Well, here we are, in Africa still 🙂
Things have been going well since we said goodbye to Mark and Joce in Nigeria. We survived another round of domestic flights in Africa and arrived in Accra no worse for wear (other than a little hungry – a bun filled with jam doesn’t constitute a real meal). We caught a bus to Tamale as soon as we possibly could and headed up to the land of northern Ghana. As is typical with bus travel here our bus left a couple of hours late and the ride of course, took longer than scheduled. To add to the pain of a 10 hour bus trip, we were forced to watch made in Africa movies for the whole afternoon. We must be missing something because everyone else on the bus found the movies totally entertaining but maybe we just don’t understand the culture. We spent a grand total of 6 hours in Tamale, sleeping and walking to and from the bus terminal. We caught an incredibly early bus to Larabanga (Mole National Park) which is the only bus we’ve ever been on that left early. It only left before the appointed 6:30 departure because they couldn’t cram another body onto the bus. We were lucky – we got seats in the middle but they managed to find standing room for another 20 people and their luggage on top of the 80 or so people who had seats. The bumpy and dusty ride was mercifully short – only 3 hours!
We walked the 6km from Larabanga to Mole and were at the motel by 9:30, in time to sit by the pool and wait for them to prepare a hotel room for us for 3 hours. It wasn’t all bad though – the pool side tables have a view of the water hole and much to our delight, a herd of elephants spent the morning bathing in the water. It’s amazing to be able to sit by a beautiful blue swimming pool and watch 20 elephants frolic below you. The park is pretty nice its self, other than the food they serve.
We were able to do some walking safaris and see elephants up close (real close, like 10m). We took an overwhelming number of pictures of them, swimming, playing and pushing down trees.
On the sunday at Mole, we decided that we would bike back to Larabanga and see the mud mosque there. Our bikes were about as african as they get – Jenn’s had a basket mounted on the front, no breaks and a neon green jesus hanging from the handle bars. The trip to town went alright – Jonny got flat and was horrified by the small children who insisted that white people weren’t allowed to ride bicycles in town.
We left Mole early monday morning to walk back to Larabanga and on the way out saw a whole second safari – a herd of elephants were waiting in the bushes on the side of the road for us! the bull had the biggest tusks we’ve ever seen! The bus ride from Larabanga to Wa was quite uncomfortable, we had to stand squished against the back door with 10 other people pressed against us.
Wa was good – we went from there to the Hippo Sanctuary in Wichiau. It only took 2 hours on a dirt road in the back of a pickup truck with 18 other people traveling at a speed of 20 km an hour in the baking hot african sun to get there. But it was worth it, we were the only people at the Lodge and we were able to spend two glorious days relaxing and viewing hippos. The highlight was probably the night we camped on a tree platform by the river (other than the scary noises in the bush) 🙂
The ride out of the park was less than comfortable – our truck ran out of gas so we spent a couple of hours waiting by the side of the road for a refill to arrive.
We headed back down south on Thursday on what out worst bus ride in Africa. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. The bus was late, jammed full of people, they sold our seats to some one else, Jon had to fight to get our luggage on, we had to sit at opposite ends of the bus, the bus driver drove at excessive speeds over washboard roads so bumpy that part of the roof of the bus nearly bounced off, then the bus broke down, was late, dropped us at the wrong station and we had to camp in the STC (bus terminal) for the night.
We were glad when that trip was over! Southern Ghana had been a treat after that! We’ve been touring the coast, Elmina and Kakum (a canopy walkway thingy) and now are spending the week relaxing at the beach at Big Milly’s again.
Time to stop writing this awfully long and probably incoherent e-mail. We’ve got some serious shopping to do! Look forward to being home and seeing some of you (wish we’d get to see yo all). Stay safe!