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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ghana, Part 2

Oops, actual conclusion to the Accra traffic: We have to comment on the Accra traffic. This is probably the worst traffic we have struck thus far. Hugh/mega traffic jams and very aggressive drivers. Here the old joke about the definition of a split second being the time between a traffic light changing to green and the person behind you sounding their horn, is reality. Also, lots of road rage – particularly if you are white and maybe try and do something the locals do all the time (Avril was driving all the time for the cynics!!).

Day 6 – 30/3/12

We checked out of the hotel at the last possible moment to make use of the internet, Skype etc. We then drove to Kokrobite, an overlander essential stop: Big Millies Backyard.

The premises would make a great set for a 1950s/1960s surfing movie. There are a number of bars and eating places, lots of stores selling local produce and on the beach, more stores and eateries. All with lots of sand and palm trees and small rondawels. Every one is nice and very happy. A wonderful atmosphere.

Unfortunately the beach is not that safe, so you cannot take anything with you when you go for a swim. Apparently the fishing is not that profitable, so some of the locals have taken to theft, occasionally accompanied with a little violence. Still, our vehicle is only ~ 30 m from the beach, so it is not a huge inconvenience.

Friday night is drumming night. At ~ 20:00 a troupe of musicians and dancers came into the central area of the site and performed until ~ 22:30. The drumming OK but the highlight was the dancing. It was very energetic and professional – no excess weight on the dancers!

The partying went on until the early hours.

Avril driving. 29 km. N  050 29’ 45.7’’ W 0000 21’ 56.6’’

Day 7 – 31/3/12

A very exciting day. After the previous nights noise we got up late and did a few chores.

Early in the afternoon Hannah & Kate friends from Egypt/UK days turned up. They had arrived into Accra very early in the morning and Sunil (also ex BG living in Accra) brought them to the beach.

We had a wonderful afternoon catching up, chatting etc. It was great to see friendly faces and relax with people we know.

Saturday night is Reggae night. The music stops at 02:00, but the partying continues way beyond that. Ray managed to get a little sleep, Avril not too much.

Day 8 – 1/4/12

Sunil kindly sent his driver to fetch us and take us to his apartment in Accra. What a breath of fresh air… after shopping for ingredients for salad and haggling with one of the ladies at the fruit and veg stand at the Total filling station we returned to the plush part of Accra near the airport to Sunil’s apartment… crickey, it was almost a holiday resort in its own right.. what a fantastic swimming pool.  With military precision we prepared our ingredients for salad, fresh locally grown lettuce leaves, sweet plum tomatoes: avocadoes with pips the side of tennis balls, carrot, chicken….. needless to say the salad went down very well with the gin & tonics!, We had a very pleasant day relaxing around the pool with old friends, meeting new people and no driving skills required at all.

Day 10 – 3/4/12

Well, after a slight delay this morning we set off on our adventure to see some castles and frequent a forest. We meet up with Sunil, Hannah, Kate, Fabiola and their driver Isaac just after the toll gates near Kokorbite on the Accra-Takoradi road…. We made record time stopping at Winneba along the way to see the fishing village, the police training college and a stretch of beach with white sand with fishing boats bringing in their midday catch (little tidly fish and some crabs)… we continued on our trail onwards to Elmina to see the castle and hear tales of past wrongdoings.. first the Portuguese built a fort, then the Dutch conquered it and finally the British bought it…. along the way they were helped in the misdeeds by local chieftans pushing war and with it conquered tribes as people to barter for guns, alcohol and tobacco….. passing through the entrance to view the point of no return I wondered whether how many descendants know of their forefathers footsteps! A reasonable road to drive on even through the torrential rain.  We stopped for a bite to eat early afternoon but no such thing as a quick sandwich - TIA.  2 hours later we decided that One Africa was the place to stay and booked ourselves in for a night on the beach before a quick foray to the fort at Cape Coast.  What better way to finish the day than delicious fresh watermelon and large G&T with ice and lime.

Ray driving. 210 km.  N  050 05’ 45.0’’ W 0010 19’ 32.9’’

Day 11 – 4/4/12

We had a very early start to the day, up at 05:15 so we could be on the road by 06:00 and at Kakum National Park by 07:00. There we did a nature walk, with lots of information about how the local folks use the trees/plants for medicinal purposes and then the aerial walkway. This is ~ 30 m above the rain forest floor and along the canopy. We saw some Mona monkeys whilst on the ropeway. The NP is nice, without being spectacular. As with the rest of Ghana, we found is very expensive.

We then had a fruit brunch, lots of delicious watermelon, mangoes and pineapples which Sunil bought from Accra. Then, sadly we needed to say goodbye to our friends. It was very exciting and relaxing to be with mates.

We then drove to the Strugglin Inn to meet up with Jan & Mariska, the overlanders we had bumped into at the fort yesterday. We spent some time chatting and getting to know them. We swapped information about the upcoming trip – they are heading south whilst we go North.

Our original intention had been to continue to the next stop, but we decided to stay a night here and camped almost on the beach. We had a BBQ, with a fire made by the staff – luxury. We also met up with a German couple who had recently cycled the route we are about to take and got some information from them.

Avril driving. 92 km. N  050 04’ 31.0’’ W 0010 22’ 36.3’’

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