November 24, 2013

I can honestly say that my trip to Ghana was one of the best times of my life. The people I met and the amazing weekends we had really made the trip.


I arrived on a Wednesday and was almost immediately asked whether I would be coming on the trip to Cape Coast that weekend. Of course I said yes and had the most incredible introduction to Ghana. We left early Saturday morning, all 15 of us piled onto the tro-tro for the 5 hour journey to Kakum National Park. At this point everything was still new to me and I spent the journey being amazed by the scenery and the different people we were passing.


The canopy walk at Kakum National Park is a suspended walkway, high up in the trees of the jungle. I’m generally pretty good with heights but this was actually much scarier than I’d imagined. The walkway is really not that stable. You’re basically walking in a net with a plank laid at the bottom –not always that securely. You will find yourself swaying around and bouncing up and down as you go along. Especially if you’re new found friends think this is a good time to try and frighten you!


Kakum Canopy Walk

High up in the sky at Kakum

It was pretty amazing though, the views were beautiful and it’s pretty fun chilling in the canopy, gaining a new perspective on forest life.


From Kakum we headed to Elmina, stopping off to see some crocodiles at Hans Cottage first. Apparently, so I hear from my Ghanaian friend Baba, you can sit on the crocodiles. I decided not to try this one out and moved on pretty quickly. If I’m gonna choose I’ll probably choose my limbs over some obscure photo of me sat on a croc. We headed on to Elmina where a group of us decided to go on a tour of the castle there, a key post in Ghana’s slave trade. Learning about the conditions the slaves were kept in, and realising the extent of their maltreatment was pretty horrifying. What really shocked me was the private stairway up to the Governor’s quarters, used by the selected female prisoner for the requirement’s of the governor. The worst part about this was that this was sometimes actually seen as a privilege by the slaves because before they were brought to the governor’s bedroom they would wash and be given a full meal. The tour was extremely interesting, if somewhat sobering, and I would even recommend it over the more famous Cape Coast Castle (to be discussed later).




Leaving Elmina we travelled down a bumpy dirt road to our hostel for the night, getting more and more apprehensive as the road got worse and worse, and having the terrible thought that it was going to be the dilapidated building we were approaching. Luckily we crossed the road and I literally felt like I’d landed in a little slice of paradise. Stumble Inn is the most beautiful hostel on the beach, with lovely gardens and sandy paths to your dorms for the night. The managers were a super friendly, young American couple who just happened to find themselves in Ghana and thought it seemed a good idea to run this amazing hostel.  It was a pretty chilled out place with people sat around the campfire or walking on the beach. Well…chilled until we arrived. The hostel has the risky tactic of putting everything on a tab that you pay at the end of your stay. I say risky, but not for them, for you. When everything goes on a tab, you don’t feel like you’re spending and we ended up drinking a lot. Beers turned to cocktails, and cocktails turned to shots. Until you find yourself thinking it would be a great idea to dance on the table, and what do you know –you’re not the only one. 


Stumble Inn Table Dancing

Who even knows what is in that cup?


My first night out in Ghana was an epic one. Perfect location, perfect time.


The next day noone wanted to leave so we ended up hanging out at the hostel all morning. We went for a walk along one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to.

Stumble Inn Beach

Picture perfect


Sarah, Alejandra and I decided to brave it in the sea but managed to get absolutely battered by the waves. Sand was everywhere.


You know sometimes you get yourself into interesting situations and you can’t quite believe they started out because you were making a sandcastle? No? Just me then. Following our swim we did what could only be expected when chilling on a beach and started work building a sandcastle. We’re all deeply concentrating on our task when someone approaches and compliments us on our sandcastle making skills (or something like that). We get chatting and it turns out he’s an Australian diplomat away from Accra for the weekend and invites us to come for a swim at the pool in the luxury hotel he was staying at. Obviously we had to finish our sandcastle and he continued back to his hotel but with the extent of the sand situation how could we refuse swimming in an actual swimming pool. We dithered around for a while trying to figure out if this was a normal thing to do and then decided to do it anyway. We walked up to a deserted swimming pool and had the whole thing to ourselves (meanwhile at our hostel the water had run out and noone could shower or flush the loo –we were living in luxury!). It was so nice to swim without being knocked over and to finally get rid of some of that sand (it has even ended up inside my bikini top –how does that even happen?!). Our diplomat arrives 10 minutes later, buys us some drinks and we have a nice chat, get invited to a salsa night and are promptly left alone again as he has to head back to Accra, but are informed that he’s paid for us to use the hotel facilities all day. What a lovely chap. We didn’t end up going to that salsa night but did gloat to the others about the swimming pool and flushing toilets on our return.


Poolside Elmina

Poolside –can’t quite believe our luck!


The trip back was somewhat eventful, as is slightly inevitable with a group of 15 trying to all agree and failing. But overall a great first weekend in Ghana. Setting the standard to go on with :).