The road trip was long. I knew it would be, but I wasn’t expecting it to be roughly about 12 hours! ManCee commented- if my backside would be Luscious enough to withstand the journey, I say YES.
We first had to confirm our tickets and the journey began at 9:00am. The Nigerian/Benin border was quite aggravating. Too many people at the passport queue, it was like everyone was travelling out of the country. I saw modes of transportation I thought only existed in fabled stories.
There isn’t much to see in terms of vegetation. If you were expecting forests sorry to disappoint you. There were lovely palm tree lined roads and stunning beaches in Togo. As in very stunning! We stopped for a rest in Togo. I had to use a convenience built with raffia palms as the walls, cement thingy being the lavatory itself and beach sand as the floor tiles! It was clean thank God! It also cost me 25 Cefas! I don’t know what that translates to in Naira though.
The currency exchanges were quite confusing. Cefas in Togo and Cotonou, then Cedis in Ghana and other currencies in between. One resounding theme about the whole journey was, there is very minimal difference from Nigeria in terms of food, scenery, vegetation, markets etc. Only the languages were different!
On the road, we had whole fried plantains instead of the sliced dodo we do here, fried yam, suya etc. They also do the whole barbecued turkey, chicken, gizzard ensemble that the Northerners and road travellers are famous for.
It was difficult changing Naira to Ghana Cedis as we couldn’t find bureaus changing Naira except for the Mallams at the borders. Luckily we US $ so we had money. Changing from Naira to Cedis is better though since you get better value. Thank God my sister was there she can do numbers like crazy. And she could determine which was which. I think I already mentioned the currencies were confusing. I would have been hopeless if alone!
We got to Ghana around 4:30pm. We even posed and took pictures at the Ghana/Togo border. It took us another 4 hours to enter Accra itself! The driver was quite rough, I still have aches in my joints. Right there and then, my Sis & I decided to fly back. No way were we going through that again!
Getting to the park, we asked for hotels. Luckily I had checked a few Accra hotels online and I had quite a list. The first one we checked out was a disaster! We called a few peeps that had been to Ghana before and they recommended others. The second one we went to was waaayyyyyy over-budget! We finally found a perfect one. It fitted our budget nicely, 2 minutes from the airport, central to everywhere and it even had a Woolworths beside it.
After a nice long shower, we got dressed and hit the town! They have a vibrant night life. We had a really sumptuous dinner at the House of Ovation. Not quite what we expected since the soft-sell mags here always rave about it, but the food was really good. I noticed they eat a lot of pepper, I mean very HOT food. Everything is also smaller. A bottle of Star Lager I saw was like a miniature caricature of the real thing, even smaller than the small bottle in Nigeria. I asked if it was really Star and was told yes. Also their Fanta & Coke came in 300ml bottles. I am used to the 35cl we have.
We had a long stroll and even went for the opening of a new club but they were just ending the ceremony when we got there. We finally got back to the hotel around 2:00am.
Saturday was spent leisurely. Ghanian cab drivers don’t know anywhere. If you have no idea where you are going and no address, you may find yourself being driven around in circles!
This post is getting long so I will summarise the rest.
Bought plenty Woodin Ankara at the market. There were no tickets at the airport to get back to Lagos. All the flights were full booked and the airline offices had closed!
Went online to book tickets we got two seats luckily. How wrong we were. We went to the beach to kill time and enjoy our last hours in Accra. On getting to the airport to make payment for our tickets, we were told our booking had been cancelled and the flight was already full when we made our booking, but it was not reflected on the website. The guy was quite arrogant and by then I was desperate!
We eventually bought tickets for the next flight out. Luckily there were available seats. My sister was ill. A very bad case of flu and sore throat which, I now share. My parents are blaming the road trip.
I was so glad we got those tickets! If we had waited a bit longer we would have been stranded. We had to pay penalty for them, Thank God we had enough money.
With 5 more hours to kill before departure, we just strolled round the mall, bought lunch and went back to the hotel for a shower and a mini rest. They were very nice at the hotel, we explained our situation and they allowed us stay without paying extra. I trust my Naija hotels, No Way!
Everyone kept asking if we were students and we got a lot of numbers, from the forex bureau to the information desk officer at the airport and other tourists who wanted to visit Nigeria. It was all quite amusing.
I had a blast and we are now planning our next trip although, our parents do not want to hear about it. We are definitely going! We MUST book a return ticket first to avoid any stress whatsoever!
Enjoy your week!