You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2010.

Crossing over into Benin today. There’s a border crossing very close to Kara. Seen what we needed to here. Not sure where we will end up. Aiming for Dassa Zoume, just north of Abomey, today.

Togo has been great. Tourism is non-existant here, after a military coup in 2005, so it’s still trying to attract visitors to the country. Very easy going people, with lots of ‘bon jour’ and ‘bon voyage’ whenever we meet someone.

We based ourselves in Kara. Stayed at the Hotel Marie Antoinette which has a annexe for camping (If anyone is reading this and is in the area). Saturday we made a visit to Tamberma Valley, land of the Batammariba people, originally from Burkina Faso.

Known for it’s fortress like mud houses that were built originally in the 17th to protect them from slavery, but has also been needed to protect them from neighbouring tribes and more recently the Germans, who were here in the late 19th century. Europeans would give guns and supplies to tribes that would ravage the countryside and collect people to be taken as slaves. Some chiefs even sold their own people for financial gain. The Batamariba built the fortresses to protect them from this.

It’s up there, with one of the top five sights on the whole trip. Very unique place, quite similar to the Dogon houses in Mali.

The houses are called Tata’s, built from only clay, wood and straw using no tool and are waterproofed with a mixture of cow dung and sand. The most amazing thing is that the Tata’s only take three months to make. A person who builds is known as a Tamberma.

Before they started building the houses, they used a baobab tree near the existing village to hide from enemies. Another tight fit and we got inside one to take a look. As someone said the elephant of the tree world. Majestic trees and always great to see them traveling along. We tried the fruit from inside one of the pods a while ago. A stone, surround in bitter coating. Not half bad.

You needed to be about four feet tall to get into them, but we had a proper look round. Amazing stuff. The towers are designed with conical roofs are used for storing millet and corn. The bedroom were cool and were small booths, with a raised part outside for the chief to tell stories to the children.

Inside the huts you go through take you to a tiny hall followed by another door. On the right was a pestle and mortar for pounding maize. On the left was a waist height box in part with a little round hole by your feet where the chicken’s lived. Another door took you to a room which was pitch black. This is where the sheep lived.

In a typical village their would be one chief (father), 2 wives and five children or more. When the sons were old enough marry, they build him one.

We had a guide who was from the second village we visited. He made sure he got his millet beer from each village as we went along. We tried. It tasted like the palm wine we had in Ghana. Pretty good. He freaked Bun out when we were talking about diet, and he said the villagers eat dog! Bun quizzed him to which part and how they cooked it! Alan got to shoot to a bow and arrow which was funny.

Before we left, they did a welcome dance, this was followed by a hysterical mock fight which they apparently perform if they get married. We and the whole village were in stitches. They all seem to drink a lot which makes them giggly. They did another dance and wanted us to join in. out guide stepped in when we declined!

There was a funny old lady in that village with a bit of quartz stone stuck into her skin just underneath her bottom lip. She took the stone out to show us the whole by sticking her tongue through the hole. They made Bun have a picture wearing a horned helmet on her head with our guide and the hunter.

Made a UNESCO World heritage site in 2004, the villages get support by schools being built and decent tracks to get to the main road. Still life is very much chief based and we had to make sure we gave the money to the chief for taking photos so not to cause any fighting in the village.

The friendliness was even more than usual. Walengo, the third village we went to in particular. Just when the rains came down, we stopped for ages to keep dry. There was this wonderful old lady there making pots out of clay mud and dampened straw. Her face was so amazing when she was watching Al take photos of the fetish shrines (Slaughter posts) outside of the houses. Bun then had a go at decorating the pot whilst the rest of the family gathered around. After Bun got to learn how to plat a belt out of 4 strands of really fine grass.

She and a few others were amazed at me showing some of the photos and videos from the camera. She had the actions of a small girl but must have been 60 something. There is a photo on flickr with her objects. She had a incredible cough which you could heard when she laughed. Another pipe smoker!

Al bought a pot made from mud and straw which made her happy. Maybe the most simply and beautiful items we’ve bought and will have to try and get it home without breaking it. As we left she opened her arms. Bun thought she wanted a hug, so gave her a kiss on each cheek. She wasn’t sure what to do

Al was obsessed by the fetish shrines, that are found outside of each house next to some animal skulls. The last village we went to, we got to see a juju man (tradiotional priest) speak to the spirits! Shame we couldn’t take a video or photos as he as calling to the spirits with his calabash (with seeds inside to make a noise to attract the spirits). He dropped down a curtain before he started. Inside this small room, were large calabashes filled with water and roots and other special herbs and plants gathered from the mountains around the valley. On the outside were chicken feathers everywhere, as if they had been previously sacrificed.

He got started and started whistling to attract the spirits. After five minutes, there was a sound coming back from behind the curtain that sounded very strange. Bun says it sounded like a muffled gremlin! The guide said they were saying hello to us, so we returned by saying hello back! (We couldn’t say nothing). Al still reckons he had a tape recorder that he pressed play when he was dropping the curtain.  No idea, but it was a bit spooky. The spirits said they had to go  and the shamen shook his calabash  and the voices stopped!

26/08/2010 – Mt Klouto to Kara – Route taken: Kpalime, Atakpame, Sokode, Kara – 220 miles

Got in an early walk for a few hours. The mist had moved in, making viewing difficult, so we opted for a walk of the nearby forests. Another insight into village life in the rainforest and good to see some different trees and plants growing. We were given a cocoa pod by the guide and ate the inner pod as we walked along. Very tasty and we were surprised how sweet it was.

We dropped out of the mountain and headed north after the walk. We followed a diversion until we hit the Route National in Sokode. We followed a taxi for ages battering along the dusty track with its boot wide open with a basket hanging out the back. The driver stopped after a while to sort it out and we bombed on past. The route from Kpalime to Sokode is the worst road in Togo, but it does follow the stunning Danyi Plateau for the first part of the journey.

We stopped in Sokode for food, and grabbed some beef brochettes and some super hot chilli hot sauce which gave it some life. Washed down with a giant bottle of Sprite.

Shock, horror – no police stops today. As we headed into Muslim Togo, mosques became visible on the roadside. As we got closer to Kara, the scenery was even better.  It’s amazingly green here, being just after the rains.

25/08/2010 – Togoville to Mt Klouto – Route taken: Togoville, Lome, Kpalime, Mt Klouto – 111 miles (camped at Campement de Klouto)

Heading north, we aimed for the forested hills around Mt Klouto (716m), 12km north of Kpalime up a winding road built by the Germans. We were headed here to take in a walk to the top of the mountain as we break up the journey north. The area is known for its waterfalls and butterflies.

An easy journey there, and as the roads got narrower, the traffic thinned out. We got stopped twice on the way. We were convinced the first police man who stopped us was drunk. It was nine in the morning. He peered through the window on Bun’s side and asked if we had anything for him. I pointed to my imaginary watch and pointed straight ahead to say we need to get on and we haven’t anything for you!

The next man, pointed to himself and four other colleagues and said ‘have you any money for us?’. Good excuse this time as we were driving into Lome and said we were heading straight to the first  a.t.m to get some money out. He gave up and let us go.

We stopped a the Shell garage and stocked up on a few things. The garages here have everything. Lots of French products. Good wine, French bread and a West African favourite, cashew and peanuts sold in old whiskey bottles.

We have to avoid the fan milk sellers (main ice cream company, also sold in Ghana as well), who are everywhere and sell juices and frozen ice cream from  trolleys they push along the side of the road. They have a hooter attached to them to attract business.

Bun goes for the chocomilk and I’m a sucker for the vanilla ice cream. They hand it to you wrapped in a tiny piece of newspaper so you don’t freeze your hands. Often a good chance to kill some time when you are stuck in traffic as you can usher them over from the pavement.

Stunning scenery as we headed north. Kpalime is Togo’s bread basket, so very green and lush with fruit sellers everywhere. Also known for its coffee plantations and cocoa.

Before heading up the hill, we stopped in Kplalime to go to Macumba, a popular local restaurant to try the guinea fowl. Huge portions are normal in Togo. We were amused by the locals coming in for lunch who were ordering lots of red wine and huge bottles of Guinness

We will get a walk in tomorrow morning for three hours with a guide who we met when we arrived.

24/08/2010 – Lome to Togoville – Route taken: Lome, Aneho, Togoville – 67 miles (camped at Hotel Nachtigal)

Based on the shores of lake Togo, Togoville is a small village, originally known as Togo, but it changed its name after the entire country was named Togo. A voodoo heartland and it has a sacred forest on the outskirts of the village.

After picking up our visa extension we only had time to go a short distance from Lome so headed there for the night. We had a walk around after we got there, checking out the lake and the village.

Fetishes are placed outside of houses as a sign that voodoo is practised here. In Togo it is one of three main religions, including Islam and Christianity. We are looking out for an opportunity to see a ceremony in Togo or Benin.

We’ve been listening to: Matthew Herbert – One One

Voodoo spirit is taking over in Lome. We got spooked on Sunday night at a show which we were lucky enough to see where we were staying. I’ve added a video to Flickr as a taster. Absolutely crazy. We couldn’t keep up with the story, but the costumes and drumming were excellent. It was in fact a birthday party for someone who had hired the hotel and we just happened to walk right into it. Good timing, as we were going to head into the centre for food that night.

It continues to be incredibly hot here. No complaints from us. 32+ C  yesterday (Monday). Back on the malaria tablets. We’ve added our Out of Africa mosquito net inside the rooftent for added protection. It now looks like something from an expensive safari lodge. It’s just coming to the end of the rainy season here so still a risk from malaria. There are two main periods of rain and we are bang in the middle of it. Not much falls, but it  feels like it could at any moment. It’s been nice and sunny for the last few days.

We relaxed on Sunday. Didn’t really budge at all, which was needed. On Monday we cracked on with what we needed to do here. Straight to the French Consulate to see if we could get our Bukina Faso visa. We later realised that we can get it on the border in the north. Oh, and we finally got out brown card, which gives us insurance for all the countries until we reach Mauritania. Feel more peaceful navigating the scooters and motorbikes that constantly cut us up!

We also wanted to extend our basic 7 day transit visa, so we found immigration on the outskirts of town and got a free extension to give us a bit more time to see the rest of Togo.

We move on from here on Tuesday afternoon and head to Lake Togo before heading north to the mountains of Kpalime.

Our bodies have settled down now. We were both feeling rough for a week or so. Could have been the change to a different type of food. Who knows?

We’ve made it to Lome, the capital and found a place to stay 12 km’s outside of the city at Chez Alez, dodging the motorbikes getting there. More fun approaching the border. It could hardly be called the main border crossing when the roads turn into a nightmare and huge trucks fight for the road with the local tros tros taxis. We crossed the southern part of the Volta towards the border.

We got through OK and a kid helped us get through customs and immigration. As expected, we obtained the 7 day transit visa for  the right price. We can extend it if we need to in Lome. We got through quicker than expected and that means we can relax here  tomorrow with a day free.

All change. Heading into Francohphone countries for the next few months. Ghana is surrounded by Freanch speaking countries. Also a change of currency to the CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine Francs). Bring on Togo and Benin. Birthplace of Voodoo anf the roots of Brazilian culture before slaves were taken to South America.

Rushing to leave for Togo. Will update more later.

Were taking in a mini tour of Ghana with half our minds on cracking onto Togo and Benin. Kurmasi was well worth a visit. I’m in search of some really nice Kente cloth and also to see where and how it’s made. Kejetia market is West Africa’s biggest so we also wanted to see that.

On our first day in Kurmasi we wandered around town and sorted out a tour for the next day to see the craft villages scattered around the town.

On our way back to Accra we stayed in the Bobiri forest reserve. The guide-book says ‘unlogged forest’ but soon after we arrived there were giant trucks carrying logs from within the forest. One man said they had come from forestry commission land on the other side of the reserve. Very peaceful place after Kurmasi.

We took a guided walk on the morning we were leaving for Accra. It was great to learn about the different trees in the rainforest. God, they are so tall, the size of office blocks in the City of London. We walked with a local man who explained their different uses. We heard the termites eating away under the surface whenever we stopped for a while.

Main hassle we’ve had in Ghana is that the police stop us all the time thinknig we are breaking the law because we have a right hand drive vehivle. It is illegal, but they are slow to accept the fact that we are in transit and it’s not a problem. It happened for a few days once we got going, but seemed to stop instantly as if all the police checks had been informed about the fact. Otherwise, we’ve been stopped bt the police who just want some money from us! Not hard to get out of and were moved on pretty quickly.

Route taken: Akwidaa beach, Busua, Tarkwa, Dunkwa, Obuasi, Lake Bosumwe, Kumasi – 225 miles

Damp start at the beach and it got worse as we got going north to Kumasi, Ghana’s cultural centre and the main town of the Ashanti region. A drop in temperature from the 30c + we have been having on the coast as we climbed upwards to Kurmasi.

We found a route that took us through thick jungle. Our GPS was out if it’s depth and didn’t even recognise any of the roads we were on. Not sure how well mapped West Africa is, so we relied on good old-fashioned asking as we went. Whenever we got to a roundabout or junction we stopped to ask someone.

We got to one roundabout and asked a couple of boys selling coconuts, so we grabbed a few of those and drank them in the Landcruiser. Bun reckoned they would help cure our hangovers. We had a late night drinking on the beach at Akwidaa with a couple of young guys from Manchester.We kept the bar open as late as we could and watched a thunder-storm closing in from the Atlantic which didn’t produce the massive storm we were expecting.

The road to Kurmasi was adventurous. I felt like the man from Del Monte as we drove along the road/track through the jungle. More fruit sellers on the side of the road and I was only missing a panama hat to finish it off. The worst parts of the road turned into red puddles from the colour of the earth and in other places the rain filled the pot holes.

It seemed to take all day without stopping, but it wasn’t actually that far. We spend the whole time looking out for broken down vehicles and others that have crashed and been left burnt out on he side of the road. Ghana has some awful vehicles driving around.

Makes sense. The number of vehicles we saw at the port last week explains it. Written off vehicles from the States and the UK, with their fronts smashed in, were leaving the port in masses as we left with the Landcruiser. They switch over the steering wheel from right to left and respray then to turn them into taxis. They leave the port with temporary plates before they are registered locally and fixed up in the meantime. It’s funny seeing a car leave the port with no windscreen and the bonnet smashed in, on its way north to start a new life.

Eventually we reached Kurmasi. We took in Lake Bosumtwe with the intention of staying there but cracked on to Kurmasi. We stayed in a cheap hotel for the night.

16/08/2010 – Akwidaa beach – didn’t move a inch

As good as the Ghana coastline gets and it was pretty special. Ideal location away from any fishing villages and a clean stretch of sand as far as you can see. No streams of waste heading into the sea like on the coast towards Accra. A pleasant surprise when we hit Akwidaa. We relaxed here thinking it might be the last we see for a while.

We arrived on Saturday and took it easy all day Sunday. Nice to not move for a day. Distances have been short in Ghana so far, nothing like the huge distances in Namibia and other countries.

15/08/2010 – Kakum National Park to Akwidaa beach (including visit to Cape Coast castle) – 85 miles –

Cape Coast and Elmina (the oldest European settlement in Africa south of the Sahara and haven’t answered the pub quiz question of the oldest yet) a short distance to the west stand witness to Ghana’s past. Gold and ivory were the initial draw but slavery was it’s main commodity and hundred’s of years of sending slaves from all over west African was to come.

The whole black diaspora can be linked to Ghana’s Cape Coast. Along with other West African countries who were colonised by another European country. We know the rest. Once the slaves left the ‘door of no return’ that was it. Slaves came from as far north as Niger and Bukina Faso.

We spent Saturday morning at the castle. Lot’s of history goes along with it since the Dutch converted it into a castle, but I wont bore you with the rest. fascinating viewing and a wicked slave museum in one section that was well worth a visit. We could have taken in loads of castles along that stretch of the coast but we opted for Cape Coast only being pushed for time.

We made a move around midday to grab some lunch further down the coast. We stopped at one place but was about to leave our order when their was shouting coming from the kitchen. A few plates smashed after that. The food eventually came but the owner tried to overcharge us for the food. Hadn’t had that for a while, so got my negotiating skills sharpened again. Ordering fresh fish gives them free reign to charge what the hell they like depending on the size!

14/08/2010 – Anomabu to Kakum National Park – 43 miles

We had to come here – a 30 metre high walkway that takes you over the forest floor. The Canopy Walkway passes over 7 bridges and runs over a length of 330 m. What a great idea; it was amazing. Trying to take photos and walk at the same time was a bit hairy! Didn’t help with Bun filming me.

Kakum is one of most accessible rainforests so is a big attraction with Accra being only half a day away. The 350 square kilometer park was first established in 1960 but opened as a park in 1994. Kakum National Park is an isolated rainforest of what was once a continuous belt of rainforest extending from Guinea through Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana

The park contains rare animals, including the endangered Mona-meerkat, as well as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo, civet cats, 300 species of birds, and over 500 species of butterflies. We didn’t see any of these from up high, but we heard a lot of noise.

We stayed at the quirky Hans Cottege Botel just after the park. Home to its own crocodile swamp.

First day of the Premiership. Out comes the radio and the world service again!

13/08/2010 – Kokrobite to Anomabu (we stayed at the Anomabu beach resort) – 95 miles

We moved on along the coast. Ghana’s has some great coastline and the remains of former colonial castles which were used as bases during the gold, ivory and slave trade. Cape Coast has the most famous, but there are many others including Abanze, Fort William, Fort Victoria and Fort St George at Elmina.

The road winds its way along the coast. Suddenly things started turning a lot greener. Lots of people on the roadside selling pineapples, melons and whatever else that has come from the thick jungle either side of the road. A few odd-looking things that had been smoked. One was a grass cutter, the other we reckoned was a smoked bat. We had read about it, but were still waiting to try some!

We had heard goods things about Anomabu, so we stayed there for one night. It had a lovely restaurant and we got to try lobster. Much smaller than the ones we’ve had from Scotland, but just as nice.

The sea looked pretty fierce so didn’t swim. We needed to as it was so hot and humid. We found a spot amongst the palm trees and relaxed, catching up on reading and music.

12/08/2010 – Tema Port via Accra to Kokrobite – 48 miles

An unbelivable experience getting the vehicle back. As soon as we were able to drive away from the port we instantly forgot about it and moved on. However customs and the port work is a system all to its own. We left the clearing agent to it in the end. Their lack of communication got annoying after a while. They just didn’t seem to know how to deal with a vehicle that wasn’t being imported but was merely in transit on its way to the UK.

There were several fees to pay for the shipping company and the port, but these were all in line with what I had read on an overland site. No nasty hidden charges, which we were pleased about, and despite the wait we were happy to get going again with the Landcruiser in one piece!

We went back to the Afia hotel to pick up our luggage and to say goodbye to everyone. It made sense to leave town as soon as possible and get going again, so we headed to Kokrobite along the coast. The notorious Accra traffic caught us and we were stuck getting out of town for a few hours. The sellers weaving their way through the traffic entertained us and we bought a few fan ice creams to cool us down!

We arrived at Big Milly’s and a weird thing happened. We met a Czech couple whose vehicle I instantly recognised. I had seen it on a web link I had posted on the previous blog. It was the one with the lions and elephants destroying some overland 4×4’s.

They were heading from Europe through west Africa on their way to South America. They were in no rush at all and had allowed a few years for their journey. We spoke to them for ages and then went in search of some food!

We listening to: Azymuth – Aguia Não Come Mosca

Were reading:

Me – A primate’s memoir – Robert M. Sapolsky – part humour, and science research amongst a group of east Africa baboons in Kenya

Bun – reading like there’s no tomorrow –

Another day of life – Ryszard Kapuscinski & Colin Thubron – Mirror to Damascus

Finally we get the Landcruiser back. Three days of dealing with the clearing agents and customs. Hearts were pumping fast when we opened the container after the man next to us opened his and found the back windscreen smashed. All ok, no damage and got out of the port this afternoon (Thursday) Time to move on!

We are loving Accra. Hot, sticky, lots of colour and music everywhere. Hip-life music is the main music you hear everywhere, which has its roots in High-life (originating in the 1920’s –  a mix of big band jazz, christian hymns and sailor sonnets). In the early 1990’s Hip-life came about and was a mix of rhythmic african lyrics played over American break beats. Hip-life varies slightly depending on whether it was made in the north or south of Ghana.

We have tried to slow ourselves down to the pace of life here. We thought the rest of Africa was easy-going but Ghana is a new level of being laid-back. We have thought about ordering our meals in advance, then leaving it an hour before we sit down to eat!

We have been waiting for the vehicle since we landed on Saturday. News from the shipping company is that it will arrive, as expected, on the 6th. No work is done on the weekend so we will have to wait until Monday to start sorting out customs clearance. We should be back with the Landcruiser by next Wednesday.

Ghana is proving to be a good place to wait for the vehicle. It’s such a massive change from southern Africa – it hardly feels like the same continent. Fun & games when it comes to clearing the vehicle next week.

In the meantime we’ve been enjoying the city. The area of Osu is a good hangout. We’ve been using local taxis to get about, if you can call them that. They rattle along the roads as if they are about to fall apart. When we stop at traffic lights, we get approached by people selling phone cards, plantain chips, small bags of water and whatever else. They walk perfectly upright with buckets on their heads and  they only take them off to serve you. They carry a few samples ready to sell in both hands.

We  only have a few things to get done at the start of the week. We got our Benin visas within a day on Tuesday. We tried to get a few others, but the price seemed too high for  1 month visas. The Visa Touristique Entente, which was mentioned, is no longer available in Ghana or at any of the West African French-speaking countries, so we’ll have to get the individual visas for each country. Shame, as it would have covered us for 5 countries on the same visas. To enter Togo, we can get a 7 day transit visa at the border, which should be enough time there. The Bukina Faso visa can be got in Benin at the French consulate.

We thought of moving hotel for the weekend, but it looks like the Afia hotel is the best we will find for this price in the city. Internet is so much cheaper here than in Namibia. We pay £4 for 12 hours compared to £3 for 1 hour in Namibia. West Africa will also benefit soon from the much-anticipated Glo-1 submarine fibre optic cable single-handedly built by Globacom.

Other sights we’ve seen here – Morkola market (where you can buy everything under the sun, as long as it’s Chinese and The National Theatre (built by the Chinese, so wont last long!). We passed by to see if there were any events on this week.

We are heading into Jamestown this afternoon, an area that was formed around Fort James during the 17th century, when the British were here. It is now one of the poorer parts of Accra but also the most interesting. A few of the Ghanaian football players, including Michael Essien, come from this small area. The area is divided into districts which was hard to get our heads around as each area had a king. Jamestown has a real community feel about it. We wandered around with a guide who lives in the area. The small houses where people lived were down small alleyways. Open sewers ran down the side of the street where there were small workshops and women frying food. There were small kids playing everywhere.

Accra was originally the capital of the ancient Ga kingdom. Accra served as a centre for trade with the Portuguese, who built a fort in the town, followed by the Swedish, Dutch, French, British and Danish by the end of the seventeenth century. Jamestown seems to be a place where different countries have laid their claim to and used as a harbour to export raw materials and then humans, during the slave trade.

So the food has been great to try to get into. West African staple foods are everywhere.

Some of the Ghanaian food we’ve been trying:

Banku – Cooked fermented corn dough and cassava dough

Fufu – Pounded cassava and plantain or pounded yam and plantain, or pounded cocoyam

Omo Tuo – Pounded rice staple of northern origins

Jollof rice – The most common basic ingredients are rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and red pepper. Very nice and good with some hot chilli sauce poured over it.

Grilled Tilapia –  Common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish.

Red Red – Beans & fried plantain

Banga soup (also called palm nut soup) – A soup made from the sauce squeezed from palm fruit

Tante Marie Degue – Natural yoghurt and millet with minimal sugar (as described on the label) – It’s meant to be very good for you. Found on the street, sold by women with cool boxes.

Were watching: New Nollywood Collection Vol 10 (bought on the side of the road in Osu. Looks dodgy!

I was scanning the internet and came across this. Now that we have left Southern Africa we are safely away from anything like this happening. Amusing viewing. Scroll down to see pictures.

We hear of a lot of projects on our travels through Africa. This one in particular has grabbed our attention and, if completed, will potentially wipe out one of the last areas of its kind on the whole continent. More information on this link. Sign the petition as well.

We are listening to:

Seu Jorge and Almaz

Martyn – Great Lengths (took a while to pick up on this one)

First day in Accra. The stretch of beach in front of where we are staying at the Afia hotel was turned into a sporting arena from early morning. Boys playing football, others doing push ups in the sand. Women with buckets on their heads which had small bags of water inside for sale. There was a judo class which completely threw me. I joined the masses and got in a run, but that didn’t last long as the tide was coming in by the time I eventually got down there!

Ghanaians seem to take keeping fit seriously. This maybe explains why the national football team were so physically fit in the World Cup.

Being a Sunday we decided to take it easy. We checked out the Osu area, partly to find somewhere else to stay until the vehicle arrives and also to check out a restaurant called Baku.

The Guinness World Record for the slowest service goes to Ghana. Well, so far anyway. Unbelievably slow. Bun waited for twenty minutes to get some extra butter at breakfast this morning before she went up to ask for it again!

Baku was a smart place and our introduction to Ghanaian food, and a few Nigerian dishes in there as well. Bun ordered palm nut soup with meat. She only realised after it came that there was all sorts of unidentifiable pieces of meat hiding under the surface. Bun got totally confused when she spooned out a small crab. She gave it a go, but couldn’t take it for long. I had ground nut soup with chicken and fufu (staple food of west Africa, made from boiled cassava and yams and pounded until it produces a thick paste. In Ghana they substitute the yam for unripe plantain).

Interesting food and we will discover more of  it as we go along.

We wandered back and had a good walk through Osu and towards Independence Arch & Square, built as a massive centrepiece to Ghanaian Independence. Almost right next to it is the Ohene Djan stadium used by the football teams, Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club (might be remembered for the tragedy in 2001 when 126 people died in Africa’s worst footballing disaster) and the Accra Great Olympics Football Club.

So, we are here until the vehicle arrives sometime around the 6th. We are just getting a route together to work out how we will head north into Bukina Faso after we have taken in Togo & Benin. Right now we aim to be in Ghana until the end of August.

August 2010