Part III: water(less) falls, a dancer named Shiny, and grilled tilapia
Following our trip to the Twenedurase Caves, we visited 4 new places, Koforidua, Boti, Asesawa and Akateng, none of which I’d ever been to. In Boti, we wanted to see one of the Ghana’s most scenic natural wonders. The ride there was uniquely tranquil, filled with awesome sights and smooth M.anifest vibes courtesy of Selase, and a terrain more hilly than mountainous. We drove for long stretches without seeing homes or even people.
When we arrived at the entrance of Boti’s Waterfall Park, we were told there was actually no water flowing from the cliff at this time of year – the falls are seasonal. Having no idea this was an actual thing, we decided to go ahead and see what we could since we were already there.
“It hasn’t been raining here this time, so no water,” said the park’s resident artisan woodcarver who we were able to have a chat with.
While the falls were not flowing, we decided we’d still travel down the 250-or so steps to a small pool area directly beneath the male (right) and female (left) falls. For me, it was still worth it. Gentle trickles of water and the hum from colorful dragonflies more than made up for the falls not actually flowing around us.
The pool looked out onto large trees that according to our guide, have been there for hundreds of years. One of these trees also serves as a sacred shrine for the indigenous people in this Manya Krobo area. As we drew nearer to the shrine, our guide told us why the tree had become a point of worship.
Each body of water in the area is associated with a particular god or spirit. In Boti, the spirit from the waterfalls is believed to reside in that particular tree.
Next was Akateng. After taking a nap along the way to deal with some unforeseen car sickness, I felt a little better and was excited to see the busy lakeside market, one of the largest in the Eastern region’s upper Manya-Krobo District.
One of my favorite things about traveling to new places is the people you meet. In Akateng, Selase and I began talking to some of the traders and locals who meandered along the banks of the lake. Some of them had come from as far away as the Afram Plains, Asesawa and small towns in the Volta region. Others were local, ‘old-time frequenters’. Among the traders were ones who spoke Ewe, others Twi and some Krobo, as they sold their fresh catch of fish, home baked confections, or locally made trinkets.
My favorite person from that day was a spunky, middle-aged man calling himself Shiny who would’ve made Wisa proud with his fun dance moves to ‘Ekiiki Mi’. As I watched Shiny dance, I loved how happy he was, and that he was having himself a good time without any care about what was going on around him.
After the market, it was time to head to our hotel in Nkawkaw. Now on the Koforidua road, we found lots of local street food vendors and I was craving some grilled tilapia.
We made a stop in front of what looked at first to be a rather unseemly spot but there was a charcoal grill and everything I was looking for. Grilled tilapia, banku and freshly ground pepper salsa.
After taking my first bite of the smoke-infused fish, moist and blessed with a generous rub of ginger, any reservations I had about the unlikely road-side spot went away. Satisfied knowing this would be the best meal I’d have all day, we headed to the hotel to prepare for the next stop in our travels through Ghana’s Eastern region.
Tip of the day: Be like Shiny (and go for the tilapia from the roadside grill!)
MORE TRAVEL DIARIES FROM THE AR TEAM
Follow the @AfricaRizing team as they travel outside the urban environments of Accra, Bamako, and Dakar to experience the culture & history of some of West Africa’s most interesting, sometimes off-beat, places and spaces in our Travel Diaries series. Next up in our Travel Diaries series: ‘Festive Friday’.