A few weeks ago I found myself in one of the beautiful places I’d ever seen in Ghana, the kind of beauty that one can only describe as breath-taking. I mean, I’d heard, mostly from some of my white friends, that places like this existed in Ghana but I always dismissed it as the usual white-people hyperbole that you hear when they come into contact with a little nature. A few trees and some butterflies and all you hear is things like ‘…it was a life-changing experience’ or ‘…after all these years of soul searching, I finally found myself…blah blah blah’. For my white readers, I don’t mean to cause offence, however you guys seem far more in touch with your inner ‘nature person’ than any black person I’ve ever met. Anyway, I digress…
As I was saying, I found myself in this slice of paradise that was comfortably nestled away in a village called Biakpa in the Volta region of Ghana. Biakpa lies in the shadow of Mount Gemi (the second highest mountain in Ghana) and is surrounded by awesome natural beauty as far as the eye can see. We stayed in this rustic yet semi modern resort aptly named Biakpa Mountain Paradise. Its proprietor, Tony Fiakpui, is the most pleasant, endearing and kind hearted man I’ve met in a long time in Ghana. He is responsible for carving out this piece of heaven on earth called Mountain Paradise and although you don’t know him, this man has done his part in preserving the beauty that Ghana has to offer its citizens and visitors. Tony, thank you!
|'Woe Zɔ' - Welcome|
|Relaxing Biakpa style|
|View from mountain trail (a 3rd of the ascent)|
|Ascent to Amedzofe: The easy part|
Reaching Amedzofe is a bit of a disappointment. At the end of this amazing nature quest your first reconnection with civilization is the stench of decaying rubbish. Most of the town dispose of their waste where the mountain trail connects with the town. The result is the all-too-familiar odour of modern waste disposal, the ‘bɔɔla’ as it is known in Twi or the rubbish dump. Once you understand that you've been on earth all this while, you quickly overcome the disappointment with its inhabitants and move on to the ‘Tourist Information Centre’. I swore that I wouldn’t say anything about this place for fear of using too many expletives in its description. Point made!
|Sunrise over Mt. Gemi|
|Typical morning mist (accompanied by cold)|
From the Totally Idiotic Centre…ahem…I meant the Tourist Information Centre, it’s just another 45 minute hike to the summit of Mount Gemi. This trail, while abandoned is in good shape and easy to navigate. There is such an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and ‘I can f*cking do anything’ once you reach the summit and place your hands on the metal crucifix, erected by the Germans a long while back. The vista is glorious! You can see for what must be hundreds of miles. The great Volta Lake lies in the not so far distance. Villages such as Kpando, Vokpo, Ho and Anfoe are dotted along the horizon like pearls on a string. Other fascinating settlements can be seen in the nooks and crannies of the valleys that are commonplace in this part of the world.
Apart from the natives, we were the only black people that were exploring this beautiful slice of Ghana. Everyone else we met and stayed with at the Mountain Paradise resort was white. British, Italian, American, Eastern European and even Australian; all white! Not a single Ghanaian or black person from the diaspora. I think that we owe it to ourselves as black people and natives of this beautiful country to explore it as much as we possibly can. Let’s each schedule a weekend or two, where we set aside our need to go to the same old places; Republic, Frankies, Mövenpick, Papaye, Noble House etc. and eat the same old things; fried rice with chicken, banku and tilapia, omo tuo and ‘zoo soup’ etc. Let’s purpose in ourselves to know as much about this country as we possibly can and educate ourselves about the beauties and pleasures that exist a little beyond our doorsteps. Let’s get to know this beautiful country!