Lesley Sage writes:
Four of us, including a Ghanain National and her English husband who have a home in Koforidua as well as running their own business in UK, have just finished a short visit to the Volta region, calling into Akosombo on our return to pick up their order of tilapia fingerlings for their home ‘fish-pond’ as a food source.
We stayed in Ho at the Malisel Hotel for one night during some building works; despite having booked a few days before, staff weren’t expecting us, so rooms were not prepared and they reluctantly allowed us a towel each but were unable to provide an over sheet to the bed, so we ended up under a clean but stained sheet with an obvious cigarette burn. The owner was friendly but staff were not. Yes, it was clean. We also found Mother’s Inn only serving banku and the food at White House Bar was fine, except they claimed to have no menu and only on paying did we discover they had charged us ‘tourist’ rates. Otherwise a really pleasant location watching a busy interesting street at night.
Due to my interest in weaving we followed the guidance in your guide and visited Kpetoe Agotime (good tarmac road from Ho towards the Togo border) and were delighted with the “semi-open concrete construction housing about 20 weavers”. Because it was a Sunday morning, only two weavers were not at church but for five cedi I sat at his loom and he patiently instructed me while my Ghanaian friend interpreted what few words he didn’t know in English. We then bought 80cedi worth of strips, tablecloth, three purses and three bookmarks which felt extremely fair value to him and us. A fantastic experience; apparently an English lass is currently being taught by them all to learn Kente weaving.
Akosombo: Afrikiki River Front Resort – the swimming pool was out of action due to refurbishment, due to finish next week, ie beginning of December. We all felt the rooms were overpriced (140cedi as the discounted price because no pool) for the mediocre quality with the money clearly going to the surroundings. Food ok and biggish portions for us; breakfast fine but no fresh fruit.
Volta Dam – trips round the hydro plant itself have stopped but a guide along the dam wall was well worth it for us with some close views of local spear fishermen. At Akosombo Port, the head of security of the Volta River Transport company showed us round for 5cedi each awhich was very interesting. The Yapei Queen was being loaded and he gave us a good insight into the other vessels, dry-dock and future plans/ideas.
Brief comments on other palaces visited with our friends:-
Kakum: James Biney deserves the recommendation you give him.
Elmina: our friends were more moved by the Fort than that in Cape Coast. Watching the boats go out as the sun set and then return to the fish market the next morning was great – you are right about the reaction to taking photos. But definitely worth persuading your stomach to stand up to some pretty intense smells! Our friends bought almost 100cedi of tuna, cuttlefish, prawns and a few others which made for very interesting if not protracted bargaining!
Kumasi: agree about the chaos but tempered by the colour and vibrancy of such a seething mass of humanity!! The small Ashanti exhibition at the Cultural Centre worth a visit and for me, the weaving centre. We used the Four Villages Inn as the overnight stop and agree with the very good quality but pricey comment.
The guide has been an invaluable source of information so a real asset. Thank you. We unsuccessfully visited the Tourist Dept in Koforidua for a decent road map and discovered from a diplomat acquaintance of our friends that there is no such map in existence! Without your maps, we would have not felt so confident – perhaps this is another commercial opportunity for Bradt?