Ghana – An Unexpected Gem

November, 2022

A friend invited us to join him on his bird watching trip to Ghana. Hmmm, the dates were great, the company would be fun and the birding and opportunity to visit a new country exciting. So, off we go…..

I’ll be the first to admit that I never fill out customs forms completely. Hit the basics and move on. My theory is those forms immediately go into the rubbish bin and never get seen again. The lovely lady that took my form at immigration desk immediately said: “Oh my, you haven’t completed your form”. Ugh! So, we did it together and she politely told me that they pay attention in Ghana. Ok, thank you, I apologize.

Three Days

We were on our own for the first three days in the city of Accra. Our hotel was in a great area so we did a lot of walking. Ghana is known for their vibrant fabrics and a visit to the market was my #1 goal.

We grabbed a Bolt (just like Uber but cheaper ($1 as opposed to $3)) and the driver dropped us off at the Makola Market. This is the largest outdoor market in Ghana and it is enormous. So, we started snaking our way into the market in the search for fabric stalls.

The wonderful thing about Ghana is its people. They are very polite almost to the point of being shy. They speak English and will always respond with a beautiful smile and a hello momma. And the greatest thing is they don’t harass you to buy something from every stall like they do in other countries. Yes, they looked at us because we stuck out like a sore thumb, but it’s generally only a passing glance. Even when you step up to look at something closely, the aggressive sales pitch never comes.

Finally, I found the material stalls and started shopping.

Where do I begin?
One of many fabric stalls in the market. The clothing in Ghana is so colorful with all of their bold patterns.

With a few yards of fabric in my bag, we just strolled through to see what was available. If you haven’t visited a foreign country’s markets, you should give it a try. While the prices are much better, you will probably appreciate how easy it is for us to acquire what we need in the US.

Lots of activity in the Makola Market. The women carry just about everything on their heads, including their purses.
Lots of items to choose from at the market.

🦜 Birding Time 🦜

We joined our friend John, our amazing tour guide, Errol de Beer, local birding guide, Phillip and left Accra to bird in four locations. Our target areas were: coastal wetlands and savannahs, lagoons and the rich Upper Guinea Rainforests.

We visited Shai Hills, Atewa, Kakum National Park and Ankasa Reserve which are all located in the southern part of Ghana. Travel is very slow getting out of Accra and then traveling along their “highways” is really slow because the roads are in poor shape.

The weather was quite warm and each day started with a 4:30 am wake-up call. Since we were in the equator, you only have about 12 hours of daylight. After a wonderful breakfast we would head out to start looking for birds and mammals. Every location was different and at the end of each day we charted all that we had seen. With over 5 miles of hiking each day we were exhausted when we returned to our rooms around 8:00 pm.

After 10 days of birding, we logged 208 new birds to our life list; we enjoyed birding with two great friends; loved visiting a new country with wonderful people.

Phillip, our guide, and Jeff looking for birds in the Ankasa Rain Forest.
Never go off the trail and never go through the jungle at night. Well, we failed that lesson as we bushwhacked through the jungle one night to find two specific birds in a tree. Mission accomplished! (Yes, my heart was in my throat!)
Birding from the canopy provided many new life species but walking on ladders suspended by rope isn’t for the faint of heart.
Once we got to the platforms, the views above the jungle and seeing birds within the canopy was amazing.

Giving: A Blessing

Our local guide in Ghana, Phillip, had shared with us that his company supports a local school that has a student population of about 200 children. The public schools in Ghana are poorly run and they rarely get the supplies that they need. Any donation to the school would be greatly appreciated.

We always love helping children and the education of any child is very important. We packed a bag full of paper, pencils, calculators, paints, paintbrushes, soccer balls, flash cards and had the privilege of delivering it while we were in Atewa. The children were so excited to have visitors from the USA and the Principal was very thankful for the gift of goodies.

Wherever you go, always be a blessing to those around you.

12 comments

  1. Sounds like a great adventure, with something of interest for everyone!
    Just curious about what you plan to do with the fabric you got?

    Like

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