Anomabo

in

On arrival in Accra, we checked into a hotel and had our first  proper shower and ablutions in a week – how things we take for granted can suddenly become luxurious!

 Afterwards, we took a drive to the Accra Mall, complete with Shoprite, Mr Price, Game and a host of other local upmarket shops, and spent a leisurely afternoon there. Upon our return, we bumped into Peter, an American businessman who had spent 8 years living in Stellenbosch, and he insisted on taking us out to dinner. Together with his Ghanain business partner, we proceeded to put a large dent in his expense account, mainly due to the copious amount of wine we drank. At the price of R250 per bottle for second rate wine, the whole exercise seemed even more extravagant. Well the price we had to pay was a serious hangover either caused by the amount of wine or the traditional food at the chop bar we frequented.

 Peter from US &  A typical shop name (like the wine/christian combo)

The next morning Stewart set off to the mechanic, who managed to not only give Stan a full service, but found the fault with and repaired the diff lock, which had not been working since Brazzaville, and even found the time for some rudimentary panelbeating to the damaged wheel arch, a legacy of the road from   Cameroon to Nigeria.

 During this time Stewart received  a call from Germany, offering him a job there as from the 1st of September. It was what we’d been hoping for, but the reality was a bit more frightening to both of us. Living in Germany for a year was certainly going to be another adventure – as was the fact that we were now going to drive there!

 
That afternoon we arranged for our Mali visas, and spent the evening in the welcome company of Petra and her family, where she loaned us the use of her washing machine  and tumble dryer to wash the last of our dirty clothing – THANK YOU PETRA!! Just amazing how the definition of “luxury” changes in Africa, luxury is having a toilet with a seat, ultra luxury means that it flushes, luxury means having a shower, ultra luxury means that it works and that the hand held shower actually produces hot water, luxury means having a place to do your washing by hand ULTRA luxury and instant bliss means having access to a machine.

 Anomabo resort   Elmina village

After handing in our visa applications the next morning, we had a few days before we could pick them up and leave for Burkina Faso, and so on the recommendation of Petra, we headed  west  for a 2 ½ hour drive  along the coast, where we booked into Anomabo Beach Resort, a series of chalets set among  hundreds of palm trees just off the beach, with a beautiful raised restaurant built overlooking the beach. A real tropical paradise if there is one!!! Contact them on 042 91562 or 021 221111.  They also offer camping and the price for a chalet that sleeps 2 is $38 per night during the week and $50 over the weekend. Well worth it as it is clean, great bathrooms and one of the few places that are actually on the beach.John the surf is waiting for you

 Anomabo  is only 10 km from the Cape Coast, the old British administrative centre of 19th century Ghana. Close by is the town of Elmina, which together with the Cape   Coast , have  fully preserved castles dating back 100s of years, testimony to the slave trade in the area before it was abolished  in the early 1800s.

 Ballerina Stewart. A very NB sign as Ghanians seem to think you can do it everywhere!

Before we visited the coastal castles, however, we visited Kakum National Park, about 35 km inland from  the Cape Coast.(Turn off at the first traffic light on the bypass) This National park is famous for its canopy walk, consisting of a series of narrow suspension walkways  built between 7 or 8 massive jungle trees, upwards of 40 metres above the ground.

 A guide threaded us through the forest path, giving us some historical information about the Park and the walkway. The canopy walk itself  was quite amazing, although the lack of animal and bird life in the canopy, testimony to the continued problem of poaching, was disappointing.

 Trying some of Ghana's biggest export cocoa, sweetElmina Castle

 

We then retraced our steps down to the coast and headed to the village of Elmina to see the castle, one of the well known slave trade landmarks, now a museum in rememberance of the slave trade.Originally built by the Portuguese in the early 1600s,  then taken over by the Dutch who used it for over 200 years  to protect  their trade routes, and as  a prison and market for the slaves shipped out of Ghana, and finally sold to Britain  after slavery was abolished and the Netherlands could no longer justify the expense of its occupation.

The castle and the oath the locals took to ensure such attrocities will never happen again

 

As an architectural site, the Castle, named St Georges castle by the British, is truly remarkable. However, with the informative and interesting tour guide spelling out its notorious history of slavery and subjugation, we left with a sense of sadness at the horrors fellow human beings inflicted on each other at that time. This was even more evident as our group consisted mostly of African-Americans who were visibly affected by the brutality of the history.

 Final walkway to the gate of no return. David of Black Star bookstore

We then visited the Castle at the Cape Coast, the English equivalent  of the Elmina castle during the slave trade, but as Stewart did not have the stomach  to revisit the horror of the slavery, we had a meal at a nearby restaurant, wandered through the quaint town of Cape Coast (discovering a magnificent bookshop, Black Star Bookstore -  as well as Global Mama's a “Fair Trade” clothing and  trinket store), and then headed back to Anomabo.

 

We spent the next day lazing on the beach, and replanning our route through Africa  and Europe so as to make it to Kassel in time for “work” (what a strange concept that has become!), before leaving for Accra the next morning.

 

We have no idea what lies ahead, all we know is that we have learned to let go and follow the path that we need to follow. The where and how will become clear as long as we open our spirits and listen, not only with our ears, but most importantly with our souls.

 
It is not always easy to let go of the past, but once you succeed, even in a small way, you open yourself to new experiences and make them your own, and they become your present. We have taken the first few steps on this journey and must continue to the end, wherever that will be. At times it is extremely hard, especially for me being an eternal home maker and always wanting to be part of my sons’ lives, but for now, this is the path I must follow.

 
We all have “giving up” moments in our journey (as per Paolo Coelho in “The Zahir”) and believe me; I had many on this trip. I also know I will have many more in the future, but what is important is to continue after that, to take what is good, start afresh and move forward.

 

We are looking forward in sharing the rest of our journey with you and value your loving support.