River cruise, check. Abolo & One mouth thousand, check. Adome bridge, check. 

If my memory serves me right, the last time I was in Akosombo was around the tender age of 13 during a school excursion trip to the Akosombo Dam. I remember being awed by the ginormous turbines and the huge expanse of the dammed Volta river. Fast forward twenty-something years later and here I was planning a day’s trips to Akosombo this time with me behind the wheel and my photographer Theo as my co-pilot. I was super stoked! Staycation time! Oh by the way, staycation is a holiday experience in your own country instead of abroad or a day’s trip discovering local attractions.

The drive on the Motorway on an early Thursday morning was a breeze as I was against traffic flow towards Tema until it slowed down to a crawl getting closer to Michel camp. I simply couldn’t believe the traffic on the other side of the road towards Accra.  My mind tried to get around the fact that people live as far as Michel camp and even Shai Hills to go work in Accra! Daily. The daily commute must be insane and stressful! This is why I keep advocating for remote work adoption strategies by organisations. Surely, wouldn’t that mean happier less-stressed families and a healthier personal well-being? The transport system in Ghana if developed with an efficient train system would also ease the burden of Ghanaian workers commuting to work.

I had already psyched my mind that I was going to be profiled at police checkpoints so my driving license was ready for inspection. Thanks to fraud boys, driving a Camry subjects innocent drivers like myself to random police inspections. Always carry your license with you when driving outside Accra and ensure your car documents are in good order as well i.e. road worthy certificate and car insurance papers. Just don’t give any policeman the pleasure of thinking ‘they got you today.’ In the excitement of travelling outside the city it’s so easy to overlook minor details such as this.

Baboons!

Keep a lookout for the Olive Baboons casually strolling along the pavement as you draw closer to the Shai Hills Resource Reserve, the entrance of which is at the Doryumu Junction. I must have missed seeing them during my first and early trip here or perhaps there was no sanctuary then but trust me when I say I said something along the lines of ” Is that a monkey   baboon?” I slowed down out of flabbergasted curiosity and fascination as they bathed in the morning sun. It’s quite an experience and such a close-up encounter with them.

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For almost kilometre away, you will still catch quite a few ambling along the road and a few mama’s with their babies confidently perched on their backs.

I just want to take a second and say thank you to Royal Senchi Hotel for giving me quiet hope that I was close to Akosombo although I knew I wasn’t staying at the 5-star hotel. Their directional signage was a beacon hope giving approximate distance to the hotel. I had turned off my Google maps because it was a straight route from the Tema roundabout to Akosombo. What’s the point 🤷🏾‍♀️😅? So yeah, thank you guys! I wish more hotels were thoughtful.

Aboloo & One mouth thousand

Whether you drive or take a public transport to Akosombo or Atimpoku for a weekend getaway in the Eastern Region, you will have to stop and buy Aboloo and one mouth thousand fish or shrimp or fried African snail khebab! Street food vendors of this delicacy made popular in this region, will descend on your vehicle in the most competitive rowdiest way ever!

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Photo by Lensstorygh

The shrimp with one-man thousand and aboloo is highly recommended. Cooked mussel khebab which we call Adode in Ga, are also on sale by some of the street food vendors. Aboloo is fermented cornmeal flattened into a patty-shape, wrapped in plantain leaves  and is sweetish to the palate. I can never have enough of it. At GHC2 per Aboloo you can buy as much as you want. About 5 pieces will be enough for you.

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Photo by Lensstory

A Night’s Stay At Akosombo Continental Hotel

We were slightly knackered by the time we reached our abode at the Akosombo Continental Hotel and all I wanted to do was just have an early night ready to go exploring the next day. But my plans of an early night were immediately dashed when my tired eyes fell on the glistening Volta river coursing alongside the hotel grounds. I was instantly refreshed and wanted nothing more than to gaze at the river, eat by the river, dance by the river, read a book by the river and do everything by the river!

The lushness of the adjacent mountains and the greenery at the hotel was simply breathtaking and such a worthy assault on the visual senses.

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Photo by Lensstorygh

I have a secret I want to share with you. Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I open my Nature sounds app and listen to calming sounds of the river and sea waves lapping on the shore or raindrops falling on forest leaves. So meditative. Now I actually had a real river. Heaven.

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The Adome bridge is less than a kilometre away from the hotel and is actually a beautiful structural sight to behold. I was not surprised to learn of the bravado of our former President when he flew a fighter jet underneath the bridge. Papa J that!

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Adome bridge

Naturally, we went on a boat cruise to appreciate the bridge more intimately. The river wasn’t as boisterous as I thought it would be.

We were so famished after the boat cruise and lunch by the river was all I could dream of.

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Photo by Lensstorygh

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A laze by the pool as the sun set over the mountains was a perfect ending to the day. Finding time away from the busyness of life is worth every pesewa.

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The next morning, I was up and eager to go exploring within the region. But not before stopping by a local food stand to grab Chibom (pan-toasted bread with omelette) and knowing me and my ‘things’ I had a go at it! The food vendor couldn’t help but laugh at my attempt at holding her ‘handleless’ frying pan.

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My first stop was at the Kpong harbour which is a local fishing town in the Kpong township. The road leading to the fishing town is in a terrible state which made me cry inside about the poor facilities made available for local farmers and fishermen in the country who feed us but we bow and cower to leaders riding in v8 who dip into national coffers instead of  developing towns like this.

The harbour is more of a wide expanse of river with floating aquatic plants with a few wooden canoes lined up along the shores of the river.

Fresh-water tilapia and giant prawns are predominantly the seafood types caught in the river which courses into the distance.

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It’s good to make friends with the locals so why not the local fisherman I thought to myself.  He was more than willing to take some photos and also sell me his wares.

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photo by lensstory

At GHC20 I got way more Tilapia than I could get in the city.

Always take a mini iced-chest with you during your trip for storing the fish produce.

Going Bananas!

I literally went bananas after taking an approved visit to Volta River Farm Estates where my life was richly touched by witnessing the harvesting, sorting, packaging and labelling of locally grown cavendish bananas for export.

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A privately-owned partnership company, the Volta River Estates focuses mainly on the exportation of bananas and has as many as 5 plantations across the country. I was simply astounded by the size of the farm which I was told spans about 60 acres.

I got an approval from one of the directors to visit the farm and it’s highly recommended that you do same just incase you come across it; for food safety reasons.

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The banana’s are transported from the nearby farms using this floating tractor which totally mesmerised me! The efficiency was truly remarkable.

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The banana’s are covered with plastic to protect the skin from weather elements and pests. Too much sunshine isn’t good for these banana’s as it would quicken the ripening process and also render it ‘too green’.  Inspections are also done to remove damaging or stunted bananas.

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They then get snipped off from the stem and get washed in huge water tankers and sorted according to size.

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Just look at those creamy green bananas and tell me you aren’t in love? 😍

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Too much happiness in this gal.

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Banana’s were packed, labelled and ready for export to different countries across the world.

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It was a rather educative tour through the farm; from seeing how water isn’t wasted but transported back into the Volta river and how the use of ultraviolet light technology kills any bacteria in the water and pumps it back into the factory to understanding banana bundling.

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So enlightening! You have to learn something new everyday and for me this was it!

Driving a little too fast on the Akosombo road might make you miss authentic earthenware pottery made in Somanya which are transported and sold by the road. I am never one to waste time appreciating and supporting our local products.

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It was so weird how getting back to Accra was super fast although I drove back at the same speed. It took me 45 – 50 mins to the city and I was already wishing I had stayed another day. I’ll be back.

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There are other resorts dotting along the Volta river which gives you variety of where to stay when in Atimpoku at a budget-friendly price. The Akosombo Continental Hotel is budget friendly if you are looking for a hotel by the river in the region.

If you have been to this part of the Eastern region, do share your experience in the comments below. Let’s explore our country!

Photos by Lensstorygh.com

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