A Travellerspoint blog

Ghana

The Hide Out


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Upon the nocturnal surprises we agreed without hesistation to head for The Hide Out for recreation and calm of body
and mind. The Hide Out was a little beach resort on one of Ghana's best and most secluded beaches. To get there we spend a day in boiling tro-tro's, and noisy chaotic road junctions with the only stop at the slave fort at Cape Coast. Here we could witness the horrible conditions under which slaves had been kept at the forts, and there was no doubt that the guide tried his best to give us Europeans a guilty conscience by giving a very black and white (forgive this expression) interpretation of the slave trade. He completely failed to mention other facets of the slave trades, such as the fact that it was the African tribes that waged some very brutal wars on each other and established organized slave expeditions in order to capture and sell other African tribes as slaves to the Europeans, all in exchange for some of the best European goods: guns and liquor. Or such as the fact, that when the Europeans began discussing the abolition of slavery, some of the biggest opponents of this idea were the plantation owners in the Americas and the tribal chiefs of Africa. Of course none of this should ever be used to excuse the European and American brutal robbing of about 20 million of this continent's strongest and brightest.

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As the sun set we had finally found our way from the sad history of the West African coast to the present day beach resort, the Hideout. We spent two days at this very pleasant spot, canoeing in the nearby river, strolling up the endless coast, and playing in the vigourous waves of the Gulf of Guinea. We visited the small fishing village close to the resort, and were invited to a drumming ceremony with dance and palm wine liquor in the evening, which effectively burned away any potential parasites that we might have consumed.

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At sun rise the idyllic and happy atmosphere dissappeared for a moment, when a man came running with his 16 year old unconscious niece on his bag from a smaller village further down the beach. She died the same morning - perhaps from cholera we were told. However, such incidents are everyday life here, and the men we talked to did not seem to take much notice, but were more interested in convincing Regitse, that she should find a Danish woman for them to marry. When she tried to decline their idea by explaining that Danish women want to fall in love and not be forced into love, they just said she could give her girlfriends their phone number, and then they promised to send the girl an sms before the marriage ... Apparently, they never quite got the point!

Posted by SunReg 03:57 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

Ghana

Horrors in the night...


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After another night under the mosquito net, we headed for the Kakum National Park, famous for its canopy walk supported by enormous trees, where one can take a stroll about 40 m above the ground of the rainforest. We agreed to stay the night, so we could catch an early morning walk, which is the best time to spot animals, and being the backpackers we are, we decided to take the cheap solution and stay at the campsite inside the jungle. The campsite consisted of an old dirty matress with a mosquito net that served as walls, and roof.

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However, the rough backpacker feeling gradually decreased as the night came, and we realised that all employes had left the park and we were the only humans staying deep in the jungle. As the nocturnal sounds of the jungle increased, so did the sense of being vulnerable preys to the wild animals of the night, and Regitse seemed to be determined to stay awake and keep guard all night while Sune was already snorring satisfied dreaming about what a great scout he had been in the old days.

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For Regitse time went unbelievably slow and she constantly felt/hoped that dawn was right below the treetops. However, only a few hours had passed when only a few meters away from the shelter some seemingly loud animal growled loud enough to wake Sune. At first we were petrified, had all our senses on alert and a high enough pulse to leave Michael Phelps short of breath...then the animal growled again. Now Sune immediately pulled out his swiss armyknife containing a terrifying blade of at least 3 cm, while Regitse hectically illuminated the pitch black jungle with the flashlight that she had held on to all night. Since we quickly concluded that we had averted a leopard attack, we packed up our things and retreated to the restaurant at the Park reception, where we spent the rest of the night trying to sleep on four tables we had pulled together. On the morning tour we told our guide the story, and he told us, that the fierce predator that had tried to attack us, was likely a Dendrohyrax dorsalis, also known as a tree hyrax (a small tree-rodent that comes down from the trees at night to feed, and when doing so, it lets out a sound to scare off any enemies in the vicinity). Hmm ... having fleed from a rodent (!) was not a particularly satisfying information. However, when we later read about this animal, we found out, that the tree hyrax lets out a high shrieking call, which is not exactly a fit description for the deep growling sound we heard in the jungle, so we conclude hereby that what we encountered remains unknown ...

Posted by SunReg 08:58 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

Ghana

Cape Coast

-17 °C
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The next day (13. sep.) we set off from Accra by tro-tro (the small local busses which seem to be held together by duck tape) and headed further west along the coast until we reached Cape Coast, where we lodged in at a nice beach resort right next to the most well preserved slave fort on the Ghanian coast.

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Sune, being all excited over the prospect of throwing himself into the huge waves that could be seen right outside the windows of the bungalow, immediately headed for the water. However, on the beach he was stopped in his tracks, partly by a group of children surrounding him with the ever-so charming sentence "Give me money!" and partly by the large amounts of trash on the beach, originating from the huge waste dump that the locals had placed right next to the resort, so that the waves could gradually eat away the trash (the fact that the trash would eventually be washed up all over the rest of the beach seemed to be of minor concern). So no swimming that day, but we got to see a very nice and intimate acrobatics show performed by some local rasta-guys and enjoy a chilled local beer.

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Posted by SunReg 15:49 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

Ghana

Arriving


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On the 11th of September, after a failed attempt to land in Lagos, Nigeria, due to weather conditions causing a "severe situation", as the pilot so eloquently put it, we finally and against all expectations arrived in the hectic, noisy and dirty capital of Ghana, Accra. Here we spent a day sweating while trying to get accustomed to the heat from the vicious West African sun, that did a good job frying our pale nordic epidermis, and had our first encounter with Ghanian food (not a good first impression).

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We also got to see some of the very poor quartiers of Accra, and got to gaze upon (from a good distance) the proud remnants of our Danish ancestors on these golden shores, the old slave fort, Christiansborg. From here all of the danish slavetrade was conducted and somewhere between 100.000-300.000 africans were shipped out under the royal danish seal, but ironically it now serves as the government building and is completely off limits for the public.
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Posted by SunReg 11:16 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

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