Turtle-viewing at Anyanui (Keta)

Annie writes:

The Bradt guide to Ghana is GREAT. I was there for 4 weeks over Christmas 2018 and it lead me everywhere (I had the 7th edition) and was incredibly useful to find out what to do/where to do and what Ghana was like, it was an invaluable item during my trip, almost as important as my passport and malaria tablets!

I wanted to get in contact with you about the part of the book ‘Keta and surrounds’ (p283-7) as you can now track marine turtles there as well as from Ada Foah. I think this  experience should rank high on the list of must-do things in Ghana, as one of the big highlights, rather than being buried away deep in the book.

I went to stay at Meet Me There in Dzita (see p 284) and met Rex Bright from the Anyanui Tourist Information centre (<bmadzagba@gmail.com> or +233 23 844 8613; see https://bradtghanaupdate.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/tourist-information-in-keta/) and booked to go on a turtle night walk with him the next night. I was also (short side-story) lucky enough to go out with him during the day to see him and others rescuing leatherback turtles that had been turned over by poachers, and were therefore unable to move (allowing the poachers to come back as a group to take the turtle home to kill and eat later). This involved turning them over the right way and guiding them back out to sea.

Then, that night was magical! As it was turtle season (I was there first week of January 2019) we saw 6 turtles that evening, all totally in their natural habitat, coming out of the sea, laying eggs, making fake nests and heading back to the sea. Bright was informative, friendly and with each turtle he measured them and took note of their location.

Now, given the threat of extinction that these turtles face, the amazingness of this experience as a tourist, and the need for support (both financially and through education and awareness) for turtle conservation on the coast of Ghana. I think this activity should be treated as one of the highlights/don’t miss/top things to do in Ghana.

Admittedly, it is not a fancy walk with everything laid out for you, it was tiring walking along the beach and Bright needed to measure the turtles and wanted to stay with the last one until it went back out to sea for fear of poachers getting it (this was at 2.30am, we’d been out since 10pm). But, this work is essential to turtle conservation and it was a genuine and beautiful experience for me as a tourist to be part of this and see this impressive creatures. Also, to know that our presence on the beach most probably prevented poachers reaching these leatherback turtles that night was priceless.
For these reasons, I really hope you consider raising the profile of this experience in Ghana, in order to provide tourists with a better experience of Ghana and provide support to this vital turtle conservation work.

As a tourist, I have now left Ghana and there is little I can do remotely to support this turtle conservation. But I feel that one thing I can do is ensure more people come to the region to see the turtles and support the conservation. I understand that you would not want to bring so many tourists that they overcrowd the villages and disrupt the turtles on the beaches, but a few more tourists to this area would be incredible.

When people ask me what was the highlight of my 4 week trip to Ghana, I always tell them that it was the turtles, it was unexpected but without a doubt the best bit of the trip, I hope other people can experience this!

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