So we left off with us hurtling through Liberia in a Nissan Micra that belonged to the border guard.
We were planning on heading to Robertsport for a day or two of total chillaxing (not much to do there apart from surf)! However, we had been told the roads were bad and not worth the agro (especially in the Micra), so we were persuaded to skip Robertsport in favour of heading directly to the Capital, Monrovia.
We headed to a nice, beachfront hotel in Monrovia, which turned out to be a good 40 minute crawl (the only speed the traffic moved at) from the centre of the town.
We had already messaged the hotel in advanced to request a price for the room to see if we could negotiate a cheaper rate than online. They had replied with a pretty decent rate so we thought, why not?!
Upon arrival the bellend at reception then tried to talk himself out of the quoted price and say that it was more expensive because there were two of us. By then, having already spent then morning being shaken down for bribes twice at the borders, I was beyond the ability to remain calm under the constant attempts to bribe or rip us off!
So when showing my original message stating ‘myself and my friend’ and ‘do you have a room for us?’, the guy kept saying that my meaning of more than one person had been lost in translation and we would need to pay the extra.
I basically told him to poke it and that we would sit on the beach and have lunch and I would book online instead and get a cheaper rate. He didn’t believe that was possible.
So we indulged in an overly expensive lebanese lunch platter (did I mention the Lebanese criminals had also taken over hotels in Liberia!!) whilst checking online.
We decided to stay where we were rather than move as the beach was lovely and the bungalow they were going to give us was lovely, plus we couldn’t face another painful 40 minute journey into the centre.
So upon checking online I discovered that I could book the room for cheaper than his ‘revised’ price so booked it for 2 nights and then we would move on.
Ha, in your face African corruption….first you fail to bribes me twice, then you fail to rip me off for the room!
So off I wandered to the bellend at reception, who smugly said ‘ah are you taking the room then’, to which I replied ‘yes, I have booked it online’!
Well he wasn’t happy about that, starting trying to tell me that my booking wasn’t valid and I wasn’t allowed to book through an online website. See, I did say he was a total bellend!!
Eventually the manager appeared, who thankfully was not a total bellend and said it was fine and to hand me the keys! Can you believe the bellend then tried to argue with the manager and say that it wasn’t valid and I had to pay etc etc…to which the manager looked miffed and demanded the keys! Ha
So successful installed in our luxury bungalow, we chilled out for the rest of the day whilst, obviously, being subject to exceptionally loud music (again!).
The next day we just chilled out at the beach and bar, grateful for some downtime to rest and relax and gather ourselves after the last few months of overlanding, camping and difficult border crossings!
As you may have gathered…at this point we couldn’t be further from the truck which was still stranded on the beach in Freetown awaiting new crew. Nicole and I had decided to ditch the truck and move onwards on our own so that we could see what we wanted and move through the countries quicker.
It had dawned on me that I was in my 40th year on the planet and with that I didn’t want to do certain things anymore…and why should I pretend otherwise!! I couldn’t be arsed with the bushcamping anymore, the trundling around on the truck from camp to camp and the lack of an actual toilet! I mean come on…I am up for adventure, local buses with chickens whatever as long as at the end of the day I can retire to a room where I can shut the door on the crazy world for a short time, wash and sit on a loo. I don’t need hot water, just a form of running water will do even if cold.
It’s not too much to ask!
With that in mind…Nicole and I then swapped hotels and left the Lebanese criminal world behind and headed to a fancy hotel called The Farmington which was across the road from Monrovia airport.
We then spent the next 2 days chilling out re-watching Game of Thrones, eating nice food and generally lolling about the pools and the riverside.
Thursday afternoon we flew to Ghana, now some of you eagle eyed readers will spot that this meant flying over Ivory Coast…have no fear…we do head there after Ghana…it’s just the way the cheap flights rolled!
So we headed to Ghana in more civilised way than the previous 9 countries…
Friday we awoke in our aparthotel in Accra ready for a day of walking and sightseeing…we took in Accra’s famous forts, Independance Square, the Mausoleum and remembrance park of Keane Nkrumah (who was Ghana’s founding father) and then we headed to the slightly rougher but more authentic part of Accra to see Jamestown and its slave forts and famous lighthouse.
Saturday saw us walk an hour to the national museum, only to find it closed for renovation, so instead we had an early lunch at a cool Indian restaurant which is hidden around the back of a petrol station…had a masala dosa and some pandora which was nice.
Sunday saw us take a long day trip west and inland to Kalimantan National Park and then the Cape Coast.
The drive was a long 3 hours to the park but well worth it for the suspension bridges. You basically spend an hour in the forest traversing the canopy on these bridges. Pretty cool and something I had wanted to do.
There was a small group of 5 of us which was nice and I somehow ended up being volunteered to go first! Not that I mind heights or suspension bridges…but that first tentative step when the bridge freaks and wobbles…Adrenalin fuelled adventure right there!
After the bridges, we sadly had to leave and head back to the coast to check out the old slave forts.
We were running short on time so decided to just visit Elmina and briefly check the fort out before having to start our long 3 hour journey back to Accra.
Monday and Tuesday were lazy days involving great local food (plantain and jollof rice) and relaxing around the amazing pool at the Mövenpick hotel across town.
This is more the life…sightseeing mixed with a splash of luxurious relaxing!
I have to say I loved Ghana, having been there almost 10years ago, it was good to re-visit and explore further than I did last time.
Wednesday saw us fly from Ghana to Ivory Coast which was easy and allowed us to bypass the terrible roads that we knew were on the agenda! The picture below was sent to me by some of the remaining upgraders!
Anyway back to relative civilisation…we arrived to our loft room at the luxury Residence Ecologe in Abidjan, initially we we concerned that we were going to be unsafe in Abidjan…mainly because as soon as we arrived outside the hotel a very dishy man in a suit and shades with a hefty baton ushered us quickly inside as though we wouldn’t be safe outside! Turns out not to be the case at all but I think he just wanted to give that impression so he could feel macho and cool!!! Haha
The hotel was our last African splurge so we had maxed out our budget! Huge loft room with massive bed, massive plant filled balcony, sofa, huge breakfast bar covered in kitchen related utensils, a wine rack with 2 bottles of champagne in (that wasn’t free!), stocked minibar fridge, a glass rack containing 22 different shaped glasses, a glass walled bathroom (wonderful if on honeymoon, but two friends sharing not so much…leads to one person showering and one person facing the opposite direction on the sofa!), we even had our own tree in a pot! What more does one need!
We also took a short day trip out to the east to see the beaches and the famous town of Grand-Bassam. We popped to the luxury hotel where a terror attack took place a few years ago, then the local museum which displayed traditional clothes and black and white photos of the area from colonial times.
Really interesting place and well worth taking the time to visit.
We popped to Assinie to check out the locals weekend hotspots!
We then spent the next few days mooching about Abidjan which turned out to be a lovely city with friendly people, wonderful restaurants and a great chilled out vibe.
Then sadly it was my time to leave. I had decided to take a brief hiatus from Africa and pop home for my birthday and to catch up with family and friends after 3 months away.
I was planning to miss a couple of countries I had already visited and a few that were either suffering civil unrest, military coups or I just wasn’t that worried about bush camping around! Lol
I must admit after 3 months, I was Africa ‘d out and needed a break from the constant barrage of overlanding West Africa!
It’s been a bloody blast and I have loved my time travelling the remote west coast of Africa from Morocco and the Sahara in the north to such gems as Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.
Don’t worry though, I will be returning to Africa to pick it back up in Namibia where I will hopefully meet up with the group again!
So….plot twist I hear you cry…yep! Bit of rest at home for 2 weeks to celebrate reaching the last year of my 30s (less celebrating, more commiserating!) and catching up with as many people as possible before I head off again into the wilds of the world for a second 3 month stint.
This time I will mostly be on my own, trawling around ruins, temples and architectural gems of Europe, Middle East and Asia before returning to Africa in April.
My first stop will be Budapest which has been on my bucket list for a long time and I have never made it there! So, very excited for that so stay tuned to the blog for my revised travel itinerary! Lol
Beautiful vistas, forests, beaches and waterfalls are lovely but give me old buildings any day!!