Safe swimming on Ghana’s beaches

We were recently informed about the drowning of a tourist at the beach used by Axim Beach Hotel in Western Ghana in August 2011, as detailed on Tripadvisor. Having communicated both with the hotel and with a friend of the victim who witnessed this tragic incident, it seems timely to issue a reminder to all visitors about the potential risk associated with swimming on any Ghanaian beach in the wrong conditions. The main reason for this is the strong undertow that characterises this stretch of coastline, particularly in rough weather, though it may not always be apparent until you are actually in the water. The management of Axim Beach Hotel has told us that swimming conditions are most likely to be dangerous during the rainy season, between July and October, and are best from Dec until the beginning of the rains. However, in both cases, this is dependent on weather conditions on the day, and if conditions are rough at any time of year, or you sense the presence of a strong undertow on any Ghanaian beach at any time of year, it is advisable to get out of the water immediately. It should also be noted that many beaches in Ghana do not have dedicated lifeguards, nor do they display flags indicating whether swimming conditions are safe, so you will either need to ask around or rely on your own judgement when deciding whether or not to swim.

If other readers have any further input on this subject, please feel free to comment below.


2 thoughts on “Safe swimming on Ghana’s beaches

  1. mark harfenist says:

    A Ghanian friend drowned at a beach east of Cape Coast just a month or two ago. Several people were playing in shallow surf when a large wave knocked them down: two were thrown up on the beach, but Joseph was carried out to sea. He was 22, and his life was just beginning to take shape.

    Lots of people frolic in the West African surf and get away with it, but many do drown. The dividing line between what is safe and what is not is far from apparent until someone is taken from us. This is worth keeping in mind; by the time you find out you’re on the wrong side of the line, it’s probably too late.

    • B. K. Moorthy says:

      My son Kunal Moorthy was a Cambridge Economics graduate & a CA with PwC, London & was a restructuring Manager with them. He was on a 6 month secondment to Vodafone, Ghana from March2011- sept.2011. On 21/8/2011, he was in Axim Beach Hotel. It was a beautiful sunny day & the sea appeared calm. . He & a friend were standing waist deep in the sea when they were swept away & under by the currents. My son drowned whilst his friend was able to get out. My son was just turned 26.

      I contacted the Hotel who told me they had warned the guests not to go into the water. This was not true & even today the hotel website says the the swimming beach is ideal forn children & pets inspite of my requesting them to take this off. I also asked them what insurances they had for such accidents & so far they have not cooperated with me.

      pl. do not even stand in the water in the Axim Bay Beach Hotel & do not believe their website thatn it is a safe swimming beach.

      krish Moorthy
      ( father )

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