March trip report

A reader writes:

We flew out of Heathrow Friday, March 18 and stayed for two nights at Access Inn in Osu. I highly recommend it as a budget place- you can check out my reviews on TripAdvisor and Booking.com. It’s a 5-6 cedi taxi ride from the inn to Oxford Street. The inn also provides airport pickup. The staff is helpful, especially Comfort. The price is slightly cheaper if you call them to book or just show up versus Booking.com.

Neither the Barclays nor the Standard Chartered in Osu do forex anymore. But you can change money through one of several vendors on Oxford Street or other local vendors in Accra.

Relish Health Foods doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

Buka restaurant is stellar for me as a vegetarian, however my husband was displeased how he got a meal of mostly gristle and bone one night.

Nourishlab Smoothies. I really liked my avo, banana and honey smoothie. Staff was unfriendly.

The National Museum is closed for renovations that will end who knows when!

It’s a 10 cedi p/p entrance to Labadi Beach. Note hustlers will come at you straight away hawking stuff. Still, we enjoyed our short time there and I bought two bracelets. The beach was pretty clean.

Jamestown Walking Tours was conveniently NOT running walking tours the Saturday we were there.

The Brazil House Museum has interesting murals in the back but there’s nothing else there except a mediocre art exhibit on the top floor. A large woman who doesn’t speak English asks for money but I ignored her but there was an English-speaking man Rudolph there who explained the art so I gave him 5 cedis.

Fort James is closed. Fort Ussher is interesting for how decrepit it is but not sure how much more interesting it would be with a guide so declined.

The next day we took a taxi to Aflao to go to Togo. Comfort at Access Inn tried to negotiate with a taxi on the street that gave us the CRAZY price of 700 cedis so we had him just take us what seemed to be a bus station. We negotiated a whole taxi for my husband and me for 140 cedis. The driver coordinated with someone at the Togo border to get us in another taxi. Now, I wasn’t pleased with this, but expect to pay bribes to that guy and also to the police at the border. You CAN get a Togo visa at the border- it’s 15,000 CFA per person. Expect them to hassle you a bit if you don’t speak French like we don’t. But good humour goes a long way because when we passed the same woman agent two days later going back into Ghana she smiled and waved us through

Once back in Ghana we headed for Mankessim. Note that once you start taking pics at the posuban, money is demanded by one random guy. He called another guy – a “guide” – to explain its symbolism. While the posuban is very interesting to look at, this guide’s English was so poor that it was a waste of the 10 cedis I gave him (he wanted 20, hah!).

Overnight we stayed at Mabel’s Restaurant in Elmina. It looks idyllic but the cabin and beach are dumpy. And there’s no wifi.

The next day we went to St George Castle in Elmina, and to Cape Coast Castle. Good English-speaking guides in both (much better at Cape Coast) and well worth the time.

We got a taxi back to Accra that night and stayed at Pink Hostel. It sucks compared to Access Inn. Again, reviews on TripAdvisor.

Next day we took a Starbow flight to Tamale. 45-minutes late for takeoff but each passenger got goodie bags of water, a juice drink and biscuits which was nice. Comfortable, AC flight. We had pickup from the tiny Tamale airport from Zaina Lodge, where we stayed. Mixed reviews on this as well. But we got to see elephants play and swim in a watering hole which was pretty great.

After two days, we left Zaina and headed toward the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary and ultimately Kumasi. First of all, the sanctuary is in the middle of nowhere on dirt roads. The Bradt book makes it sound much easier to get to than it is. We finally got to the sanctuary when it had already closed (5pm) but thank God a guide still offered us a tour! He spoke English well. The monkeys are AWESOME and super-cheeky. You buy a bunch of plantains from a woman near the entrance to the forest sanctuary for 3 cedis and begin to feed them. They are so smart and jump off of you to grab chunks of plantain. There are baby monkeys too. This was a highlight of my trip. Make sure to wear bug repellent bc I fond lots of bites around my ankles and bottom of my feet the next day.

We got to Kumasi hours later and stayed at Kumasi Catering Rest House. The next and our final day in Kumasi, we hired a taxi to take us around to some Ashanti shrines near Ejisu. We went to the Besease Traditional Shrine and the Atia Kusia Kwame Shrine. The first was closed when we got there but opened for us. There are interesting plaques along the walls describing the thatched structure and designs inside. I gave 5 cedis. At the Atia Kusia shrine… oh boy. The exterior wall is interesting but the caretaker constantly pressured me for more money during his barely English description. Some nonsense on Princess Diana. He also insisted on getting my phone number which I refused. I almost walked out twice and should have. Because at the end, when my husband came to look for me, he started asking him on my phone number and asking about sending him money from a bank account!

Anyway, we later got a bus back to Accra. Not VIP but it had AC… and a woman preacher for about 45 minutes.

Overall, we had some great and some not-so-great experiences over 10 days!

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