Our final trip in Ghana would be to Lake Volta, to the east of Accra. Formerly British Togoland, the Volta Region is now Ghana's easternmost state, populated mostly by the Ewe people, who also form a majority in neighboring Togo. We wouldn't have a chance to visit the region's capital of Ho, or even see much of the region, as our time had grown short. But we did make it to the lake, and visited the dam which makes Volta largest natural reservoir in the world.
Psssst... Hey Ghana, come over here, I've got a little secret to tell you. You know me and Jürgen, the guys you welcomed so warmly into your country for three months? To whom all of your people were so polite and friendly? The guys who had such a wonderful time visiting your villages, exploring your nature, and meeting your citizens? Yeah, us. Well, we didn't want to say anything until now... but we're gay. According to your laws, we're not allowed.
One of the most well-known adventures Ghana has to offer is a stroll over the forest canopy of the Kakum National Park, along an elevated walkway. This attraction draws hordes of both Ghanaians and foreigners, and for good reason. Even though you're too high up to spot many animals, it's thrilling to have a bird's eye view -- and definitely not for those who have a fear of heights.
Having seen elephants, crocodiles, warthogs and monkeys, there remained just one creature on our "Unforgettable Animals of Africa" bucket list: stingless bees, of course! How long have we dreamed of getting up close and personal with these cuddly little creatures! Alright, the truth is that, until our trip to Cape Coast, we didn't even know that bees came in stingless varieties.
We approached the gates of Cape Coast Castle, one of Ghana's few UNESCO Heritage Sites, and right before paying for entrance... changed our minds. Instead of visiting the castle, we turned around and marched over to the nearby Fort William Lighthouse, perched on a hill in the middle of town. It was a rash decision, but at the end of the day, we both agreed it had been the right one.
After finishing up in Elmina, we headed up the coast a few minutes, to the nearby former colonial stronghold of Cape Coast. Before the ascendence of Accra, this was the most important city in Britain's Gold Cost colony, although today the grandeur has largely faded. There are a couple major sights within town (the castle and Fort William), but Cape Coast failed to win us over.
All this is to say, we were ready for a nice little getaway... and that's exactly what we got at Ankobra Beach Resort, just outside the town of Axim. We even splurged, and asked them to send a driver all the way to Elmina to pick us up. From the moment we stepped onto the premises, we felt more relaxed. This is an eco-resort, founded some years ago by a German-Ghanaian couple who recognized the potential of this beautiful and almost completely untouched beachfront property.
Our hotel was located about a few kilometers away from Axim, along the beach, and we decided to walk into town. It took about 40 minutes, and although it was nice to stroll along the beach, it's probably not the most beautiful way to approach Axim -- we went past a noisy construction team installing new wave-breakers along the coast, and then into a rundown neighborhood, where our appearance caused confusion among the local children, followed by immense joy.
Jürgen and I live by a set of unspoken mutual agreements. Number 14 states: once we've started debating whether to leave a place ... be it a restaurant, a movie, a cafe, or a party... we should just immediately leave. And that goes for hotels, too. When we checked into our Elmina hotel, we were immediately displeased.
Posuban shrines are a regular feature of the Fante region of Ghana's central coast. Any town, almost regardless of size, will possess at least a few such shrines, which are often decorated with cryptic symbols or statues. We managed to find four elaborate examples in Elmina, although there were almost certainly more hiding in the town's back streets.