Feb 2016 trip report

Paul Bodenham writes:

First of all may I thank you for all your hard work producing the Ghana
guidebooks for Bradt. We’ve been using them for many years and have found
them essential.

I would like to pass on some information about accommodation in Saltpond,
which we visited last February (sorry for the delay!).

Mfantessim Beach Hotel is a new small hotel that was just opening for
business the week we were there. It’s reached by walking down the path to
the beach just past the Police station on the road into town (the path leqds
through the grounds of a school). We didn’t stay but ate several excellent
meals in their restaurant overlooking their gardens and the beach. I’m
afraid I don’t know what the rates are and I don’t have their telephone
number but I do have the email address of Steve, the very friendly British
owner:-

stevelangham10@gmail.com

Steve and his staff are great company and Steve himself is very enthusiastic
and knowledgeable about local culture. He certainly told us stuff that we’ve
not come across in twenty years of travel to Ghana. When we return to
Saltpond we’ll definitely stay here if at all possible.

Before we arrived in Saltpond we arranged to stay in the Nkubiem Motel which
we found in much better condition than described in Edition 6 of the
guidebook.  I’d say it’s received a lick of paint inside and out since it
was last reviewed and certainly didn’t seem ‘rundown’ to us. It might be
basic but certainly no worse than some places in Accra that will charge you
ten times as much. Certainly a friendly place and I wouldn’t say no to
staying here again.

There’s another Posuban shrine worth a look on the left of the road as you
reach the centre of town (it’s down a small alleyway).  Although nowhere
near as elaborate as the shrine near the sea it boasts a couple of
magnificent lions and an imperious-looking chicken on top of a column. It
does feature a lock and keys in bas relief on the front so I presume it’s
the site of enstoolment for local chiefs. As with Posuban shrines in general
finding out the meaning of the symbols is next to impossible.  When I asked
one caretaker the meaning of the statues he replied “Oh God….” before
telling me a lot that, although entertaining, was hardly illuminating.

Two more recommendations: we stayed once again at the Mighty Victory Hotel
in Cape Coast and it’s as good as ever. This time I was very ill when there
and can’t praise the staff enough for their kindness and help.

Also, the Coconut Grove Bridge House in Elmina gets the thumbs up for also
being so kind and considerate when we were there. It’s a lovely hotel in a
perfect position right in the centre of things and we’re definitely heading
back there.

Here’s an observation about the time of year we travelled. Due to my
partner’s job as a teacher we’ve previously always travelled to Ghana during
July / August.  This time we headed there in February and what we hoped to
be the end of the Harmattan season. Unfortunately the 2015/16 Harmattan was
exceptionally bad apparently and everyone seemed to be eagerly looking
forward to the first rains to clear the air. I’ve since discovered that I
probably took a chest infection with me: a paramedic neighbour here in
Bristol told me that there was a virtual epidemic of pneumonia and chest
infections in the city last winter and whatever I had to begin with was
further irritated by the dust in the Ghanaian air, developing into full
blown pneumonia (no fun I can assure you).

After my experience I’d certainly advise against anyone with respiratory
problems, even minor ones, travelling to Africa during the Harmattan. I’d
had a series of endless colds but was unaware of having a chest infection so
caution is definitely required at that time of year.  Next time we’ll
probably go back in August, a time of year when the worst I’ve ever suffered
is an occasional bout of the squits!

Once again, many thanks for all your great work.  I look forward to Edition
No. 7!

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