the route des pecheurs along the sea between Cotonou and Ouidah which nowadays has a lot to offer hotel and restaurant wise.
On the other hand the auhtors cover some villages which are not mentioned in other guidebooks which is nice as the traveller realises there is more to Benin than just Cotonou, Porto Novo or any of the other standard sights.
The authors show a good insight into the country and I can only recommend this book to all Benin-visitors.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More info Please 25 July 2011
By Readz Alot - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Forgive me for being more than a little dubious here.
11 glowing reviews of this book, almost all written by reviewers who have NEVER reviewed anything else, and all written within a couple of months of publication. (Making me wonder when they had time to actually use it...)

11 glowing reviews of this book, published by a new publisher which I'd never even heard of until today (and I read a lot of travel books...), which seems to have published only a handful of books. (And every other book I've looked appears to be similar -- half a dozen 5-star reviews from people who have never reviewed anything else.)

The 'look inside the book' feature only offers a few pages to view, none of which cover the 'travel' aspect of the book, but does suggest a rather cheap printing process.
The book isn't carried by my local bookstores.

Could somebody who is NOT an initmate friend of the authors and/or an employee of the company possibly write a more balanced review before I decide to shell out money? SURELY if it was this good, the authors would be writing for Bradt or Lonely Planet.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT'S EVERYTHING I WANTED IN A TRAVEL BOOK! 7 Mar 2010
By Nancy Jo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book covers all of the regions of Benin in great detail, providing information on accommodations, nightlife, transportation, and most importantly FOOD! One of my favorite parts of this book is the abundance of maps; they are easy follow and are well-labeled. There is even a simple language guide in the back of the book. This book is a must for anyone curious about or planning to travel to Benin.
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad research, wrong information! 31 July 2011
By Jannna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Especially the cultur/religion part of this travel guide is very superficial, pretty discriminating and also hugely wrong. Basically one gets the feeling there hasn't been any improvemt in the understanding and study of Afrian Traditional Religion and especially Vodun since the times of E. B. Tylor (1871: Primitve Culture). Also Vodun gets several times mixed up with Yoruba-traditions one can find in Nigeria.
Frustrating, that such a badly researched book is the only up-to-date travelguide available at the moment.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best travel book of Benin! 11 Mar 2010
By Eric Gavarre - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Felicie Reid and Erika Kraus were both Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin from 2005-2007. As volunteers, I believe that they acquired a true image of Benin. Living and conversing with the local people on a daily basis gave them a view of Benin that one traveling for a few months could not possibly attain. The detail and information in this book far out does any other travel books of Benin. The book includes detailed maps, information on hotels, restaurants and cultural anecdotes. By far the best travel book of Benin!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally an up to date guide book for Benin 5 July 2010
By Freischwimmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having been to Benin a couple of times now there was always one thing missing: an up to date guidebook as all others are quite old and have not been updated in a long time. So I was quite glad to discover this new current Benin (Other Places Travel Guide.
Useful and nice to read are the little paragraphs named "Insights" which show some aspects not written about in other guide books. Only useful if one reads this up prior to the trip are the "On The Web"-Links as the internet connection in most of Benin ist quite basic and one needs a lot of patience to check up on anything not really necessary on the web.
The book starts with nice and easy to read introductory chapters about history, politics, religion and flora and fauna, food and drinks.
There is a good section on the rstaurant and bars of Cotonou but very little or hardly anything about the route des pecheurs along the sea between Cotonou and Ouidah which nowadays has a lot to offer hotel and restaurant wise.
On the other hand the auhtors cover some villages which are not mentioned in other guidebooks which is nice as the traveller realises there is more to Benin than just Cotonou, Porto Novo or any of the other standard sights.
The authors show a good insight into the country and I can only recommend this book to all Benin-visitors.
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