In the second instalment of West Africas best adventure travel destinations, we explore Ghana, a Land of sunshine and reputed for the friendliness of its people.
Rich in history, and home to the Ashanti Kingdom, a once prosperous and powerful dynasty, Ghana is a great place to start travelling in Africa. It is one of the more user-friendly destinations in Africa, and offers a great deal of opportunities for the demanding traveller looking for the next best beach, the most succulent dish, the intense cultural encounter, or the fast paced adventure activity.
Ghanais on the Gulf of Guinea, the under-belly of West Africa, facing south towards the Atlantic Ocean. In terms of geography, the country presents flat plains, low hills and a few rivers.
The coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed byplains intersected by several rivers and streams while the northern part of the countryfeatures high hills and rolling plains.
Southwest and south central Ghana is made up of a forested plateau region consisting of the Ashanti uplands and the Kwahu Plateau and the hilly Akuapim-
Togo ranges are found along the country’s eastern border.
Ghana’s highest point is Mount Afadjatowhich is 885 m (2,904 ft) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo Ranges.
For all of those looking for adventure, dosed with vibrantculture and welcoming people, this is the place to go. Hiking, mountain biking, surfing, whale watching, not to mention the overwhelming smells, bright colours and entrancing music are some of the awe-inspiring experiences you can have in Ghana.
How about trekking up Mount Afadjato, spending the night in a homestay and enjoy a relaxing evening of music and good food (Ive heard of this place where you can eat village gro
wn mushrooms in a spicy tomato sauce with rice. Vegetarians, eat your… artichoke heart out).
Another great place to go to explore Ghana slightly off the beaten track is Kwahu-Tafo. Kwahu-Tafo is one
of a group of towns on the high Kwahu plateau, about three hours’ drive to the north of the capital Accra. The Kwahu Ridge contains some of the highest ground in Ghana, and some remarkablegeological features such as Buruku, a towering sacred rock. In Tafo the air is fresh, and the land was historically lush the name Tafo means literally ‘my ladle is full’, indicating that originally there was good hunting in the area. MBA’s very own Sam trekked this area only a few months ago and can’t wait to return and do it again. The highlights of the trek are the half-waterfall and the fantastic Lake Volta views. Also, for those with avid imaginations, the trek feels almost like a Flintstones episode save for the dinosaurs, thanks to the dramatic shards of volcanic rock scattered all over the extreme tangerine paths and lush evergreen terrain. Perhaps it was just the heat.
If you are into mountain biking, how about biking through rural Ghana, stopping off at mud-hut dotted villages for a rest or to sample the local Jollof rice dish (tomato-flavoured rice to which meat or fish is added) for lunch?
We highly recommend you do this with is Samuel Kofi, owner of the local Guide and Bike Company Ghana Bike and Hike Tours. Sam from the muchbetteradventures team, met Kofi in the summer of 2010 in Ghana and was immediately taken in by his good nature and spirit. Kofi combines genuine social and environmental commitment with an eye for challenging adventures in one of the most stunning and authentic regions of West Africa. Seeing how serviceable the industry was to both tourists and local people, he decided to use his love biking and hiking to help sustain his local community. Ghana Bike and Hike Tours runs trekking and mountain biking tours in the mountain ranges around Accra. On longer treks you can stay in isolated villages or tents and visit bead making villages, waterfalls, see local wildlife and even live and experience local village life.
If you are looking for something different, look no furtherthan the only tree-top canopy walk in Africa located in Kakum National Park, home to over three-hundred species of birds, unique monkeys and the highly endangered forest elephant and bongo antelope. The rope bridge suspended 100-110 feet off the forest floor yields an extraordinary sweep of nature from what feels like just below cloud level, a must-see if youre not afraid of heights. The park is only a tro-tro ride away from Cape Coast where you can visit the various Slave Castles and other fascinating landmarks. A trip to Ghana is not complete without having done this.
Sailing, fishing and canoeing
Down by the ocean, there are plenty more opportunities for adventure. Ghanaians are natural ocean goers, maybe due to their culture of fishing, and this is reflected in the activities that are on offer. There is the possibility to rent a fishing boat in order to spend a whole day catching your lunch for the evening and learning the different traditional techniques that the locals use to sustain their livelihoods. You might even catch a glimpse of a whale poking its tail fins out of the water! Or if you prefer a more relaxing experience, there are plenty of opportunities to take a traditional canoe up one of the many tributaries and try your hand at fresh water fishing. A great place to do this is at the Green Turtle Lodge in Takoradi, in the Western Region.
Ghanas coast also offers some of the best waves in West Africa (you know where I am going with this), and therefore surfing and body-boarding in Ghana are also on the adventure menu.
Busua beach, in the west, is one of the best locations forsurfing in Ghana and is a wonderful mix of a traditional Ghanaian coastal village and a tourist destination, allowing you to get to know the people and culture of Ghana, whilst providing you with many entertainment options in a very relaxed atmosphere. Beginners and veterans alike are welcome to try their hands at the different sized swell found along the Busua stretch of coast.
Again, a good spot to do this is at the Green Turtle Lodge.Situated off the beaten track on a beautiful and secluded beach on the sunny west coast of Ghana, it is an ideal location for beginners or easy-going surfers.
Of course, as always when visiting a West African country, there is a richness of culture, history and biodiversity to discover, but you would need a life-time to make your way around the amazing things to see and do.
Thanks again to Thomas at West Africa Discovery for this great insight into the adventures waiting for us in Ghana. We are working hard to bring the best adventure choices in Ghana onto the site so you can contact them direct and plan your trip.
Missed the first instalment? We explored Senegal, and you can read it here. /news/view/131/adventure-opportunities-in-west-africa—what-did-you-know
TheWest Africa Discovery web portalhas selected a variety of tours, accommodations and volunteer projects that not only give you the opportunity to experience West Africa to its full potential but also make sure that the tourism projects listed have policies that provide benefits to local communities in the area and that, through their activities, make sure that negative impacts on the local heritage are minimised. For more information, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org join them onfacebook&twitterto keep up-to-date with their progress, and that of the West African sustainable tourism industry.