Tropical Beaches Are Awesome
As much as I love the more adventurous, off-the map, backpacking feel of traveling the interior of Ghana, I also verymuch enjoy the luxury of its tropical beaches. It’s certainly not the world of Aruba or Fiji, but with palm trees, fresh mango, pineapples, coconuts, beautiful sunsets, and rastas galore, the Gulf of Guinea is its own interesting and unique coastal paradise.
Though there’s the wonderful beach of Kokrobite much closer to here, Larissa and I decided to go out along the west coast, to the “resort” called Hideout Lodge next to the village of Butre. The travel was pretty far – a long tro ride to Takoradi (an odd little city filled only with random government offices, from what I saw), then two more tros out of the city. The first on a paved road, the second through the jungle. And finally a canoe ride across a river to get to the beach the hotel is on. It was all surprisingly painless. Enjoyable, actually. When waiting for our last tro to fill up, I had one hilariously embarrassing moment when I hadn’t eaten anything in eight hours, had begun to lose my patience (never well-received here) and started speaking Twi to no one in particular, asking when we’d be going. I quickly remembered by the driver’s snide response that I was no longer among the Twi people, but the Fante. It’s a language close enough that they knew what I was saying, different enough that they were not impressed. In any event, I think I learned the Fante word for “keep quiet.”
The beach, the resort, and the village of Butre were all incredibly beautiful. We stayed in an awesome tree-house just ten yards from the beach, which was a lot of fun to hang out in. I spent most of my time in the sun on the beach, though. Having grown up in a coastal town in southern Maine and going often with my family when I was young, I love the ocean and the beach quite a bit.
The whole weekend was wonderfully relaxing. We ate delicious food – particularly the French restaurant up the beach a bit, and pita wraps and vegetable soup at our own hotel. We went on an early morning canoe ride up the river with Tony, the canoe guide / security guard / businessman / wise-tale teller, who has worked at the Hideout for twelve years. On that canoe ride we actually saw lots of interesting birds, frogs that look like fish and hop across water, and two alligators! We sat around a bonfire under the full moon one night, talking a bit with other travelers that were staying there. And sadly, I got a horrible sunburn to rival the one I got at the Green Turtle Lodge last year… For more than one or two reasons in my life I have cursed my almost pure Irish heritage, but these sunburns are perhaps the ones for which I most vehemently do so. Regardless, it was a great weekend.
The best part about going out West to the beach resorts are how comfortable they are. There is something for everyone in Ghana. Travel through this country is remarkably easy if you have the patience and determination, but the beaches are a nice getaway when other options become tiresome. And it is always an awe-striking couple of days, being able to lay on a beach that beautiful.
For a little bit of political interest… the tiny, remote village of Butre had this canoe on its beach shore, saying on one end: “Still National Democratic Congress” and on the other: “No chance for NPP.” During my last week here last year, President Mills of the NDC passed away, and the regular general elections were held in December. Some perhaps hoped it would be a chance for NPP to take the presidency, but according to this boat and the voters who re-elected Mills’ successor, President Mahama, that was not the case. NDC still reigns.