ATLANTIC ISLAND & AFRICAN SHORES VOYAGE 7222 DAY 17
Day 17 - October 2, 2012 - Takoradi, Ghana
By Patricia Silva Rodriguez, Ornithologist
Co-ordinates: 4º 53’N, 1º 44’W
Weather: mostly cloudy, some sunshine
Air Temperature: 27ºC, 83ºF
Sea Temperature: 26 ºC
Pressure: 1018 Hp
Wind: light, local
Silver Explorer was alongside in the port of Takoradi on a partly cloudy day. Half of us joined the excursion to the Kakum Forest Canopy Walk. It took over two hours drive to get to the forest reserve through interesting countryside. Our guide Paul told us about the British and Dutch parts of the area, we saw the Soccer stadium built by the Chinese and we noticed the distinctive architecture of many of the colonial houses, built off the ground on brick pillars. The road crossed the Pra River, the second largest in Ghana, which has both gold and diamonds in certain areas. There were swarms of Little Swifts flying over the river. He also told us about mining bauxite and manganese as well as the off shore oil. The countryside was nice with orange flowered flamboyant trees and we saw many kites, crows and hooded vultures overhead.
Once at the forest, we set off in three groups each with a local guide. A colourful male Agama lizard with an orangey head was observed on the path close to the restrooms. The path led us up steps to various rest points where our guides would tell us about various interesting aspects of the forest trees. At last we were at the beginning of the canopy walk but we had to wait our turn at the ‘base camp’. One by one we were allowed up onto the very narrow board suspended in the canopy a hundred feet above the ground. The plank footpath was held up by suspension ropes and cables and we were further protected by rope netting that was at least shoulder high and went under the swinging bridge. Each stage was about 100 feet long and ended in a platform encircling a gigantic forest tree. As only a few people were allowed on the swaying rope bridge at a time we had long waits on the small platforms in the beginning until it was clear to follow on.
Very interesting birds were seen, three species of sunbird, a Pied Hornbill, Broad billed roller and a couple of Mona monkeys jumping over the canopy. It was a beautiful short walk back to the starting point and our buses.
Our next stop was lunch at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort. The thatch-covered restaurant was almost right on the beach on a perfect day, with the sea surging onto the rocks and the golden sandy beach. A vendor was selling his necklaces on a low stone wall close to the restaurant – a shopping opportunity is impossible to ignore.
After lunch we visited the Elmina Castle – one of the centers of the slave trade – and spent an hour in this historical fort, said the oldest European-built in all of Africa, dating back to 1482. We peeked out of the infamous ‘door of no return’ to see the fishing fleets below – dugout canoes. Our guide led us into the various damp and dark dungeons, the horrors too awful to imagine. We had time to visit the Governor’s house and the museum within the castle complex.
Finally arriving back to the port, we sailed out of Takoradi, Ghana to Accra while watching the final photo/video recap of our voyage in The Theatre.
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