Ghana to Togo
Trip Start Oct 01, 2002
158Trip End Aug 08, 2005
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We were heading for Tamale and stayed that night in a catholic mission, which served decent beer to the sound of church radio at full blast until the town's 10pm curfew came into force. In the morning, Alex (Australian Lonely Planet writer) left for Accra and we headed to Mole National Park and Game Reserve. Eight hours driving on pretty rough roads later and we arrived at a government run resort at the top of an escarpment overlooking a number of water holes. We walked down the cliff early the next morning, heading out for a trek into the park with a guide as the local kids and women collected water from the lake below, and then climbed back up the steep bank with the water balanced perfectly on their heads. At the lake there were three huge elephants on the far bank splashing around seemingly oblivious to us and the locals. We headed off across some pretty rough ground to find antelope, baboons and some great birds. We came to rest at the edge of a smaller watering hole, which was tranquil except for the occasional splash indicating a crocodile entering the water. Before long we were joined by three elephants on the opposite bank, who entered the water to cool down. Suddenly elephants started to arrive from all directions and started to play in the water in front of us, entwining their trunks and throwing water over themselves
On March 3rd, we took the road to Kumasi, the old colonial capital. The landscape turned to tropical rainforest with banana, mango and pineapple trees growing at the side of the road. The climate had turned significantly hotter and more humid, so a stop at some waterfalls for a dip and a powerful massage was very welcome. Kev navigated the truck into the town, straight into the centre of W. Africa's biggest street market at rush hour. The locals were amazed and gave us the most amazing welcome, it must have been the best we have had so far
From there we headed to the Gold coast and to Busua, a beach resort full of gorgeous beaches, palm trees, wonderful surf and a ridiculously picture perfect desert island with two palm trees out in the bay. The locals were pulling in fishing nets and the only hustling was for freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice. We took an interesting walk to an old colonial fort at the fishing town of Dixcove, where the locals were friendly (apart from when arguing over the day's catch of tuna and swordfish) and the old women still called any white men 'master'. A few days spent on a beautiful beach was hugely appreciated
Following Busua, we visited Elmina and it's castle, the oldest and most historic centre for the colonial slave trade on the gold coast, a fascinating place, well preserved and wonderful to wander round. We enjoyed a pleasant stay at a beautiful lodge overhanging a crocodile pool surrounded by trees full of hundreds of birds. Kakum national park was next which has the world's biggest suspended walk-way through the upper canopies of the rainforest and although a little scary at times it was an excellent place to see the diversity of the plants, trees and butterflies.
Driving further East along the coast, Cape Coast had another excellent castle and wonderful museum telling the history of the area which we stopped at en route to Kokrobite, just outside Accra. Kokrobite has a backpackers resort on another palm fringed beach with wonderful food and long, hot, humid nights with the occasional tropical storm. We ventured into Accra to check out visas for Chad, Sudan and Ethiopia and had a very pleasant and very English lunch at the British Council offices. We stayed in Accra a couple of nights later and met Will at the hotel, who had spent the last 48 hours catching us up. We also endured a failed attempt at trying to send some of our collected treasures and artefacts home via the city's post office
We left for Ho in the West of Ghana and made a stop in Aksombo, at the hydro-electric dam of lake Volta. It's apparently the largest man made lake in the world for the area it covers, and so much like Scotland that it was strange, even down to the hawks hanging in the air above our heads. The next day, after negotiating our release from a hotel, and the truck's release from impoundment (long story), we travelled on to Ho Hoe, where after a half hour trek through gorgeous rainforest we arrived at the highest waterfalls in West Africa and the most painful power shower we have ever had. Entertained by some young boys drumming on upturned cans and surrounded high above by thousands of bats that cling to the rocks at the side of the falls, it was a spectacular place where you can apparently have bat for dinner, but instead we left for the Togo border and spent the night camping on the border town's football pitch.
Ghana has been a wonderful place full of the friendliest people that we have met so far and with the most varied, colourful and interesting places that you could imagine, it will definitely be on our list of countries to return to.
So now we are in Togo, the country of voodoo and other animist traditions. We arrived yesterday and already it is so different to Ghana.
Until next time,
Kev and Sian.