Welcome to Part 2 of How to Get Around Ghana, if you missed part 1 about walking and trekking you can catch it here.
Like walking riding a bike around Ghana is probably not going to be the primary mode of transportation for most people. But for some it is the adventure that they crave, they are usually the type that will fly in with their own bike and a little more hard core than the standard traveler. There are even some companies that offer dedicated biking tours of Ghana. As for me I don’t think that I would feel entirely safe riding around most places in Ghana especially Accra, Kumasi and some of the longer stretches on the main roads in rural areas. This is not a security concern at all but one of safety because of the drivers, they tend to have little regard for pedestrians or bikers, and there are many traffic accidents throughout the country anyway. But for those that would feel comfortable doing this I am sure you would be rewarded with some beautiful sights and great interactions with people along the way.
Like walking there are some distinct advantages that seeing the country on a bike would afford. You are moving at a slower pace which means that you can really observe your surroundings and interact with people along the way. There are some great blogs and stories out there of people who have biked around West Africa with great success and enjoyment.
For most of us linking biking up in areas with longer distance travel by other means would be the most attractive way to do some biking in Ghana. There are some great locations and community based tourism sites to do this that offer affordable bike rentals, routes and trails that are safer to ride on than the main roads. In some of these areas a bike is your best way to get around and in and out of the location. Doing this you can take any other sort of transportation in between and be able to see the country on more of a tighter time line.
Some of the great places that offer bike rentals around the country are the following:
Aburi is a community in the hills just north of Ghana it is a great place to get away from Accra for the day and cool down at the higher elevation; they also boast not having many mosquitos also. It is largely known for the Aburi Botanical Gardens, Tetteh Queshier Farm, and Rita Marley’s Studio 1 and school. There is also a place in the community where it is possible to rent bikes and there is said to be a whole network of paths in the area to ride around on.
Ho and Kalapka Reserve:
Ho is at the foot of the Volta Region and it is possible to rent bikes there also. You can ride around town or even go further abroad to the Kalapka Reserve which is about 10km to the south. You can ride around the reserve with its forested hill and some savanna like landscapes. If you are lucky you may get to see some of the animals living in the Reserve like a number of varieties of Duikers, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Buffalo, and red river hog. There are also a number of primates that live in the park, they include Baboons, green monkeys, spot nosed monkeys, and Colobus monkeys. There are also many smaller varieties of mammals and insects. Even if you do not see much wildlife which is dependent on the season you will have a nice ride through some beautiful scenery, which was once a sports hunting area for affluent Europeans.
A little further north in the Volta Region from Ho, the hills turn into green lush mountains where bikers and hikers with strong legs will get a very unique experience traveling between the communities. A good place to set-up a base camp and also rent bikes is the Mountain Paradise Lodge near Biakpa that is surrounded by some amazing views of the mountains. From there it is either an uphill ride to Amadzofe the highest village in Ghana at the foot of Mount Gemi, or a downhill ride down the road to Tafi Atome Community Monkey Sanctuary. Since transportation between these communities is not that regular biking is a great way to do it, but be prepared for the elevation changes.
Kyabobo National Park
Kyabobo National Park is very far off the beaten path in Ghana, and the most northerly point of interest in the Volta Region. After navigating the dusty roads you will arrive at the foot of the Breast Mountains (aptly named for their appearance being two mountains side by side). The Guesthouse is at the park headquarters would be a good place to rest before heading out to explore the area the next day. It is possible to rent bikes at the park headquarters also and they will provide you a way to explore the communities on the outskirts of the park. The trails in the park are not that suited to bikes so splitting your time between biking and hiking will give you the best of both worlds. The communities around the park are very unique looking compared to others in Ghana, often they are called the hanging villages due to the fact that they are hanging on the side of the steep mountains. The communities of Shiare and Kylinga are perfect examples of this, it may be necessary to finish the trip to Kylinga on foot but it will be worth the hike to share some local schnapps with the chief and take a hike to the nearby waterfall or sacred shrines. On the other end of the park is the community of Kue right on the border with Togo, where a walk along the Kue River can reward you with potentially seeing elephants crossing from Togo. During certain seasons you can also tube the river.
Cape Three Points Area
On the western coast of Ghana there is a bit of paradise in what the Ahanta people call Ahanta land. At the center of this is Cape Three Points which is a cape complex with lush forests, agriculture, beaches, and villages. I call the whole area for the sake of this article the Cape Three Points Area. This has become a popular place for tourists but by no means is it crowded yet. The draw here is the endless miles of splendid empty beaches edged by rain forest, palms and jungle. Starting from Butre there are trails that will take you all the way to Axim if you wish. There are wonderful lodges, and eco-lodges along the way to break up the trips. Bikes can be rented at a number of lodges in the area included Green Turtle Lodge, and Escape3points. Other highlights of the area are canoeing through the mangroves on the Ezile River near Akwidaa, hiking in the Cape Three Points Reserve, climbing the lighthouse at Cape Three Points Village and just enjoying the endless beaches.
Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary
Wechiau is near North in the Upper West Region near Wa. 17 communities have come together to protect 42km of the Black Volta river and the Hippos in the river, creating a very unique community reserve. It is possible to reach the village of Wechiau from Wa on public transportation, traveling from there to the actual reserve near the river which is about another 8km can be a little more difficult though. Luckily the park headquarters in the village offers bike rentals which are a good way to get around the flat area. Near the river is a guest house and you can also stay on a platform built by the side of the river called a hippo hide. When not biking around and exploring the Lobi people’s interesting compounds the river is the place to be with canoe guides that will hopefully find the hippos for you to enjoy looking at.