Until Saturday 30 June, we had not ventured west along the coast beyond Elmina. As Monday 2 July was a public holiday, we decided to take an extra day off and do a four-day trip. It seemed a good opportunity, so although the weather is currently changeable, we decided to take a chance. It was something of an adventure.
About 50 miles beyond Cape Coast is Takoradi, the third biggest city in Ghana. Our first overnight stop was Busua, about 12 miles west of Takoradi. To get there we used five tro-tros and a taxi. We left home at 8.10, and did our usual walk (30 minutes) to the main road. Then we took:
Tro-tro #1 to the Old Barrier – a quick stop-off to get cash from the ATM at our bank.
Tro-tro #2 the rest of the way to Kasoa, where we were able to catch a long-distance
Tro-tro #3 to Takoradi. The good news was that, because we were the last passengers to board, we did not have to wait to leave. The bad news was that, because we were the last passengers to board, we got the worst seats: cramped and uncomfortable. The other bad news was that the tro-tro was in even-worse-than-usual condition, and shortly before Takoradi it broke down. This meant that we had to take
Tro-tro #4 into the city. We managed to find the right starting-point for
Tro-tro #5 to Agona Junction. And finally, a taxi from there to Busua.
We arrived at the Busua Inn just after 3pm. It had taken us exactly seven hours to do a journey of about 140 miles. After dumping our things and having a drink, we explored Busua Beach, which is regarded as one of the best in Ghana. It is certainly beautiful, and we were lucky with the weather – sunny and breezy, not ideal for sunbathing or swimming, but perfect for a long walk by the sea.
The weather was not so good on Sunday morning. While waiting for the rain to stop, we sat on the balcony outside our room, reading or (in Ian’s case) doing sudoku – until the resident monkey made a lightning grab for his pencil!
We took a taxi to nearby Dixcove, a town with a fort and a colourful fishing harbour. By now we have seen so many towns with forts and fishing harbours that they are beginning to blur! And in this case the rain started again, in earnest, as we made our way to the fort, so we did not stay long.
A shared taxi took us back to Agona Junction, and we finally managed to find the right place to get a tro-tro for Axim, even further west. In Axim we saw yet another fort, but little else of interest, so we took a taxi to the Ankobra Beach Resort, just outside the town, where we stayed for the remaining two nights.
The weather was still not good, and there was rain on and off through the afternoon.
During one dry spell we went for a short stroll along the beach, but the ominous clouds soon drove us back to our chalet, and a good book. In any case, the beach was disappointing – at high tide there was very little dry sand to walk on. The wind was strong and the waves rough – definitely the wild west!
Early on Monday morning we did an excursion to Nzulezo, the famous stilt village on Lake Amansuri. This was to be the highlight of our trip – the main reason for our journey west – so we were desperately hoping that the weather would co-operate! Getting there involved a one-hour taxi journey to Beyin, and then a canoe trip (also lasting one hour) to Nzulezo.
We were lucky with the weather. It rained while we were in the taxi, which did not matter, but was dry while we were in the canoe, and in the village. We even had some sun! We found Nzulezo itself rather disappointing – not very different from other Ghanaian villages, except for being over water. And (possibly because the water level of the lake was high) the ‘stilts’ did not seem very tall. But the canoe trip through the Amansuri Wetland (‘the largest stand of intact swamp forest in Ghana’) was interesting and enjoyable.
We shared the Nzulezo trip with Rosemarie, a German lady who has lived in Ghana for most of the last 50 years. As the good weather did not continue through the afternoon, we had a long leisurely lunch with Rosemarie and her husband Robert, before returning to our books.
We had some sun in the morning, so took more pictures of the beach before checking out and starting the journey home. We took a tro-tro straight to Takoradi, and reached the city about 11.30 am. Our intention was to have a look round, and some lunch, before catching an Accra-bound bus. However, our plans changed when we discovered that there was a riot going on!
Crowds of people were running towards us, away from a column of thick black smoke. We did not wait to discover what was happening, but it was evident that tear gas was being used (we assume by the police). Although we ran away (like everyone else) our eyes, throats and faces really stung for a while. After that, we decided we’d had enough excitement, so we caught the next bus home.