Ankasa Nature Reserve

Phew, what a journey I had this past weekend! After the original plans of going to Mole National Park in the Northern Region fell out of place, Julia and I decided that we should still plan a trip and head out to one of our top destinations to Ankasa Nature Reserve.  In the guide books, Ankasa Nature Reserve is raved about for having a greater biodiversity then Mole (which is quite impressive), it's main fall back is that it is not tourist friendly. But do you honestly think that would stop us from going? No way jose! 

So here I was Thursday night packing for this great backpacking adventure, I had all my meals packed, enough water for the weekend and of course my mosquito net and sheets. The plan was to leave as soon as I finished class on Friday, take a bus to Takoradi and then another bus to Ankassa where we would spend the night both Friday and Saturday.

Well you would think I would know by now to not have high expectations of pretty much anything when it comes to timing but once again I gave it the benefit of the doubt. We arrived at the STC bus station at 12:00 for the 12:30 bus and of course the bus didn't arrive until 3:30. We had a supposedly four hour bus ride from Accra to Takoradi, but with traffic we ended up having an almost seven hour bus ride, arriving to Takoradi at 10:15 p.m Friday night. Fortunately we met a friend at the Accra station who lives in the U.S and was visiting home for the first time in 8 years, who directed us to a hotel right across from the station where we could get a room at such a late hour. When we made it to the hotel, the receptionist was set on not letting the four of us girls share one room that for a good minute or so I felt like we may be stranded in Takoradi with no where to sleep. But after much persuasion he gave us the room for the four of us and we set our alarms for 4 a.m so that we could be out of the door by 4:30 to catch the earliest trotro to Ankassa.

Our trotro left five a.m sharp and headed to Elubo (near the Ivory Coast) which was two hours away and then took an hour taxi through the bumpy roads leading into the reserve. After we unloaded our packs from the taxi, the ranger told us the unfortunate news that the jungle camps have been shut down and that it would not be safe for us to camp out without a guard near the site. We were then forced to stay at a near by hotel ( more of a bungalow), which probably ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. After settling into our room and unloading our packs we headed out to the reserve to begin our hikes through the rainforest. When we got to the reserve entrance we realized that we had to hire a guide because the trails were not clear cut and looking back on it, if we went by ourselves I probably wouldn't be here to tell you about my trip... The guided trips were amazing, the park has over 600 species of plants and every where we looked trees and shrubs dominated everywhere. There were trees who roots grew out of the ground, trees known as elephant's comb as they are used by the forest elephants to scratch themselves, wild peppers growing on the forest floor and so many different species of birds singing loudly throughout the forest but were no where to be found. After our first hike, we took our lunch on a bridge near the rangers station and then headed out again, walking along the Ankasa river towards the phenomenal waterfalls and rapids.

After a long day of hiking around, we set back to our bungalow where we had a delicious dinner made for us by the owner. The owner was a lovely Ghanian man who grew up in the Ivory Coast, produced movies then moved to Paris, France where he became a famous photographer and then now settled back near the border to do Cacao Production and run his two room French Man Quarters. We then played games on his front porch until the darkness finally pushed us into our small room to fall asleep to the sounds of the rainforest. The next morning was an early one again leaving at five a.m to head back to Accra so that Julia and I could prepare for our Twi test the next day.

With a few setbacks and 20+ mosquito bites later I would definitely say this trip was spectacular and a fantastic way of spending our weekend. Getting out of the smoke filled city was very refreshing and I hope to go back to this area again to visit the village on stilts.

In terms of everything else, I am doing fantastically well, tomorrow is a holiday which means beach day! And I'm hoping to head out to Shai Hills Reserve this weekend, but I will let y'all know more later.

Thank You to all of you who continue to read my blog and please share my link to whomever you'd like. As I love sharing my experience with anyone is interested and in bringing a part of Ghana to wherever you may be.

Travel & Foodkelseymeaton