Thanks to James Fraser for these detailed notes about walks taken along the Ghanaian coast over 2011 to 2013:
These notes are for those who are thinking of walking along the coast in Ghana. The coastline is very beautiful, in parts, particularly west of Takoradi. For anyone who enjoys walking; the coast possibly offers the best experience in both scenery and climate in Ghana. It is easy to start, and break off the walk, anywhere along the coast. Most villages have a trotro service that connects to the main Accra/Takoradi/Ivory Coast road.
On these walks I carried a small tent. Not strictly necessary in the dry season, instead you could pack a large sheet of polythene to lie/shelter under if necessary. The sea breeze greatly reduce the mosquito menace. In recent years lodges have sprung up along the coast and it should be possible to avoid camping and stay in one of them. The problem is knowing where they are. Many are not well advertised, and even if they were I have yet to find a decent map of Ghana. But travel optimistically and you should be ok!
It is essential, and easily possible in this climate, to travel really light. Catering equipment consisted of two pots, one for the stew and the other for rice. A sharp knife,forks, spoons and plates. Ground pepper, salt, matches and some paper to get the fire going. Only one set of spare clothing is necessary, but important if staying at a lodge and you do not wish to offend the other guests. Wash them at night and they will be dry, or nearly so, by the morning.
Water and lots of it is essential. Nearly all the villages sell ‘pure water’. We normally carried several sachets for consumption on the way, and as an insurance just in case the next village did not have any, also remember water if cooking. Bread is obtainable in the larger villages and tinned sardines almost every where; this was lunch, with pepper. When camping for the night on the beach we would light a fire from drift wood. We would cook a stew consisting of tinned fish (sometimes fresh) onions, tomatoes (puree) and anything else available. All purchased in the villages en route. The exception was rice, not always freely available, we carried a supply with us, also a small bottle of cooking oil. If you like some end of day alcohol (I do) with a little practice the sachets of Ghana ‘whiskey’ and ‘gin’ are surprisingly comforting. But the larger villages will have a bar with frequently very warm beer.
The coastline is full of rocky headlands that cannot be walked by following the sea. They have to be walked around by going inland; sometimes for several kilometres. One of the major problems I faced were the huge boulders on lengthy stretches of the beach. It is necessary to leap from one to the other requiring a balancing skill, which is no longer my strong point. (I was in my late 70s when doing these walks)
The walk from Winneba to Cape Coast is uncomplicated and relatively easy. It is a good walk to test motivation for the more challenging, but more beautiful, walks west of Takoradi. However, on this walk, I suggest you find a guide at Biriwa ( a little way past Anamabu) or terminate the walk; it is only a few kilometres from Cape Coast. From Biriwa it is essential to go inland because of the headland. There are numerous paths branching left and right in very thick bush, and impossible to know which one to follow. It is remote and you will be lucky to meet anyone to direct you.
One really easy and attractive walk is from Takoradi to Busua, taking about four hours. But first briefly taking public transport, (see my diary of this walk dated 7.2 2012). From Busua, walking west, the coast becomes more challenging. Public transport back to Winneba/ Accra is not difficult.
I travelled with a Fanti speaker. This is not strictly necessary, but useful, although he had no more knowledge of the coast than I had. You may need to frequently ask the way. As I have mentioned it is sometimes impossible to directly follow the coast, but finding someone to point out the way in English is not difficult. If you would like to have a Ghanian accompany you, and you are staying at Manuel’s Guest House; Emmanuel will probably be able to introduce you to someone willing and happy to accompany you.
Winneba to Cape Coast.
17.1.2011. To Monkwadze lodge (with Adi). One and half hours. Stayed at the lodge, very comfortable. Cedis 50. Manager, Justin.
18.1.2011. To Otum, six hours. Straight forward walk. Stayed at the lodge. Cedis 40. Evening in the local bar.
19.1.2011. To a beach just east of Saltpond. Camped on beach very close to Sisimba Beach Resort, a very expensive place, but would be allowed to erect tent in the lodge grounds for cedis 10. Lodge steward is George, knew him from Otum Lodge. Cooked on beach.
20.1.2011. To Moree Beach Resort. Severn and half hours. Cedis 50, including b’fast. Got hopelessly lost in the bush between Biriwa and Moree. Fortunately came across a woodcutter who ‘lent’ us his lad to guide us back to the coast. Then a difficult scramble over boulders to Moree. Suggest not to attempt this walk unless a guide, from Biriwa, is obtained. The alternative is to get trotro from Biriwa to Cape Coast (only a few kilometres) or return to Winneba/Accra.
21.1.2011. To Cape Coast. Two and half hours.
Winneba to Takoradi. (almost)
20.2.2011. Winneba to Otum. Departed 5.30 am (with Adi). Eight hours. Camped in grounds of the lodge. Evening local bar, meal at lodge.
21.2.2011. To a beach just east of Saltpond, (see 19/1 above). Evening at local bush bar, cooked on beach.
22.2.2011. To Cape Coast. The intention was to walk to Moree, but again unable to locate coastal path (see 20/1 above) En route to Biriwa passed Koko Bongo Beach Resort, where I stayed the following year (tel 0247887841) I liked the place. It is about 3 km past Saltpond and 5 km before the Anamabu Beach Resort.
Because unable to locate coastal path at Biriwa, took trtro at Biriwa to Cape Coast.
23.2 2011. Rest day at Cape Coast. Stayed Mighty Victory Hotel. It is ok.
22.2 2011. To a beach six hours west of Cape Coast. Departed 6.30 am. First walked along road to Elmina. then followed the coast to Brenu/Akyenim. En route passed the Stumble Inn, just past Elmina, and next door to Elmina Bay Resort (expensive). But Stumble Inn looked good and not expensive. Very friendly welcome when we stopped for a drink. Camped and cooked on beach.
23.2.2011. To Shama, just short of Takoradi, we could see the port cranes. But unable to continue. Bad foot needing antibiotics, (lessson, walk in shoes and not sandals!) . Trotro to Takoradi. Stayed the night, then trotro to Winneba.
Takoradi to Beyin.
6.2.2012. To Takoradi (with Fii). Night in Takoradi.
7.2.2012. To Busua. Four hours, easy walk. But first it is necessary to avoid the lagoon immediately west of Takoradi. Took trotro to Apowa, 50p and then from this junction, a shared taxi to the coast at Adjoe, 50p. Both very short distance and frequent transport. Got trotro to Apowa at the big roundabout as you enter Takoradi on the Accra road. Beautiful coastline. Stayed at Alaska, cedis 25. Not recommended, generally scruffy and unpleasant!
8.2.2012. To Cape Three Points via Akwida. About seven hours. At Akwida unable to find the coastal path to Cape Three Points (there is one) so suffered several km of laterite roads before rejoining the coast. Camped and cooked on the beautiful and remote beach east of C. T. Points.
9.2.2012. To Princes Town. Easy walk, about three hours. Intended to continue past P.T. but at the lagoon, just after the town, met a young German couple who had just been robbed at knife point. Returned to P.T. and stayed the night at the fort. One of my favourite places to stay. Very basic, but beautifully situated. Friendly rest house keeper, Joseph.
10.2.2012. To Axim. Took trotro to Axim from P.T. to avoid the fate of the German couple. At Axim rejoined the beach and walked for six hours. Camped and cooked on the beach.
11.2.2012. To Beyin. Two hours. Shared taxi to main road junction then trotro to Winneba, (changed at Takoradi).
Takoradi to Half Assini.
14.1.2013. To Takoradi, (with Adi). Stayed the night at Takoradi.
15.1.2013. To Busua. See notes above on this walk, (7.2.2012). Stayed Kangaroo Pouch. Cedis 40.
16.1.2013. To beach about four miles east of Princes Town. Seven hours. Hard walk over headland, steep hillsides, large boulders on beach. Camped in a remote and beautiful bay. Made large bonfire with driftwood.
17.1.2013. To Princes Town, four hours. With some difficulty found route away from bay. Stayed at fort. Evening to local bar where we talked to Alex, a local tourist guide. Helpful with directions.
18.1.2013. To beach, about six hours. Camped in a remote bay a few miles east of Axim Very beautiful beaches, but rough going over boulders and steep hillsides. This walk covered the place where the German couple had been robbed at knife point, (see 9.2.2012 above). It is thought to be safe if walking with a Ghanian, as I did. If walking alone you could hire a guide. Joseph the fort rest house keeper will advise.
19.1.2013. To beach, about six hours. Walked past Esiama and camped by a lagoon.
20.1.2013. To Beyin. Crossed lagoon by canoe, but then unable to find path. Forced to return to Esiama, from here took shared taxi to Elkwe on the coast. Resumed walk. Four hours to Beyin Lodge, cedis 60.
21.1 2013. To Half Assini. One and half hours to Half Assini. The coastline, in this far west corner of Ghana, is mostly a long stretch of sandy beaches, easy to walk along, but not as beautiful as further east. Return to Winneba.