You are currently browsing the daily archive for August 1, 2010.

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.

We went for a meal on the last night in Windhoek. Bun finally got to have Kudu steak which she had been after since arriving in Namibia.

 Before we left we met a Swiss couple who we last met in Nairobi. A long time ago and they were just making their way to Walvis Bay to ship their vehicle to Europe. Their VW camper van had made it all the way with little hassle. We chatted with them before we had to go for our meal. Bun remembers the lasagna they made with the small oven they carried in the back of their camper.

Saturday turned out well, no delays or problems as we left Namibia and Southern Africa behind us. One last word on Namibia. We’ve left the isolation and Wild West feeling behind. We were wondering how long we could spend there, to see it all properly. We would have liked to have stayed longer, and can see ourselves going back one day to take in Namibia and especially Botswana all over again. The Okavango Delta and surrounding reserves are out of this world and a great place to stay up close and personal with a host of wild animals. We will miss having elephants eating close by as we prepare our own food over the fire.

We left Windhoek at 4:30 am on Saturday morning. We had our taxi friend, Gery, who we had been using to get about town to take us to the airport. Flight leaves at 7.10, so we had loads of time. The international airport is very small, and only two Air Namibia flights were leaving that morning. One arriving from Frankfurt.

We were still a bit confused if we needed to change planes in Johannesburg. The flight number was the same, but once we got on the plane, Bun confirmed with the crew that we would get off temporarily and wait ‘in transit’ there.

We did get to see Soccer City as we landed in J’burg, not having made it up there during the World Cup. We got a glimpse of the stadium and Soweto.

In transit, Bun went off to wander around and I waited for our flight to show up on the departure screen. We had an hour or so to kill. As I was wandering through the duty-free shops I saw a shop selling loads of cameras, so went in to check them out. Duty free seemed to have expanded massively with the arrival of the World Cup.

I bought a replacement for my stolen camera after taking a while working out if it was a good idea to get it here. While they were digging out a new camera body I worked out that it was as good a price that I could get elsewhere. The original intention was to get one shipped out to me in Ghana, but I decided to get it there and then. We just had time to get to the gate and board the plane.

It took five hours to get to Accra. We hit the ocean just south-east of Kinshasa in the DRC. After that it got cloudy below and we turned to the in flight entertainment which showed films in German and English, both at the same time which was impossible to understand. It was only good on the first leg to J’Burg when they showed The Simpsons!

An odd sensation with our first flight since being in Africa and having come all this way. I was trying to work out how long it would take us to drive after ten minutes of flying! Making out random tracks and wondering if we would have followed those on our trip north if we had driven.

Bun started to get agitated after four hours! She had let me sit next to the window and regretted it after a while as she couldn’t get to sleep in the middle seat! The last hour went pretty quickly when they came round with some more food and drinks.

Immigration was easy, and we were out quickly with our ride waiting for us. We are staying at the Afia hotel, near Independence Avenue. The driver took us back in a Landcruiser, the same as ours, so we felt right at home.

We were shattered that evening. We found enough energy to eat at the restaurant in the hotel. It’s called Tribes and is meant to be one of the best places to eat in Accra. We sat there melting, so not used to the heat after coming from Namibia. We getting through the bottles of water already.

August 2010