This January, we spent a wonderful three week holiday in Ghana. A loyal companion along our way was the Bradt guide. We were fortunate having taken it with us, as the guide was of much help, was nicely written and it just had the right length (meaning amount of information), but we have a few personal remarks about places, hotel, people and so on.
Accra: The paloma hotel was okay but clearly overpriced
Kakum NP: It was the beginning of our trip and we didn’t know how much to pay the guide. We’re embarrassed to admit that we paid 30$ for 3 hours. To our defence: It was not clear to us if the price mentioned in the guide is for a walk as part of a group or for the guide (independently of the group size). We did get on the canopy walk before it was officially opened so we saw some monkey jumping from tree to tree. Later during the walk on the ground we these amazing long-tailed monkeys.
Nothing to add about Elmina, the Green Turtle and the Safari Beach. The guide describes this all very well.
Kumasi: The Guestline lodge was very poor value, we wouldn’t stay there again. Even more as there was mould on our breakfast’s bread. The Kejetia market was big fun! The museums were quite overpriced and the guides (no offence) so ridiculous that it was almost comical.
Lake Bosumtwi: We stayed at the Lake point and liked it very much (best housing quality we’ve seen in whole Ghana; good food and friendly staff). One day we walked from the Lake Point eastwards, on the other day westwards till the Rainbow. You should write more about the walks, as especially the one eastwards was very nice, leading along many fields and through villages. The street to the Rainbow was not half as pleasant and the Rainbow itself was disappointing (we only had lunch, but that was mediocre and we were ripped off by asking 10 Cedis for two flavourless, watery pineapple juices).
Tamale: We only stopped there overnight on our way to Mole. There was this annoying, sunglasses wearing young hustler who quickly approached us when we got off the bus from Kumasi.
Bus to Larabanga: We were at 4am at the station, but no body really wanted to help us and people said the MMT bus is already full. However, we hardly got the chance to ask people since this hustler quickly talked to them when we tried to ask someone. Behind the station were another two buses standing(one MMT, one from another company), and the hustler told us (and got some cash for that) to take one of them . At about 6:30am, the MMT bus was finally leaving, taking all passengers from both buses. There were about another ten tourist, all of which were quite unease and confused about the bus.
Larabanga: A pretty nice place to see and no problems at all. We stayed at one of the Salia brothers out of town. We enjoyed talking to his wife, the volunteers and other travellers. We didn’t think the tour guided by the nephew of one Salia brother was worth it, his English was too limited and his stories not so interesting. Probably if one of the Salia brothers had been the guide, it would have been better. We also rented bikes twice to go to Mole – and twice we got a puncture. The bikes are poorly maintained (well, how can you maintain a bike without spare parts), but the bigger problem is that the bikes are just not made for roads like this.
Mole: We liked it (the park, the good guides, the elephants…), how couldn’t you…
Koforidua: You should mention that the STC bus doesn’t pass there on the way between Kumasi and Accra
Amedzofe: We didn’t know what to expect – but were anyhow a little disappointed. I as a view hunter would have liked the view from Mt Gemi very much, but there were so many little bastards (meaning flies), I couldn’t stay for more than 3 minutes. There is a direct narrow and sometimes steep path through the forest from Amedzofe to Biakpa (1 1/2h), also doable (but not easy) with backpacks. Ask the tourist office for directions. We left the Paradise Lodge with mixed feelings. We liked the food but the room had a very poor mattress. But worst, we ordered one breakfast but got two (which we sent back), and then the woman in charge wanted us to pay for the two. As we refused, she wanted to deduct the money from the servant’s salary. We therefore paid half of the unordered breakfast but gave this money to the servant.
Akosombo: The Afrikio looked great but was full – the Volta hotel was okay but for this price you can expect more – we were longing for watching a movie, but there were only 7 channels available of the long list that they promised. The ride on the Dodi princess was not interesting in itself, the island (well, the locals from the mainland to be precise) are spoilt by the tourism. But watching the upper-class Ghanaians and their dancing was much fun. S
Some more things: In the STC buses, we got once or twice the seat in the back. As the journey was long, the AC not properly working and the engine very hot, it was a quite unpleasant trip.
After we were quite fed up with young fellows asking for donations for their football team, we started to tell them that we do not donate to individuals. We gave therefore 50 cedis to a volunteer we talked to and from then on we had a good argument and (maybe even more important) the confidence to stop the donation-talks pretty quickly
We are both vegetarian but didn’t have real problems with the food and actually liked most of it. Only in Amedzofe food was really limited. We ate vegetarian fufu, banku and TZ. Snacks were always present in the form of bananas, cookies, coconut, plantain etc. Certainly not necessary to take protein bars if you are only staying for one month or less.
Last but least, we want to clearly state that we liked Ghana very much!
Kind regards Benjamin Frey & Annemiek van der Heijden