Kumasi and the coast lies Kakum National Park. A rainforest with many of the
usual suspects, including, but not limited to, trees, insects, forest
elephants, monkeys, snakes and leopards. The thing with jungles, as opposed to,
say, the open savannah, is that there are trees and other vegetation pretty
much everywhere. The consequence for the non-human inhabitants is that they
tend to be smaller than their open-air cousins (for example, the jungle
elephant might as well be called pygmy elephant, but don't say that to their
trunks). The consequence for the human visitors is that the other animals are
difficult, if not impossible, to see, what with all the vegetation and
pygmy-ism and all. Therefore, a cool* experience in Kakum is a canopy walk. Rickety,
but perfectly safe, rope bridges are suspended 15-40 metres in the air, making
for a fun walk just above the foliage.
of the day, however, was to reach the coast. That we did, but unfortunately the
place we stayed was a fair bit out of the way. As I had to get to Accra before
the truck did, and the local bus would leave Cape Coast (at least an hour taxi
drive away) at early o'clock, I did some quick rearranging of my itinerary.
Both Elmina, the closest town, and Cape Coast, the next town over, are coastal
towns with an important historical affiliation with the slave trade of colonial
times, and definitely worth a visit.
And so it
was that I packed all my stuff**, said my good byes to the people who stayed at
the campsite, and shared a taxi to Elmina with some who didn't.
Castle, sometimes called St George's Castle, is presumably the oldest
European-built building in West Africa and marks the starting point of any
visit to the former Portuguese colonial town. But rather than focusing on the
slave fort, we took a town walk with a local guide. Noticing the three major
sources of income (salt mining, fishing, and tourism) we perused the streets,
the forts, the convents and the markets in the 40 degree heat. After a
well-earned cold beer, I said even more goodbyes and took a taxi with my
diving-buddy co-traveller for a tour of Cape Coast Castle.
the Swedes in the 1600's, the Castle served as a slave fort and waystation
before they were shipped away to unknown destinations. It was later claimed by
the Danes, then the Dutch, and finally the British. The cells in which they
kept their slaves were devastating to see, the solitary cell even moreso. The
stories about, especially, the female slaves went straight to the heart. The
impact made by learning about the horrible, unimaginable conditions these
people had to endure was strengthened by the stark contrast of the luxury of
the governor's quarters.
more goodbye, I went to my hotel, getting ready for next morning's early bus
ride. Although crowded and a bit late, the bus ride itself offered luxuries I
had forgotten existed. The seats were comfy, there was plenty of legroom, the
headrest cushion was so soft it could have served The Spanish inquisition***,
and there was aircon.
inclusion of air conditioning was even more obvious as I stepped out of the
coach in Accra, walking right into what felt like a wall of hot steam.
capital of Ghana is a city in the usual sense of the word. There are streets
and avenues, parking lots, high-rises, museums, asphalt, nightclubs, bars and
restaurants, and even a shopping mall****. There are also, of course, the wrong
side of the tracks, shady areas, bustling markets and people trying to scam
and/or sell you goods and/or services.
with my inconspicuous small camera, I put on my walking shoes and set off to
explore this my last destination of this odyssey.
a former Danish slave fort marks the Eastern end of the city along the coast,
which stretches westwards towards Ussher Fort and Jamestown lighthouse to
indicate the Western border of the city proper (although the metropolitan area
does continue to the west, starting with a sewage treatment plant). In between
lies Independence Square and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park & Mausoleum. The
square was empty and the park was closed due to a wedding, though. The activity
tracker on my sports watch had a couple of field days (quite literally) as I
perused the streets of Accra, including the poor fishing district of Jamestown
and the perfectly non-hectic market quarters.
through the cozy neighbourhood of Osu, I found myself at the, according to
TripAdvisor, second best eatery in town: Burger & Relish. And with an item
on their menu named Three Little Piggies (named so due to the burger being
endorsed with chorizo, bacon and bacon jam), who am I to disagree?
flew, and soon I had to, as well. Rearranging my luggage, throwing away what I
not needed and optimising the rest, I eventually got in the taxi to the
airport. The adventure was drawing to an end, and as I spent my last cedis at
the duty free (for reasons unknown, there's no bureau de change after the
security check at Kotoka International Airport, so one would have to repeat the
tiring procedure or simply spending the remaining moneys buying goodies at the
duty free or trinket shops), this African Adventure was over.
not in the literal sense; the temperature was close enough to 40 degrees, and
humidity felt like it was in three digits
Except, as I noticed later, the lower parts of my zip-off trousers; they were
unfortunately left on the truck.
Pythonesque one, of course; the one nobody expects
Though no cinema, as far as I could tell, so Star Wars ep VIII: The Last Jedi
would have to wait