Aburi and the Hillburi Resort

Set high in the hills about an hour north of Accra, above and away from the capital’s sweltering heat, the town of Aburi has long been a favorite retreat for the country’s ruling classes. When the British controlled Ghana, Aburi was home to a sanatorium, and many officers kept chalets here. We visited over the weekend, and enjoyed a taste of the good life at the wonderful Hillburi Resort, just outside town.

After picking up a trotro at the Accra suburb of Madina, we headed up into the hills. We enjoyed the ride more than usual, because the incline made it impossible to reach the breakneck speeds preferred by Ghana’s trotro drivers. We checked into our room and toured the premises, making special note of the infinity pool with a view over the countryside. Though we could hardly wait to strip down and jump in, there was some sightseeing to do, first.

Aburi is best known for its fantastic Botanic Garden, and we’ll be writing about this in our next post. But the town itself also is worth spending time in. There’s a much calmer, more refined atmosphere here. It’s still Ghana, of course, so there’s the requisite noise, chaos and kids squealing “Obruni”, but something about Aburi suggests that it’s always been a place apart. The stone churches are beautiful, the people seem to be more well-off, and the overall atmosphere is pleasant. The reduced heat doesn’t hurt.

We didn’t linger too long in town, though, and soon were back at the Hillburi, in our bathing suits, and staring out over the hills from the pool. We’d been in Accra for three weeks at this point, and felt that we had earned a bit of luxury. For dinner, we ordered burgers; dipping into American cuisine felt like a extravagence after a nearly 100% Ghanaian diet.

We awoke at the crack of dawn on the next morning, and reluctantly said goodbye to Hillburi, after breakfast on the veranda. Our return to Accra was looming, and we could already hear the trotro driver revving his engine in eager anticipation… this time, he’d be going downhill, so reaching top speed would be no problem. We sighed, and piled into the van, taking our seats between a large girl smacking down fried plantains and a dude so tall, he made 6’6″ Jürgen look petite. Our escape from the city was over … back to reality.

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