Walking the tree canopy in Ghana – gap year experience

We asked one of our many drivers, Joseph, to come back to Hans Cottage Botel early at 8am and take us up to Kakum National Park.  Todate, every taxi that we went in lacked the rear window winders so that you could not adjust the intake of air in the back.  You had to ask your driver who kept The Winder in the front, and, whilst driving he would lean over into the back and wind the window up or down and then take back the winder to keep at the front.  I could never understand the logic in this – did other passengers steal the winders?  Was he worried that we would do moonies out of the window?  Was he worried that someone would put their hands in and steal a handbag?  I would love to know the answer.

As Joseph would have to wait a long time for us, we invited him to join us on the canopy walk in the forest and after on the nature walk.  His whole personality changed once we did this, there was a big smile on his face and he chatted to the guides.  At the end, we bought him a photo of himself on the canopy walk and I could tell he was as proud as punch and would dine out on the story for weeks!

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The Nature Walk is well worth while doing as it is lead by a guide (who also escorts you on the canopy walk) and ours explained that before she became a guide, she used to hunt in the forest to feed her family and now she uses her intimate knowledge of all the plants, trees and animals and makes a living out of sharing that with the tourists.  Good conservations practices in action!

She took us to a platform high up in the forest where I was initially considering spending a night.  You have a 2-hour walk in the forest at night and then climb up very high onto the platform and sleep in a tent with netting sides.  (Sharan said she was greatly relieved that we didn’t do it as going down for a pee in the night would be a bit of an ordeal in the dark plus you never know who you might find on the ground!)  I just thought that way, we were more likely to see some animals since they are likely to be far move active at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Our guide pointed out some little red berries which when dried out are black peppers!  I remember that was one of the items that the explorers came to Ghana for – the black peppers that we take for granted nowadays.  There were some amazing trees and many had medicinal qualities (which I have now forgotten).

We shared the canopy tour and nature walk with a group of canadians that had also been on the tour of Cape Coast Castle the day before.  They all took African drumming lessons back in Canada and had come on an amazing tour (the first) organzied by http://www.ghanamusictour.com which included African drumming lessons, African dancing and going into the interior and staying in a traditional village with a chief (who they needed to buy gifts for) and the rondel huts to sleep in!  They were having a fantastic time and highly recommended the tour.

Back to Hans Cottage for a last lunch and then another taxi driver with a very smart car including  winders for the rear windows  (we were coming up in the world of taxi drivers…) and a long drive to Busua.  We had booked in to another French place, the Busua Beach Inn which restored my faith in French hospitality.  The room (with two singles with an ensuite bathroom and no bucket and ladle) was delightful, although the view from the upstairs was very third world (which I appreciated as it was real Ghana) , and a naughty monkey hovered outside in the hope that we would leave a window open or give him some food.

Busua Beach was fantastic – a long expanse of sand, the sea was safe to swim in where we were, although the waves were strong and people were surfing and body boarding – real back packers paradise!  The village was very attractive in a photographic third-world sort of way.  Lots of people litterally live in shacks on the street and cook in the street and mix on the street.  There was an internet cafe on the beach next door which also hired out boards although the internet room was closed and our hosts recommended the African Rainbow resort so we went there and went online.  It wasn’t a cheap place to stay but the facilities looked good for Ghana and it would be a nice place to stay although lacking in character (www.africanrainbowresort.com)

We had a lovely dinner and breakfast next day at the Busua Inn and I would also strongly recommend anyone to stay there as it ticks all the boxes for comfortable accommodation, stunning location and good food, although when we arrived our hostess did have a moment when she instilled the fear of God in us as she looked at her diary and said we weren’t booked in.  I pointed out that she was looking at the week before and then she smiled and said she was expecting us and gave us a key to a room with two single beds.  A few hours later, after we had settled in, the husband asked if we had booked two rooms, which we had (but I had developed an aversion to arguing with French people after Eshu), and was hoping that at that late stage we would take the second room but we were reluctant having settled in to take the second room.  So, somewhat disorganized in reception.   Sitting in the restaurant, there is a truly Ghanain view of all the fishing boats, people on the beach, goats, buzzards… (www.busuainn.com)

I am so pleased we went the long way to Busua as a couple of nights or more would be perfect for our netball and rugby volunteers and I will strongly recommend it.

(www.volunteervacations.co.uk has placements in both Accra and Cape Coast for rugby and netball coaching volunteers for ages 18 upwards. Full details on website .  In meantime, contact info@volunteervacations.co.uk or ring 01483 331551/07833 208 158 for more information.)

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About www.volunteervacations.co.uk

We send gap year students, university students, families, people on Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and people on career breaks to coach sports, teach and work in orphanages targetting underpriviledged children in South Africa, Kenya, Swaziland and India. New projects coming up in Thailand and Brazil. In Swaziland we offer bespoke rugby coaching placements with the charity Skrum where volunteers (18 ) can take their Level 1 rugby coaching certificate and then travel on to other placements and coach rugby. In India, the placements are suitable for families and undeer 18's are accepted providing they are accompanied by an adult. India is also suitable for Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. We also offer building renovation and reconstruction in India in July. India placements can be from 2 to 12 weeks.
This entry was posted in sports coaching abroad, The Volunteer Experience, Tips & Advice, Travel, Uncategorized, volunteer netball coaching in Ghana, volunteer rugby coaching in Ghana, West Africa travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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