Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Slow, but sure

July 1 - 3

When the long weekend approached, Stephanie and I took full advantage and took a trip out of the city to Wli falls (pronounced Vli). If the stars are aligned and the bus is not full and there is no traffic, the trip is a comfortable 3 hours. If you have my and Steph's luck, the bus is full and instead you have to fight your way into a trotro (van full of 15 people), and with traffic the trip is 6 hours. It felt more like 24 hours, sitting on a tiny flip-out version of a seat in a car with no padding, pot holes the size of a house, and stopping in every little town with hawkers (peddlers) running up along the side of the trotro trying to sell you massive grilled snails on a stick. No thanks, ladies!

The crazy trotro station

A shop of some sort we saw on the trip to Wli falls, a good motto for Ghana!

The village of Wli Falls
We finally arrived at the Water Heights Hotel, a small, quiet and perfectly clean motel/resort run by a lovely Ghanaian family. The food there was excellent, and I had my first groundnut soup with omo tuo (peanut and chicken soup with rice moulded into balls that you dip into the soup). The next day we walked through the village and down a forest trail that leads to the falls. Wli falls are the highest falls in West Africa, and they are absolutely stunning. One minute you are walking through deep African rainforest, and the next you are facing an isolated lagoon, a waterfall as high as you can see, and nesting fruit bats scattered along the rock face. I was completely stunned when I first saw the falls and couldn't stop staring; they are so magnificent, even compared to Niagara Falls.

Wli Falls
We also paid a guide to take us on a hike to the upper falls. Oh Kathy, what were you getting yourself into here... So this was a very hot and humid day, and I was equipped only with running shoes, a litre of water, and my camera. Our guide handed us each a long stick to help us on our way, and in the end the only purpose it could have served would be to splint a broken femur. Don't worry, nobody got hurt, but it definitely could have happened. First of all I was DYING on the way up, and I love to hike but this was humidity like I've never felt. I wasn't the only one, the Montrealers in our group were also sweating profusely and panting all the way up. Then, as we were about to reach the falls, the sky opened up and we and the mountain got completely soaked. This meant mud, and lots of it. We slipped and slided up and down the narrow trail, ruining our only pair of running shoes along the way. And the stupid hiking stick proved to be useless in my opinion. Anyway, at the upper falls, both Steph and I were disappointed as it was pouring rain and we couldn't even see the view of the village, we were actually cold for the first time in Africa, and we couldn't swim due to the chance of parasites swimming into our bodily orifices from that fresh water. And to be honest, the lower falls were much more beautiful (at least on this day). The way down was easier, but more technically challenging with the slick muddy terrain. All of this aside, the day was an adventure and we (well, maybe just me) had a good time.
We saw a beetle like this at the hotel. I would have taken a real picture, but the thing was literally the size of a hamster, so I wasn't going to get close to it. <barf>
The trip home took a miraculous 3 hours (I don't know how fast our driver was going, the speedometer was broken), and thank the lord for that because the lovely man beside me decided to buy and eat some of those grilled snails!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are having great adventures in Ghana! Too bad you had crappy weather at the top of the falls and that you couldn't swim in the falls. =( Can't wait to read more of your travels! Miss ya!