In our second instalment of West Africa’s best adventure travel destinations, we explore Ghana, a Land of sunshine and reputed for the friendliness of its people. Rich in history, and home to the Ashanti Kingdom, a once prosperous and powerful dynasty, this country is a great place to start of in Africa due to its ‘user-friendliness’ and offers a great deal of opportunities for the demanding traveller looking for the next best beach, the most succulent dish, the intense cultural encounter, or the fast paced adventure activity.
Ghana is on the Gulf of Guinea, the ‘under-belly’ of West Africa, facing south towards the Atlantic Ocean.In terms of geography, the country presents flat plains, low hills and a few rivers. The coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed by plains intersected by several rivers and streams while the northern part of the country features high hills and rolling plains. Southwest and south central Ghana is made up of a forested plateau region consisting of the Ashanti uplands and the Kwahu Plateau and the hilly Akuapim-Togo ranges are found along the country's eastern border. Ghana's highest point is Mount Afadjato which is 885 m (2,904 ft) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo Ranges.
For all of those who are in to medium intensity adventure travel or if you are looking for activities that are not solely for making your muscles sore, but are willing to combine it will other activities that will soothe your soul, this is the place to come. Hiking, mountain biking, surfing, whale watching, not to mention the overwhelming smells, bright colours, and entrancing music are some of the awe-inspiring experiences you can have in Ghana.
Why not go on a mountain biking excursion through a rural setting, stopping off at mud-hut dotted villages for a rest or to sample the local Jollof rice dish (tomato-flavoured rice to which meat or fish is added) for lunch? Or how about a more intense experience trekking up Mount Afadjato where you can spend the night in a homestay and enjoy a relaxing evening of music and good food (I’ve heard of this place where you can eat village grown mushrooms in a spicy tomato sauce with rice. Vegetarians, eat your... artichoke heart out).
For more information on how you can find yourself in these experiences, click here.
If you are looking for something different, look no further than the only tree-top canopy walk in Africa located in Kakum National Park, home to over three-hundred species of birds, unique monkeys and the highly endangered forest elephant and bongo antelope. The rope bridge suspended 100-110 feet off the forest floor yields an extraordinary sweep of nature from what feels like just below cloud level, a must-see if you’re not afraid of heights.
Down by the Ocean, there are plenty more opportunities for adventure. Ghanaians are natural ocean goers, maybe due to their culture of fishing, and this is reflected in the activities that are on offer. There is the possibility to rent a fishing boat in order to spend a whole day catching your lunch for the evening and learning the different traditional techniques that the locals use to sustain their livelihoods. You might even catch a glimpse of a whale poking its tail fins out of the water! Or if you prefer a more relaxing experience, there are plenty of opportunities to take a traditional canoe up one of the many tributaries and try your hand at fresh water fishing.
A great accommodation idea that offers these activities can be found here.
Ghana’s coast also offers some of the best waves in West Africa (you know where I am going with this), and therefore surfing and body-boarding are also on the ‘adventure menu’ for you to try and practice.
Busua beach, in the west, is one of the best locations for surfing in Ghana and is a wonderful mix of a traditional Ghanaian coastal village and a tourist destination, allowing you to get to know the people and culture of Ghana, meanwhile providing you with many entertainment options in a very relaxed atmosphere. Beginners and veterans alike are welcome to try their hands at the different sized swell found along the Busua stretch of coast.
To find out more about the surfing opportunities, click here.
Of course, as always when visiting a West African country, there is a richness of culture, history and biodiversity to discover, but you would need a life-time to make your way around the amazing things to see and do. The West Africa Discovery web portal has selected a variety of tours, accommodations and volunteer projects that not only give you the opportunity to experience West Africa to its full potential but also make sure that the tourism projects listed have policies that provide benefits to local communities in the area and that, through their activities, make sure that negative impacts on the local heritage are minimised.