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Published: August 20th 2009
On 7th August I travelled to Beyin Beach Resort with four other volunteers - Hollie, Claire, Hugo and Callum, from where we would visit Nzulezu Stilt Village by canoe accros the Amansuri Wetlands. We had a pleasant STC bus journey about four hours west along the coast to Takoradi where we stopped for a nice lunch in a German restaurant (and also got 10% off our bill for paying in cash and not needing a VAT receipt, cheeky) then travelled another three hours along the coach on a cramped but stress-free and unusually uneventful trotro to Beyin. The nice tro driver took us all the way to the beach resort as we were the last passengers to alight (I might start using this word at home, it’s a lot nicer than ‘get off’) and he agreed to pick us up from the same spot for our return journey on Sunday.
Our accommodation had been advertised as ‘luxury chalets’ - and they were in comparison to what we’d been used to. Electricity, an actual wooden floor instead of sand, high ceilings, a large bathroom complete with a warm (not quite hot, but nevertheless a luxury) running shower, a flushing toilet and
Beyin Beach Resort
Our luxury chalet, complete with warm running water!
best of all, an extremely comfortable bed! Beyin Beach Resort was lovely and I could easily have stayed there for longer than two nights. We had arrived in early evening around 6:30pm and it was getting dark (it gets properly dark by 7pm here) so we went for dinner at the open air restaurant and I eagerly awaited my macaroni cheese - with REAL cheddar cheese, not Laughing Cow triangles which you normally get when you order anything cheese-based in this country! We had a few drinks and went to bed ready for an early start. Breakfast is included if you stay in the luxury chalets, and I was delighted to receive a plate of fresh mango and pineapple, followed by scrambled eggs on toast with real butter and a cup of tea with evaporated milk. The beach resort is run by a man from south London, and was a breath of fresh air compared to other places.
After breakfast we headed to the visitor centre just around the corner and bought our tickets for the canoe ride to the stilt village. When our guide Kwame turned up, we walked to the long jetty to reach the canoes, and
three of us went in one and two in another. It took around an hour to paddle to the stilt village, through the stunning Amansuri Wetlands (and a few 'river jungles' on the way) until we reached the open water of the black lake which Nzulezu stilt village is built on. It's a bit odd as to why they built their village on the lake because the people are farmers who farm the land on the other side of the lake (the men go there for a couple of weeks at a time), but apparently the first people who settled there were fleeing from Nigeria about 500 years ago so maybe they thought it was safer. I was under the impression that the food they farm is for their own needs and the only money they get is from tourists (through donations and half of the ticket money for the canoes) and also from a guesthouse which they run on the stilt village. I also got the impression that the school is run entirely on donations. I am a tad unsure because this information came from a question and answer session (albeit slightly forced!) with the chief's assistant, who kept
Beyin Beach Resort
View from our chalet.
asking us to ask more questions and spoke extremely quietly. I asked him what this tiny wooden hut on stilts further out on the lake was and he told me it is where the ghost of the lake lives. Apparently you have to give it a home when you start building so it does not become unhappy with you building on its land. We were offered some of the customary local gin, and after seeing other people's shots I asked for a small one, which was just as well because it was incredibly strong and definitely warmed my heart (for about 5 minutes!). If you are ever offered a local drink, you have to pour a little bit on the floor before you drink it to show respect to the dead ancestors. I bet they're having fun in the afterlife lol.
After the canoe journey back we all headed to the beach, but unfortunately the weather was not good enough for sunbathing so I pitched up on a hammock hanging from the very tall palm trees and read my book for the afternoon. We had another nice meal at the open-air restaurant on Saturday night, sat and had a
few drinks and then went to bed!
Our tro driver, Bley, stuck to his word and picked us up from the same spot on Sunday, only half an hour late. We drove away from the beach resort with all the seats taken, then the driver stopped to let two more people on which was a squeeze. Then further down the (very bumpy) road he stopped to pick someone else up. The mate squeezed one extra person on the tro, then a further 500m or so down the dirt road the man shouted something, made the mate stop the tro, jumped off the tro, darted up a side street and came back with a dead chicken in an open box, feathers and all. Can’t forget that can you. I bet the chicken was nice and fresh by the time we reached Takoradi.
We went for lunch in the same restaurant in Takoradi on the way back, and then went to the STC station to wait for our coach back to Accra. We saw the end of a Chelsea-Man U football match and everyone watching went crazy when Chelsea won on penalties because they have a Ghanaian player, Michael Essien,
Beyin Beach Resort
Fishing boats on the beach.
it was a very good atmosphere!
All in all, a very nice weekend.
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