December 3, 2009

Ghana Travel Planner: two different 10 Day Tours of Ghana

I tend to rough it as a traveler and don’t mind putting myself through hell to get where I want to go (which I didn’t know about myself until I came to Ghana), and sometimes forget that not everyone shares this inclination so I’ve written four itineraries that cater to different traveling styles and durations. The first two are based on 10 days and cover the major highlights: one easy, one more challenging. The next two (in the next post) are based on 19 days: one easy, and then the super challenging version.

You can click on all the Ghana Highlights here and check out the trips to each part of Ghana to help your plan your itinerary.

Also, read more about our Ghana Guide here at G-lish

Itinerary 1. 10 Days Beaches and Mountains. (Does not include northern Ghana, Mole/elephants.)

Day 1-3: Accra-Cape-Accra. Beaches, crafts, and history.
Things to do in Cape:

Old pirogues along the beach on the Eastern side of Elmina Castle.

1. Visit Cape Coast Castle (very interesting exhibit and easy to get to.) and/or Elmina Castle (Elmina Castle is the oldest European/colonial building in sub-Saharan Africa. Est 1482.)

Emma, one of the batikers outside her workshop. That's Cape Coast Castle up the road in the background.

2. Workshops. These are run by Global Mamas. Chefs love the cooking workshop and creative types love batiking (on the beach situated between Cape Coast Castle and Oasis—the no-frills outdoors bar of choice for backpackers.)
3. Hang out at Brenu Beach or Anomabu Beach, both within 30 minutes of Cape Coast.

Day 4-9: Accra-Volta-Accra. Mountains, crafts and waterfalls.
Day 4: Accra to Wli Waterfalls, to the east of Hohoe. Wli is as far north as you need to go, and then work your way back down to Accra. North to Hohoe (4 hours journey). At Hohoe change for vehicle to Wli (30 minutes). Get there by early afternoon and relax.
Day 5: If you’re feeling energetic, climb to the upper falls. If not, walk to the lower falls. Wli is a tranquil village. You can cross the border to Togo here. The border is at the end of the main road, about 5 minute’s walk from the visitor’s centre.

Friends at lower falls at Wli

The next are all optional/mix and match. Stay longer if you like some place.
Day 6: Return to Hohoe by (usually very full) taxi or, indeed, any vehicle you can catch a ride with, and catch tro to Fume (1 hour south—easy journey) if you want to stay at Mt Paradise. Hop off at Fume and get a taxi up hill to Mountain Paradise (or walk: it’s a 2 hour walk up hairpin bend after hairpin bend). Do half day waterfall walks. Stay another day or
Day 7, travel to Ho on tro and visit weavers in Kpotoe, a half hour outside of Ho. It’s about 40 minutes from Fume or 1.5 hours from Hohoe. Travel on to Akosombo Bridge area the same day. Stay at Akosombo Bridge, another hour or so south of Fume or Ho, or 2.5 hours from Hohoe, on the Volta River and hang out at Aylo’s Bay great location.
Day 8: Hang out at Aylo’s. You’ll want to. Perhaps visit Cedi Beads or other beadmakers or markets around Krobo about 20-30 minutes from Akosombo.
Day 9: Back to Accra. Visit the National Museum, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, and any other sites of interest.
Day 10: Sad departure day!

Itinerary 2: Challenging highlights, including Mole National Park, Cape Coast and the Volta.

Day 1-5 Accra-Mole-Cape. Wildlife and markets
The reason I put Mole first is because there is scope for a lot to go wrong and it’s better to happen early, than when you’re rushing to get a flight. If you have your own vehicle (4WD) it’s fine. If not, you have to take public transport. If you are prepared for rough and ready experience and are open to ‘the journey’, you’ll be fine. If you expect everything to run smoothly and be like a ‘safari’, it will disappoint.

Day 1: Accra—Tamale. Depart Accra by STC in the morning. About twelve/thirteen hours to Tamale. Stay overnight in Tamale. There is only one public bus to Mole from Tamale and it ‘departs’ at 2 pm everyday.
Day 2: Tamale—Mole: Hang around Tamale in the morning. Buy a ticket at the central tro station before 10 am. Depart Tamale between 2 and 6 pm. It takes four hours. So you get there anytime between 6 and 10 at night.

Elephant crossing the road at Mole

Day 3: Mole. Do the walking tour to find animal herds at 7 am for a couple of hours or in the afternoon, or both. The motel is on an escarpment overlooking the flat savannah where the elephants, and antelopes and other animals gather. It has a pool.
Day 4: Depart Mole. Bus departs at 4 a.m. Arrive at Tamale around 8 am.
Your options of going south on the STC from Tamale are: On Tuesday the service departs at 8 a.m. for Cape Coast and on Saturdays at 3 p.m. It departs to Kumasi at 7 a.m. daily, but 11 a.m. on Sundays. It departs to Accra daily at 6.30 a.m. or 4 p.m., including Sundays. Unfortunately, none of those connect with the arriving bus from Mole which usually gets in around 8 a.m., provided you don’t break down. That’s usually too late to buy a ticket south unless the service is late, which the STC often is. The Metro Mass orange buses, quite a decent option (better than tros) leave Tamale daily at Tros leave the same station that the Mole Bus arrives at regularly throughout the day to Kumasi. It will take you about 6-7 hours to get there. Say you get in around 4 p.m. You can then jump on a tro to Cape which will get you in around 8 or 9 p.m. that night (I did this very journey).

You might not think that journey is worth the hassle to see elephants. Or, if you have the extra cash, it’s worth hiring a tour company to drive you around instead, which would cut 2 days off the trip north or give you 2 more days to see other things like Hand in Hand near Techiman or to go up to Bolgatanga.

Day 5-6 Cape—Accra. History, crafts, beaches.
Day 5: Recover in the morning by the beach outside Oasis in Cape Coast and then tour the castle, about 50 metres up the road. You could fit in a workshop at EliEmma’s batiking in the afternoon, between the Castle and Oasis.

Day 6-9: Accra—Volta. Mountains and waterfalls.
Day 6: Return to Accra from Cape. There are numerous vehicles for this. Catch tro same day from Tudu station, about a 4 Cedi dropping taxi from Kaneshie. Many vehicles leave Tudu to Hohoe in the afternoon. Arrive in Hohoe in late afternoon and tro straight to Wli or stay overnight in Hohoe.
Day 7: In Wli (or head to Wli—30 minutes) and climb the waterfalls. Hang out at Waterfall Lodge.
Day 8: Take a well deserved rest in Wli or add on any of the stops in the itinerary above for the Volta region: Mountain Paradise, Ho and Kpotoe, Akosombo, Beads
Day 9: Same as for day 8 and return to Accra.
Day 10: Sight-see around Accra.

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent tour. May I suggest visiting the Pando women's pottery collective when in the Volta region. They make insanely beautiful pieces all by hand.


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