My first visit to West Africa came a few years ago when I went there on business. To say it was an eye opener would be an understatement. After a few days in Accra meeting with lawyers and government officials we headed to the small coastal city of Takoridi. Fortunately I did have some time to sight see and I’ve written detailed captions for some pictures to explain the story behind the pictures.
By far the most interesting and deeply moving part of the trip was a visit to El Mina Castle, the oldest European building south of the Sahara. Built ten years before Columbus stumbled across the America, it was erected by the Portuguese as a trading post for the gold mines that flourished in the area, but soon evolved into the first and largest slave trading station in Africa after the Dutch captured it in 1637. I witnessed black American tourists completely break down in abject tears as they were shown the infamous Door of No Return through which their ancestors were forcibly removed to the Americas. It is an appalling site that should be as infamous as Auschwitz.
One day we headed into the interior to do some game watching and stopped at Hans Cottage Botel where there was a restaurant with seating outside beside a river in a beautiful setting. There were agama lizards and weaver birds nests all around and I was so intent on watching them that I almost walked directly into the path of a huge Nile crocodile that was sunning itself on the river bank. It scared the living s*** out of me. After that we headed for the Kakum Skywalk where a young Muslim teenager asked me if I needed a wife. I said “No, I already have one.” She replied “But you need a young one too”.
Another day we visited Shai Hills National Park where we were able to walk about freely without a guide. We saw baboons, bats, bushbucks and baobab trees in a two hour trek.
Our last short trip was to Akosombo Dam which created Lake Volta, the largest man made lake in the world.