Before leaving Mole National Park in the north of Ghana, we bumped into a couple of English guys while we were filling up our water tank on Colonel K. Luke and Bertie decided that a motorbike trip in Ghana was needed, so they flew into Accra, walked into a bike shop and bought 2 brand new Chinese built, 150cc Royal “dirtbikes”, the cost was £530.00 inc taxes and registration fee.
These guys were having a ball on these bikes, and what a cheap way to see this country.
You may remember from our last post, that we had offered a lift to a couple of Dutch girls that were back packing around Ghana for a few weeks. Obviously Anouk, and Naomi, would have to travel in the back of the truck as we only have two seats in the front, and we did warn them that it was going to be very hot and uncomfortable in there. With that in mind, I expected them to bail out at the first town big enough to have a bus station, well, 1,000 kilometres later they are still with us! These Cloggies are tough cookies!
The day we left Mole was a long drive, about 600km, and took us down the East side of Ghana following the border with Ivory Coast, through Bole, Kumasi, and onto the gold mining town of Obuasi.
On the way we passed a few of the old mud, and stick constructed Mosques, these were seen in both Burkina Faso and Northern Ghana
We also crossed the huge Black Volta river.
At one village we stopped to buy some fruit and veg from the street sellers, and everyone seemed extremely pleased to see us, including the kids, who were quite shy of us.
So are decided to give the kids our badminton set (we bought with us from England), of course they had never seen a badminton racket, let along a shuttlecock! so Jac, and Naomi decided a demonstration was needed on the side of the road.
It wasn’t long before there were so many laughing people around, children and adults, and we left the set with an old lady that was going to show the kids how to play.
We really missed judged our last 60km, with it taking much longer that anticipated, dodging potholes, and broken roads, and then arriving in the dark. We ended up paying to stay in a brand new, overpriced hotel, that had been built by the Chinese, like most things in Africa. It was also quickly evident that it was built with Chinese clients in mind. The menu in (the very empty) restaurant was virtually all chinese food. Despite the high price of the room (for Africa), it was not run very well, with service seriously lacking in most areas. Anyway we laughed about it and it was only for one night (though it may have blown Naomi, and Anouk’s budget).
The next day we planned to go to a beach near Cape Three Points, where they allowed camping and also had some rooms for the girls. As with the rest of Ghana the bush is very green and dense at the moment.
The last 20km to Ezile Bay was on some very bouncy, sometimes steep, and sometimes slippery dirt track, and it took us about an hour to drive this (remember the Cloggies are in the back).
Ezile Bay is in a stunning location, with a very sheltered bay almost closed from the Atlantic Ocean, it is host to a small fleet of tiny fishing boats from the nearby village. Its a very rustic and remote location.
Whilst staying here we decided to walk to the light house at Cape Three Points, this was about a three hour round trip and it was good to stretch our legs.
After paying our money at the “Tourist Information Centre”, we carried on to the lighthouse.
On the way back through the village, as usual the kids were fascinated by the cameras, and phones.
The next day we arranged for a guide to take us on a walk into the rain forest on the hill above the campsite. He arrived equipped with flip flops and machete (everyone here carries a machete in rural areas), and he set off up the hill at a very quick pace, I think we were all thinking that a few hours of this, in this heat and humidity was going to be tough, but after about 40 minutes we arrived at the top and entered the very dense rain forest and he slowed right down.
Next day we decided to move along the coast, but all the time we were at Ezile Bay we had had quite a bit of rain, especially the last night, and I was quite worried about the 20km back through to the tarmac, so I decided to drop the tyre pressures on the truck, reducing the front by 20psi, and the rear by 25psi. And it was a good job we did, it was super slick in places, with deep mud and puddles, and had to rely on engine braking only on the longer descents, and even then Colonel K was going slightly sideways. Then after about 10km, we heard a knocking sound coming from the back (this was our agreed signal to stop the truck if there was a problem with the girls in the back), it was Naomi, she was suffering from cramping to her hands, and feet, with her fingers completely locked up. It seemed that she was severely de-hydrated, so after a series of re-hydrating drinks, minerals, and lots of fluid she seemed to improve, and Nurse Jac suggested that she rode up front for a bit. And then after one more quick stop we reached the the tarmac.
Three or four hours later we arrived at the fantastic Ko-Sa Beach near Elmina, this again is a beautiful spot, though here the sea is completely open to the vast Ocean, and swimming here is quite dangerous with some severe rip currents (as it is in most of West Africa).
Whilst here we arranged for a taxi to take us to the old Portuguese and Dutch Slaving Fort at Elmina, well when I say taxi, I use the term loosely, it was an Astra Estate, most of the doors didn’t shut properly, all the electrics were hanging out of the dash, the passenger seat had collapsed, windows didn’t open (you get the idea).
The Fort is a very sobering place, and we had an excellent guide who explained the misery inflicted on the local people in this place before being shipped across the Atlantic to a different world.
The photo below shows 2 doors, the one on the right was used to punish soldiers that had drunk to much, or other military crimes, (no one ever died in this room), the door on the left was used to punish troublesome slaves, put in there to starve (no one ever survived that room).
The town of Elmina is very busy, and after a quick walk through the market and back, we had a drink and found our still waiting taxi.
While at Ko-Sa, we walked along the coast to an village with the remains of an old British Fort, this was a stunning walk seeing very few people until we reached the villages.
Just before the main part of the village, you have to cross a small lagoon, the options were to either wade through, or walk further down and get rowed over in a tiny pirogue, now I need to explain that while the water is refreshed by the sea at each high tide, it was filthy dirty, with numerous kids doing number twos straight into the water, and many other unhealthy objects floating about!
Anyway before we knew it, a group of about six children had waded across the water and were carrying a small boat down through the rubbish on the other side, they then dragged it over to us and offered us our very own personalised ferry boat service. With the thoughts of the horrendous slavery trade still fresh in our minds from the previous day, poor Naomi and Anouk were so embarrassed, especially as when they were in the boat being treated like royalty, a heavily pregnant woman waded past them in the foul water.
With all four of us safely ashore in the village, we told the kids that we would be back in about an hour, and could they take us back, they never asked for any money, and seemed so pleased to have helped us.
The old British fort is still in quite good condition, and amazingly there are still lots of huge cast iron cannons lying about the place.
It was a Sunday and there were various church services going on (mostly in the streets), some seemed to be for funerals or blessing people that died in the last month or so, but one thing they did have in common was the unbelievably load music, coming from either a singer, and band or a mixing desk with massive speakers! It was very strange to us, and strange to them to see Anouk and Naomi, dancing with the kids!
When we got back to the “lagoon” the kids were gone, and the little boat was back on top of the rubbish, high up on the bank! Bugger! We would have wade back through the water, so we walked along the edge until we were at the mouth into the sea, the idea being the water should be a bit clearer here, mmmmmm not really. Shoes and socks off and through we went.
After 5 nights at Ko-Sa, we headed towards the capital Accra, and we are now in a very lively place called Big Milly’s Back Yard, which is well known as a back packing and overlanding stop over, though of course we are the only Overland Vehicle here.
Our plan is to go back Northwards, but on the Togo side of the country up to the Volta Lake for a few days, then head back to the coast to catch our freight ship to Namibia (with us flying).
The Dutch girls fly home later this week, but it has been great having them with us (but don’t tell them that!)