Published: September 26th 2011September 27th 2011
What's your name?
Your name is Ghana?
No, no...my name is Jana, not Ghana :)
Why Ghana???? Well… why not? :)
After all my previous trips was about time for me to check if mangos are as good I was told in Africa. Mama africa was adventure for itself. It's great to see that some places or things can still surprise me :)
Like most of my previous trips everything happened quite spontaneous. Although this trip lasted only 3 short weeks I got the sense of real mama Africa. Probably I don't have to mention that I just warmed up with a backpack on my shoulders when I realized I have to go back, but this is another story…
You should meet Staša :) Another crazy slovenian girl who I was traveling with and sharing all the mosquitos, bugs and dusty roads on the way.
Ghana offered us warm welcome from the grounds of blaze and glow to the heart ripping scenes. Pure Ghana.
For all of you who don't know exactly where Ghana is…Ghana is encircled by Ivory Coast on the western side, Togo towards east, Guinea in the southern part and Burkina Faso towards
north. Sandy roads, tropical forest, see, lakes, nat. parks and most important - friendly people. You will find here the largest artificial lake of the world in Ghana (lake Volta), the largest »Kejetia« market in West Africa and probably the most spicy food I've ever tried.
We arrived without a plan. Best plan is still no plan, right? Well, this has become usual »plan« for me. After all we decided to go to Kumasi first. On the way there we even had a car accident when our driver fall asleep for a moment. A good adrenaline challenge but with an »ok« at the end.
Kumasi is the second biggest city of Ghana which provides shelter to almost 1.5 million people. The fascinating Kejetia Market is the must-see place where you will try not to get lost in kilometers of labyrinth full of…well - everything your imagination can handle. It is infinitely disorienting but also throbbing with life and commerce. We even bought our first Kente cloth and took it to the one of several dressmakers. Ghanaian Kente cloth is one of the most sumptuously colored textiles used for clothing. It comes in various colors, sizes and designs.
After mother of
all markets we were discovering the surroundings of Kumasi with its villages, handicraft stores and dusty roads. We were ready for a longer trip up to the north after few days in Kumasi . A bus ride to Tamale was more then we dared to expect. We probably got nicer bus then we would find it in back home – well, that was actually the first and last really nice one in Ghana. We arrived to Tamale where was really hot and humid and realized we didn't missed the bus to a small village of Larabanga which was our start point for Mole national park. After 5 or 6 hours at the »bus station« where nobody knew anything about the bus…well, with an exception of the fact that it's obviously cooooooming. The bus is always coooooming according to them...but after few hours of "it's coming, it's coming" you slowly become easy going...you don't even have any other option.
I 'm telling you…if you didn't experience african transportation you don't know what you are missing :) On the way to Larabanga the lights suddenly turned off. So imagine a long, dilapidated bus on a dusty road full of holes and packed
with locals + few tourists . We were in the middle of nothing. The bus driver was actually practical. He turned on the flashers and drove like nothing happened :) Blinking bus ride through dark was an adventure for itself.
Next day we cycled to the nearest Mole national park where we were welcomed by an elephant. He slowly passed by. Apparently that's normal. Park ranger took us on a walk later on. We saw more elephants bathing in the lake, black spitting cobra, monkeys, some timid crocodiles, fast antelopes and few other animals. On the way back we even stopped in a local school which was actually financed from Slovenian organization (Humanitas). Apparently one Slovenian lived in that village so Slovenians have extreamely good reputation in Larabanga. We spent the rest of the day in the closest shade, playing with children and walked around a bit. This nice village is unfortunatelly already facing with negative sides of tourism. The harassment by locals was not the nicest experience but this is becoming unavoidable with larger number of tourists in most of the places.
On the way back from Larabanga to Tamale we made another stop. Flat tire is an
every day (every hour) case here and who knows how long would it take for us to return back to Tamale if another bus wouldn't pass by. We were lucky and most of all - fast enough to get on it. Public transportation is really pain in the ass in Africa. Buses. Tro-tro's (mini vans). Maybe they come. Maybe they don't. But in most cases you have to wait till they fill up to the very last corner inside. Our bus ride from Tamale back to Kumasi can without a doubt rank as one of the top 5 worst rides in my life. I will never forget that lovely ride when I didn't know on which side of my ass should I sat down or where should I put my knees, legs, head, … the only positive thing was that we both (me and Stasa) like to talk so that 8,5h long ride wasn't that painful…Good for ghanaians that they don't understand slovenian language :) By the way – the ride should last max.5h, but with all those holes (craters actually) on the way we needed a bit more time… At the end … call me masochist, but it was
charming as well :)
There are more photos below