Benin is situated in
West Africa on the northern coast of the Gulf of Guinea. It has land borders to
the north by
Niger, on the west by
Togo, and on the northwest by
The coast has no natural
harbors, river mouths or islands, due to sandbanks making access difficult.
Behind the coastline is a network of lagoons, from that of Grand Popo on the
Togo border (navigable at all seasons) and joined to Lake Aheme, to that of
Porto-Novo on the east, in which flows Benin's longest river, the Oueme,
navigable for some 125 miles of its total of 285 miles. Beside Oueme, the only
other major river in the south is Couffo, which flows into Lake Aheme. The
Mono, serving from Parahoue to Grand Pope, has the boundary with Togo and is
navigable for 50 miles but subject to torrential floods in the rainy season.
Benin's northern rivers, the Mekrou, Alibory and Sota, which are
tributaries of the Niger, and the Pandjari, a tributary of the Volta, are
torrential and broken by rocks. North of the narrow belt of coastal sand is a
region of lateritic clay, the main oil palm area, intersected by a marshy
depression between Allada and Abomey that stretches east to the Nigerian
frontier. North of the hills of Dassa, the height ranges from 200 to 500 feet,
broken only by the Atakora Mountains (1,500 - 2,400 ft), stretching in a
southwesterly direction into Togo.