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Confessions of an African Backpacker

This is my last post on the series of my one week backpacking tour where i backpacked from the upper west region of Ghana to the upper east. I am doing a short question and answer question to inform you more on how fun it is to backpack in Ghana

Question: Why did you decide to go on a backpacking trip?

Answer: I had always wanted to visit the tourist sites in the upper east region of Ghana like the Paga crocodile pond and the mysterious stone at Winkongo near Bolgatanga. But i never really made enough time or money to go to all these places. Then the perfect opportunity presented itself. There was a one week break from work therefore i used that time to go on the trip. Besides i knew i wouldn't be in the northern region of Ghana for long (since my mandatory one year service rendered to the government was coming to an end). I wanted to take the trip before its too late. And one week seemed like the perfect duration. It was long enough to see the tourist sites and it was short enough not to overwhelm me since i feared i might not enjoy the backpacking trip.

Question: How did you prepare for your backpacking trip?

Answer: I had never gone backpacking prior to this trip therefore i honestly didn't know what to take along. But northern Ghana is quite sunny and warm therefore i decided to pack 2 pairs of jeans some cotton sweat shirts and some underwear. I went along with a huge sweater as well. I also packed my little laptop so that i could blog about my experience and an ipad since i did not have a camera the ipad served as my camera besides i wanted to upload pictures of the tourist sites on my twitter page. I also downloaded a map of Ghana to enable me track my journey as i went along. I packed some deodorants and a light towel i would use to shower when i stayed in a guest house.

Question: Do you know anybody in the places you wanted to visit?

Answer: Yes i knew one person in Bolgatanga and another old school mate of mine in Tumu but when i called to find out whether i could see them. They were both out of town therefore i didn't get to see any of them. Garu was initially not part of the places i wanted to visit but a very good friend of mine lived there and since it's quite close to Bawku. I added it to the list in order to see my friend.

Question: How was the entire trip like?

Answer: I really had a good time. It felt good to see places i have heard and finally being there. It was interesting to read the map as the bus moved along during the bus rides. i was tracking every where i went on the map which really cool. For once i got to know how a map actually worked, I was happy to see the Paga crocodile pond because it's such a major tourist centre in Ghana. I felt really good when i went to Tumu and Navrongo since they are popular towns in Ghana. I also loved the arts and crafts at Bolgatanga, i even bought a cool little xylophone.Though most parts of the trip was fun and exciting, i felt like coming back home on the first day. It rained heavily that day so it was cold, wet and lonely. But then again i told myself nobody was forcing me to go backpacking. I am doing it for fun therefore i can go home anytime i wanted. The fact that i told myself i can go home at anytime put me at ease and helped me relax.

Question: Any special observations?

Answer: I was really blown away by the level of kindness shown me by complete strangers. People offered me rides on their motorbikes others were willing to escort me to places when i asked directions for. I thought the food in the upper east would be different but it didn't vary much. People were quite surprised when i told them i'm on a backpacking trip. According to them they have not seen an African on a backpacking trip. I didn't know there was another tourist site close to the Paga crocodile pond, a former slave camp known as Nania slave camp so it was great to visit another tourist site i didn't know about.

Question; Knowing what you know now will you do anything differently on your next backpacking trip?

Answer: Sure, i would definitely pack fewer clothes. I didn't even wear 50% of the clothes i took But i would definitely pack more underwear. The sweater i took was unnecessary since after the first day it was sunny through out the week. The laptop did not serve any purpose because i used the ipad through out the journey. Next time i won't worry too much since one does not achieve anything by worrying and would rather hope and believe that the world is a safe place.

Question: Any regrets?

Answer: Yes, i couldn't take pictures at night since the ipad does not have a flash light. Therefore i couldn't document what happened in the evenings. It was the world cup season and most of the Ghanaian matches were in the evening so i wanted to document how people were watching and enjoying the world cup. On hindsight i regret my backpacking was only just a week because i was really enjoying it and by the last day i didn't want to come back but i was running out of time and money. I was also sad i couldn't make it to two other tourist sites that is the Tono dam in Navrongo and the mysterious stones which makes ghostly noises at Wunkungo a small village near Bolgatanga.

Question: Do you have plans to go on another backpacking trip?

Answer: Now that i have tasted how backpacking feels like, i want to go on one every year. I would take time off every year to backpack and enjoy the wonderful things that my country has and hopefully backpack and holiday in other countries.


COUNTRY


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I am a young teacher and travel blogger of Ghanaian descent who is very much committed to telling the story of Africa, i believe education goes a long way in helping people become independent thus eradicating poverty. I have a keen interest for travelling, knowledge sharing, entrepreneurship and the luxury goods market. When i'm not doing all this, you will usually find me reading a book, watching a tennis match or trying to learn a new language



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