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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ghana, Part 3

Day 12 – 5/4/12

We woke to a howling gale. Probably the strongest winds we have seen thus far. Given that the kit had not been subjected to these forces before, we decided it would be prudent to pack up. After breakfast Avril chatted to Maurice (who had been to RMIT & lived in Richmond) & Julie – not a couple as we said yesterday, but cousins. Sorry!! Ray copied way points and tracks from Jan & Mariska.

Just as a by-the-by, we have noticed that there does not seem to be any traditional housing in Ghana, at least on the route we have taken. This is not to say the housing is of a high standard. It seems to be a basic rectangle made out of either bricks or mud with a corrugated iron roof.

We thought Stumble Inn, was a nice place to stop and the management super friendly.

We headed off ~ lunch time and following the advice of others did some shopping in Takoradi. The central market is in the middle of a giant round- about, so for one of the shopping stops, Ray drove around and around the circle whilst Avril shopped. We then drove to Dixcove and on to the Green Turtle lodge. The ~ 10 km track from Dixcove to the lodge is atrocious. It took us ~ 40/45 min. The lodge would probably be a nice stop over, however we decided to push on. We did not want to start the drive to Ivory Coast on such a bad road, the lodge facilities are basic and there is no telephone or internet.

We had met Michael, a trainee working at Ankobra Beach whilst shopping in Takoradi and he suggested we stay at “his” lodge, which is close to Axim.

The Bradt guide says this beach is the best in Ghana, the owners say the best in the world! And even for an Aussie it is pretty good. We camped “right on the beach”, with all the essential elements of a post card; palm trees, ocean, sand, small island off shore with a couple of trees to make any photo wonderful. We were treated to a magnificent crimson red sunset and finished off the day with a couple of cold ones and an excellent dinner.

The road was good tar to ~ the Dixcove turn off, but deteriorated from there. Whilst not very bad, there are an increasing number of potholes. The vegetation was very green and tropical; lots of palms, creepers and tall trees, for us reminiscent of far north Queensland.

It had spotted rain most of the day and this makes us more nervous about the oncoming rainy season.

The very bad news is that mum’s Christmas cake, which the kids had brought to Cameroon is now finally finished.

Ray driving. 187 km. 6 hrs N  040 53’ 28.2’’ W 0020 15’ 54.5’’

Day 13 – 6/4/12

Picture perfect day. We woke up to clear skies for the 1st time in weeks. The beach scene still impressed us. Unfortunately we needed to do some chores in the morning, but enjoyed the facilities in the afternoon; swimming and chilling out on the beach. The solar panels worked well with the sun directly on them. Avril says the best vista she has ever washed clothes in!

Day 14 – 7/4/12

After settling the bill, we set off for the border. The road became increasingly worse, with lots of pot holes and some wash- aways in places.

We completed the immigration and customs formalities with a minimum of fuss. No hint of a bribe.

Ghana Summary

We had a wonderful time in Ghana, mainly because we met up with friends. Also, this is the first time we have seen a lot of western tourists and other overlanders we could chat to. Being able to do daily tasks in English is a big plus for us!!

There are lots of positives about Ghana: nice restaurants, no hassle at the road blocks, some interesting attractions and some great beaches. There is no shortage of churches and advertisements for preachers etc

However, we found the Ghanaians were not such a happy mob - no friendly waves and smiles. The behaviours in the traffic are very harsh even for a Melbournian or Adelaidian.

The road along the coast is OK up until ~ Takoradi, however after that it is bad and once you leave this road, other roads are quite badly potholed. There had been a stabbing of a tourist at Big Millie’s Backyard beach a couple of weeks earlier, so security is a bit of an issue.

The costs are very high and compared to other countries we have experienced thus far, very poor value for money.

A bit of a nuisance was the build up of rubbish in the drains leading to some very bad odours along the way. We had not really noticed this to such an extent before.

Garmap served us well. Guides: Bradt = 7/10, Rough Guide = 6/10, Lonely Planet: 6/10.

We used the International Travel map, which is basically useless as it does not have mileages on it!

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