Filed Under (General) by Rob on 17-05-2008

My blog posts usually aim to make you smile, or even laugh – to brighten up your day a tad. This post is unlikely to cheer you up, but it could save your life…


This is the sign by a beach near Grand Popo, which warns:

“The sea is unpredictable and dangerous, do not exceed your abilities.”

There have, sadly been too many cases of people drowning or almost drowning of the coast of Benin during our time here. We were at Grand Popo a few weeks back and witnessed a polish lady very nearly drowning. We honestly thought she was a gonner, but then someone managed to pull her out. She was in a bad way though.

The sea here is indeed dangerous for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the current is generally strong and the waves big. Secondly, there is an almost insurmountable under-current which tugs you down with unbelievable force. Thirdly, a big wave can come up and surprise you at virtually no notice – even if you’re on dry sand a couple of feet away.

It’s no wonder your average Béninois is scared of water and won’t go near the sea! Mind you, that’s not to say you cannot enjoy a wee paddle in the shallow water, as long as you exercise extreme caution.


Click here for the World Travel Guide info on Benin, which also mentions how dangerous the sea is. However, this article from says how lovely Grand Popo is without even a mention of how dangerous the sea can be.

Well, if all this has put you off swimming in the beninese ocean, you could always try a pool instead (go Micah, go!):


Happy swimming – stay safe!

1 Comment posted on "A word of warning!"
anne on May 19th, 2008 at 7:17 am #

stick me down for the pool. Louisa was dragged from the sea in california as a child, by Jen. there was no warning posted on that beach, i’ll stick to pools and Gorleston beach.