With some reason, Jürgen and I consider ourselves to be fairly "worldly". We've been traveling the world almost non-stop for ten years. We've got this down. We know this wonderful planet better than most, and even if we aren't experts in everything, we're intermediate-level at worst... right? Well, not so fast. Our three months in Ghana proved how far we have to go. As it turns out, even "worldly" gents like us can still be harboring some…
With the unstoppable rise of Airbnb, finding affordable accommodation has become more difficult, regardless of where you're traveling in the world. And Ghana is no exception. This country is full of enterprising people eager to maximize their cashflow. If you thought that your extended stay in a financially struggling nation was going to be a bargain, think again. In this post, we'll detail our own experience, both with Airbnb and accommodation in general.
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.
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.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas is an award-winning journalist who has dedicated himself to exposing the rampant corruption and malfeasance which has plagued his country for so long. Using hidden cameras, a team of dedicated investigators, and an impenetrable anonymity, Anas has "named and shamed" some of Ghana's most powerful people. The only time he's ever shown his face was in an interview with the BBC -- and it was later revealed that he had been wearing prosthetics, even for this unveiling.
Within the confines of the Mole National Park, visitors have two options for accommodation: the Mole Motel or the Zaina Lodge. The names probably indicate where each falls on the "luxury" spectrum. But you probably wouldn't believe just how beautiful the Zaina Lodge is, until you step onto its grounds.
We woke up bright and early on our second day in the Mole National Park, Ghana's largest protected wildlife refuge, and moved from the Mole Motel to the Zaina Lodge: an upgrade of at least a few stars. We had booked a jeep safari in the very early morning; a time at which we hoped the animals of the park would be at their most active. We certainly wouldn't be, so it was nice to sit in the vehicle and let our driver do all the work.
Having taken a long taxi ride to reach the wrong Kukuo a couple days prior, we were irritated to realize that the right Kukuo was right down the street from our hotel in Tamale. Well, irritated but also relieved that it was so close. Unless there was a third Kukuo in the area (which wouldn't actually have surprised us), this was surely going to be the pottery-making village we had heard about.
Ready for more delicious Ghanaian cuisine? Then step right up to the For 91 Days Chop Shop, where we'll slice and dice everything so nice! There's no better fufu pounders in the country! You want rice-bean mash slopped out of a cooler with an ice scoop? Saucy noodles plopped into a plastic bag with a piece of dried fish? We got you covered! Take a seat! We'll have your food ready in an hour and twenty minutes, just relax!
We were excited to learn that Ghana's National Museum was located just minutes away from our house. But our actual visit turned out to be a disappointment. The museum was under renovation, and apparently has been for years. The tour guides said that it would be re-opening in grand fashion later this year, perhaps even July. But that's a ridiculously optimistic prediction at best, and most likely a lie. This place looks closed for good.
Considering how often we've heard it mentioned as the most entertaining street in central Accra, where many of its best bars and restaurants are congregated, we had high hopes for Oxford Street. But expectations are duplicitous beasts. Set them low, you'll usually be pleasantly surprised. Set them high, and well... Anyway, let's take a tour of Oxford Street.