Short Ghana Program for later this month
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Dec 22, 2012 9:10 AM Last Post By: satya
Dec 3, 2012 1:53 PM
Short Ghana Program for later this monthHi:
My PCV (US Peace Corps Volunteer) daughter and I are planning a trip to Ghana as part of my visit to see her at work in West Africa. We have an itinerary planned. Anyone planning to be there and like to meet up please feel free to contact me.
Dec 15 Arrive Accra in morning by bus from Ouaga relax and sight-see in afternoon, stay the night
Dec 16 Sightsee, relax, and stay the night
Dec 17 Drive Accra to the Cape Coast Area, visit Elmina and Cape Coast Castle and then continue to Ezilebay/Busua area stay there that night.
Dec 18 Stay in Ezilebay area
Dec 19 Leave by car early morning, stop at Kakum National Forest and drive to Kumasi stay night in Kumasi
Dec 20 Stay in Kumasi, sightsee
Dec 21 Leave Kumasi for Ouaga
Dec 3, 2012 2:19 PM
1Dec 17 is a long day but doable (especially if you have your own transport)--get an early start (like 6 AM). The rest looks fine. Day 19, also a bit long. Just don't drive at night; drivers along the Accra-Takoradi road can be on the reckless side.
Dec 3, 2012 10:20 PM
2I had the same thoughts as taharqa. You can manage Dec. 17th, but it won't be much fun. I prefer Elmina, but whichever of Elmina and Cape Coast you choose you should probably limit yourself to just one or the other. Don't forget that there are a half-dozen other castles along the roadside, some of which might be worth a look. Elmina and Cape Coast are similarly restored and fresh-painted; the others are more decrepit, not to say ruined. Plus, you shouldn't just zip in to see the castles: you should stay and explore a bit of one or both towns.
You'll see the signs: "32 people died here...." The major accidents generally involve night travel, and from the sound they're quite gruesome. On the other hand, I've driven that section at night--including once on a motorbike with no functioning lights (not recommended for the faint-of-heart). Not everyone dies, but all are at elevated risk.
Hope that's helpful.
Dec 4, 2012 6:57 AM
3Thanks guys. We do not intend to travel at night. Kira made that point for me long ago and I have not forgotten.
We may, depending on the time, leave one or the other castle for the 18th or skip. I am intrigued about the other castles... any of the decrepit ones you would recommend? Do you have locations/directions that will be helpful.
The distances look like this:
Accra - Takoradi 260 KMS + 30 KMS to Hotel
Hotel - Kumasi 290 KMS
We plan to leave by 6:30 am on the driving days and keep a 2 hours for meals and rest stops on the way
On the way to Busua we can stop at one castle (or 2) for 2 (or 4) hours and maybe a decrepit one.. (1 hr) If my daughter wants to, we can visit Elmina on 17th on our way to Busua and visit Cape Coast on 18th as a day-trip.
On the way to Kumasi, we can stop for 2hrs at Kakum NF
Any suggestions on on the Kakum NF - Kumasi route for stops and/or meals?
Any suggestions for sight-seeing around Kumasi (we may keep car if necessary).
Thanks in advance for all your help folks.
Dec 4, 2012 7:21 AM
4I agree with markharf in preferring Elmina, but both are hugely interesting. One of the small forts in good condition, only a few miles off the Accra Cape coast road, is Apam. You could certainly visit Apam and either Cape Coast or Elima Castle in one day without over doing it. But I also agree with the above comment that seeing over Elmina and Cape Coast Castle in one day is pushing exhaustion levels! They are both huge and it takes time seeing around them.
I love Cape Coast town. Full of old colonial buildings.
It looks as though you are doing Ouga to Accra in one go? If so this must include after dark travel. Perhaps you can't change this, but travelling at night is dangerous. Most accidents occur at night.
My rule is never travel at night, at least that's what I try and do.
Dec 4, 2012 7:30 AM
5Taharqa & Mark offer some sound advice.
I have seen Elmina and would encourage you to allow enough time so you are not rushed. enough time for the sobering experience to sink in. enough time to enjoy the locals, the markets, the atmosphere etc.
You should really enjoy Kakum and the canopy walk. Unless you have a specific place to stay in mind in Ezilbay, I would encourage you to look at http://www.aximbeach.com/. It is definately out of the way (per Google Maps looks like 25 km from Ezilbay) and what an incredible place it is. Pictures, nor words could describe its beauty. The service is also very good but the atmosphere is amazing!!
En route from Kumasi to Ouaga, I would encourage you to go via Techiman and stop at the Boabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary. It is a few minutes off the beaten track but well worth your while. The guides are very friendly, patient and knowledgeable. The Campbells Mona monkeys are very friendly and will come close enough for you to hand feed (food you buy very inexpensive from your guide). The following link has some good info but is nowhere near the same as the experience: http://www.ghana.photographers-resource.com/locations/Wildlife/LG/Fiema_monkey.htm
En route to Ouaga, might be worth your time to go via Banfora & Bobo-dioulasso. You would probably need to add one day to your itinerary but they are well worth it. Spend a little time googling and see what you think. Also, once you reach Ouaga, make sure you take a day (or maybe half) to shop at the Artisan's exhibit.
Mariam hotel in Tamale (380KM from Kumasi en route to BF border) is affordable, nice & clean hotel with good service but what was memorable for me is the food in the on site restaurant was fantastic!!!
Edited by: dgreensl
Dec 4, 2012 8:39 AM
6Hi RWAFF, thanks for your reply. You are right about the night travel. I am considering flights also between Ouaga and Accra, but do not have solid information yet. Kira has some airline contacts and has promised to get back to me on that.
I have been to Burkina and Ghana before. My daughter is serving in Burkina but has not been to Ghana. Having seen both Elmina and Cape Coast castles, I agree with your comments. We will play that by the ear and see what my daughter wants to do.
Dgreensl: Thanks for your comments. We do plan to visit Tougan (her site), Bobo, Banfora etc. in Burkina. But unfortunately she is not allowed to travel to the northern part of BF or Mali, CI etc.. so that restricts things a little bit for us. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the US State Dept. does not restrict her from Ghana, in case there are any problems there post election.
Thanks for the tip on the monkey sanctuary. I have fond memories from a visit to a Orang utan sanctuary in Borneo. I sent out an email to Mariam Hotel too to see what they have.
Thanks as always.
Dec 4, 2012 10:12 AM
Dec 22, 2012 9:10 AM
8Thanks everyone for your help. I have just returned to Ouaga this morning from Ghana. I wanted to report some information that maybe useful to others in planning a similar trip.
My final plans changed a little bit. I stayed in Cape Coast rather than in Busua after encountering extortionate prices for car hire.
In Accra, stayed at Osdahouse Home Lodge ($50 double, breakfast included). Very comfortable, Seth and Dorothy (the co-owners) have returned home after a 30 year stay in the US. Very nice and helpful couple. Place is near the bus stations.
Used point-to-point taxis, never paid more than 15GHC (cross-town to Accra mall in heavy traffic), usually 5-8 GHC for all other trips. Little bargaining needed.
Took public transport to Cape Coast, stayed at Biriwa Beach Hotel. Very well run clean, comfortable place ($50 double incl. breakfast), nice food. The lady of the manor (Claudia Kleinbudde) was very helpful and arranged transport for castles, Lunch, sightseeing around town and vist to Kakum National forest (90GHC for taxi total including gas). Driver Kwabe (ph.no on request) was very nice.
Could not find deluxe coach to Kumasi. Took a van, 4 hrs (1 hr. negotiating traffic in Kumasi included).
In Kumasi stayed at Asantewaa Premier Guesthouse in Ejisu (3 kms after KNUST (Kumasi Tech) entrance on the Kumasi Accra road. Double for 60GHC including breakfast. Clean place, a little out of the way but you can stop a van on the Kumasi Accra road about 100 yds away. The people were intending to help, but have little knowledge about transportation options.
Big issue we had was finding transport from Kumasi to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Internet sources said limited options (STC, and TVC 3 times a week). We needed to leave on Friday, when the options did not work. Investigations in person at Kejetia Station revealed that there were buses leaving at 6pm, but from a different station. At first we wre directed to Ala bar station, then to another couple of different places without success, until we got a phone number to call a guy who said he would hold places for us and named a station (not the right one, we found when we arrived with our bags. Finally after running around for a while, we located the bus in front of "BOMBAY Electronics." Left at 6:30 and after a 18 hr epic journey, pulled into Ouaga Gare Routerie station!
A highlight of the overnight bus trip I have not told Kira about yet (she with her warnings about night time travel in West Africa) as I am embarrassed: Our driver fell asleep somewhere between Kumasi and Tamale and we went off-road! The driver regained control after going over the side and no harm except for sore behinds and bruises from the
dropping bags from the overhead bins during the violent jolts as the wheels drove into and out of the deep cement drainage system on the side of the road!
All in, it was a nice trip, and now I am sad as I will leave my daughter here tomorrow (she returns in Sept. '13 after the end of her Peace Corps service) and return to the rest of the family tomorrow.
Wish you all a joyous holiday season and a happy new year.
(2 star Hotel)
From US$100.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$104.35 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$121.07 per night