This weekend Clara, Kate, Mary and I ventured out to Shai Hills Resource Reserve, which is a wildlife sanctuary about 2 hours away from Legon. Between my Bradt book, and directions from one of the guys who runs our hostel, we thought we had a pretty good idea of how to get there via tro-tros. We were told, Legon to Madina, Madina to Dodowa, Dodowa to Doryumu, and there you are. Sounds simple enough, right? We started out fine, going from Legon to Madina, no problem, and even in Madina we were able to find a tro right away that went to Dodowa. We probably should have started to worry then, that there was a tro right there, but we didn't know that Dodowa is tiny, so we thought maybe there were just lots of tros that went there. Not correct it turns out. We rode along in the tro for about an hour, and we get to Dodowa and there isn't a tro station anywhere in sight. Our tro driver and mate ask around, for where we should go, but they have no idea. Finally, these two men, probably 12 and 18, tell us that they will hire a taxi for us to go to Shai Hills. We refuse to take taxi, knowing there is a tro somewhere, and definitely not wanting to pay the 10 cedis for a taxi, instead of 80 peswa for a tro. Once these guys finally realize that we will not give in to their taxi plan, they take us to the tro station. All I can say is good thing they took us there, because if we would have had to do it on our own, we would still be walking in the small town of Dodowa right now.
The tro from Dodowa was supposed to take us to Doryumu, but instead, it took us to Ashaiman, where we had to catch a different tro to Doryumu. Only to get to Ashaiman, the tro turned about 100 feet from where we needed to be, but we didn't know it at the time. So we more or less went an hour in the complete wrong direction, only to have to cover the exact same ground once we were in the correct tro. It was interesting to say the least. We found Shai Hills Resort (which is a good 2 miles down the road from the actual reserve where we were dropped of) without much difficulty, but walking was the only way there, and it was 2:30, so lots of sun, and no shade, it was not pleasant. (And don't worry, lots of sunscreen was worn.) Lucky for us, our room had air conditioning! It was wonderful! There isn't really anything to do in the town (really a junction) of Doryumu, so we spent the evening, cooling off in AC and being lazy, it was wonderful! Also! We saw grass cutter! It's this animal that looks kind of like a mole, and is furry, and apparently is eaten a lot in Ghana. There were three in the cage when we went to dinner, and three when we came back though, so we think we're safe from having eaten them.
This morning started at 5:30 (I thought about all you folk at Morris, and realized that your Saturday night activities were probably still in full swing, since it was only 11:30 p.m. there), and we sadly left our air conditioned room, and walked back to the reserve. Bradt had told us that a tour guide was required, so we weren't to surprised when a guy started showing us around, but even now, looking back on it, we're not entirely show if he actually worked for Shai Hills or not. We got to see baboons way up close, which was great! And then we did an incredibly long walk (about 6 km total) to a bat cave, where we saw antelope and trecked up this really steep mountain, into a cave, where there were hundreds of bats flying around. It was a long, hot, walk, but I'm glad we did it so early in the morning, I can't imagine what it would be like in the full sun. It was great to see the baboons up close, but that walk back, in the sun, with sweat literally dripping from my face, I kind of wondered why the heck I thought this was a good idea, but now that it's done, I'm glad we did it. Our ride back was much easier and quicker. We simply took a tro from the reserve to Ashaiman, and then right from Ashaiman to Legon, which took all of 2 hours, instead of the four it took to get there.
I'm really proud of us for finding a place to go, getting there, providing food for us, and getting back, all on our own. It also gives me a lot of confidence for doing more trips in the next few months, and staying busy on the weekends. Hopefully the internet will pick up one of these days and I can post some pictures from this weekend, and Cape Coast a few weekends ago.