Location: Located in Badagry; Lagos, Suntan beach is a hidden jewel. I say this because when people think of going to the beach in Badagry, they choose Whispering Palms. While going to the beach wasn’t the purpose of going to Badagry, I’m glad our tour group had time to spare, if not we wouldn’t have discovered this beauty.
As with most beaches here, it is covered with beautiful palm trees and huts for people to sit, eat and watch the ocean waves. The quietness is surreal and transports you to another world far away. At a point in time I pondered if it was the same route the slaves used on their journeys to the unknown. We were after all in Badagry, a main point of entry and exit during the slave era.
Why: On the way to the slave trade museum/slave port we decided to stop over by the beach while waiting for everything at our final destination to be ready for us. Luckily someone on the trip who’s an indigene of Badagry Town itself mentioned this beach and suggested we tried it.
Facilities: Suntan Beach doesn’t have a lot going for it except its scenery. A couple of horses here and there and some children rides which looked like they had seen better days. Not withstanding, we still had a fantastic time there. Playing by the beach, horse riding, even watching the mallams make suya. At a point, one of us decided to go join the fishermen who were around the beach and came back beaming even though he personally didn’t catch anything.
As our stop at this beach was impromptu, we didn’t exactly have a packed lunch so it was great that there was a suya spot. One of the guys who took us round and attended to us also told us his mum sold food on the beach and while I was skeptical about ordering, I ended up digging in after seeing a friend with a scrumptious plate of jollof rice. The food was fantastic. So if you make the same mistake we did, you can look out for stalls that sell drinks and snacks can also be found on the beach.
You can also find the occasional bead seller and there are women who go around selling coconuts.
Something that stood out for me was being able to mingle freely with the locals. We had conversations with them about EVERYTHING. From politics to entertainment. It was interesting hear other points of views especially from people who seemed so ‘far away’ from what is going on in the country. Their contributions were smart and insightful and dare I say, this was one of the highlights of the beach for me. In these times of unrest and insecurities around the world, Nigeria is also tagged as being unsafe, I can proudly say that while that fear will always be there when visiting a new place, we all felt very comfortable with everyone we came across.
We were all very reluctant to leave and the thought of staying there and not visiting anywhere else crossed our minds.
I almost forgot to add this, they have a marriage registry on ground, so if you’re looking to elope/have a quick wedding, you’re in luck.
Cost: N500 ($3) for adults, N200 ($1) for children. The huts cost N2,500 ($13). These prices however are prone to change during the holidays.
Final Thoughts: Suntan Beach has alot of potential if the government/those in charge are willing to do more. I would suggest adding more facilities or games that people could enjoy when they come. Some people go to the beach and want to be involved in some sort of activity or the other (volleyball, boat rides etc). This would make for a more enjoyable visit. We had fun because we were in a group and it was an interesting mix. However for those not going in groups, lack of facilities might be tough for them.
Maintenance also needs to be looked into. From outside the view isn’t encouraging. Chipped walls and faded paint. The section with the food sellers and mallams could also do with a bit of work. Maybe make a proper area for the food sellers.
While I like that the beach is almost a secret, they could do with a little more advertising. The more people go there the more word will get out about them and this could help to draw potential investors.
Leave early. Suntan is in Badagry as stated earlier which is on the border of Benin Republic. The roads are not fantastic so to avoid traffic set out as early as you can. It also means you can spend alot of time there and leave in good time.
Get a driver who knows the way. The driver doesn’t necessarily have to know how to get to the beach, but should know how to get to Badagry itself. From there you can ask for directions. This saves alot of time and means you won’t get lost.
Haggle for the price especially for the huts. If you’re in a group, you can definitely get a discount.
Go with your own food, snacks and drinks. This will make things cheaper.
Do not dare the sea by going in too deep. Stay in your comfort zone.
Will you be visiting Suntan on your next road trip to Badagry?