Last updated on May 13th, 2020; Published on April 13th, 2017

I went cross country road tripping again! This time, I got to travel from Lagos to Accra, Ghana by road with my sister! With the public holiday just around the corner, we had a bit more time so we decided to split our trip with stops in the Benin Republic and Togo. For Benin R., we opted to stop over in Grand Popo, a small town located very close to the Benin-Togo border but getting there was no easy feat.

Crossing the Nigeria-Benin border at Seme

grand popo Lagos Ghana by road

Again, this border is a disaster! Crossing it was a bit easier for me though as this was my third time. But for my sister, who had a brand new passport, it was a mess. By now, you should already know that there is no such thing as ‘visa-free’ across West Africa’s land borders. We were asked for money at every stop.

I have never seen so much bull in one place! Even my first border crossing was not this bad! I could go on and on about all the crap we had to deal with – from the port health officials telling us that a yellow card had to be renewed 10 days after it was gotten (cost of which was N1,500) to having a standard price for ‘first-time border crossings’. My goodness! I thought my eyes would pop out from rolling them too much!

We were also stopped and asked for our work ID cards and receipts for my DSLR & Laptop. When we couldn’t provide the receipts, we were asked to either pay N2,000 at the border or go to the ‘customs’ office and pay a N20K fine and have my laptop impounded. I gladly chose the latter and eventually ended up paying nothing.

As I said, I could go on and on, but I would bore you with the details in another post :). For now, let’s return to the fun parts!

Benin Republic

auberge de grand popo Lagos Ghana Roadtrip

This was our first stop and home for 2days of our West African tour. We took a ride from Cotonou to Grand Popo where our hotel was located. We were attended to swiftly, which was very much appreciated as we were both hungry and exhausted from the journey.

After getting settled, we ordered lunch – which was delicious and spent the rest of the evening listening to crashing waves on the beachfront…

lunch auberge de grand popo

The next day was also quite lazy for us. We had breakfast and spent most of the day on the beach. At some point, we decided to go on a mini-tour of Grand Popo but soon discovered that our cards were useless outside Nigeria. (PS: this was the beginning of our woes!)

We opted to spend the time in the areas around the hotel – where we could easily walk to and I also got to practice my French with locals on the beach. I think Chinenye (ma sœur) was really impressed. haha!

auberge de grand popo auberge de grand popo

And then, it was photo-shoot time! I had fun dancing and building ‘sand birdhouses’ on the beach with my sister. (castles are too mainstream).

The hotel also gave me this really lovely book to read (So long a letter by Mariama Ba) which I devoured in a single sitting.

benin republic grand popo benin republic grand popo benin republic
grand popo benin Lagos Ghana by Road Grand Popo
Lagos Ghana by Road

We wrapped up our stay in the Benin Republic with a late breakfast before heading to the Benin-Togo border at Hillacondji to continue our journey from Lagos to Ghana by road.

Lagos Ghana by Road Trip Overview:

Here’s how we got to the Seme border.

From the border, we took a shared taxi into Cotonou and dropped off at the last stop. (I think it was Tokpa market but we stopped in a different park)

We took another shared taxi from the park heading towards the Hillacondji border and dropped off at Grand Popo, passing Ouidah on the way, so I think the same car can get you to Ouidah.

Have you been to Grand Popo or any parts of Benin? What are your favourite places to visit?

PS: Here’s a list of all the articles in the Lagos to Ghana by Road series;

Road Tripping from Lagos to Grand Popo

Grand Popo to Accra

Accra to Cape Coast (The Castles & Kakum National Park)

Travel Cost Breakdown

A Review of Services.

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