Wli Waterfalls

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July 21st 2013
Published: July 21st 2013
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Friday afternoon, we left for the weekend trip. 13 of us went, and a few stayed behind as they wanted to chill and go to the pool rather than join us hiking. We were staying at a place called Roots Yard, which was a Rastafarian run vegan restaurant and hostel, up in the Volta region, in a place called Peki. The trip there in the Tro-tro took about 3.5 hours, as we were stuck in really bad traffic jams on the way. That wasn't too bad though, as Hawkers weave their way through the lines of traffic, selling stuff. Some of it is just what you want, e.g. water and snacks. Other things are the most random things you just wouldn't expect, such as plug sockets, toy dolls on strange little bicycles (quite freaky), and shoes. Some of us wanted to try the plantain chips, so we got some bags of those. They look like dried bananas, but taste quite similar to normal crisps, as they're dried and salted. Not too bad, but not something I'd buy every day.

The roads here are crazy. So many pot holes. I've never seen anything like it. The cars and tro-tros literally weave up the road, straying often to the other side to get around them, inbetween the traffic coming the other way.

When we got to the place we were staying, we were met by Bob (A black Rastafarian) and his wife who was an English lady. They had two little boys, age 5 and 2/3 (Solomon and Marcus). We were just in time for dinner, so I ordered the panini. It sounded good - cheesy panini - but sadly it had no cheese in it, just a panini with some nut spread that was supposed to taste like cheese, and raw tomato and onions. I have not had cheese since being in Ghana, and although I don't eat a ton of it at home, boy do I miss it. Nice gooey, greasy melted cheese....yum. I was staying in the dorm room with Freya and Sarah, so we unpacked and then met everyone outside in the yard where we sat in a big rotunda thing, where you can eat and drink and smoke. The evening just passed by with us hanging out really, chatting and buying juices from the bar. I had the Starburst, which had starfruit and watermelon in, and the Itality, which had pineapple and papaya amongst other things.

We got up early the next morning to go hiking. Our tro-tro arrived and we squeezed everyone in. It was a good hour and a half drive, and we arrived by 9.10am. The Wli waterfalls are the highest in Ghana, in a tropical rainforest near HoeHoe. They're actually on the border of Togo. We paid for our tour guide and all agreed we wanted to do the longer route, which was 6 hours. The guide cut us our walking sticks freshly and took off all the spikes with his machete. We started walking, and I suddenly realised that I had not quite grasped the purpose of the trek. I thought it would be a 6 hour hike. A ramble. Gently winding up a hill. It soon became apparent that this was not going to be the case. It was a very steep climb. Like walking up stairs continuously. Big, stretching steps. Sometimes on to boulders, sometimes on to tree roots. Either way, I was sweating about 5 minutes in, and thinking there was no way I could continue to the top of the mountain, to the Upper waterfall. But just as I thoughtI couldn't carry on, we stopped for a break. We got to the top of each mountain, and then suddenly another one would appear in sight! Then we had to go DOWN to get to the upper waterfalls! It was a really steep descent, and quite dangerous, scrambling down. Lots of jumping down on to the next flat part, and lots of tree roots to scramble over and use as footholds, as well as rocks. It started raining when we got near, and it got muddier and more slippy. We eventually heard the sound of rushing water, and kept on going, even though we were now soaked through with rain and covered in mud due to constant slipping on the mountain. We ran straight into the waterfalls, fully clothed, complete with shoes on. We only lasted about a minute, and then went out and sat down. I enjoyed my much welcomed can at that point, and a packet of biscuits!We then carried on, going back up halfway in order to take a different route to the lower waterfall. At one point, our path was completely non-doable, due to the rain and mud - it was just too dangerous. So our guide hacked away to make a new path for us, with his machete. I was slightly freaked out that I'd see a snake, as I'd heard there were green mambas in the rainforest, but luckily there were none in sight.

About 45 minutes later, we stopped. We waited for the last 4 in our group (Robbie, Mattias, and two German guys we'd acquired somehow) along with the guide, who had dropped back to the end. We waited and waited but they didn't come. 25 minutes or so later, we started worrying that a) we'd taken the wrong route and the others had gone the correct way with the guide, and we'd be lost in the rainforest, or b) Somebody in the final 4 had had an accident. We decided to eventually keep following the path, and reached ground level and started seeing other people. One person told us they'd heard there had been an accident on the mountain! We deduced from their description that it was Robbie, and it turned out he had sliced his thumb on a sharp rock, and it made it harder to climb down, as you need both hands. On top of that, he was dehydrated and dizzy. So they were going to stretcher him down the mountain, but Robbie was like "No way!" - one wrong move and he would have tumbled down the mountainside. So he took it slowly and arrived back at base an hour after us. So the rest of us got to see both waterfalls, which was pretty cool. I took a few photos but didn't want to take too many of the actual falls themselves, as my camera could have been damaged. At the bottom, there were a lot of stalls. One of them was selling goat soup and I looked in the basin, and there was a full goats head in there, complete with teeth! Thankfully they'd taken the eyeballs out! We did see a gorgeous newborn baby goat wobbling around and bleating lots, and I took a few photos. It was so sad, thinking it may have been looking for its mother, who possibly could have been in the soup....and even sadder thinking that in time, the baby goat will suffer the same fate.

When we got back to the hostel, it was time for dinner, and I had pumpkin soup and bread. So nice to have normal baguette, and not sweet bread! People went to bed pretty early, due to being so tired from the hike.

This morning, I think I was the last one up! Everyone had ordered breakfast. I ordered beans on toast - brilliant to have something I'm used to! We then went for a walk down to Peki town/village and just took photos. A lot of people come up to you here, wanting you to take photos of them. We then got back to the hostel and waited for our tro-tro - we'd had issues getting one, as they wanted 20 cedis each (about £7) to get us back to Teshie (about 100ks away). Doesn't seem a lot, but they were trying to rip us off as we are Obrunis! So Jasmine eventually managed to get hold of Tro-Tro Joe, who had driven us here, and we got it for 13 cedis each. I love driving through Ghana - so colourful and interesting. We saw a few army tanks, and also a truck with bulls tied down in it (probably going to the slaughter house). I've also seen a lot of shops/shacks with spray painted messages on the side, saying "Stop work, produce permit now, TMA" or similar. TMA is Teshie Municipal Assemble, and they do this because people haven't been following the rules. Except from what I have been told, people just spray paint it on themselves, so that the authorities get confused!

Once we got back home, Freya and I decided we should really wash our muddy clothes, so in true African style, we got a bucket of water and attempted to wash our clothes. Not sure I did a very good job though, so my stuff is now hanging on the washing line, still muddy, but wet and muddy!

Freya and I decided to walk up to Brigade, and we met a lady at the shop where I bought Coke and Sprite, who had a very cute baby called Carrick. He was 7 months old and so smiley! I even held him and he was adorable! Then the lady's brother came into the shop (though we weren't conviced he was her brother) and tried to convince Freya and I to go for a drink with him, which we politely declined. We wandered round a little more, and I found Bounty bars and baked beans! This is very rare, as I've yet to see chocolate bars being sold. Or crisps! Plantain chips are the closest I have found...

We got lost on the way home, so we got a taxi. Here, every other car is a taxi, as people don't generally have their own cars unless they have money. So we got one literally 30 seconds after we had made the decision, and managed to haggle it down to 3 cedis - bargain!

School tomorrow, and I still haven't planned what I am doing with them....so I now must go and look up African flowers!


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