Let me begin with a piece from a day trip out of Accra, Ghana when I visited Kakum National Park and Cape Coast fort.
If you head down the coast from Accra (about 3 hours drive) you find the Kakum National Park where there is a tree-top walk through the rainforest. You can also do a nature walk with a guide, but I didn’t do that. Unfortunately, I was with a group of rowdy teenagers so I didn’t see any birdz becoz of the racket! There are nice tree top viewz though and it’s worth the trip.
We then went on to a nearby crocodile farm where we had lunch and snapped a few shots of the crocs. Apparently there are about 30 crocs there, but we only saw a few. If you pay the guide a bit of money they attract the crocs on shore with a piece of meat and you can take a few snaps!
The most touching part of the day was the Cape Coast Fort museum. You can go in and look around a museum display as well as take a tour into the terrible dungeons where they used to keep the slaves before shipping them off to the UK, West Indies and America. It’s awful to think about what people do to each other and how the slaves must’ve suffered.
When I returned to Monrovia I read a biography of Wilberforce and the battle to end slavery in England. Also saw the movie ‘Amazing Grace’ which is a bit sentimental but both convey both the horrors of the slave trade and how determined businessmen and politicians were to sustain the trade.
So all up, this makes a good day trip out of Accra. If you leave at 7am you can be back by 7pm. Each hotel has drivers to drive you about the place, but they’re not cheap. They would’ve charged me about USD250 for the day trip so its better to try to find a driver that you trust who has his own car – a private taxi rather than a hotel taxi. In the end I paid USD150 for the day trip including that I paid for the fuel.
In June 2010 I went to Dakar and hung out in the Meridien Hotel for a week. I had to wait 2 days before my friend arrived since someone managed to miss the flight connexion to Dakar – still they paid the price with having to suffer in a second-rate hotel in Accra! Anyway, once the work was done, we went to Gorree Island, Saint Louis and Saly coastal area. Senegal is a very interesting blend of french and african and islamic influences. I’m not so impressed with the markets and being constantly hassled by hawkers. it really wasn’t possible to walk on the streets unless you were with a local, and even then they’d have to get very angry and yell at people before they gave up following you and urging you to buy. It totally ruined the shopping experience for me, especially after I was so badly ripped off when they played the ‘isolate and confuse her’ ploy with great success. In fact while I’m writing this and thinking back to the holiday, I can’t say that I liked that place enough to go back again. There were plenty of foto opportunities and lots of interesting things to see, that’s for sure, but I don’t think I met anyone friendly and genuinely helpful.
Saint Louis is about 3 hour drive north of Dakar. We just negotiated a decent price with a driver of a taxi that looked roadworthy and he took us there one morning and the next afternoon he drove us south of Dakar to Saly where we rested on the beach for 2 days. It was so cool to see another World Heritage site.