Hideout Lodge (Butre):
Huge recommendation for this little hotel. We slept in a treehouse and we were very impressed by the friendliness of the staff (a much desired attribute that missed in most hotels we visited) and the quality of the food and room we stayed in. Price/Quality was excellent so if anyone is looking for a secluded spot at the beach please consider this location.
Quite a negative experience for us visiting batenstein fort in Butre. We have been coming and going to butre a couple of times because we came back for hideout lodge when first staying there, having a good experience and coming back to it after green turtle lodge and we saw when we arrived and left from the trotro spot, a small simple wooden shed, which read “tourist office”. Now before we went to batenstein we saw this office at least four times, none of the times it being occupied.
We went to search for the path up the hill to the fort and from the bridge to hideout we took a right (afterwards we saw we should have taken a left). We walked through forest on a little footpath, came across a wateringhole and some people who would only show us the way “for something” so we just said hi and moved along. Finally we found what we thought was the path and through a very interesting climb we reached the fort. We enjoyed some nice views and we saw from there a path had been made that went directly into the village. So when we were done seeing the fort we went back down along the path. When we came back down into the village however we were in for a rude surprise.
A man came up to us saying we were to pay for visiting the fort and that we had to follow him to the tourist office (which was until then unoccupied on all occasions). We were asked to pay 10 cedi for seeing it even though it is nowhere even hinted at, a fee has to be paid when visiting the fort (not in the village itself, not on your way to the fort, not at the fort itself, no sign whatsoever). The tourist office, was suddenly occupied by 3 other men and a book was given to us for registration purposes (interesting detail, the oldest registration was only just after the italians renovated the fort and built a path to it in 2010). We put down our details and in the column for amount paid we put 10 cedis and gave him the money. We then asked for a receipt to know the money would go to the village, to a guide (we did not have) and keeping up the fort but he gave us some bogus excuse not to give the receipt. Desillusioned we went back to hideout afterwards and were very dissapointed this had happened. So please, if you are going to visit the fort, be warned you will have to pay for it, and it would be best you go to the tourist office first so you can at least get a guide with you (although I must say it seemed to me the money we paid would not be going to the village, or the guide, or the fort, but the man would just take it himself. He even said when he met us going down from the fort he “wouldn’t be here if people would not have to pay”.)
Green Turtle Lodge (Akwidaa):
This is just an opinion from two visitors so please don’t get discouraged for going there when reading this but we were not impressed. Especially since the bradt guide offers this as a great place to stay, we had a very different experience.
First of the positive aspect, we were greeted by a very friendly staff member of the reception so hats off to her.
Then the negative aspects.
– We would think, considering all the environmental friendly ideas the creators of this lodge had, to be sure of a night of solid resting. This, however, did not happen. The bed we were sleeping in (we were in the 35 cedi hut with shared bathroom) was terrible. We had a big beam right in our backs and even though me and my gf differ considerably in height we both had tremendous trouble getting comfortable (we didn’t btw). The second problem was a generator (of all things!) was on most of the night right behind our hut making the noise levels unbearable. Why would they have a generator? Especially since it is advertised they are using solar power. Even worse, the generator did not seem to be for the guests to make their stay more comfortable but for the employees (not that I would not grant the employees such benefits, but it’s at least strange the generator would seem only for them). A last problem we had, although this is in all fairness our own fault, is the huts do not have any fan or AC so it gets really hot in the hut. Too hot for us to be able to sleep together with the other two problems.
– A second negative experience for us was the turtle hike. We did this because we thought it good to support the turtles in this way but our experience with the guide seemed lacking. The guide told us a quick two sentences of turtles nesting at this part of the beach and we started walking. Due to bad luck we only saw turtle tracks and nothing else (but we usually have this bad luck when viewing animals so no surprise there) but it seemed strange to us, to walk a mile to get to a secluded spot on the beach where a change on turtle sighting would be higher, only to turn around and walk back not even 200 yards into the area. Furthermore the “guide” seemed to not know at all what he was doing, because when we asked if we there was a chance we could see eggs, he said, sure, and started digging in random spots with two hands (I seem to remember turtle eggs being very delicate and so this way of digging seemed absolutely crazy). Also only after us making a comment on it being to bad we did not see any turtle did our “guide” start using his torch a bit more often. All in all a very lacking experience.
– In the bradt guide it is mentioned they also did other excursions to a nearby national park, the stilted village etc. but when informing on this they did not seem to do those anymore. The last time he could remember they asked 300!! cedis to go to the national park which is an outrageous amount to begin with but they didn’t seem to eager to even offer us these excursions in the first place.
All in all, we were planning on staying there for 5 nights, we eventually stayed just one and left with dissapointment.
We had to go to akwidaa from the turtle lodge to catch a trotro and I noticed a troublin trend there (although this could be interpreted in other ways than I did). Children, ranging from about 10 to as young as 3 years old, seemed to be calling us “my friend” all the time. Now of course in itself this may seem harmless but after being in ghana and india, you know that “my friend” is not used in a friendly, i-just-want-to-say-hi manner, but in a i-want-something-from-you manner. Needless to say we just said hi back and would be on our way, but if that is the general consensus for all of akwidaa, the children there are raised with quite negative intentions. As I said before though, this can be interpreted in different ways and maybe it is just their way of a friendly greeting.