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Ghana: Lake Volta Cruise

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Lake Volta Cruise | Ghana | Africa

[Visited: September 2010]

It was raining lightly early that morning in Accra, and we were not sure whether to pursue our plan to visit the Akosombo Dam that day. While negotiating a price with taxi drivers, we were still doubting, which made our negotiating position stronger. The first driver seemed ok, but we could not agree on a price. We ended up leaving with one who had never been there, and we knew that could imply some practical problems later on. Still, we were on our way, and the decision to go had somehow been taken. An easy drive of an hour and a half took us to Akosombo, a village near the dam of the same name. At the gate of the dam, we learned that visiting the dam was only possible with a permit, and that a cruise on the lake would depart in half an hour. A short drive took us to the small Akosombo port where the Dodi Princess was still docked. Shortly after entering the boat, we were on our way on Lake Volta.

Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Mighty Akosombo Dam seen from Lake Volta

The sun had started to shine and we were very happy with our decision. The audience on the boat was varied: many Africans from different countries, and a small amount of western tourists were installing themselves at the three decks of the boat. On the top deck, a band was playing and cooks started to prepare lunch. Meanwhile, the boat was plying the tranquil waters of Lake Volta, which was still narrow here. We saw fisheries, hills covered by a green carpet of tropical trees, and always more water ahead. Even though it was still quite early, some of the African passengers could not control themselves anymore and started to sway to the rhythm of the music. Others were just sitting in a chair, enjoying the views. It was only when we reached the narrow part of the lake, that we suddenly realized the sheer size of it. A vast body of water opened up before our eyes, at the horizon we saw water, and in some parts a tree-line that seemed to be floating, while a few small islands could also be seen. The Akosombo dam was completed in 1965 and formed the largest man-made lake in the world with over 8500 sq. km of water surface, providing Ghana and probably also surrounding countries with electricity.

Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Pier at Dodi island

One of those islands, Dodi island was our destination. After docking, we were awaited by a crowd of locals who were playing music, selling small items and food, anything to try and make some money on the boatload of people that would only be on their island for a short time. The island is small and we crossed it in ten minutes, before returning to the boat. We were getting hungry now, and when we went to the upper deck to get food, we discovered that much of the food had already disappeared. There was just enough for our lunch, which we had on the sun deck with the small swimming pool. After lunch, our bodies got restless, too, and we joined the Africans who had been dancing under the sun for hours now. The band was relentless, and played one funky African song after another, and the crowd was getting always more excited. While most people danced on the covered deck right next to the band, we stayed down with a few others. The feeling for rhythm of the Africans was great to see - music and dance is apparently just a prominent feature in their DNA. All the while, we had entered the narrow stretch of Lake Volta again, and saw the enormous Akosombo dam appear again which had made this lake in the first place. When we arrived at the pier again, we felt truly sorry that the cruise was over and we had to drive back to Accra.

Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): The largest artificial lake in the world - Lake Volta
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Akosombo Dam with part of Lake Volta
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Southern, narrow part of Lake Volta
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Tree-line at the horizon of vast Lake Volta
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Small island in enormous Lake Volta
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Clouds over Lake Volta
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Arriving at Dodi island by pirogue
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Lower deck of the Dodi Princess: dancing Africans and swimming pool
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): Dancing on the boat - on the way back to Akosombo
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): African girl wrapped around the broad shoulders of dancing African
Picture of Lake Volta Cruise (Ghana): The dock at Dodi Island

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