Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shai Hills and Northern Ghana

Shai Hills is a national park an hour away from campus. We caught a tro there and it started raining as soon as we got to the main office. When the rain left two huge baboons came out from the woods, the female baboon had a baby clinging to her underside as she walked. We fed them bread and started our hour tour following the baboons and their clan. We fed them chocolate crackers and it was so crazy to be that close. The babies stayed away and jumped from tree to tree often times falling off branches. Mind blowing. We left and waited about an hour to hitch a ride with a passing tro. Great day.

Jarett, Anna, Mo and I head out again to make our longest trip through the North of Ghana. We decided to ride Mass Transit buses up. The bus we got smelled like insecticide and cockroaches were crawling all over our seats. Disgusting. I just tried to sleep through it. A girl brushed one out of my hair. Definitely the grossest thing we encountered. The 5 hour bus ride took way long than scheduled and we waited in Kumasi for another bus. Kumasi is a lot like Accra but the population their is mainly Muslim. From that bus we barely caught our transfer- running to catch it. We ended up in the city of Larabanga and we stayed at a lime green house owned by the Salia brothers. We wanted to see the local mosque that is said to be the oldest in Ghana. (
Unfortunately, the villagers were fighting with each other over who could accept our tour money so we were not allowed to see it.

We rode motos to Mole National Park and took a walking safari in hopes of seeing Elephant. We saw monkey and antelope but no elephant. Sad day. The monkeys were a let down after Shai Hills and the antelope are like deer. We did go up to the staff quarters and hang out with the kids up there who had warthog walking their streets and monkeys eating their left-overs :)

We spent that night on Mr. Salia's roof and left the next day traveled to Wichau Hippo Sanctuary. The kids entertained us while we waited for guides by teaching me their language and showing us how to roll metal bike-tire rims with a stick. They really liked posing for pictures and I will post mine soon.

We took a ride to the most remote city we had been to and took pictures in the sunset. We then hiked 45 minutes with our guide carrying our mattresses on his head and stopped at a tree-hide that was about 30 feet off the ground. From the tree we could see the Black Volta River and while we slept we listened to the hippos slip in and out of the water. The next day we took a boat out and I took on the job of emptying the boat of the rising water with a half gourd. We spotted a hippo and boated next to him as he swam up stream to 3 of his friends. We couldn't go close but it was cool to see their heads and ears pop up above water.

We caught a tro-tro back to Wa and Mo and Jarett rode on top of the car. I was super jealous. At Wa while waiting for our last bus home we saw a local mosque and took off our shoes to go on a full tour of the minarets and go up on the roof. Our tour guide didn't speak any English and he hobbled around showing us every room and flicking the light switches to show off their electricity. I really enjoyed it.

One more bus ride all night long and we were back in Accra once again. The buses kept playing horrible Ghanaian movies that you couldn't help but watch- sooooo baddddddddd. The actors are just horrible and it is quite funny. Best bus ride of the trip was from Upper East to Upper West. One guy was standing in the front telling jokes to the whole car and he would sit down and collaborate with his friends before standing up and telling another. It was great.

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