Ghana
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Camp and day’s information: Friday, 23rd May 2003

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Ghana
Bushcamp,  south of Navrongo 

N10° 50.900’
W1° 01.141’

 27013

188

 10438

40°C, humid. 34°C at midnight, no breeze…

Bread, avocado, banana. More bread, nutella, banana.

I stripped the bedding and washed it all hoping to get rid of any potential insect infestation.  It was quite hard work ringing our the mattress covers and Pat lent a strong hand!  I was really annoyed when I went to take them down off the line and found that the local bird population had spray painted them!  I very grumpily washed them again with Michael's help - not at all impressed.  Pat and I went to collect the visas while Michael and Glen did some last vehicle things... I navigated and Pat drove, we got there no problems.  Our visas and passports were ready and waiting for us, I paid David the 1000 cedi I owed and we left.  We gave two French tourists a lift back to town.

We said our farewells to Kiara and Elodie and took some pics and set off for Ghana...

The border formalities were not too bad.  They were very friendly on both sides and Pat and Glen exited Burkina Faso without visas - that's 70 euros each they saved themselves so far.  Still, I think I'd prefer to have the visas when they are required, not so sure Michael would agree...  On the Ghanaian customs side they weren't too sure what to do with the carnet de passage, so that was all a little slow going and a bit uncomfortable for Michael when Pat was telling them what a great vehicle Nyathi was and how much she was worth!!! By the time we got through the order it was dark and we used our big yellow torch to search for a suitable campsite, in amongst a fairly densely populated area.  We found a spot a little way past a village and simply had bread for dinner and fell into bed.  Shortly after drifting off to sleep, Michael and I were conscious of someone approaching the vehicle.  It was a local home owner, Louise, who had come to investigate who we were etc. as his wife had heard us pulling up and setting up camp and was apparently a bit frightened.  We told him we'd set up camp because it wasn't safe to dive at night and that we'd see him again in the morning...

Camp and day’s information: Saturday, 24th May 2003

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Ghana
North of Kumasi
 

N07° 21.927
W01° 54.941

 27489

476

10914

Hot, again...

Cereal. Bread, avocado.  Smash, soya mince.

We woke up to Louise and Pat having a chat and pretty soon the number of onlookers grew.  They were simply inquisitive and friendly and after a while, all made their way off to do the day's business.  We had a quick breakfast and got on the road - it is very green here and the villages are generally surrounded by trees.  There was a bit of an incident at one of the toll road booths.  As usual, all the locals swarmed the vehicle selling goods and asking for random items they could see in the vehicle.  I was lying back half-sleeping in the chair, as we drove off someone hit my chest through the window.  My reactions went into overdrive, I told Michael to stop the vehicle, I leapt out and then the offending woman got the fright of her life and 'legged it' with me chasing behind her giving her a piece of my mind, all the locals staring on...  My adrenaline in check, I got back in the vehicle, explaining to anyone who would listen, what had happened and off we went again.  She probably didn't intend on hurting me, but hopefully she'll think twice about doing it again.

We stopped off at the Kintampo Waterfalls which had been recommended to me by one of the local guys in Tamale.  The waterfall was quite high and it stung to stand underneath the spray of water.  There were quite a few locals playing about and showing off their waterslide antics.  Pat gave it a number of goes, bumping along the slippery, rocky surface - ouch!

We stopped off at a lovely roadside village market.  All the women were swarming around offering their wares.  Eventually I had to tell them to stop shouting and pleading and that I'd get to them one at a time.  The hard thing is choosing between loads of different people selling the same thing.  They tend to specialise in avocados, or tomatoes, or pineapples.  I convinced the avocado sellers that I didn't need a whole bucket of unripe avocados and a whole bucket of ripe ones and that I'd take half from each of them and that way they both profited. The roads were quite busy, particularly with truck traffic...

We found an absolutely wonderful campsite down a little track road in amongst the forest, with tall trees and massive leaves.  It threatened rain so I cooked up a quick dinner and then we all relaxed, enjoying the jungle atmosphere.

 

Camp and day’s information: Sunday, 25th May 2003

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Ghana
Kakum National Park

N05° 21.170
W01° 23.335

 27813

324

 11238

Hot, humid, some rain

Cereal. Okra, sauce and rice.

After a great night's sleep, we had some cereal and hit the road, but not before taking a pic of the giant leaves...

We took the scenic route through Kumasi.  It was an incredibly busy and colourful place, thronging with people.  It also had some really nice looking places to stay in the more colonial looking part of town.  Michael and I have had hours of entertainment with the names Ghanaians give their businesses, they include - Thanks God's Alive Enterprise, Feeling Boat Enterprise (which sells fridges)...

We travelled down to Dunkwa and then took a dirt road down to Twifu Praso.  It was absolutely fantastic.  The road was a bit carved up from the rains, so the going was quite slow, but the scenery was true green, thick, tropical forest.  It is such a mysterious, but refreshing environment.  The villages we passed obviously didn't see tourists very often and they were extra friendly! The really scary thing is the rate at which they are decimating the forest.  Chainsaw logging is against the law, yet every time we stop for a break we can hear chainsaws humming in the distance.  Of course, the more villages they build, the more the slash and burn evidence you see too...

An injector pump wire came loose on Glen and Pat's Land-Rover, just as Pat was driving through a mud hole, so we towed Pat out as it was so much easier for Glen to sort it out on less muddy and squishy ground.

Later on, we pulled to the side of the road and had a lunch of bread, mussels, mackerel and then banana and nutella for dessert.  The drive took us much longer than we'd anticipated - but it was well worth it.  We also crossed a rail bridge which is used by cars, and of course humans and animals too...

We came across the Kakum National Park offices on the right hand side of the road (which was incorrect according to the maps), but there was no-one to be seen.  Then about an hour later, after setting up next to a big pagola, the guard arrived (as drunk as a skunk).  He told us that we had to go and see the senior officer, because he'd get in trouble if he just let us camp the night.  No amount of discussion could convince him otherwise, so Glen, he and Michael went down to the village further along the road to speak to him.  Sylvester was very pleasant and said it was no problem to camp (at what we then discovered was the admin centre).

While the others were away, I took the time to have a relaxing bush shower before it got too dark.  Glen made dinner and we spent the late evening watching the night sky and listening to the screaming bush babies and monkeys.  I broke out some Amarula to round off the evening.  It was a terrific place to camp to hear all the forest sounds...

 

Camp and day’s information: Monday, 26th May 2003

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Ghana
Anomabu Beach Resort 

N05° 10.272
W01° 07.779

 27868

55

11258 

Early thirties, rain

Cereal. Chicken and rice, pepper steak. Salad, sweet and sour fish.

We woke up to a mist-filled tropical forest with birds calling and parakeets flying overhead.  We met John and Jessie who gave us a very interesting book of the forest birds and animals.  Sylvester also popped in to collect some things from the office and told us today was a public holiday, but that everything was still open as usual.

We made our way down to the Kakum National Park reception.  It was very impressive - well organised, with an interesting exhibition aimed at educating both local and foreign visitors about tropical rain forests and their delicate balance within the eco system.  The park has a canopy walkway, which is one of only four in the world.  It was constructed in conjunction with two Canadian rock climbers and comprises a number of sections linked by seven platforms and measures 350m in total.  Although it is too noisy to see any wildlife, you're between 30 and 40m above the forest floor so it gives you a bird's eye view.  We were put in a group with four other people and our guide called Still Alive (he told us an interesting story of how he got his name).  He was very knowledgeable about the flora and gave a very good tour, but tips sales pitch was not exactly subtle and took place right at the beginning of the walk, and of course at the end, which soured it somewhat as he was good enough to get tips without asking!

We chatted to Anna (from Oxford) and Etienne (from Mexico) from our group and hey ended up coming with us to Cape Coast and Anomabu.  It poured with rain which was really refreshing and gave Nyathi a good wash, especially when Michael drove through the deep puddles causing water to spray out into the jungle. En route, we stopped at Hans Cottage for lunch which was very pleasant.  The restaurant is built on stilts, situated over a crocodile lake and there were a number of trees close by absolutely riddled with masked weavers and cormorants feeding their noisy chicks.  The food was good too.

We got down to Anomabu in the late afternoon and couldn't believe it when we drove in and saw Rike and Henrik's Land-Rover!  We all spent an enjoyable time swimming in the warm sea, watching out for the currents which were pretty strong.  There were quite a few other tourists about and they forewarned us to order our dinner early, as the restaurant wasn't the best at getting it right!  My tossed salad was a joke - it was on a saucer, with about ten strands of shredded lettuce, five slices of tomato and onion and some cucumber, everyone else's dinners were pretty tasty though...

 

Camp and day’s information: Tuesday, 27th May 2003

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Ghana
Anomabu Beach Resort 

N05° 10.272
W01° 07.779

 27868

0

11258

Very hot

Omelette.Okra, sauce and rice.

We spent a wonderfully lazy morning under the sun reading our books.  It is the first time we have both just sat and done nothing and it was terrific.  The stupid thing was we both said to each other we ought to get under the shade of the pagola and only moved when it was too late (as we discovered later in the afternoon when the full extent of our sunburn shone through).  In the afternoon we had fresh coconuts, expertly chopped with the panga by the lifeguard.  Then Michael and Glen went into Cape Coast in search of a hub for Nyathi.  I read some more and played in the sea with Rike and the kids.  Rike, Aloise and I went for a walk along the beach to the next cove.

When I we returned Pat told us the kitchen had forgotten to do anything for the Ghanaian dishes which he and Glen had ordered the day before!  He was not impressed, but hunger almost had him ordering another dish anyway.  I said we would just cook for ourselves instead and he was happy with that - smug that the restaurant had lost out on custom for being inefficient.  Michael and Glen got a second-hand part on the basis that if it was the wrong one, they could return it.  Glen ended up cooking the left over okra and vegetables in a tasty sauce with rice for dinner.

The rain kept at bay for a while and Michael and I read under the beach light, making sure we didn't sit directly beneath any coconut palm trees as the massive coconuts falling from 15m above would cause serious damage, if not kill you!

 

Camp and day’s information: Wednesday, 28th May 2003

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Ghana
Anomabu Beach Resort  

N05° 10.272
W01° 07.779

 27868

0

11258

Humid, hot and rain, rain, rain

Omelette, beans, toast, milo, pineapple. Chicken casserole, sole and rice

It absolutely bucketed it down during the night.  The thunder clapped loudly and the lightning darted across the sky.  The tent performed pretty well, but we did take in some rain in one of the clothing compartments and in the cab compartments on Michael's side.  We had breakfast at the restaurant and watched the waves crashing on the beach.  Breakfast was a confusing affair with our waiter being new - very friendly, but with no concept of customer service, how the menu works etc.  It rained hard pretty much the whole morning and when it broke at lunchtime, Michael and Glen tested the hub, unfortunately it wasn't right and so they headed back into town, along with Pat to exchange it, visit the internet cafe etc.  I stayed behind with the vehicles and relaxed.  I had a tasty club sandwich and wrote some journal entries, before the electricity was cut off and the laptop battery died.  I started a new book...

I noticed that Emma, the resort manager was having a long and serious meeting with all the staff, probably as a result of the complaints from various residents and visitors (Pat and Glen had told them about the Ghanaian dish mix up yesterday).  It's such a shame that they have an amazing setting on a palm fringed beach and they can't get the service right in the restaurant.

Well, we had a different experience altogether in the restaurant tonight.  Monica, our waitress was friendly and efficient and the food was plentiful and tasty!

 

Camp and day’s information: Thursday, 29th May 2003

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Ghana
Anomabu Beach Resort  

N05° 10.272
W01° 07.779

 27868

0

11258

Hot and very rainy, then cooler, but still humid

Chicken and fish.

Well, the food may have been tasty but something did not agree with me and I felt pretty ill in the middle of the night, making a few visits to the bathroom!  Still, I feel fine now.  Michael worked on the computer and found out it was a faulty cable that was causing the intermittent shut downs!  We also did some organising of Nyathi rationalising a few boxes, packing away the down duvet, which certainly isn't needed and freed some space upstairs.  Glen and Pat were ready to leave for Togo just before lunch so we had a drink together, which turned into a club sandwich and then Bill (a South African guy working in the mining industry in Ghana) came over to chat to us and told us about a good place for Land-Rover spares in Accra.

Just as Glen and Pat were leaving Rike, Henrik and the kids arrived, disappointed they didn't have Pat to play with in the sea.  Michael and I carried on working for a while and then all of a sudden the heavens opened and we had to hurriedly throw everything under the awning.  Of course quite a lot got wet, sadly the computer and keyboard too!  It continued to bucket down and I stood out in my costume and gave Nyathi a good wash, using the rain, plus the water which was pooling in the awning which we had to push off every ten minutes or so.  Rike and Henrik decided to pack the kids and go back to the university as the rain looked like it was here to stay. Michael got a lift with them to Cape Coast and went looking for the right part for the computer.  I spent my time cleaning out the kitchen area and the cabin bit too, plus sorting out the wet clothing for Atomic and John to wash and tumble dry!  I had a refreshing shower and read my book in the restaurant, waiting for Michael to arrive back.

We had a nice quiet dinner and Michael headed off to bed while I read a bit and charged up the laptop.

 

Camp and day’s information: Friday, 30th May 2003

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Ghana
Anomabu Beach Resort  

N05° 10.272
W01° 07.779

 27868

0

11258

Hot, luckily little rain

Chicken Fricasse.

We worked solidly the whole day today.  I re-glued lots of the carpeted area.  Cleaned inside Nyathi, ridding her of all the desert dust which had caked up over the weeks.  I cut, bent and fitted some aluminium strips to the inside of the freezer to protect the fibreglass edges which were cracking and breaking off.  I swapped all the clothing upstairs from on side to the other, as Michael and I have swapped sleeping sides (for two reasons - 1. Michael needs the extra place above his head to stop his pillow falling off and, 2. I get up more often to go to the loo so being next to the hatch is easier).  Michael repacked the back and side of the vehicle, with me helping with the few extra heavy trunks and sanding off the bottom of everything.  He also mounted the water pump and filter onto a board which can fit on the front of Nyathi (we stole the idea from Glen and Pat).  We also filled what we think are the leaks with silicone - so only time will tell if it works!

We didn't eat breakfast, nor lunch so we ordered an early supper.  We stopped working just before 6pm, went for a swim in the sea, had a refreshing shower and had our supper at 6.30pm. 

Camp and day’s information: Saturday, 31st May 2003

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Ghana
Accra - Pitstop

N05° 34.169
W00° 12.311

 27996

128

 11421

Mid thirties, humid

Pineapple. Lebanese food

We had an enormous, cold, sweet, juicy pineapple for breakfast.  Packed up a few things, settled the bill and were on our way.  The road to Accra was very busy and rather potholed! We passed some very busy villages with loads of people, cars, food, all sorts.  We arrived in Accra at about 2pm and headed for Pitstop, which is a Land-Rover garage, combined with a little restaurant and a bar.  The owner, Ian, was really friendly and took us to the local supermarket to stock up with supplies and also to look for a cordless keyboard.  Accra looks like an interesting town and is certainly the biggest African city we have arrived at so far.

Ian shared his left over Lebanese restaurant dinner with us, which was very tasty.  We drank beers and shandies and relaxed into the night.

Camp and day’s information: Sunday, 1st June 2003

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Ghana
Accra - Pitstop

N05° 34.169
W00° 12.311

27996

0

11421

Hot and humid

Eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, beans, toast, orange juice.

We had a delicious English breakfast this morning. We met quite a few expats who'd come in for breakfast too.  I spent the entire day working on journal entries and am relieved to be up to date!  Now I am sitting listening to the football commentary blaring from the house next door, in fact if I walk over 100m way, I can still hear it.  Every time there's a goal everyone screams and blows whistles and bangs on tins - the whole suburb celebrates - it's quite amazing and amusing to hear!  This evening we are going to the internet cafe and tonight we are going to probably just relax in Ian's pub.

Juliet (who works in the pub) posing with Jocelyn...

 

Camp and day’s information: Monday, 2nd June 2003

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Ghana
Accra - Pitstop

N05° 34.169
W00° 12.311

27996

0

11421

Hot and humid

Pancakes.  Burger and chips.

We were both up early and did some clothes washing.  We had a relaxed breakfast and waited for the mechanics to arrive.  It turned out to be a frustrating day, because a job that should have been easy wasn't.  I worked with one of Ian's mechanic's, Gambo to replace the hub on axle number two.  One of the five half-shaft bolts stripped the thread inside the hub, so the flange has been leaking oil all over the wheel for the past few thousand kilometres.  Ian kindly allowed us to exchange the hub with an identical one on a scrap Discovery, which took the better part of three hours. But when we tried to refit the half-shaft we discovered why the bolt had stripped - the flange on the end of the shaft (a non-genuine part bought from Paddocks) was very badly manufactured, and the holes didn't line up perfectly. Even after drilling them out significantly I couldn't make the part fit without risking a cross-threaded bolt. To make matters worse, my drill really struggled while drilling the holes, and I had to let it cool down several times. Then on the last hole, the bit seized in the hole and stalled the drill, but the trigger lock was stuck at full power, and while I was wrestling with it the whole bloody drill burnt out. Fiddlesticks!

Gambo went off to the get a replacement drive flange, but he came back with the wrong part, which means we will have to wait until tomorrow - c'est la vie!  The good news is that Gambo managed to find a slave cylinder repair kit which much a much cheaper alternative to replacing the whole kit, especially as it was just the seal which was faulty.

Glen and Pat are already in Togo and they are waiting for us so we can travel through Nigeria together, but sadly, there isn't a lot we can do, so we'll have to leave as early tomorrow as possible...

Camp and day’s information: Tuesday, 3rd June 2003

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Ghana
Bushcamp near Keta

N06° 00.682
E00° 40.179
28127 131 11552

Hot and humid

English breakfast. Proscuitto ham titbits. Bread, cheese, jam.

We were up early again and had a great English breakfast to start the day.  Then I went off with Ian to look for soya mince and he was doing a massive shop for a friend's birthday lunch.  Michael waited for Gambo (who only left at about 10h30 to go get the part and of course, by the time Ian and I arrived back, Gambo wasn't back yet!  So Michael then went of with Ian in search of a new drill, while I stayed behind.  Gambo arrived before 13h00 and he put the new part on and checked all the oils before Michael and Ian got back.

We had a last drink with Ian at the bar and he suggested we take the beach route from Keta up to Aneho at the border as a more interesting alternative.  Ian showed us great hospitality, despite the fact that he isn't set up to have 'overnighters'. He let us camp in the yard, use his (hot) shower, his telephone and of course his team helped Michael sort out Nyathi.

We set off, really glad to be on the road again.  We were travelling east and the sun was slowly going down behind us, creating that fantastic dusk light and everything looks so lush!  We found the correct road toward Keta, after confirming directions at the local hospital, but the light was fading, so we decided it was better to find a bushcamp than push on in the dark.  We saw a great big tree and copse of bushes and headed off the road, it was very tricky, as there were load of plantain crops which we had to wind our way around.  The area was dense with vegetation and tall, sticky, grass.  Shortly, two local farm workers shrived and told us we couldn't camp there, mostly because there were too many mosquitoes.  They weren't wrong - they were buzzing furiously everywhere.  We explained we had a roof tent and mosquito nets and that made them happier...

Michael and I dived into the cab - we decided we'd retreat immediately to the tent and spray the cab heavily.  We took up what little food we had into the tent and lay down towels to catch any mess.  We ate some chewy baguette, cheese, jam and had pineapple for dessert - delicious!  We crawled into bed and read until about 20h30 and went off to sleep, ready for an early start...

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