Ghana # 8

Posted on January 1st, 2011 in MAPA expeditions by Administrator

Travel journalist Mark Eveleigh is volunteering for MAPA in Ghana and this is his latest post…..

MAPA Blog 08
We had hoped that there would be time to celebrate our ‘homecoming’ to Kumasi with a day spent exploring the city and revisiting old haunts. The last time we were here was more years ago than I care to count (I was just 5 when we left so the maths hurts!).
The drive down from Tamale took five hours with just a quick stop for a coke at a shady truckers’ beer ‘spot’ (ie bar) along the way. We spoke to the trucker who was making the long journey north to Niger with an articulated loaded with salt. Then he would make the return journey carrying onions. We wished him a safe journey and really felt the words: there are constantly smashed trucks along the highway in northern Ghana (and twice now I have even seen dead bodies laid out on the roadside).
Kumasi these days is supposedly famed for traffic that is said to be worse even than Accra but – perhaps because it is still Christmas holidays and many people are away – the city already seems to us immensely more relaxed than the capital.
We revisited some old haunts: the golf club and the now abandoned outdoor cinema at the Kumasi Club and we spent a good part of the morning touring the Armed Forces Museum. This was once known simply as the fort and was the scene of a famous siege during the Ashanti Wars when 29 Europeans were trapped here. The guide in the museum was refreshingly enthusiastic as well as knowledgeable and the museum is a real eye-opener to Ghanaian history. It seems a shame that this great little museum is so often overlooked in favour of the more famous Cultural Centre (far less impressive – and with bored guides).
A highlight for me though was Kumasi’s sprawling market. It is said to be the biggest in West Africa and it certainly is an immense muddle of muddy alleys filled with corrugated iron stall after stall. The people are as friendly as ever and it seems safe enough (as long as you take the normal precautions associated with such huge, bustling collections of people). I would have liked to spend another day exploring and photographing Kumasi market.
However, it is time to move on.
We are heading west now to map Owabi Sanctuary and then way out to the Cote d’Ivoire border to map two remote national parks there. Few people seem to know anything about these parks and we are very curious to see what we will find there. Watch this space!

MAPA Blog 08

We had hoped that there would be time to celebrate our ‘homecoming’ to Kumasi with a day spent exploring the city and revisiting old haunts. The last time we were here was more years ago than I care to count (I was just 5 when we left so the maths hurts!).

The drive down from Tamale took five hours with just a quick stop for a coke at a shady truckers’ beer ‘spot’ (ie bar) along the way. We spoke to the trucker who was making the long journey north to Niger with an articulated loaded with salt. Then he would make the return journey carrying onions. We wished him a safe journey and really felt the words: there are constantly smashed trucks along the highway in northern Ghana (and twice now I have even seen dead bodies laid out on the roadside).

Kumasi these days is supposedly famed for traffic that is said to be worse even than Accra but – perhaps because it is still Christmas holidays and many people are away – the city already seems to us immensely more relaxed than the capital.

We revisited some old haunts: the golf club and the now abandoned outdoor cinema at the Kumasi Club and we spent a good part of the morning touring the Armed Forces Museum. This was once known simply as the fort and was the scene of a famous siege during the Ashanti Wars when 29 Europeans were trapped here. The guide in the museum was refreshingly enthusiastic as well as knowledgeable and the museum is a real eye-opener to Ghanaian history. It seems a shame that this great little museum is so often overlooked in favour of the more famous Cultural Centre (far less impressive – and with bored guides).

A highlight for me though was Kumasi’s sprawling market. It is said to be the biggest in West Africa and it certainly is an immense muddle of muddy alleys filled with corrugated iron stall after stall. The people are as friendly as ever and it seems safe enough (as long as you take the normal precautions associated with such huge, bustling collections of people). I would have liked to spend another day exploring and photographing Kumasi market.

However, it is time to move on.

We are heading west now to map Owabi Sanctuary and then way out to the Cote d’Ivoire border to map two remote national parks there. Few people seem to know anything about these parks and we are very curious to see what we will find there. Watch this space!

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