To the north, the aspect of the countryside changes as savanna vegetation increases and the population diminishes; some areas are uninhabited, except by Fulani nomads.
Villages, instead of being encountered frequently as in the south, become scattered.
In the dry season the harmattan, a hot, dry wind, blows from the northeast from December to March.
Temperatures average about 80° F (27° C), but the temperature range varies considerably from day to night.
Benin, officially Republic of Benin, French République du Bénin, formerly (until 1975) Dahomey, or (1975–90) People’s Republic of Benin, country of western Africa.
It consists of a narrow wedge of territory extending northward for about 420 miles (675 kilometres) from the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean, on which it has a 75-mile seacoast, to the Niger River, which forms part of Benin’s northern border with Niger.
Traditional African (or precolonial) mud houses, markets, shrines, and statues are found in small towns as well as in Abomey, Porto-Novo, and, to a lesser degree, Cotonou, and the Somba region in the northwest has traditional thatched-roof, turreted houses.
Birds include guinea fowl, wild duck, and partridge, as well as many tropical species.
Parakou is an important northern market town, dating from colonial times.
The towns exhibit traditional African, colonial European, and modern influences.
In March, the hottest month, diurnal temperatures may rise to 110° F (43° C)forest, which covered most of the southern part of the country, has now largely been cleared, except near the rivers.
In its place, many oil palms and rônier palms have been planted and food crops are cultivated.