Published: August 14th 2009August 14th 2009
Who knew that travelling could be so fatiguing, almost 24 hours of bumpy dirt tracks can be a gruelling task, as six volunteers ventured North of Ghana in what was only going to be an exhausting but brilliant trip.
Starting our trip at Kenneshi Station at 14:30, full of joy and anticipation, we bought supplies for the trip and we were on our way, who would have thought our morale could instantly decrease so quickly. There are again no points for guessing who I was lumbered with as a coach buddy, yes Catlady (Hollie.) I don’t know how but every time this happens, this time it was the Coach Company that held my destiny. So a twelve hour journey to Tamale, with a girl that’s attention span is as long as a Goldfish, the torture had begun. After interrupted sleep, Elbow the musical (don’t ask) and being used as a pillow we arrived at tamale, haggard agitated and despondent. We stepped of the coach, into candle light of the street hawkers. It was nearly 2am and these people were still working, selling bread, kebabs and water, all under the night sky.
On arrival at the most disgusting station we
discovered we had missed the bus to Larabanga and with the prospect of another 12 hour wait for the next one. We recruited another group of stranded tourists and organised an “Obroni Tour.” So now instead of six volunteers travelling into nowhere, we had 16 all trusting a random Ghanaian who struggled to speak the Queens English, but coincidentally knew the word “Larabanga.”
After clambering into yet another tro-tro and after hard negotiations, we were on our way, another 8 hours journey to Larabanga. However none of us anticipated such a gruelling 8 hours. 8 hours of pot hole riddled dirt tracks, whilst travelling in a van with as much suspension as a hula hoop. A trip that consisted of: 16 sore heads, excruciating behinds, and travelling no faster than 20 mph.
With sleep impossible the only pleasing part of the trip was the breath taking views, 8 hours travelling through grasslands, with enormous ant hills, beautiful greenery, fascinating mud huts and being chased by ecstatic children waving as we passed.
Finally we arrived at Larabanga, a tiny village with mud huts and one guest house. As we entered our inn, we soon realised it was not
possible to sleep 6 never mind 16. With no running water and now no beds, we were offered the next best thing. A roof!
Yes, nearly 20 hours of travelling and we were paying to sleep on a roof, but hey, how does the saying go? “When in Rome.” So as the lads couldn’t wait to get back to sleep on a roof, the girls hesitantly agreed. After agreeing to pay to sleep on a roof, we explored the village of Larabanga. The village was certainly something I had never experienced before, the visit of the Larabanga Mosque, a mosque that was filled with farfetched religious history, however during my stay here, I have become to accept such ridiculous beliefs, and at times find in humbling that people have such beliefs, something I would have dismissed at an instance some 4 weeks ago. As our visit toured deeper into the village, we had been lucky enough to witness, a village celebration, a Ghanaian wedding, with lots of dancing and music, it is fair to say my dance skills were put to the test, but as we all know Black people have rhythm, boy can these people dance, it certainly
put my two step Manchester bop to shame, but the Soccer A.M shuffle certainly caught on, I like to think Tim Lovejoy would be proud.
After confirming all stereotypes that White people have no rhythm we were ushered away for some much needed refreshments and shade.
After a suspect lunch, we decided to head 6km to Mole National Park, in quest for Elephants, Antelope and any other animal we could feast our eyes on. After a 6km we arrived at Mole and started our adventure for Elephant, a quest that ended in drastic failure, unless you count the two heaps of Elephant dung. However even though the closest we got to an Elephant was its excrement, the sight of Warthog, Baboon, Antelope, Water Bucks and many more was a true beautiful adventure, and with the sun setting over two watering holes, we sat and ate our evening meal.
As the night sky drew closer we hopped onto a motorcycle (a safe mini bus, if Mother is reading) and was chauffeured back to our roof. Paying 4GHC to sleep on a roof could seem stupid, but this in itself was a truly remarkable delight, falling asleep to the sound
of festivities huddled together under a mosquito net, we woke at 4:30am to the sound of the Mosque’s calls, something that will never leave me.
After the gruelling 20 hour journey to Larabanga, we made the decision to bite the bullet and cut the trip back in half, meaning our stay in Larabanga was short however with seeing all that we could see we heading back onto the bumpy road, and heading towards Kumassi Ghana’s second largest city, in search for Kuntasi Abono Lake. This particular lake was proved to have been formed via a meteoroid that hit the area some many years ago.
The resort itself is one of the best we had stayed in, with individual huts, a fantastic bar serving beautiful food, such as African Chicken and fresh Barracuda fish. The place was remarkable and sat in front of the lake shore, with opportunities of Paddle Boats and swimming. However this at times, was at the digression of the locals, as they believed that the spirit of the lake could be disturbed.
After two nights stay at Abono, we left refreshed revitalised, and partly sad to leave, but our next day trip was to
Ghana’s largest market, that offered crocodile skins, turtle shells, alligator heads and many more exotic and disturbing items. The market was crushed with people, warrens of stalls selling all sorts of things. The smells of spices swirled around the stalls, and sounds of rushing people desperate to sell their supplies. The market was crowded with people and stalls plied up onto each other, located just inches away from the railway line.
The trip up North showed us the difference in culture that it has to offer, the way the Northern people of Ghana live is totally different to the South, and it is certainly more a rustic way of life, a way that is more expectant of African life.
There are more photos below