Travel Journal

Accra - Wli - Accra - November 25-28

(Thursday 29 November 2007) by Karin

Most of my time over the last few days has been spent in buses and tro-tro's with today being the worst. 12 hours to get from Accra to Tamale where on arrival we discovered that a teachers' conference is going on and almost all the guesthouses are full. Luckily we did find a room. Not the cleanest but I was not going to be picky at this point. Not doing well in the sleeping department I figured I would fall asleep immediately. I was wrong so writing up the last few days events is what I am up doing instead.

Sunday morning plans changed. Instead of taking the Akosombo-Yeji ferry, supposedly quite an adventure, I decided to spent some time in the Volta Region. The Volta Region is a relatively mountainous sliver of land bounded by Lake Volta to the west and Togo to the east. The main towns in this part of Ghana are Ho, Hohoe and Kpando. Our first tro-tro brought us to Hohoe where we immediately boarded a taxi to bring us to Wli and the Waterfall lodge. A lodge run by Germans and the cleanest I've seen in Ghana. The smell of fresh, clean sheets :-), I'd forgotten. And some familiar faces. Pascale and her husband arrived today too so we had a nice chat during dinner. Scenery here is quite different from the north.

Monday up early as I wanted to visit the lower and upper falls before it got too hot. The Wli or Agumatsa falls, supposedly the largest waterfall in West Africa, consists of a highly accessible lower fall and a more difficult to reach upper fall. The flat path to the lower fall leads through a thick forest and lasts about 45 minutes during which you cross several bridges over the river. First encounter, an ant highway. The bigger 'soldier' ants protect the smaller ones when they cross the path carrying their eggs. Quite an interesting sight. Didn't step on them, something I regretted later when the nasty little creepy animals started biting me. Next the butterflies. The sanctuary is said to harbour 400 butterfly species. I did not see 400 of them but a good many different beautiful colored ones I did see. A short rest at the lower falls before the hike up tot he upper falls. Glad that our guide gave us some 'hiking poles' cause I do not know if I would have made it without those. Hard to scramble up some of the rocks and I tried hard not to think about having to go down the same path later in the day. Just one step at the time, small small (an expression often used here in Ghana), and that would bring me up there too. I almost turned back at some point but Jakob, another crazy person wanting to go up there (not many do so) told me I would surely regret that decision so I struggled on. And he was right. Once there I got a stunning view of the upper falls and felt it was all worth it. Still tried not to think about the way back 8-O. We stayed and enjoyed the view for a while and I had a snack before starting the return trip, slowly but surely. Talking to Jakob made it seem shorter and easier and two hours later I found myself back at the lower falls. Totally soaked and it wasn't even a very hot day. The guide and Alhassan just raced down but when Alhassan's butt had a not so soft encounter with the rocks and ground I felt better about going small small steps at the time. The 45-minute walk to the lodge suddenly seemed a lot longer then it was in the morning. Decided that mount Afadjato, generally regarded to be the country's highest peak would still be there on another trip. After 10 weeks in ghana I am totally out of shape.

On the way back to Accra the next day I visited Tafi Abuipi. This small village is one of the major kente-weaving centres in Ghana. Once you pay a small entrance fee a guide will show you around and you can photograph as you like. Outside almost every house in the village you see a few weavers at work. Some of them seemed very young to me and when I asked I was told that the boys (I saw very few girls) start at 7 but most weavers stop when they are 40. I was impressed and amazed at how quick they are and for once, nobody pressured me into buying.
From here back to Accra in another tro-tro (third one today) where I arrived early evening, totally exhausted. They were surprised to see me back so soon at the Pink Hostel, as I had told them I'd be back in 2 weeks before leaving, but I got a dormitory room just for me and that for my discounted volunteer price. Did not sleep very well but enjoyed the quietness before the long and noisy busride to Tamale today.


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