Filed Under (Beninese culture, General) by Rob on 03-05-2008

The three-wheeler taxi, also known as the auto-rickshaw or tuk-tuk is a fairly common sight around Cotonou, particularly from Dantokpa Market eastwards…

(no, I’m just posing for the photo – I didn’t actually drive it!)

There are no bus services in Cotonou, so apart from driving one’s own vehicle (which is do-able if somewhat hair-raising) there are only THREE other viable options for getting around town:

OPTION ONE: The taxi


Safe, reasonably comfortable but hot, stuffy and sometimes slow.

OPTION TWO: The zemidjan

Fast, cheap, fun, bright and breezy, but near-suicidal at certain times of the day.

OPTION THREE: The Three-wheeler taxi


Still fairly cheap (I pay 2,000cfa for an hour), well ventilated, reasonably comfortable and loads of FUN! Why doesn’t everyone use them?!?

These Indian babies can seat three moderately-sized adults and are much safer than a zemidjan. You can always find them near the market, but if you’re elsewhere in town and need one, then try calling my mate Etienne on: 97 16 16 86. Even if he’s not available, he’ll always send a mate instead. Oh, and I always buy him a can of Sprite if he takes me somewhere to eat!

The best thing about these three-wheelers is that they can easily weave through busy traffic like this:



If you’d like to try one of these FAB vehicles yourself, then go to BRIGHTON, where they’ve started using the very same 3-wheelers to ease congestion!! No, seriously – have a look here and here.
Also, some great photos of them in action here and even a YOUTUBE video here.
Still, at £2.50 a journey, it’s a tad more pricey than here (I can go round Cotonou three times for that!!!)

Happy travels!

1 Comment posted on "The best way to travel round town…"
Eddie on May 4th, 2008 at 10:51 am #

There are loads of tuk-tuks here in Chiang-Mai too. You can actually get four people in them as there is a little seat next to the driver. It’s VERY scary going round corners though.