After arriving at Tudu bus station in the morning, I made my way through the street vendors, and the many vans and taxis going in all directions. Since the station and vans were lacking clear signs, I asked around until I found the stand of the trotro to my destination of the day, Ada Foah. I was lucky: I was the last passenger to buy a ticket, which even happened to be a front seat. Even sitting in the van for a few minutes made me sweat pretty badly, and I was happy when the driver showed up and pulled out of the station, bringing some natural ventilation. We quickly reached Tema using the highway, and even after that, continued with a decent speed towards the east. It still took more than two hours to reach the muddy and quiet bus station of Ada Foah. From here, I charted a motorcycle and a friendly guy drove me to the Presbyterian church, offering me to buy a piece of land when we arrived. I politely refused, and walked around the famous church and its cemetery, with tombs of Europeans from colonial times, but also more recent ones. Most of the graves were overgrown with vegetation, and one of the goats roaming the area cheekily jumped on a slab of marble and watched the world from there, as if he pretended to be the boss of the lot. Next, I wanted to see the old Kongenstein fortress, which according to the sparse information I got, should be situated right on the beach, threatened by the advancing sea. From the church, the beach was at a stones throw distance; but when I walked the sandy shore of Ada Foah, I could not see any fortress in either direction. A little puzzled, and with no one to ask, I returned to the main road, where I saw someone approaching, and decided to ask.
Eric the Rasta man, a joyful guy wearing a big black Rasta hat, explained why I could not see the fortress: according to him, the ocean had finally won the centuries-long battle and taken the fortress the previous year. I was not convinced, but also wanted to explore the Volta river delta which I knew would take time. By a coincidence that of course never really is a coincidence in Africa, Eric turned out to be able to organize a boat, and after friendly negotiations, we were on our way to the river. We walked through the village, which made me realize the precarious situation of part of it: the sea is slowly eating away at it. At times, Eric would call his companion, but when we arrived at the banks of the river, there only was a small boat about to cross the river with some locals. From that moment on, my friend Eric did not seem to be in control, and several vague promises were made. We ended up chartering one of the small boats to cross the river, where we would meet his friend to continue. I was happy enough to be on my way on the water, and especially when we entered one of the many smaller waterways on the other side of the river, the scenery was fantastic and I was thoroughly enjoying the trip. The water was shallow here, so the boatman had switched from paddling to moving our boat forward by sticking a long pole in the bottom of the river. Our slow speed allowed me to enjoy the reflection of the surrounding vegetation in the tranquil waters even more, and I just hoped this would last for hours. But the waterway narrowed, and eventually we arrived at a pond-like opening where several dugout canoes were docked. I assumed that Eric's friend would be waiting here, but we got off the boat, and walked through the small village. Life seemed to be quiet here, quite different from Ada Foah which was still just a short hop across the river but suddenly seemed far away.
We reached the other side of the village, where I saw more of the Volta river delta. Somehow, I expected the mysterious friend of Eric to show up here and take us in his boat, but nothing happened. Instead, Eric proudly explained about a local rum factory, and an old man offered us to taste his home-brewn liquor. Eric quickly downed two glasses, while I politely refused, and tried to push Eric towards the water again, so we could continue our quest of the Volta river delta. In the end, we just walked back from where we came from, hopped in the same launch we had been using before, and sailed back to the Volta river. We then turned left, towards the Gulf of Guinea, seeing many beautiful birds flying close to us. Also, there were some attractive purple flowers floating on the water. Passing more small villages, where animals were bathing in the river, fishermen were putting nets in the water, and life seemed to be slowly moving forward in a pace that had been the same for centuries, we reached the other side, where Eric and I jumped out of the boat and walked towards the beach. Here, there were several resorts and good looking houses, and I could well imagine that staying here for a couple of days would be very nice. We had been hearing the roar of the ocean surf from a distance, but being close to the shore made us realize the sheer power of it. Seeing waves grow, and explode with a thunderous sound on the sandy coast was an impressive sight and we just stood there in silence, enjoying this force of nature. Back at our launch, we returned to Ada Foah, passing some long fisher boats with names like Mandela, Disco Boy, Psalm 91, Father forgive them, and several more, painted on nicely decorated boats. It was time to say goodbye to Eric and leave Ada Foah behind. My return trip to Accra proved to be more complicated because the trotro which was supposed to go to Accra, stopped in Tema, which made the trip take much more time. But back in Accra, I was still full of good memories of a long, but great day.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ada Foah (Ghana). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ada Foah. Read more about this site.