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Sunday, November 24, 2013

From Legon to Hohoe and Wli on tro-tro

My last post on the Shai Hills was to help me find that place again, but this post is designed more to help others make their way on public transit from the University of Ghana to the Wli waterfalls on the Togo border in the Volta Region. I was surprised how hard it was for me to find clear instructions on how to reach what must be one of the top weekend destinations for international students at the University of Ghana. In fact, Lonely Planet only mentions the Metro Bus that leaves from downtown Accra in the middle of the afternoon and arrives in Hohoe after dark, and returns at an unreasonably early hour from Hohoe. What follows is a much better option, and there might be even better options:

1. Tro-tro from Legon to Madina station (50 pesewas). Personally I would recommend an early start in order to reach Wli before dark (the entire trip is about 6 hours).

2. Tro-tro from Madina to Hohoe (4 hrs, 12 cedis). The tro-tros to the Volta Region leave from the front part of the Madina station closer to the market. Hohoe seems to have several pronunciations, but ho-HOY seems to work for me.

3. Hohoe has a new lorry park and the tro-tros to Wli (most people seem to understand when I say "blee") leave from close to the entrance (30 min, 1 cedi).

When I left Wli, people told me that there were few or no tro-tros on Sunday. I don't know whether that is true or not. A taxi driver wanted to take me for 20 cedis, but I waited and took a shared taxi for 5 cedis.

The lower falls is an easy, flat 30 minute walk along the river. The upper falls is a bit of a climb, and takes about 2 hours longer than the lower falls. My guide Mr. Charles recommended a longer round-about hike to the falls, which was most definitely worth it for the views. We arranged a day in advance to leave early in the morning, which is what I would also recommend. The lower falls cost 10 cedis, the upper falls 13 cedis, and an accompanying guide is required.

The Waterfall Lodge is 50 cedis a room, is close to the entrance to falls, and provides a quiet setting with excellent views of the falls.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Shai Hills

This post is more for myself than anything, because my memory is not very good and if I ever want to make a visit again to Shai Hills these will be useful notes. In short, this is what I did:

1. Took a tro-tro from Legon to Madina Station (50 pesewas)

 2. Then from Madina to Ashaiman Station (pronounced a-shaman; 2.40 cedis). Tro-tro leaves from far back corner of Madina Station and goes right past Legon, but it probably always leaves Madina full which makes it impossible to board at Legon.

3. Ashaiman to Shai Hills (pronounced shy hills). Tro-tro leaves from front of station by main exit. My tro-tro only went to Afienya and I had to pick up a second tro-tro to Shai Hills, which is by Doryumu Junction. First tro-tro was 1.50 cedis and second was 1 cedi. Total travel time: almost 3 hrs, much of that waiting for tro-tros to leave & in heavy traffic in Ashaiman.

Shai Hills: 25 cedis for 1 hour hike, + 5 cedis for each additional hour. 2 hours (30 cedis) to Adwuku caves. 4 more hikes from far entrance which I should do next time, but that is best done with own transportation. Required to take guide, which makes hike less relaxing than it otherwise might be.


 1. Tro-tro from Shai Hills did not go into Ashaiman Station, so they passed me to a second tro-tro that spent most of the time stopped in traffic in Ashaiman. First tro-tro did not charge; second charged 60 pesewas. We stopped by a tro-tro going straight to Accra, which probably would have made more sense (ie, go to 37 & then backtrack to Legon).

2. Ashaiman to Madina (2.40 cedis). Leaves from middle of station; quick trip on Tena highway.

Total return travel time: just over 2 hrs.

Total cost: 37.90 cedis (exchange rate USD = 2.10, $18 USD)

Shai Hills was nicer than I remembered, but that might be because I've spent very will time out in nature here. Still, 5 hrs exhausting travel time for 2 hr hike is a bit unbalanced.

Bradt is the best guide book; Lonely Planet is just way too thin.

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