Ada Foah

Having returned to Accra once again I was faced with another week of killing time in the hotel. Bolstered with confidence from my successful trip to Mole I again appealed to be allowed to go on an excursion, this time to the village of Ada, 100km east of Accra on the mouth of the Volta. It has two upmarket hotels and is a popular place for the expats of Accra to retreat to. Even more appealing is that I was allowed to travel there on the tro-tro which is a key experience of Ghana I had missed out on so far. Tro-tros are a network of any privately owned vehicle that takes passengers and seem to operate on a ‘leave when it is full’ basis, they are by far and away the most common mode of transport in Ghana and undoubtedly the most perilous. They are usually converted vans, that were never meant to carry passengers at all, let alone the 25 that are crammed in. The network as a whole is remarkably efficient though, mainly because there are so many trotros (over half of all traffic). Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your viewpoint I ended up in a luxury tro, entirely by accident in the insane business of the main station. It had about half the normal seats and even had air conditioning! From the drop-off I got a shared taxi to ada, which operate like the trotros but on a smaller scale. As my decision to get to Ada had been late in the day I arrived when it was dark but went straight to a reasonable guesthouse thanks to the guidebook.

The next day I set about finding a cheap almost resort by the name of Marantha beach resort. It turned out this was about a 40 minute walk through a fishing village called Azizyena, made entirely of palm frond huts in which I got hopelessly lost until I paid a boy to take me to the place. Nonetheless it was marvellous to be on my own, and a completely different feeling than being with a Ghanaian the whole time as I had been before. The resort itself was rather lovely, run by the villagers with the rooms being a palm hut and situated, like the village, on a 50m wide sand bar between the sea and the estuary of the Volta. There was no water and the toilets were basic verging on dangerous. Swimming in the estuary was to be kept to a minimum due to bilharzia and in the sea was best avoided due to current coming from Accra and the Ghanaian tendency to view a beach merely as a toilet. This also meant walking along the tidal area of the beach was not a good idea as dodging the fresh turds tended to take the enjoyment out of it.

Nonetheless I had an amazing time and ended up staying there for 2 nights, although I got hopelessly sunburnt on the first day. There were some moderately irritating American peace corps who were alright company and the surroundings could not have been nicer. The second day was mercifully a bit cloudy, and I ended up going into the village of Ada (via a boat this time) and then paying a chap to paddle around in his canoe. I was paying by the hour and so paddled as well as him, as hard as I could to save money, which resulted in being quite sore for many days afterwards. It cost £20 for 4 hours and was easily the single most expensive thing I have done in Ghana. It was entirely worth it though, and we paddled to an Akpateshie distillery on one of the estuary islands were I had the most fantastic coconut although was not entirely taken by the Akpateshie! I also paid to use the pools of one of the posh hotels (and more importantly the shower) before returning to Maranatha. All in all the excursion cost around £50 including the canoe trip but it was well worth it as I had not really had the freedom to explore alone before.

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~ by goldwhine on 15 September, 2008.

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