June 18, 2010

Ghana Tour including Wa, Upper West Region

Continuing on the Ghana tour theme, this next tour of Ghana is what could be called “All Over Ghana to the Upper West: Wa and Hippos”. 14 Days minimum. 


Where does this Ghana adventure lead?


Accra— Cape Coast (Central Region)—one of the beaches past Takoradi—Kumasi (Ashanti Region)—Techiman—Wa—Mole National Park—Tamale—Lake Volta Ferry to Akosombo—Akosombo back to Accra.


This is basically a circuit that can be traveled in either direction. But, travelers may want to start out easy by heading first to Cape Coast rather than the other way around, and that’s how we’ve outlined it here: 


1. Depart Accra and head to Cape Coast, about 3 hours by public transport, depending on traffic. Enjoy Cape Coast for a couple of days. See Cape Coast Castle, take a tour of town, visit other historical monuments, travel to Elmina. Elmina is about 20 minutes from Cape Coast (15 kilometres), west. Visitors are divided about the Castle visits. My preference is Elmina, but Cape Coast Castle has an excellent exhibit. 


2. Travel from Cape Coast to any of the beaches along the coast like Green Turtle or Axim for a day or two. This takes about 3-4 hours on public transport, depending on the traffic, in each direction. 


3. Return to Cape and travel north to Kumasi—which is crazy so be prepared. However, there is a lot to see, particularly from an Ashanti history point of view. Visit the Cultural Centre and the museum. Perhaps visit the Kejetia Market in the centre of town for a truly shocking market experience.


4. From Kumasi travel to Techiman, 3 hours north, and stay at Operation Hand in Hand in Nkoranza for a day. It’s one of the most inspiring places in Ghana—an orphanage on sprawling, Eden-like grounds for mentally handicapped children who produce some of the most beautiful beaded products I’ve seen in Ghana. You can interact or just hang out. 


5. From Techiman you can travel directly to Wa, which is the capital of the Upper West Region and the jumping off point to visit the Hippo Sanctuary. However, right now, during the rainy season, is not the best time to visit as hippos are hidden by vegetation and extremely hard to see. If you want to see them specifically, wait until October or later when everything dries out and they are more visible. 


6. From Wa travel via bus to Mole National Park where you can spend a couple of days looking at elepehants, wart hogs, monkeys, baboons, and other animals and birds. I have read of a few people unable to see elephants at this time, but most report seeing them—as I also did during an August, rainy season visit—it was awesome. 


7. Head to Tamale from Mole and then catch a tro to Makongo from where you can catch the Lake Volta Ferry all the way down the lake to Akosombo in the Eastern Region. This can take a day or two, depending on various issues like lake water levels and how many stops the captain makes. 


8. Stay at Akosombo on the River Volta—Aylo’s Bay is my fave—and then head back to Accra, an hour away by trotro. 


This tour of Ghana was based on one of the maps in our Ghana guide which shows this route around Ghana. Our guide includes 15 maps showing routes all over Ghana for different themed tours. We outline the map in markers, with the stops noted, and the best order in which to travel. This is more or less the textual version of those tours. 


We’ll be posting the other travel routes, in writing, over the coming weeks so readers can get a sense of what is possible when traveling in Ghana. 


If you want to match these explanations with the maps, you can buy our Ghana travel guide here.


Let us know if you have any experience traveling these routes and what you’d suggest others to look out for. 


Thanks for reading!

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